The Only Son

By Sadie Williams

(Setting: Mid-1930's Kansas in the heart of the Dustbowl. Sarah speaks to an old and dear friend about killing a man trying to take her land before she is released into his custody.)

You're thinking of what will become of my sisters now that their parents are dead and their last hope is behind bars for doing exactly as she was meant to do. No? What will become of me? (Pause) Don't look at me like that Isaac, I am not insane. I cannot lose- I will not lose the last of what is mine. You understand. You would not have offered if you did not. I see the regret in your eyes. That I did not go with you. You wish that when Papa died I would have let go. You wanted to protect me. I know this is not how you pictured meeting me again. But I did what I had to. Isaac, in this world a man must do everything within his power to hold on to what he has left. Papa did all he could and so have I. That land is mine. It was a part of him as it is part of me. Those crops were grown of our sweat. They were grown of our blood. Papa's death did not make it any less mine- it made it more so! Mr. Johnston was poised to take hold of that land the moment that man from the RA ripped us from our home. Why? It is a withering house surrounded by useless land! Land torn apart by irresponsibility- it is dust! Everything is dust- or at least covered by it. Since the rain stopped nothing here is worth anything to anyone other than those who made it. We made this land, Isaac. He knew the lengths I would go to. He heard me when I told him never to come back. He was not ignorant of my intentions. I do not comprehend why he brought that other man, except that he may have hoped I would more easily backed down. He should have turned around a left when he saw me on the porch with the shotgun. (Smile) I am not helpless, however unlikely that may seem. I did what was necessary. I protected what no one else could. Mr. Johnston did not expect me to be so hard. And now he's dead. What was so important to him? The idea of land? What was his life worth? Dust! Dirt! And me? I have done what my father asked of me. I have honored him just as the bible teaches. I have held on to what is left. (Pause) Isaac, how is Edie? Has she asked for me? I'm excited to see her again. Thank you, Isaac, you areā€¦ You could not possibly be a more loyal friend. I am sorry you are marrying me, I do not deserve you. No, I don't. What do you think of me now? I've drug you away from your father to accept an offer I don't deserve. Please don't look at me, not with those eyes. Don't worry about me. I will be alright. They've been uncommonly polite. They are afraid it will hit me that Mr. Johnston is dead and I won't be able to handle it. But I will be fine. Isaac, I am not a monster, you know I am not. I did what- I was alone. I couldn't leave, but I shouldn't have stayed. There was no way you could've changed my mind. If I could do it again I would have sent Katherine, Jeanne and Edie with you- especially Edie, but I still would've stayed. It was my responsibility. No, Isaac listen, it was. Just like your responsibility to your father's estate when he's gone. No, no it's no different. I stayed because I had to. I am not weak. I am not insane. I will not give up. Isaac, I am the only son.