Chapter Four.

A play in one scene.

Author's Note: FictionPress formatting has disallowed my use of brackets for stage direction. My directions are very specific, and shouldbe discernable from dialogue. I may update to correct this at some other time.

Set description: The stage is empty, except for a wooden park-style bench that sits in the center. It should be large enough to comfortably seat three people.

Characters:

Kelly: She is in her early twenties. She wears blue jeans and a green windbreaker, and holds her hair in a ponytail. Underneath the windbreaker is a yellow t-shirt. She also wears a large watch and a wedding ring.

Voice:An offstage voice that whispers. It can either sound gender-neutral, or sound very similar to Kelly's voice.

Mooch: He is in his early twenties, and is slightly older than Kelly. It would be preferable that he has long hair, a short beard, and is taller than Kelly. He wears blue jeans and a black long-sleeved shirt. He must not wear a watch.

Mom:She is in her forties. She wears a blue dress. She must not wear any jewelry or a watch.

Daddy: He is in his forties. His hair is starting to turn gray. He wears a blue business suit with white shirt. He wears a wedding ring, but does not wear a watch.

Jared:He is in his early twenties. He wears black slacks and a yellow dress shirt. He wears a wedding ring, but does not wear a watch.

curtain

all lights are out

Kelly: sobs into hands

a single light fades slowly up on the bench to reveal the silhouette of a person sitting on it. A second light comes up to reveal from the front that this is Kelly. As the light is finished, she looks up and wipes her eyes

Kelly: to herself, as much as to the audience It's been seven years now. she wipes away a tear You think I'd be used to this, you know? Every year, I find myself back here. And every year, he comes back. she pauses to sniff I don't want to do this. I don't want to be here. I don't want to see him!

Voice: But you came here of your own accord.

Kelly: admitting I did.

Voice: And you do want to see him. You simply do not want the pain that accompanies seeing him.

Kelly: You're right. You're always right. tense pause Why do I do this? Why can't I move on?

Voice: gentle, but firm It is an integral part of who you are. As long as you stay here, you must go through this.

Kelly: Why?

Voice: Because you come here to go through this.

Mooch appears silently UL. His approach should be significant to the audience, but he is not noticed by Kelly

Kelly: Why do I want to go through with this? Every year, I go through with this, and every year, the same thing happens. He tells me to get over him, and I walk away heartbroken.

Voice: Perhaps he only has your best interest at heart.

Mooch: along with Voice Perhaps he only has your best interest at heart.

Kelly: suddenly on the verge of tears again Mooch?

Mooch: approaches bench from behind Hello, Kelly.

Kelly: does not look at Mooch I've missed you.

Mooch: I know.

Kelly: Hurt Is that all that you're going to say? "I know."?

Mooch: What more is there to say?

Kelly: How about, "I've missed you, too," or something like that.

Mooch: I can't say that, you know that I can't.

Kelly: Gestures for Mooch to sit to her left (SR) Sit down.

Mooch: I'd rather not.

Kelly: Please? Sit with me?

Mooch: I'd like this to be as painless as possible.

Kelly: Mooch?

Mooch: Pause If you insist. walks around to front of bench and sits to Kelly's right (SL). During this scene, they will never touch. There is a moment of uncomfortable silence. Mooch breaks it in a conversational tone. So… it's been another year.

Kelly: It's been seven years since you left me.

Mooch: Has it really been that long? Wow…

Kelly: This is supposed to be serious, Mooch.

Mooch: I am serious. It doesn't feel like it's been nearly that long.

Kelly: It's been an eternity for me.

Mooch: I can't help that.

Kelly:You couldn't help leaving, either, could you?

Mooch: It wasn't my choice, you know.

Kelly: suddenly upset You could have fought. You could have stayed. You acted like you went willingly.

Mooch: We've been over this.

Kelly: Every year, we go over this. I need you back, Mooch.

Mooch: Does not respond immediately. Instead, he pauses, then jumps up and moves DL Come here. Kelly follows him What do you see?

Kelly: I see the playground, where we first met. I see the slide that you used to horse around on with the little kids. The swing set.

Mooch: So much there, isn't there?

Kelly: So many memories.

Mooch: You met someone else at the park, didn't you?

Kelly: turns away from Mooch No, Mooch, not now.

Mooch: Four years ago tonight. After I left you that night. crosses Right, to gaze offstage He's worried about you, you know.

Kelly: I said, not tonight, Mooch.

Mooch: He cares about you. He loves you.

Kelly: Please, Mooch?

Mooch: He can do so much more for you now than I ever could, especially now.

