Mother, a worn out writer with drinking and marital problems
John, son to the writer
Kelly, an American and fiancée to John
Act I, Scene I
Son: What are you doing out?
Mother: I’m cured; Sure I could tell that doctor what was wrong with him (laughs).
Ach, I’m all right, good rest did the world of good.
Son: Good rest? For God’s sake Mam, You should not be out. When I talked to you, you said you’d stay the whole month, no matter what.
Mother: Yeah, but I’m O.K. now, I’ll never drink again.
Son: (angrily) Course you will, just like you smoke!
Mom: Don’t be cheeky, don’t talk to your mother like that.
Son: Mam! Will you just think about someone else but yourself, for once?
Mom: I do! All the time…(trails off)
Son: No, you won’t face up to the reality of it. So, what are you going to do now?
Mother: There’s that arts position, but I’ll just wait ‘till Bruce and Alan are at school more.
Son: See, you’re still in denial. You need to get sorted out before you can do anything. You’ll have those two boys destroyed. You need to do this. I want to help, but you have to want to help yourself first. If you don’t want to give up drinking, then there is no point.
Mother: (eagerly) But I do.
Son: (frustrated) Then why the hell did you not stay?
Mother: They can’t help me. If you’d stay, be here all the time, I know I could do it. Gerard thinks so too.
Son: Don’t get me started on him.
Mother: Come on now. Gerard ’s going to be working in the summer, he doesn’t have much money, but he gets by.
Son: Jesus, if he would work, maybe he would have a bit.
Mother: Everyone can’t be like your father. I made your father, raised all you kids, answered the phones, cleaned fish in my kitchen sink.
Son: Yes I know. That was over 15 years ago. Time moves on; You both have. But you’ve never had a real job since.
Mother: I’m a writer that’s a real job.
Son: Yeah, when’d you last write? You just don’t care anymore, look at you, your talent’s wasting away.
Mother: If you were here, you could get me going. Boy, with you as my manager and promoter. I’d be flying to America for readings all the time. I’d get a job in Trinity and get my masters.
Son: Is the manuscript ready?
Mother: No, the printer won’t work. I can’t get anything done with Bruce and Alan in my hair all the time.
Son: Look! Just type it up, save it on disk and I’ll get it printed.
Mother: Yeah…(trails off).
Son: Seriously Mam, if you want to make changes, you’re going to have to work at the root of the problem and start from there. You could do so much Mam. Please just try (begging).
Mother: I will, honest to God, I will. If I can just get some from your father.
Son: Why don’t you get your solicitor to sort that out? You are entitled to something at least.
Mother: Yeah…(trails off).
Son: (aggravated) Mam, you have to start doing something yourself.
Mother: Please, just stay around a while and help me.
Son: (sarcastically) Can’t Gerard so that?
Mother: He’ll be busy in the summer, with work and everything.
Son: No. I’ve to go back soon. I’ve my own life and I’m trying to keep it together. Christ, it’s been hard coming from this tragedy. Promise me when I go, you’ll try. Promise (pleading).
Mother: I will, I will. I’m going to quit smoking, give up the drink, start walking every day.
Son: Finish your manuscript?
Mother: Yeah, that too.
Son: Come on, it’s due in the spring. How many are you short?
Mother: A few…
Son: (sternly) How many?
Mother: About 40 or so good ones. I just haven’t been able to think. Some are really good. The BBC have taken some and Trinity want some more.
Son: Good. Then why don’t you get on to it and start writing?
Mother: But, the printer?
Son: Jesus, Mam. The printer is nothing. You can write on fecking paper with a pen can’t you? What did you do before you had a computer? You scribbled on cigarette boxes, grocery lists, magazine covers. Now get that edge back and do something.
Mother: If only you were here all the time to encourage me like this….
Son: But I’m not. I’ve to go soon. Duncan ’s waiting, I’m going to stay there tonight and he’s taking me to the airport.
Mother: I’ll write to ya’, and this time keep in touch.
Son: Yeah…(trails off, followed by a long silence).
Mother: I’ve to go see Dad before I head. I better be off.
Mother: (Crying) I’ll miss you, take care. Sure you won’t stay.
Son: (Hugging his mother) I’ll be O.K., Shannon looks after me good. She’s got real good folks, I’ve been blessed with them.
Mother: You deserve it son. God you’re great.
(They break apart.)
Son: Well I’ll be seeing you Mam. Remember what I said. If you have to, post me the disk or rough draft and I’ll go through it.
Mother: That’d be great son, I’ll do that. I love you…
Son: Love you too Mam.
(The next day, back in Kansas City.)
Kelly: How’s your Mom?
John: I don’t know Kelly. I wish I could help her.
Kelly: She needs to get her head out of her ass and stop being so self-centered.
John: I know, I know. It’s just so hard.
Kelly: (he bursts into tears, Kelly holds him.) Ah God, I hate your parents.
John: (sobs…no reply)