ACT 2 SCENE 4- After the Fact

(FELIX enters to a dark stage addressing the audience. He is dressed for a funeral)

Felix: When the ambulance came Troubadour had already died after putting up a fight for several minutes longer than the paramedics had ever seen anyone struggle with the sort of wound he'd received. Everyone pitched in to put together a small funeral for him. I tried to put out messages on my blog for anyone who used to know a man by the nickname of Troubadour with his appearance, but no one responded. We were the only ones there. No one else seemed willing to attend the funeral of a homeless man they'd never met. I don't think he would have minded though. It was a nice ceremony I think. Someone made sure to play the [instrument] as they placed him in the ground. When we arrived back at the courtyard again it was a warm and balmy evening. The weather was jubilant in spite of us. I don't think he would have minded that either.

(The lights come up on an evening in the courtyard some days later. MELIKA, GILROY, NAOMI, ALETA, HALE, and MARGARET enter dressed in black. FELIX also reenters the scene. GILROY holds BOONE, HALE and ALETA stand removed from the rest of the group hand-in-hand talking amongst themselves.)

Melika: I'm going to take out the lasagna if anyone wants some. I think we can all use a nice meal about now.

Naomi: I'll make something too. It's been a while since I've really cooked anything.

Gilroy: Melika, before you go in I want to talk to you.

Melika: What is it?

Gilroy: I want to get a divorce.

Melika: What? Why?

Gilroy: Because it'll be best for everyone. You can go off and find your dreams, Boone won't have an alcoholic father…

Melika: Gilroy.

Gilroy: My mind's made up. I'll call my lawyer on Monday and-

Melika: Gilroy, give it a rest. I'm not going anywhere.

Gilroy: I'm serious, Melika.

Melika: So am I. Probably twice as serious as you are.

Gilroy: After everything I did to you? No, you need someone better. Besides, I'm still messed up. I'm not over my drinking yet and I'm still not perfect.

Melika: Yeah, but now you're alive. Before you were like a walking corpse sitting and stewing in your imperfection. Now you're alive. You're trying. I'm sorry, but you are just plain out of luck if you think you can get rid of me now.

Gilroy: I love you.

Melika: I don't think I've heard you say that to me in three years.

Naomi: (entering their conversation motioning to ALETA and HALE) Speaking of love birds.

Melika: I don't think I've seen those two not holding hands since he showed up again.

Naomi: I don't know what I'm going to do with that girl.

Melika: I think she did what she did because she felt alone. I didn't help that. I fell though on her. Then she found Hale and when Hale fell through too it was the straw that broke the camel's back. On top of that she was trying to make you happy and on top of that she was dealing with school and trying to keep that from us. It was all just a chemical reaction waiting to explode.

Naomi: I had no idea she was getting bullied.

Margaret: From what I hear some of them have apologized. Some of them have gotten worse because of what she did. She's got everyone back again though.

Naomi: That's true. You know, I was so worried before about the two of them. I'm not so worried about it anymore now that I've watched them. Hale may be a loud mouth, but I don't think it's in his nature to disappear. Besides, I don't think we can stop them from being together.

Melika: I think you're right.

Gilroy: Not even with a crow bar.

(HALE and ALETA enter their presence.)

Melika: (to HALE) So, Hale, have you figured out what you want to do yet?

Hale: You know what, I've thought about it, and I've decided that I'm going home.

Melika: What?

Naomi: What do you mean you're going home?

Hale: I'm tired of being this persona I made for myself. Obviously it hasn't helped anything.

Melika: I thought you wanted to live at the courtyard.

Hale: I don't know what I want. So I'm going to go home, go to school, and I'm going to find it.

Margaret: That's great.

Naomi: Hang on. You're just going to leave? What about my daughter? Have you even thought about what this will mean for her? Don't you remember what happened last time-

Aleta: Mom, it's all right. I told him to go.

Naomi: What?

Aleta: Yeah. That's what we were just talking about.

Naomi: But… I mean are you really sure?

Aleta: Yes. I want him to go find the thing he wants. I mean one of the things I love about him so much is his passion, I couldn't cage him here and not let him figure out how to use it. I don't want him to have any loose ends.

Naomi: What about you though?

Aleta: I don't want any loose ends either. I've got a lot of problems. I think you know that better than anyone. And I've spent so long just freaking out about the symptoms instead of dealing with the problems. I don't want to just rely on Hale so I can escape them. I need to want to make them go away. Besides I can always call him and keep in touch. See? He gave me his number. I've never gotten anyone's number outside of my family before.

