A young girl tells a story about death and the unexpected and her best friend
(The stage is empty save for a large picture on a stand upstage. The picture is a portrait, missing the actual subject of the shot. Instead of a person there is a blank white space in the shape of a person against the background. Enter the GIRL, the light is focused on her)
GIRL: (to the audience) I don't know who said it: You don't really know what you have until it's gone. It's true you know. People take everything for granted, you wake up in the morning and you think it's going to be just like any other morning. And it is... until it's not. You can stay safe and comfortable and stable until something crazy and stupid happens... turns you around, rips you up. Your inside out and upside down and you don't know what to do. Things seem mixed up and... just not right. It takes you a while to adjust... if you ever do. And sometimes you don't.
Needless to say, that's what happened to me, and my friends, and a whole lot of people. Everything was normal... and then it wasn't. It wasn't like we had a memo forewarning us of the impending doom. Because death is not something that people generally like to dwell over, especially the death of a kid or a teenager. You think, 'oh it could never happen to someone I know'. When you're young, you're invincible. Until you're not, and then everyone else is left with the pieces.
He's my best friend and there are days I'm convinced I love him more then my whole family put together. And I just figured I'd have him forever. And I know, like everyone knows, that nothing really lasts forever (no matter what the poets say) but... well you just didn't want to think about the ‘what if's. Then the ‘what if's become reality and its all you can think about.
(Lights come up on the rest of the stage, enter the BOY. GIRL turns and smiles at him. She walks over and hugs him. They sit on the ground, his arm around her)
GIRL: So tell me about your new boy toy.
BOY: He's not my ‘boy toy'!
GIRL: Sure... whatever...
BOY: Oh shut up!
GIRL: Fine, fine... you tell your family about him?
BOY: Yeah right!
GIRL: (pause) I miss you, you know...
BOY: You see me every day silly.
GIRL: Still miss you.
BOY: I'm right here.
GIRL: You're gonna miss me when I'm in college and you're still right here being all big in the theatre and whatever...
BOY: No I won't.
BOY: I mean I'll come visit you all the time... like every weekend.
BOY: Of course.
GIRL: Did you get your test results back?
BOY: (uncomfortable) No.
GIRL: Did you tell your boy... (catching herself) person?
BOY: I dunno... we're just waiting.
GIRL: God, I hope you don't have AIDS.
BOY: How do you think I feel!?
GIRL: You better let me know as soon as you get the test results!
BOY: I will. (pause) What if... what if I'm... you know... positive?
GIRL: (pause, shrug) You take a bunch of medication and hope to live as long as you can...
BOY: You going to cry if I'm positive?
GIRL: Hell yeah.
(They laugh after a moment and hug each other. There is a longer pause. Then the lights begin to fade on them and come up down stage. The GIRL stands up and moves into the light.)
GIRL: (to audience) Best friends... they can be the greatest of the greatest people in the world and they could be the worst of the worst. Because they know you better then anyone else and you know them better then anyone else. When someone can get under your skin like that... well it can get annoying. More then annoying sometimes.
(lights fade on the GIRL and come up on the BOY who is standing now. She walks to him, immediately going into the role of having a fight with him)
BOY: It's none of your fucking business!
GIRL: What do you mean it's none of my -
BOY: I mean just shut up because you don't know what the hell you're talking about!
GIRL: You can't just go and do something like that you bastard!
BOY: You're not in the show, so what do you -
GIRL: It doesn't matter! You committed to the show, you asshole! You said you were going to be there, and then an hour before curtain, everyone was scrambling around, trying to figure out what the hell they were going to do!
BOY: I had to go on stage for two seconds and say one line!
GIRL: But they still expected you to be there!
BOY: I needed time to myself... can't you understand that!
GIRL: Then don't commit to something, simple as that!
BOY: They pulled me into it -
GIRL: Then why didn't you say no... instead of just not showing up!?
BOY: Why are you yelling at me! You weren't in the show!
GIRL: So what, you're my best friend, you fucked up! That's what best friend's do! They tell each other when they're being complete assholes!
BOY: You don't have to yell.
GIRL: (quieting down) Sorry.
BOY: No you're not.
GIRL: Yeah... I'm not.
BOY: (stepping forward and hugging her) You know you love me.
GIRL: (resisting at first) Yeah I do.
BOY: Love you too.
GIRL: You still screwed up big time.
GIRL: You know you did.
BOY: Yeah I know.
GIRL: Don't do it again.
GIRL: I'm gonna yell at you the next time you fuck up.
BOY: Yeah I know.
GIRL: Good. (pause) Love you.
BOY: You said that already.
GIRL: I know.
(there is a pause and the lights fade on them. Lights come up downstage and GIRL moves into the lights)
GIRL: (to audience) I yelled at him a lot. He did a lot of stupid things though so he deserved it. And our arguments always ended the same way. The fight just went out of us, one of us said something stupid, we hugged and reminded each other we'd always be there when the other screwed up. We'd apologize, but we never really meant it, because... we didn't do anything that needed a real apology and we both understood that. Sometimes... most of the time... words weren't necessary, you know? We just... we understood each other.
(lights fade on the GIRL and come up on the BOY. The GIRL retrieves a boom box from off stage and walks to him, sitting down and placing the boom box next to him. He immediately begins pressing buttons. ‘Light my Candle' from RENT comes on. They sing along, not necessarily very well. Both are singing the male parts)
BOY: (after a moment, realizing what the GIRL is doing) Why are you singing Roger's part?
