Maternal Medicine

by Matt Lefler

Characters

MAN

WOMAN

Setting

In an office-like setting, but we only seem to see half of it. There are framed documents on the walls and plants decorating two corners of the room. There is a MAN lying on a couch, in the middle of the room, talking, seemingly to himself, but the voice of a WOMAN off-stage lets us know that he is not alone. The MAN appears to be in his mid-thirties and has very neatly parted hair and is wearing a polo shirt tucked into a pair of perfectly ironed khaki pants. We open the scene with a conversation already in progress.

MANSomething happened today. I tried to think about my mother and I actually forgot her name for a moment. (pauses) I tried really hard, but actually forgot for the briefest of moments.

WOMAN(off-stage) And how did that make you feel?

MANI felt confused, and, and I felt bliss (emphasizing with his hands as eyes light up).

WOMAN(slightly surprised) Excuse Me? And, how does this "bliss," you felt, make you feel (with hint of bitterness)?

MAN(lowering eyes) Ashamed. I mean, how do you forget your own mother's name?

WOMAN(slightly confrontational) You tell me?

MANYou don't, well, you're not supposed to. I mean, she carries you in her womb, nurtures you. And what do I do? I forget her name: the symbol of her existence.

WOMANTell me, what was your childhood like?

MANI was an only child. My father died before I was born, car accident or something, I didn't try and find out too much. It seemed to upset my mother. But my mother never let me miss my father. She took care of me and always let me know that I was the center of her world: that I was her reason on this Earth.

WOMANAnd, what was school like?

MANSchool didn't really appeal to me. I took home schooling until I graduated from high school.

WOMANWhat about school didn't appeal to you?

MANWell, it was the kids. I loved learning and these kids just didn't seem to care about that. They were content to goof off and drive their mothers crazy.

WOMANWas it your idea or your mother's to pull you out of organized schooling?

MANWell, it was both of ours. I mean, I didn't really like it and she saw that when I came home from my first day. She told me that I wouldn't have anything else to worry about. And the next day I was in our dining room learning my mother's lessons.

WOMANYour mother taught you? How did that make you feel?

MANIt felt great (feigning enthusiasm)! She taught me so much, and not just about history and math and those other areas, but about life and the disappointments I would have to be prepared to encounter if I ever left her.

WOMAN I see (pausing). Now, how was your mother able to teach you and support the two of you at the same time?

MANHer parents died when she was very young and left her a small fortune that her parents got while investing in various businesses. She went to live with her aunt and her six kids. The money just sat in the bank gaining interest until she met my father and had me.

WOMANOkay. Now, you said your father left befo-

MAN(interrupting harshly) My father died.

WOMAN( completely genuine). Oh my, I am so sorry. Well, after your father died, were there ever any pictures or anything else left for you?

MANNo. My mother said that he didn't really have much, just her, so he didn't have anything to leave me to remember him. She said he was sick even when she met him and didn't know how long he would be around.

WOMANHow often do you think of your father?

MANWell, not really that much. Whenever I started to think about him when I was younger I would want to talk about him with my mother, but it would always upset her, so I eventually just stopped asking, and then I eventually stopped thinking about him altogether.

WOMANTell me more about your mother's relationship with the aunt that raised her.

MANHer aunt was too invested in her own kids to worry about the needs of my mother, so she eventually ran away when she was old enough to take out some of her money. Then she met my father and started a new life.

WOMANYour mother told you all this?

MAN(looking proud) Yep, she told me that's why she only wanted to have one kid, it's easier to focus your love on one person than several. (smiling at the ceiling) I'm the love of her life.

WOMANI would think there would be a lesson in all of this, right?

MAN(hanging head/pouting) Yes

WOMANAnd what is that lesson?

MAN(still hanging head) Not to leave my mother.

WOMANAnd why is that?

MAN(still pouting) Because.

WOMANBecause why?

MAN(sadly and monotone) Because we only have each other.

WOMANThat's right (walking onto stage in front of MAN as he stands up to meet her). Now (gently holds his head up to meet her gaze), go get ready for bed-I'll be up in a moment.

The MAN gets up and kisses the WOMAN on the cheek and makes his way upstairs. The WOMAN goes back off stage for a moment then reappears with her hair down and wearing a bathrobe. She then follows the footsteps of the MAN, up the stairs.

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