Naomi: I'm glad, sunshine. I'm glad.

(They all go up to MELIKA's apartment. FELIX lingers for a moment then begins to exit out of the courtyard. MARGARET reenters)

Margaret: You could stay for dinner, you know, before you took off into the great wide world again.

Felix: No, I'm not really hungry. I thought I'd just head out. No fuss, no scenes. I want to leave them to their happiness. It all just seems too good to be true.

Margaret: What's so perfect about it? Gilroy has to deal with his alcoholism, that's a painful fight that Melika will have to deal with too and so will Boone. Aleta has to fight her demons and her relationship with mom has a long recovery process. The bullies certainly haven't gone away either. Hale- or Justin I don't know what he's calling himself now-there's no guarantee his parents will take him back. Not to mention he's taking a personality three sixty and that certainly isn't easy. That's how life works. The lines between endings and beginnings start to melt and all the while the clock just keeps moving. There will always be new dragons to fight; sometimes you just need to fight the right dragon. Get the right prize. Thing is when you find the right dragon it sometimes turns out they're the scariest to fight, but the most worth it in the end.

Felix: Was that another Troubadourism?

Margaret: No, that one was me.

Felix: That's poetic.

Margaret: Thanks.

Felix: Can I ask you a question? Troubadour. Were you in love with him?

Margaret: I don't want to put it in a box like that. I'd always longed for that romance deep down, and I suppressed the want because I thought it would never happen. He showed me that love doesn't end at romance. What we had was just as beautiful.

Felix: So what will you do now?

Margaret: I don't know. Go to work, come home.

Felix: Same old, same old?

Margaret: No. I'm not the same person I was anymore. I may not be able to afford to run off like Troubadour did, but I can do the same sorts of things he did in my own way. Be compassionate, thirst for goodness, and love, and truth. You know he used to pray at night that he be given a stage from which he could touch people? I think he found his stage. I think I found mine too. What about you? What's next for Felix Russell?

Felix: Go home, write a little.

Margaret: Same old, same old?

Felix: No, definitely not the same. There's so much that's happened that I hardly know what to do with myself anymore. I have to write this all down, that's a given, but I'm not sure I'll even do a blog about it. I don't know; I just know I need a change. My cousins have a little farm out in Vermont, maybe I'll go stay with them for a while. They'll probably force me to go to church with them. Maybe this time I'll listen.

Margaret: Then?

Felix: Then I don't know. Somewhere good. Something good.

Margaret: Well, promise not to forget us when you're out there, all right? You have to come visit every now and then.

Felix: Will do.

(MARGARET seems to accept this answer and goes to head back toward MELIKA'S apartment)

Margaret? (MARGARET turns) You are a beautiful woman.

Margaret: I know.

(MARGARET exits to MELIKA's apartment. FELIX seems like he is about to leave when suddenly, as in MARGARET and TROUBADOUR's first meeting, conversations spill from the windows, overlapping starting on MELIKA's first line)

Gilroy: Melika, look at what Boone's doing.

Melika: Aw, do you see your daddy Boone?

Gilroy: You make the weirdest faces when you're talking to the baby.

Melika: Oh, shut up. You'd better be glad I already said I wouldn't divorce you…

Aleta: Mom, look! I drew you!

Naomi: It's beautiful, sunshine.

Hale: And you even have all your skin.

Aleta: I don't only draw dark stuff, you know.

Hale: You know I'm just playing with you.

Naomi: There's Margaret!

Margaret: Hey can you pass another one of those rolls, I'm starving.

Gilroy: I think he's got your eyes, Melika.

Melika: And your nose. He's going to grow up big and strong like your daddy?

Gilroy: I sure hope not….

Melika: You'll be a great father

Gilroy: I hope so.

Aleta: I know. Oh, by the way you have to promise you won't go throwing yourself at all the pretty college girls when you go home, all right?

Hale: I promise. Besides I only have eyes for you. Are you blushing? I see you blushing.

Aleta: No… yes.

Naomi: They're my grandmother's recipe: store bought.

Margaret: Delicious. I actually have a recipie for some great cheese bread from my aunt Tanya.

Naomi: Oh, that sounds delicious.

Margaret: It is. Maybe next time I'll bring it

Naomi: Well, I'm sure we'll all look forward to it.

(FELIX listens to this for a moment then slowly he exits. As the conversations fade FELIX'S prerecorded voice, as in the beginning, is heard)

Felix's voice: It was at that moment, for the first time, I heard what Troubadour had heard. There were stories falling out of the windows like rain. Stories of hope.

END