Voice: She simply doesn't want to give you up, Mooch.

Kelly: offended What? Now you're with him, too?

It quickly becomes evident that the voice will not respond.

Mooch: turns around to face Kelly Kelly, I've said in the past all that I can say. I'm leaving now. proceeds to cross SL and exits, ignoring Kelly's pleas

Kelly: No, Mooch! Please Stay! ad lib until Mooch exits No. Not again. returns to sit on bench and begins to cry

Voice: You knew it would happen.

Kelly: does not respond to Voice, but instead yells in agony Morgan Richards, why the hell did you have to die? You ruined everything!

Voice: He didn't do a thing himself.

Kelly: Well, he sure did a number on the rest of us.

Voice: That is not what I meant, and you know it.

Kelly: Do I care?

Voice: Of course, you care. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.

Daddy and Mom enter SL

Kelly: That wasn't what I meant, and you know it.

Voice:I t's still applicable, isn't it?

Kelly: And what I said wasn't?

Voice: I don't think so, anymore.

Kelly: What do you mean, anymore?

Daddy and Mom approach the bench. Kelly is both relieved and unnerved by their presence

Daddy: Hello, munchkin.

Kelly: I was wondering if you two would show up.

Mom:You need some help.

Daddy: And it didn't look as though you were going looking for it.

Kelly motions for them to sit next to her. Daddy sits to her left (SR), Mom sits to her right (SL). None of them touches each other during this scene

Kelly: Mooch came back tonight.

Daddy: We know.

Mom: What did he have to say?

Kelly: He said that I'm better off with Jared and all of that other "Forget about me" crap that he gives me every year.

Daddy: I'm sure he'd never want you to forget about him.

Kelly: Well, that's what it feels like.

Mom: We never wanted you to forget about us, and you understood that.

Kelly: That was different. After the divorce, things just got messed up. And then when Dad left… all that I had were memories. Mooch helped me get through all of that.

Mooch appears SL

Mooch: So because I stuck around longer than your parents did, I get treated special?

Kelly: It's not like that at all… I'm just not ready to let go. Mooch, you mean so much to me.

Mom: And we didn't mean anything to you?

Kelly: You do… I just had someone to help me get through it.

Daddy: I'm not so sure that you are through it yet… we're talking to you right now.

Mom: Don't say things like that. We like to help her.

Daddy: I'm just afraid that we're holding her back. Isn't that right, Mooch?

Mom: There you go, bringing in help for yourself. Can't you support your daughter for once?

Daddy: I think I am.

Mooch: interjects Listen, before we get into an argument, why don't we settle some issues. This is clearly about me. Why don't we talk alone again?

Mom: She says you already tried that.

Kelly: Mom… let's try it again. Daddy, you should go.

Daddy: Okay. Just think about it: We might have done something to you with the divorce, while we were around, but Morgan Richards himself did nothing wrong to you.

Daddy and Mom exit SL. Mooch sits on the bench, on Kelly's right (SL)

Kelly:Why do you want me to forget about you, after all of the time that we spent together?

Mooch: frustrated I'm not asking you to forget me; I'm asking you to get the hell over me. I am out of your life, and there is nothing you or I can possibly do about it!

Kelly: Mooch, don't say things like that.

Mooch: I can't give you support. Jared can. It's what you need. Why do you come so far to seek me out, when your own husband is trying to keep up pace right behind you?

Kelly: Because he has no clue, Mooch! He's wonderful, romantic, funny, and he tries to understand me; but he has no clue what it feels like to be me!

Mooch: So the fact that he's perfectly normal in the category of understanding someone else's emotions thoroughly immediately disqualifies him?

Kelly: defensively He's not disqualified, he only needs to put out some effort! Mooch, you say he can comfort me… Why doesn't he?

Mooch: It takes a lot of effort to get through a brick wall.

Kelly: What?

Voice: The brick wall that you've built around yourself to prevent anyone from getting as close as Mooch did.

Kelly: Are you two collaborating?

this thought is interrupted as Jared enters SR

Jared: There you are. I was getting really worried.

Kelly: Like always.

Jared: I don't understand.

Kelly: Damn it, Jared, can't you do something for once instead of just worrying?

Jared: Excuse me?

Kelly: Help me, you moron. Get over here and get me out of my misery.

Mooch: There's nothing he can do without your permission.

Kelly:to Mooch Shut up. to Jared Either make things right for me, or get out of here.

Mooch: See, the problem here is that you expect him to do all of your work for you.

Jared: What do I need to do to make things right?

