A Cry in the Dark | Teen Ink

A Cry in the Dark

June 5, 2013
By Shelly-T GOLD, Romeoville, Illinois
Shelly-T GOLD, Romeoville, Illinois
13 articles 0 photos 71 comments

Lights rise on a small home kitchen. There is a circular table, counters, cabinets, and a sink. A middle aged woman dressed in a black blazer, skirt, and tights grips a phone anxiously, her fingers fumbling to dial the numbers. The phone is mounted on the wall, and has a tangled phone cord. The woman twists the cord in her hand as she listens to it ring. The ringing and the answering machine picking up the call are audible to the audience.
Linda: Johnny! Johnny! Please pick up! Please!...Listen to me just this once, please! (Tears come to her eyes, and she swipes them away with the back of her sleeve) Are you there? Please stop and listen to me. I’ve been thinking of what to say to get through to you and the right way to say it…Just give me a chance. (Wiping her eyes, clearing her throat, and sitting down on a stool near the phone)

(Beginning with a more composed tone, and sounding hopeful, but her voice is quavering and fragile) I know what you’re going through. I was your age once too. When I was in high school, my friends called me “fat.” They meant it as a joke, I know, but after their laughs faded away their words remained in my mind. My parents would fight every night; I could not sleep, they were so loud. At the same time, my grades were falling and I began to lose hope of ever becoming anyone. I felt so alone in the world, and each painful day felt longer and harder than the last. (She pauses to collect herself before moving on)

And then one day I found myself standing in the pool, the water lapping at my waist. I had never learned how to swim. I had always been afraid of water. On that day, I wanted the water to swallow me, and cover me so I could not see anything, or hear anything, or feel anything. I wanted to sink to the bottom of the pool, and stay there forever. (Her eyes are closed now, as she focuses on recounting the story) I noticed that tears were falling into the water, creating small ripples in the calm waves. I waded deeper and deeper into the water, until it crept up to my chest, to my shoulders, to my neck, to my chin, to my nose, to my forehead. (She begins talking faster and louder, with more intensity) I tried to breathe, but all around me was water, and I could not escape if I wanted to. I was choking, and sputtering, and water was burning in my lungs, as though it were fire. I could not tell which direction was up, or down. I felt lost and alone, like a bug in a huge lake, in the middle of a thunderstorm. I kicked and thrashed, and felt myself growing weaker. I knew the water was winning. (Sounding hopeless) I let it win.

(She opens her eyes and is speaking slowly and more confidently) But then, I felt firm arms around me, pulling me up from the water monster’s grip. I was limp in his arms; I did not even open my eyes to see where I was. I felt him lay me down on the cold, hard ground, and the water being pumped from my lungs one painful breath at a time.

I finally opened my eyes. Everything was blurry, and the lights were too bright. But a face began to come into focus. It wore a patient, concerned expression. (Pauses slightly, smiling) Do you know who it was? It was your father.

(Sounding reflective) It’s funny thinking about it. If not for that fateful day, I would have never met him. (Her voice is becoming weak and strangled) I would have never met you. (She is crying now, and does not even stop to wipe the tears. Her voice is choked as she continues talking, and her words are labored. Her voice is soft, almost a whisper)

Johnny, I’m not going to tell you what to do. I cannot control you. But we’re there for you. (Her voice gains intensity and she begins to speak rapidly. Her expression is tense and desperate, and her eyebrows are knit together solemnly) We’ll help you. We love you. I made it through, and you will too. Just please, come back. I promise I’ll make up for everything. I can’t change the past, but I’ll change the future, believe me. I’ll never make the same mistakes again. You don’t have to face your problems alone; I’ll always be there for you from this day onwards. I promise. I promise…(Her voice fades into soft sobs)

Johnny? Johnny? (Her eyes are wide and anxious, listening to the other end of the line. The only sound is her harsh breathing. She lets out a sob, and casts her eyes downwards.) Just say something…Please say something… I need to know you’re there.
Lights fade, scene ends.

The author's comments:
This is a dramatic monologue I wrote for my creative writing class.

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