Andy – A confused man in his 20s.
Girl – The one with the answers who is like his guide.
Erin – Andy's wife, also in her 20s.
SETTING: A single spot comes up on a man standing centre stage in regular clothing. He does not move from the spotlight. There is no other visible light or setting.
Enter a young girl, about 7-10 years old. She is dressed in a floor length white dress. She takes Andy's hand, and he is unsurprised.
ANDY: What are we doing here, anyway?
GIRL:You are standing without moving and I am holding your hand.
ANDY:Very funny. I meant, why are we here? Where is here?
GIRL:You'll know the answers to those questions if you think about it long enough. Because you do know, you just can't remember right now.
ANDY:Well until I remember that, who are you?
GIRL:You don't know me yet, but you will.
ANDY:You're really frustrating, you know that? You're standing here beside me with all the answers and yet you're not giving me a single hint. I don't know anything!
GIRL:Well, you do know some things.
ANDY:…Alright, I do know something.
GIRL:I find that starting with what you know is always easier than starting with what you don't know.
ANDY:Yeah, that's true. So what is it that I do know?
GIRL: You know your name is Andrew Burton, but you like it better when people call you Andy. You are twenty-five years old, and you got married last year—
ANDY:—to an absolutely beautiful woman named Erin who I love more than life. I remember Erin.
Enter Erin, a woman dressed casually, in her mid-20s. She crosses from upstage right, going to extreme downstage left. As she crosses, blue light floods stage left, separate from the spot where the man and girl stand.
ERIN:(facing audience) I thought I was the only night owl around these parts tonight. I guess not.
ANDY:This was the night I realized I loved her. I was watching her for a few minutes before she knew I was there, and she was standing on the end of the pier just looking out over the water. It was breath taking.
ERIN:I figured you were the type to be out partying on a Friday night.
Andy crosses from centre to Erin downstage left. As he passes through the dark between spots, "younger" Andy emerges in the memory. This can be established by something as simple as character change or the addition of a baseball cap.
ANDY:Well don't get me wrong. I do enjoy a party. I'm a huge party animal. But I appreciate the quiet out here. You don't get much quiet with four younger sisters.
ERIN:Protective older brother type?
ERIN:And here I was, thinking you were nothing but a dumb jock. I guess I was wrong about you, party animal.
ANDY:That makes two of us. I was pretty sure you'd never speak to me again after the first time we met.
ERIN:You threw a pie at my head, Andy.
ANDY:Come on! It was frosh week!
ERIN:I was going out to dinner in my nicest dress, jerk!
ANDY:And I offered to buy you a new one when you ripped my head off about it!
ERIN:(suddenly laughing) You're ridiculous sometimes.
ANDY:What! Why? What are you laughing at?
ERIN:Come on, party animal. Let's be normal university students and get a drink.
The memory ends with Erin exiting upstage left while Andy pauses, looking after her until she is invisible. He crosses back to centre.
ANDY:That was a good night.
GIRL:The first of many.
ANDY:That's right…but how do you know that?
GIRL:(teasing) I'm not telling!
ANDY:You're absolutely impossible, you know that?
Lights suddenly blaze red, again, downstage left, as Erin crosses into the spot. Girl and Andy turn suddenly as they notice Erin.
ERIN:I'm the impossible one? You think that I'm the IMPOSSIBLE ONE?
"Younger" Andy crosses into the memory, matching Erin's hostility.
ANDY:Yeah, I think you're the impossible one. You're blowing this way out of proportion, Erin!
ERIN:Andy, I have not spent literal years of my life with you for you to just throw it all away on a good time!
ANDY:I am not throwing anything away! I would never do that, you know I wouldn't. But it isn't like I'm doing this by myself in my bedroom or something. This is just for parties—just for fun, alright? And I'm not just getting it off the streets either. I get everything through Carson. You know, Carson? He's a dependable guy. I trust him.
ERIN:That means nothing to me. This is the last chance, Andy. Either stop this now, or I'm gone.
ANDY:Erin, no, Jesus, why are you over reacting about this so much? What are the odds that something is going to actually happen? Carson has been doing this for years and he's perfectly fine!
ERIN:You heard what I said. I'm not going to stand around while you destroy our life.
ANDY:Come on, Erin! Wait for a minute! This is stupid!
Erin exits upstage left, and Andy begins to follow after her before giving up. The lights dim, and as they go to black, Andy returns to centre crawling on his knees and shaking, acting as though experiencing 'withdrawal'.
ANDY:I messed up. Oh God, I messed up. That was the night I promised myself I'd stop the drugs, for Erin, because she was more important than all that. I knew she was more important than all that, and that she was right, Carson was just lucky, and I couldn't do this to her.
The girl, sitting beside Andy silently, slowly climbs into his lap and pulls herself into an embrace. Andy eventually calms down and pulls his arms around her.
GIRL:And then what happened?
ANDY:That night I went to a party, just one last time, I told myself. It wouldn't hurt to use one last time, because she would never know and what she didn't know couldn't hurt her.
ANDY:And then I overdosed. (beat) Am I dead? Am I going to heaven, or hell, or anywhere? Or am I just stuck here in limbo? Am I going to be here for the rest of existence?
GIRL:No. I'm supposed to bring you home.
GIRL:We can't live without you.
ANDY:Who is 'we'?
GIRL:Erin hasn't left you alone, you know. She hasn't left your side for a minute.
Low lights come up on Erin sitting, stage right, in a chair on the opposite side of a hospital bed, slouched over and asleep.
She's waiting for you to come home.
ANDY:Even after everything I've put her through?
GIRL:She loves you with everything she has. Don't keep her waiting much longer, please.
The Girl stands and pulls Andy to his feet, and they walk hand in hand toward downstage right. As they walk, white light floods the entire stage. Once they reach the side of the bed, Andy pulls on a hospital gown lying on the bed and gets in, resuming the coma he is in the entire time. He pauses before putting on the oxygen mask.
ANDY:I still don't know what your name is.
GIRL:She's thinking of Charlotte.
Andy puts the oxygen mask over his face, and lies back into the bed. Girl pulls the covers up over Andy, and then skips away across the stage, exiting upstage left. There is a full blackout.
Sound begins—there is a low murmur, and it sounds like many people talking, which quickly turns into sirens getting louder and louder, until—
Lights up. There is silence as the lights come up, and then Erin jerks awake.
His limbs jerk, signifying his consciousness. He slowly returns to his body.
Oh my God. (turning, yelling offstage) Doctor! Somebody! He's waking up! Andy, oh damnit, Andy, you're coming back to me. Andy…Andy…
His eyes finally open and he turns his head unsteadily.
ERIN:Andy? Andy, can you hear me? You've been in a coma for three months now…but they said you're going to be perfectly fine. It might take a little bit to get back to normal, but there isn't any lasting damage. You're alright, Andy, you're going to be fine.
Andy tries to speak, but he only manages a groan.
ERIN:You might not be able to speak yet, but you will. Just keep looking at me.
Erin stands, and Andy is silent as he takes in her heavily pregnant appearance.
ERIN:A lot has been happening in the last few months. (she strokes his hair). I found out a little over two months ago that I was expecting. It's a shock, I know. I hated not knowing if you knew or not. But there's a name I've been thinking of, in case it's a girl. It's my grandmother's name, and it keeps coming back to me. Charlotte.
Andy slowly reaches a hand up to Erin's face and holds it there. He can't speak yet, but she knows what he's saying.
ERIN:I love you too, Andy. With my whole heart.
October 2, 2008