Kelly: I don't know! You're the almighty husband, head of the house, and crap! You should know.

Jared: I need to know what's wrong first, baby.

Mooch: I'm telling you; I have no idea how I managed to survive this for as long as I did. Kel, he's definitely better for you. I've never been this patient.

Kelly: to Mooch The same goes for you. Be helpful, or go away.

Mooch: Wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy? To tell everyone who disagrees with you to simply go away and let you drown in your own squalor…

Jared: Kelly, please tell me what's going on. Is it something I did?

Kelly: More like something you didn't do, you selfish bum.

Mooch: This isn't necessarily about him… you can't blame a man for trying.

Jared:What didn't I do, baby?

Mooch: Seriously, if I had to go through the trouble that he has trying to get through the brick wall that you've built around yourself…

Kelly: Go back to hell, Mooch.

Mooch: If only it were that easy.

Jared: Is this about Mooch?

Kelly: It's about you.

Jared: I know what day it is.

Kelly: It doesn't matter.

Mooch: Frankly, the only people within this brick wall that you've built for yourself are those whom you invite in, those who have tried at the defenses enough times to sneak in, like Jared here, and those of us who are imprisoned within. Hmm… I've got an interesting philosophical thing going here.

Jared: I know what he meant to you, and I know he broke your heart. Every year we come back to this place where you seem to have to decide between him and us.

Mooch: Generally though, for those of us imprisoned here, there's so much of you and so little of us left that the only thing that you listen to is…

Kelly: Shut up! silence

Mooch turns his head to somberly look Kelly in the eyes. His mouth is tightly closed.

Voice:The only thing that you listen to is your own voice. And even that tells you that you need to let us go.

Kelly begins to breathe quickly and heavily, panicking at this revelation. She unzips her windbreaker and begins to try to draw cool air down her collar. Mooch stands and begins to back away slowly, never breaking his gaze with Kelly. Jared sits down on Kelly's Left (SR) and takes her hand.

Jared: Calm down and try to talk to me.

Daddy and Mom enter SL and join Mooch. The three of them look at Kelly with almost sorrowful expressions.

Daddy: I always knew the day would come. You just never wanted it.

Mom:You can't be angry with us forever. And you can't let us stop you from making you happy now.

pause. Kelly looks to Mooch, then to Jared, then back and forth again. She finally settles on Jared

Kelly: I miss Mooch. She begins to cry

Jared:I know. he takes her other hand Sometimes, things happen. We don't understand why they happen when they happen. Sometimes, we'll never understand. All that we can do is have faith that it'll work out for the better in the end.

Daddy: along with Jared Sometimes, things happen. We don't understand why they happen when they happen. Sometimes, we'll never understand. All that we can do is have faith that it'll work out for the better in the end.

Jared: Holds Kelly's hand up I know that with all of the pain that I've gone through in life, it's worked out for the best for me.

Kelly: Is it wrong to want things to be like the past?

Jared: It's wrong to let a longing for the past destroy the future.

Mooch: along with Jared It's wrong to let a longing for the past destroy the future.

Jared: This is our time. Mooch is gone, and there is nothing that you can do about it. You want me to help you? I'll do what I can to help you; I already vowed to stick with you. But you need to let me come with you.

Mooch: Doors are quite an interesting structural device. Especially ones that open. You can keep structural integrity while maintaining a carefully controlled breach. With a lockable door, you can control who comes in and who goes out. Kelly looks at Mooch. Mooch gestures back to Jared Door? Kelly pauses, thenembraces Jared

Jared: Do you want to visit the cemetery while we're here? I know that Richards would probably appreciate it, if he could.

Mom: I always like to finish things.

Kelly: I suppose we do have some unfinished business.

Jared: stands Okay. Let's go. Kelly stands and begins to walk off SR, but then stops.

Kelly: Wait.

Jared:What?

Kelly: It's hot in here. removes windbreaker completely and sets it on the bench Okay. Now we can go.

Kelly puts her arm around Jared's shoulder and together, they walk out stage right. The rest watch silently until they are gone.

Mooch: still looking off to stage right Do you think that this will be the last year?

Daddy: Pauses, and then indicates the windbreaker on the bench Perhaps, Mooch. Perhaps. Only time can tell whether or not she'll come back. Mooch and Mom nod

Lights dim, except for a single light shining on the bench. Mooch, Daddy, and Mom seem to disappear as the focus is forced to the green windbreaker

Daddy: Thank you, Mister Morgan Richards.

Mooch: You're welcome, sir.

Final light fades

finis