Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
by Jeff Folschinsky
SETTING: Inside a cemetery next to a single tombstone. There is a bench located next to a grave.
AT RISE: It’s a cool fall afternoon.
JEANNIE enters, in her late forties. The years have not been kind to her. She slowly approaches the grave, stopping for a moment, taking her hat off and trying to think of what to say.
Hello, it’s me Jeannie. Just in case you didn’t recognize me. Sorry it’s taken me so long to visit, but here I am now, hat in hand; eating crow and all that.
I don’t know what to tell you. Nothing turned out the way it was supposed to. He didn’t turn out to be who he was supposed to. So much time invested in that relationship and I couldn’t see him for who he really was; selfish.
He didn’t write plays about me that’s for sure. Hell he didn’t write me anything. Not even a note to say he was leaving. I’m all for social networking, but some things I would prefer not to learn about on Facebook.
Remember when I said I wasn’t worth all of this trouble? Well, apparently he agreed with me.
You were right all along. I was nine years into a college romance that should have never made it past graduation. In hindsight, it seems so obvious, but at the time I just couldn’t see it.
But that’s what’s wrong with me. I’ve always been in love with an idea, and I guess I was in love with the idea of being in love with him, and I couldn’t see anything else.
I’m teaching now, believe it or not; English literature. Yeah, I know, just one more thing that happened to me on that road called irony.
Obviously never got around to writing that great American novel I was always talking about. I tried, I just couldn’t get the words to come out of me. After a while I just couldn’t stand to look at a blank screen anymore, so I just stopped trying. After the divorce I needed to do something to put food on the table, so teaching seemed like the natural choice.
I like it well enough. Not really where I saw myself, but the students are fun. Sometimes.
Hey, you’ll never guess what? The theater program there is doing your play, Broken.
Yeah, I have to admit, it’s a kick in the gut every time I hear someone is doing that show, and for it to be so close to home. Well, I guess in the end you got the last laugh on me. Not that you would ever laugh at me, you’re too much of a gentlemen to do that…were too much of a gentleman.
Would it help to say I was sorry again?
Because here’s the thing. If you were right back then and you were the one, I mean really the one, then that means there really is no hope of happiness for me. This right here, right now, is as good as it gets, and I find that prospect very disturbing.
Sitting alone at home forever knowing that I had my one true love in front of me, and I destroyed him. All for the sake of a school girl fantasy. How am I expected to go on with that knowledge floating around in my head?
I mean, couldn’t you have just waited? He would have shown his true colors eventually, like he did, and then we could have been together.
We could have laughed at how much of a fool I had been. It would have been one of those antidotal stories we would have told our friends at dinner parties of how we got together. Everyone would have laughed, and I would have blushed a little.
But this situation we find ourselves in, right here, right now, leaves me with nothing. There is no silver lining hidden here, because you’re gone, and you’re never coming back.
And yes I realize, I’m to blame for that, but if you believed so damn deeply that we were supposed to be together. Then why couldn’t you have seen this?
Why couldn’t you have been there to pick me up? Like you always have…had.
If you knew so damn much, then why leave me alone? To punish me?
Because if that’s the case then I assure you, I am paying for it; every day of my life.
And every time someone does that stupid plays of yours, I’m reminded of how badly I screwed things up, and it seems like everyone does it. Which is funny because it’s not like it was a big hit or anything, but still it seems like every couple of years someone is doing it somewhere. Usually, somewhere I’m certain to hear about it.
Your pain, immortalized for everyone to see. If they only knew I was the one responsible for all those tears they were shedding. I wonder: would they condemn me or give me a standing ovation for inspiring such a great piece of art? I’m wondering if they would toast me? To the great muse that broke her artist’s heart so bad that he willed himself to die. Not the mark I was hoping to leave on this world, but I guess you really don’t get a say in these types of things, so here’s to the muse of death.
Thank you, thank you, no please stop with the flattery, you’re embarrassing me. It was really nothing at all. I just waited until the poor sap poured his heart out to me, and then spit all over it. Told him point blank to his face that there was no way I could ever love him, not then, not ever. To please get a hold of himself and to never speak of this silliness again. Anyone could do it, so please, I’m undeserving of all this adulation you’re bestowing on me.
I still remember your face. That look, oh, that look you gave me will forever be etched into my memory. I think I killed you that day, as sure as if I took a gun out and shot you. It was the eyes you see. After that night, the eyes just didn’t seem to have anything behind them anymore. It was as if the spark that made you the wonderful person that you were, just wasn’t there anymore.
Looking back I knew something was wrong. Even before you ended up in the hospital. The few times I did see you after that night, I looked into your eyes and knew, you really weren’t there. That you were already quite dead. I knew but I just didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want anything to come between me and my happy ending that I had been dreaming about for so long.
And for the record I did…do love you.
It’s funny how I can so easily admit that now. That was not always the case, I assure you. There was awhile I didn’t even want to think of you. Especially after the funeral. God, all those faces looking at me that day, and a look of contempt in every one of them. I think I cried myself to sleep every night for a month after that day.
