A very short drama
(A woman, Virginia, works at a desk with a glowing computer. There is a window within her view. There is a closed door. The rest of the space is empty, dark. She composes, typing click-click as she goes)
This was a family, much like any other American family during the Johnson Administration, in the waning years of country's innocence. It had your normal amount of children, and was not too rich, or too poor, not too attractive or too unseemly, not too outspoken nor too withdrawn. Yet, as it was, the father came down the stairs playing Santa Claus, with a cheap felt suit from the grocery store, and too much scotch in him already to make his words clear…
The children were singing carols and making ornaments, and the television flickered with snow.
(A knock on the door. Snow begins to fall outside the window)
But, Lillian knew, that she could no longer remain silent…
(Another knock on the door. A ball rolls across the stage)
Just a second please! (pause) The mother was…the mother was…
(Another knock on the door. The sound of a child laughing)
I'm working, please! (pause) Lillian knew that her mother…
(The knocking begins, steadily this time, like a heart beat)
Lillian know that her mother was working…That her mother was writing, the books that made the family's living. Lillian knew that her mother was not coming out to help with the ornaments. Lillian knew that she was the only one of the children who knew this to be the case.
(A child's voice comes from off: "Momma, are you there?")
Wait, please. I told you. I'm working!
(The pounding continues)
Lillian did not hate her mother because of this, but she knew that there were certain things that she could not go to her father to discuss, this ridiculous man with the white beard and red nose…
(A child voice comes over the pounding: "Ma- ma- ma- ma…" rhythmically, almost mechanically)
Lillian was old enough now to understand the burden that her mother had taken on, supporting the family so, and appreciated this sacrifice, and the nice dresses and toys and painting sets that it bought her…
(The child's voice: "Please Mama, please, mama, please…")
Lillian wanted to tell her mother that she understood, that she would wait, quietly, outside the study door, if only, if only she would come out for one last time…for one last kiss…
(The child's voice reaches a terrible crescendo: "Oh, please Mama, Mama please open the door. Please open. Please!" VIRGINIA finally stops, rushes to the door, and opens it. There is nothing there. VIRGINIA goes back to her work.)
But she wouldn't. The door remained shut, and Lillian went back to making her ornaments. She smeared glue on the cut outs, and sprinkled them with glitter. And when the time finally arrived and her work was through, the mother opened the door.
(VIRGINIA stands, faces the audience)
But by this time, it was too late. The children were all gone. In fact, they had never been there at all. The father sat in his chair, sleeping, snoring a bit, the white fur beard pulled underneath his chin with a comic effect.
And Lillian, the imagined child from deep within in Virginia's mind said: "It's okay, Momma. Maybe it's okay not to have children, after all."
(Black out. END)