Mind if I sit down?
It’s hard to be in there, right? All those people…
…sucking up all the air in there…
…while you can barely breath…even out here, right?
I get it.
They pat you on the head and tell you she was proud of you, and how do they know that because they weren’t around even a week ago, right? (silence)
…have to put up with them touching you and telling you things even though they don’t know you and you just want them gone. (pause)
And they say really stupid stuff. When life hands others a big bag of crap… “You’ll be in our thoughts”. What the hell will their thoughts do for you, right bud? How are their unwanted hugs, casseroles and memories of someone they haven’t known for years supposed to help you? (pause)
It makes you angry, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s how it was for me, anyhow. I couldn’t sleep and when my little body gave out… I’d fall asleep just to realize in the morning that it wasn’t some nightmare.
…I was also just a squirt when my mom died and she was there one minute and gone the next. Life can flip on a dime, can’t it?
And you’re feeling exactly what you need to feel right now so let yourself feel it…but most of them did hold your mom in…well, they respected and loved her. That’s also the truth. People just don’t know what to do so they hide until they have to face things…and when they sort of eventually do they follow some script some Joe made up ages ago and one that everyone just stupidly accepts as appropriate…but the truth is that it’s usually pretty insensitive and people rarely get anything right. They aren’t trying to upset you…they’re just trying to honour your mom the only way they know how. (pause) You and I … e’re good at facing things, aren’t we? (pause)
I’m not going to tell you some story about how it will get easier with time because the truth is that, for me anyway, it hurt like hell for an eternity when I lost my mom…and, man, am I hurtin’ like hell now. I’m just like you…can’t sleep or eat…but we’ve got to take care of each other and make sure we do. (pause) You know, I had no one when she died…but you…you’ve got a bunch of people that would jump in the fire for you.
(pause) I’m going to shoot straight with you because you don’t deserve anything less.
One day…no time soon…but one day you’ll smile again, kid. Eventually…when you’re good and ready…you’ll even laugh again. I know it’s hard to imagine, but you will. Maybe you’ll even feel bad about it…but I want you to remember that I knew her. Unlike those strangers in there, I was here and I knew her. I never let her go for a second, you understand me? I was here the whole time…still am…and the only thing those folks in there got right is that she would want you to be happy and she was proud of you. So damn proud of you, kid. Someday you’ll want to get out of bed again and have fun and I just want you to know…when that time comes…when the light returns…it’s what she would have wanted. Maybe she still does…(pause) Look, I don’t know much about this heaven stuff and I have never been some big believer in things I can’t see but…if there was ever a time to believe in it…this is it. And if there is a God, your mother just walked on in past St. Peter because she was an angel, kid. A living, breathing angel if there ever was one.
I don’t know. What the hell do I know, but maybe Mike is right. I mean he’s one of those damn do-gooders, but he’s also pretty smart and not such a bad guy…and maybe he’s right.
Maybe I wouldn’t bet on it yet myself, but I’m going to hope like hell, you know. Because that guy is so damn positive…him and his “butterfly release” today. (Rolls his eyes) Right? (Let’s out a sad chuckle and the kid nods and looks down).
But, you know, he’s a good guy. He cares about you too, you know? He wants you to live with him. Yah, he would be really happy if you wanted to live with him, kid, and as loopy as he is, your mom really liked him, didn’t she? She sure knew how to pick ’em…but he sure came through, didn’t he? He was her best friend and he really loves you. And I think he’s a stand up guy…might even be a little fond of him…but we’ll keep that between you and me.
But you know what I was thinking…what would Emmy do without you?
What would I do without you? (pause) I know I have a hard time sometimes saying how I feel…used to drive your mom crazy…but I think I’ve gotten better over the years.
Here’s the thing, kid…I love you. (pause) I love you tons, Cameron. You and Emmy. (pause) And I just want you to know that I’m proud of you. You’re a sweet, sharp, and tough kid, and you’re all heart, kid. (pause) You’re a big heart with skinny limbs and small but tough little fists. (smiles) (pause)
Okay, you got to look me in the eye for this part. I know it’s still hard for you to talk, but you just have to listen.
I never got to ask your mom, you know. She was fighting so hard and was pretty out of it some days…and it was a sudden turn, wasn’t it…fighting so damn hard for you, so she always thought she’d get back to you. She didn’t want to break her promise. But it didn’t work out that way. You need to know she fought like a champ for you until she couldn’t any longer. (pause)
Hey. Look at me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is…if you want to live with Mike or Aunt Teresa they’d be real happy…but the thing is…I’d be pretty miserable.
Because you’re mine. And even if you want to live with them, you’re mine, you understand? I’ll respect your decision and be there for you either way. Whatever you want. But they understand if you want to live with me…and honestly…there is no father that loves his kid more than I love you. (pause) Do you know what I’m saying to you? (pause) I can’t say that I’ll be here forever…you know too much for that. What I can promise is that I will be here for you as long as I’m on this Earth and I believe I’ve still got a decent amount of time for you, kid. I’ll fight as hard as I can, south paw, I’ll fight real hard. You and Emmy are the greatest things since the ’74 Ali- Frazier fight. (Ruffles his hair) Nah, no match…doesn’t hold a candle to you. I’m not really worthy of you or Emmy, kid…she’s stuck with me, though, whether she wants to or not…it would be a real honour if you’d stick yourself to me, too. (pause)
And if you’d do me the honour of making it official, I would do every thing in my power to do good by you. (pause) I’ll do good by you either way. It’s what you want. I’ll respect whatever you decide. (long pause) Okay, that’s all I wanted to say. I’m going to rush some of these folks along for you, alright buddy? Try to get some of them to take all this damn food they brought, but I’ll make sure to keep the things I know you’ll like…see if we can get you eating again. Those chocolate chip cookies Teresa made are staying…only thing you touched all day. (winks) Come in when you’re ready, slugger.
(Turns to lift himself up…but the kid has grabbed his arm hard with both of his. He kisses the top of his head and pulls him in.)
Note: I wanted to offer dialogue between two characters where one is completely silent.