Taking a crap on my own is a luxury. Now Im wondering how much longer its going to last.
|From: This Isn't A Horror Story|
David is spending the holidays visiting his octogenarian father Ralph in the nursing home. A recent stroke has accelerated the progress of Ralphs dementia and memory loss. Here David and Dorothy plan a day visit home from the nursing care facility while Dad rediscovers and reads the speech David wrote for his high school graduation...
The full text of This Isn't A Horror Story and other plays can be purchased at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/matthewaeverett.
This Isn't A Horror Story is included in Short Plays Volume 4: http://www.lulu.com/shop/matthew-everett/short-plays-volume-4/paperback/product-22551281.html
Copyright 2015 by Matthew A. Everett
DOROTHY appears in another pool of light.
DOROTHYDiapers. For adults. Two kinds.
DAVID goes to join DOROTHY.
DAD, in a separate pool of light in his hospital bed at the nursing home, gets out his Bible to read. At some point during the following, before his next line, he rediscovers Davids high school graduation speech tucked inside the pages of the Bible.
DAVIDTheres the kind that you can step into and pull up like a pair of underwear.
DOROTHYAnd theres the kind with Velcro straps thats like the ones youd use for a baby that hadnt started toddling or potty training yet.
They both do the trick.
DAVIDBut you prefer the second over the first.
DOROTHYThe first kind might seem more attractive because its more normal.
DAVIDYou treat it more like underwear than a diaper.
DOROTHYYou can still convince yourself that things havent changed that much. If you want.
DAVIDBut things have changed.
DOROTHYTheres no sense in pretending. He doesnt care. He just doesnt want to soil his clothes.
DAD reads from the graduation speech.
DADWere going to be encountering whole new groups of people. Strangers.
DAVIDI went to the bathroom by myself last night and in the middle of it I started to think of all the basic things that Dad cant do by himself since the stroke. I mean, thank God his speech wasnt affected.
DOROTHYAnd he didnt lose the mobility on his left side, but hes weaker now. He cant stand on his own. Even with the walker.
DADWe have to start all our relationships from scratch again.
DAVIDHe cant stand. He cant sit.
DOROTHYHe cant wipe.
DADAnd to begin again we have to risk the failure of their not working out.
DAVIDI can go when I want. Im not on a schedule. I dont have to wait for anybody to help me and wonder if Im going to make it.
DOROTHYTheres a lot more logistics involved now.
DADIn both job and personal life were running into our fear of the dark again.
DAVIDTaking a crap on my own is a luxury.
Now Im wondering how much longer its going to last.
DOROTHYJudging by your fathers example, at least another 35 years.
DADThe dark of our unknown futures as we face real life for the first time.
DAVIDFirst world problems.
DOROTHYYes. We have a toilet. Several. And indoor plumbing. A sink to wash our hands in. Clean drinking water.
DAVIDHes got a roof over his head. So do you. So do I.
DADAnd theres nothing more frightening than taking a risk when we dont know what were up against.
DOROTHYHes so happy youre here.
DAVIDTimes like these, I wish I didnt live so far away.
DOROTHYIts where your life is. Its where your work is. He understands. You call, you write, you visit when you can. Its more than some kids do.
DOROTHYGuilt is a waste of time.
DADNow that were older and hopefully more mature we dont have the luxury of being able to turn back.
DOROTHYWith you here, now, I can actually manage to take him out for the day. They wont sign him out to me on my own. I cant handle him all by myself. All the men in this family are so tall. I either have to hire a nursing aid for the day to come along with us, or he stays put.
DAVIDSign him out. Like a library book.
DOROTHYBut youre here, so we can make a day of it.
DADWe have to stick with the consequences of our decisions til theyre finished.
DAVIDPick him up after breakfast.
DOROTHYTake him out for a drive around the island. He loves that.
DAVIDStop at his favorite restaurant.
DOROTHYWell call and do take out, bring the meal home with us. The restaurants are all great but managing him and the chair, plus theres the issue of the bathroom.
DADWe cant stop in the middle and try another route even if we see trouble ahead.
DOROTHYThisll be a dry run. The restaurant out at the little airport might work as a field trip later.
DAVIDSo we spring him for the day "
DOROTHYThe CNA will take him to the bathroom before we leave. Drive. Take out. Home. Pit stop in the bathroom. Meal. Then he can either sit out in his favorite chair in the sun room, or we can set him up in his bed.
DAVIDFootball on TV this afternoon. Hell like that.
DADWe must face the possibility of failure now.
DOROTHYThe dog will want to play with him, or lay down with him.
DAVIDHell probably nod off, take a nap.
DOROTHYFootballs good for that.
DAVIDThen when he wakes up -
DOROTHYItll be about time to take him back to check in for dinner. Pit stop again here before we get in the car.
DAVIDThatll be a big day for him. Hell be exhausted.
DADThe only way to know ourselves is to test ourselves. Try something weve never attempted before. Explore ourselves.
DAD folds the speech carefully and places it back inside his Bible.
DOROTHYRemember he hasnt been out like this since Thanksgiving. Before that, not since your brother came to visit. We dont need things. A day like this is the best Christmas present you can give him.
DAVIDWill he even remember though?
DOROTHYYes, and no. But thats not the point. We live day to day anymore. Big events like this, hell actually be able to hold onto for a little bit. Important things stick. Even after, I can still remind him or show him pictures. But if hes happy in the moment, thats really all we can hope for.
Copyright 2015 by Matthew A. Everett