YOU’RE REALLY GOOD AT MONOLOGUES
By Mary Wright (me)
“I don’t care what you say. Okay? I’m going to do this!” Her voice echoed through the whole room. Well, it wasn’t a room actually – it was more like an auditorium. Her purple nails showed themselves in the spotlight. Her converse shoes stood firmly on the stage, and if you didn’t notice how her arms were shaking, you’d think her to be unafraid. She put her arm out, pointing towards the one who she was speaking to.
“I forbid it,” said a small voice, one you wouldn’t think would have such anger within it. The voice belonged to Katherine’s older sister. Grace crossed her arms. “This isn’t going to be something successful, Kay. Don’t you want a life where you don’t struggle to survive?”
“I want a life,” Katherine said slowly, “Where I can have fun. Where I don’t have to struggle for your approval. I want one where I don’t care what you think.”
In her eyes, something changed, and Grace noticed.
“Don’t say it,” Grace begged.
“I want a life where mom would be alive, and you know, Grace, she would approve of this.”
“I’m just trying to keep the family together. Think of your children. Think of mine. An actress? What will people say about that? Why can’t you just be a secretary or something?”
“You’re one to talk,” Katherine snapped, “You’re a lawyer. Yay for you. Has there ever been one day where you haven’t called me and complained about something? I can’t think of one. What about you?”
Grace sighed, but said nothing.
Katherine continued, “I want to be an actress. Yes. I do. And that’s okay. Because for me, that means a lot of struggling to survive and making ends meet……and if you are so worried about my children, give them the Christmas presents you think they’d deserve. But do not tell me how to take care of them, and do not tell me that they would be better off with you.”
“And why not?” Grace countered.
“Because you…all you will teach them is how to follow the successful path, the one where sure you’re guaranteed to be able to pay the bills, but you know what, Grace? Whether or not you think you are, I know you are miserable, and hate yourself.”
Halfway through, tears started to stream down Grace’s face. She was now the one starting to shake, and converse sneakers found themselves over to her side. Katherine hugged her tightly.
“I miss her,” Grace muttered. “I’m sorry about what I said. And you’re right, I do.”
“This job isn’t going to be easy,” Katherine said seriously, “No. I’m sorry. I’ll be here for you, if you want to complain some more.”
“I’m no good at anything,” Grace said. There was a long pause, as if she was attempting to find a thing that went against that statement. Then she continued: “Except arguing with people.” She laughed like her life depended on it.
“You’re a good mother,” Katherine pointed out, “That counts.”
Grace sniffled. After a minute, a smile started to form on her face, and she was nodding slowly to herself. “You’re really good at monologues,” she said miserably.
“Thank you,” Katherine said brightly, “It’s my job.”
Then, in that mostly dark auditorium except for the spotlight that was still on, they laughed together, tears of relief along with the echoing laughter.