[Scene: Ruth is visiting a Maggie in a mental hospital. There
is a Nurses desk, and Maggie is in a chair by herself on the down stage left corner, staring into space. Lights come up slowly.]
Ruth: (Entering, surveying the stage. Timid.) Hi there.
Im here to see Maggie Summers.
Nurse: Thats about all youll be able to do with that one.
She hasnt said a word since she got here.
Ruth: Not one? Shes been here for 3 days. The Maggie I
know cant stop talking.
Nurse: Well, you have to understand shes not the same Maggie
Ruth: The Maggie I know wouldnt have done what they say
Nurse: Thats what is said about most of the people we get
here. (A pause.) Shes over there, sitting by the window. Thats where I like to put her, so shes not staring at a wall all
day, letting her brain atrophy. If you can get her to talk, tell me what she says, because I have to make a record of it in
Ruth: What case is that? Why is she being treated as though
shes just a case? Shes my best friend.
Nurse: I dont mean anything by it, honey. I just mean that
if a patient doesnt talk the whole time shes here, well, then its important that what she finally does say is recorded so
we can find a way to help her.
Ruth: Ill help her. Ive always been the one to help her,
even since we were kids.
Nurse: Maybe youre what shes been waiting for. (Ruth crosses
to Maggie, who has been motionless the whole time.)
Ruth: Hey Maggie, Ive come to visit you. (No response.
Presents a diary.) Look, I brought your diary along, because I know it must have killed you to not write in it the past few
days. (No response. She places it at Maggies feet.) You havent missed writing in one of those things for more than a day since
the fifth grade. (Still no response.) Look, maybe you are just a little rusty. I mean, being in a new place, it must be weird.
Ill read your last entry to you to get you started again, okay? (No response still so she opens the diary and starts reading
the last entry which for memorization sake can be written into the diary its self.)
I think Ive finally lost it. I dont think
I can handle all this stress anymore. Everyone expects so much from me, as though I can do everything at once. I hate my life.
I dont get any time to just sit and rest; its always work, work, work. I havent slept in days, and yet I cant slow down or
Ill never get everything done.
If I were gone, theyd find some other sucker
to take my place. I would get a break now and then. That would be nice. If only I could sleep for a few hours, just a few,
Im sure some of this work can wait
I wish I could just throw the whole world
away, and off my shoulders. Im glad I bought that bottle of sleeping pills.
(Ruth closes the diary and looks at Maggie in shock.) So its true,
they werent lying. You did take too many sleeping pills.
Nurse: (The Nurse has been miming paper work at the desk
the whole time, in a semi-freeze.) Any luck?
Ruth: No, I guess not. Shes got a lot of things to think
Nurse: Do you think thats what shes doing?
Ruth: Yeah, I do.
Nurse: Its about time you get going now, dear. Dont worry,
shes in good hands.
Ruth: (Stage whispers in Maggies ear.) Have a nice vacation,
Maggie. Ill see you when you get back, okay? (She places the diary in Maggies lap.)
Nurse: Ill see you out, dear. (They exit.)
Maggie: (Maggie picks up the diary without breaking her
stare. She begins to write without even looking, just keeping the same simple gaze as she writes.)
Im sorry about my absence from you for so long. I hope you can forgive me.
Im in a mental hospital right now. Ruth just brought you to me, so you could stop your worrying about where Ive been.
It seems that I have finally gotten my vacation from all my work. I mean, the world is still spinning and Im not running around
sleepless. Actually, Ive had the luxury of sleeping long, deep sleeps for the past few nights. The people here have also been
kind enough to just let me sit and think all day, while placing me in front of this large glass window so I can admire the
sky and stars.
Its funny what a sleepless mind can think up. Such as, taking a couple sleeping pills and putting the rest in the garbage
for people to think that I had taken them all. That was how I instantly cleared my timetable.
Im not going to do this forever, you must
realize. Besides, I think Ruth misses me. I cant stay away from her for too long anyway; although, if she hadnt come today,
I would be worried if she would ever come to visit me or not. Shes the only one who has, you know. Except for you, of course.
If she hadnt come today, I would have known that I am really not of any importance to anyone not those for whom I do all these
little tasks, and not for my friends. I would have known that anyone could take my place if they wanted to. If you were not
in my hands right now, I might be using them to take a bottle of pills for real. And that thought scares me into thinking
that I really do belong here. (Puts the diary back in its place and resumes her near frozen position.)
Nurse: (Entering.) Did you say anything Maggie? (No response.)
Thats what I thought.
(Black out. The end.)