At first it was because I couldn’t stand that everyone was talking about me. But later on, it was because I realized how badly I missed you. Friendship, true friendship, the kind that connects you to another person on a spiritual level, the kind that I realized too late we had, isn’t something that just goes away. When you were gone, it was as if a part of me died too.
I think that’s the reason he finally proposed to me. Not because he loved me, but because he couldn’t stand the competition. It’s one thing to have your woman’s affection stolen away by someone who’s alive, but to have it done by someone who’s no longer with us. Well, how do you combat that? In his case, he decided to do something big, like giving his woman the one thing she thought she wanted most in the world.
Of course I knew it was a humungous mistake right after he said, “I do.” I don’t know how to explain it. It was like I could see the dissatisfaction in his face as soon as the ceremony was over. It was as if he was saying, “Okay, I’ve given you what you wanted so now fuck off.”
God, I blamed you for everything wrong with my life after that. I know, completely unfair of me, but I just needed someone to blame, and it took me awhile to come to terms that this was a problem of my own making. A masterpiece in tragedy, painted by my very own hand. It’s asking a lot of a girl to accept that kind of responsibility.
Maybe that’s why I’m here now, as some type of atonement for hating you for so long. Maybe; I don’t really know why I’m here to tell you the truth. I just all of the sudden really wanted to see you for some reason.
I miss being able to talk to you. I miss being able to ramble on for hours only to see your face smiling back at me. I miss being able to…to…I miss being able to live with myself.
How did you do it? How did you just decide to end it all and will your body to just stop? How? Because I would really like to know, so I can do it too. I’m am so sick of feeling alone all the time, and I have been alone, ever since you left. Nothing has turned out he way it was supposed to and it doesn’t ever seem like it’s going to get better.
Every night I go to bed thinking it couldn’t get any worse and each day I wake up and find that it has. I’ve tried on so many occasions to tell myself as I fell asleep, it’s not worth it to even wake up anymore, so don’t do it. Just close your eyes and don’t wake up. Only to be disappointed in the morning when I do.
So tell me. What was your secret? How did you just decide to slowly fade away from it all?
Was I the key? Am I just not wanting to admit to myself that I was the cause of all of this? Do I need to find someone to break my heart the way I broke yours?
If that’s the case, I’m screwed, because I don’t think I could love someone enough to have my heart broken. Maybe I don’t have a heart to break. Or maybe this is just the price I have to pay. I remember being in that hospital room with you and saying I was willing to pay whatever the price was. Well, maybe this was the price, a lifetime of loneliness, and now its time to pay up.
It’s funny the things you say when you think you’ve got it all figured out. The arrogances of youth I guess. I wish I could take it all back, I really do. It’s hard to look back on your life when every other memory makes you cringe.
And I remember being happy once, but for the life of me, I don’t remember when. I have vague memories of smiling, laughing, and generally feeling good about myself. It’s amazing, I make one mistake and all that becomes a distant memory. All of the sudden my reality becomes living through one disappointment after another, and it’s not fair.
I was a good person, really I was. I deserved better than all this. I deserved…you. I deserved you, and I could have had you but I made a bad decision. And that bad decision has haunted me my entire life.
My mother always told me not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Well, not only did I look the gift horse in the mouth but I shot the horse dead and had the gaul to complain about the lack of gifts afterward. It would be funny if it just wasn’t so pathetic and worst of all, true.
I’m so tired of all this. I remember asking you why you couldn’t just move on? It’s taken me awhile but I finally know why. There’s just certain things that you can’t just move on from. Certain moments in time that define you and stick with you for the rest of your life. Certain moments that you just can’t walk away from.
And when you told me you loved me, that was your moment; wasn’t it?
I wish I had said yes, I love you too, God do I wish I had, but I didn’t — and that was my defining moment.
A clock chimes away in the distance.
It’s getting late. I should leave and get out of your hair. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me babble on like this. I’m just really tired. If you don’t mind though, maybe I could just stay here awhile longer? We don’t have to talk. I just like being near you.
Maybe if it’s okay, I could just lie down here beside you? I’m so tired, maybe I’ll just close my eyes for a while. Who knows, being here with you, maybe I’ll be lucky and won’t have to open them again. And then, maybe we can finally be together? Maybe them, I could finally have the chance to say yes? Maybe?
JEANNIE lays down next to the grave and closes her eyes.
FADE TO BLACK.
Jeff Folschinsky’s plays have been seen at various theaters across North America. His plays The Unsinkable Bismarck, A Pill By Any Other Name Is The Wrong Dosage, Rendezvous and Revelations and Kisses From Abroad are published by One Act Play Depot. His full length plays Turkey Day and The Legend of Little Lump are published by both Norman Maine Play Publishing and Big Dog Play Publishing. His play he co-wrote with Tyler Tanner, The Singing Bone, is published by JAC Publishing. Jeff is the author of the Tales from Little Lump book series, with his third book due to come out this year.