by Jennifer Gough
It’s wonderful to meet you. May I shake your hand? No? Probably not a good idea anyway.
Well, (looking around) I’ve been wondering where you did it. This I mean. (sweeps a finger across the scene) My grandfather told me you got sick; died of some disease, but it didn’t sound right. He cowered under the question. (begins to walk around the room)
It’s a little grey in here don’t you think? I can pull back the curtain if you’d like? No, you want it this way? Fine.
This is your place? I doubted you would do it anywhere else. Although, there’s not much of a mess, I’ll give you that. You did get a little bit of something miserable on the floor. (pulls a napkin out of a paper bag; wipes something off the carpet) Not sure what that was. (balls up the napkin and stuffs it away in a pocket)
I didn’t tell your mother. How could I? But I thought you’d like to know that. We didn’t tell her. Burst appendix is what she probably thought. What we let her think. That would have been painful huh? (smiles; turns away) How did you pick this chair? (walks around the chair and shakes the back as if to test its strength) Wood? How did you choose it? (kneels in front of the chair)
Story time. (scoots closer) Did it hurt, or was it too quick for that? I heard you were a genius. That it was like you had a sixth sense. You knew where the lights should go, where someone might say, this would be a good place to read, or I’ll be sewing in this corner. Just where to put the wires. (fingers a roll of electrical tape) If you were so good, did you get to pick what it felt like? Or were you surprised? I have to know. You broke something in the lines and I need to know what it was. We can’t even turn the lights on anymore, do you know that? And no, your Donald Duck impression won’t get you out of this. (Laughs)
I realize I’m too late for a good answer, but I’d really like to be able to read after dark again. (lying on the floor, staring up at the ceiling) They’re all either dead or crazy. She’s been doling out her medication to imaginary patients for months now. Some of us hope she’ll die soon, but if you could just tell me something about it, anything at all, it might not have to be this way. (sits up, gaze steady) But if it does, if it can’t be fixed no matter what, maybe you could just lend me your chair?