GIRL: I like Roger.
BOY: You're a girl.
GIRL: (pausing and then checking herself, tugging at her hair, patting her chest experimentally, and then pulling the front of her pants out and looking down. She gasps) You're right! I am a girl!
BOY: Shut up.
GIRL: You said it.
BOY: So sing the girl parts then.
GIRL: No! I don't like Mimi, her voice goes all high and stuff. I like Roger better. Besides it's not like some casting director's gonna pull us on for the touring show or something, so who cares.
BOY: Well it's silly to have two people signing the same part.
GIRL: So how about you sing Mimi's part. You're gay, you can make your voice go that high.
BOY: That's stereotyping.
BOY: I'm not going to sing Mimi's part!
GIRL: Don't care. (continuing her singing. The BOY then stops the music) Hey!
BOY: No more RENT for you.
GIRL: But that song back on or I'll kill you.
BOY: Ah you don't have the balls for it.
GIRL: Neither do you.
BOY: Was that an insult, were you being mean to me?
GIRL: Only a little.
BOY: Bad strategy, being mean to your music provider.
GIRL: Oh just put the music back on. (pause) Please?
(the BOY presses a button and ‘Today for you, Tomorrow for Me' comes on. The GIRL starts laughing.)
GIRL: Can I be Angel?
GIRL: (claps her hands and lets out a little cheer. Then she pauses) Wait! Should I be insulted?
GIRL: Oh you suck.
BOY: Well I am gay, that's half the fun
GIRL: Shut up, it was an insult.
(they laugh. The music plays for a little bit, they sing along. It fades. The lights fade on them and come up downstage. The GIRL returns the boom box to the wings before resuming her place in the light down stage.)
GIRL: (to the audience) You can tell you really love someone when you know them better then they know themself and they know you better then you know yourself. They say stupid stuff that sounds profound and amazing and it irks you because it's true. People seem to like being safe and secure in their bubbles, hidden under layers of armor so that no one can get at them. Not all the way at least. It's a defense mechanism. And it always aggravates you when someone knows you that well because it's like ‘damn it, what did I do wrong?' They found the leak in your armor and just wormed their way inside and you can't get them out.
You don't have to be in love in love to be heartbroken. And I'm way too cynical to believe in true, unadulterated, once upon a time, kind of love anyway. But I loved him, I know I did. It wasn't romantic or something stupid and teenager like. It was just powerful and totally consuming. It still is. It's the kind of love you can't get rid of, not all the way, not with anything. And I don't know how that happened. It's like some natural disaster you never see coming... that's what it always felt like.
(lights fade on the GIRL and come up on the BOY. The GIRL walks to the BOY who has his back to her.)
GIRL: You're what!?
BOY: (not looking at her) I'm leaving.
BOY: I'm not coming back.
GIRL: You're just dropping out of school!
BOY: I'm transferring.
BOY: I have too many absences... they're not going to let me graduate.
GIRL: You haven't reached 18 days yet!
BOY: I have one more day... one more day for the rest of the year.
GIRL: So just come into school.
BOY: I can't do that.
BOY: I just...
GIRL: You're such a fucking idiot you know! You're just giving up!
BOY: I'm not. (pause) I'm moving out of my house.
BOY: I'm moving out of my house,
GIRL: I heard you! Why?
BOY: I just... I can't live there anymore.
GIRL: You're just a coward, you know that!
BOY: How am I -
GIRL: You're giving up on everything, school, your family.
BOY: My family sucks... this school sucks... I'm just -
GIRL: What about us? What about your friends? What about me!? (pause, the BOY says nothing) I can't believe you! Just - (she starts to walk off)
(the GIRL doesn't stop. The lights fade on the BOY and come up downstage. The GIRL moves into the light)
GIRL: (to audience) You never know what your last words ever to somebody are going to be. That's why people tell you not to stay mad and to make up quickly. That's why people say to always remind the people you love that you love them. You never know when you're going to have your last chance... until it's too late. That sound's clichéd but it's true. You never know when it's going to be your last chance to tell someone you love them.
But in the moment, when you're angry, you don't think about stuff like that. And even if you love him, you're still going to say stupid stuff and you're still going to be horrible and even if you love him, you're not going to say it. You're not going to remind him that you love him, even if you do, and even though he knows it already.
I wish I could... you know. I wish I knew that it was going to be my last chance to say something. That's another thing you never realize. You never realize all you want to say to someone until you just can't say it anymore. And I wish I could tell him a lot of stuff, you know. People feed me stupid BS like ‘he can always hear you, he knows'. But that's what it is, it's bull shit. You knows what happens when you die? Your brain shuts down and you rot! That's all there is to it. And the fact is, I lost my chance and he can't hear me anymore and... well that's it.
I try really hard not to be upset with myself, not to be so hurt by that fact. Maybe there will be a day when it won't hurt so badly. For now, the guilt and the self loathing is just another few emotions to add to the ever growing laundry list of all the emotions all jumbled up and mixed up in my head. But I think it will always hurt, and I don't think I'll ever stop feeling guilty.
But I remembered what someone said to me at the funeral. He's in a better place. It's a strange thing to stick with a little atheistic, cynical girl but... I liked it. And, well I believe it, maybe not in the way it was intended... but it's true. He is in a better place.
Anywhere is better than here.