TOUCH Act I, Scene 1
(Open on a woman, the SEEKER, sitting on a bed, looking embarrassed. Another woman, the CURED, her caregiver, reads from a diary. As she speaks, the SEEKER hangs her head in shame.)
CURED: (Reading aloud) “I’ve never been hugged before. I don’t know anyone who has. For as long as I can remember, the world has been full of people shying away from physical contact. There are no accidental touches without immediate apology, shame, and a little bit of fear. I wonder if life has always been this way. I wonder if the history of the human race is nothing but a list of ‘thou shalt not’s scribbled onto massive stone tablets. Did people ever touch? Maybe even on purpose? I wish I knew. I’d like to know. Even if I never get to touch someone myself, I think I could be happy just knowing that somewhere, long ago, someone else had been touched. (She slams the diary shut and tosses it onto the bed.) Well, young lady? What do you have to say for yourself?
SEEKER: I didn't mean anything by it.
CURED: Then why did you write it?
SEEKER: I don't know.
CURED: You don't know?
SEEKER: That was meant to be private. (The CURED stares at her sternly without saying another word.) It's my diary, all right? No one would have read it.
CURED: I found it.
SEEKER: That's different. You know what I mean.
CURED: Honestly, after everything I’ve been through… what were you thinking writing something like that? You know what could happen if it fell into the wrong hands.
SEEKER: Of course I do. I'm not an idiot.
CURED: You're acting like one.
SEEKER: (Sighing) I had a lot on my mind the other night. I couldn't sleep because my thoughts were driving me crazy. One of the girls at school said writing in a diary can help--
CURED: What girl at school?
SEEKER: Why does it matter?
CURED: Three of your classmates were arrested last week. How can you be so blind?
SEEKER: I'm not blind, Mother. I just choose not to see.
CURED: I don't see the difference.
SEEKER: The difference is choice. (Beat) Those arrests were awful. They pulled the girls out of class and handcuffed them in the hallway. One of the other students fainted. I wanted to cry. (Pause) I'm sorry you think I'm stupid. I'm not stupid at all. I can't help noticing what's going on around me and I need some way to cope. The diary isn't hurting anyone. I think I should be allowed to keep it.
CURED: You can't keep it.
SEEKER: Why not?
CURED: We've been over this. Too dangerous.
SEEKER: I keep it in the house. No one besides you and I has ever seen it.
CURED: That doesn't mean they never will. (She sits down beside THE SEEKER) It all starts with thinking. Then writing. Then the next thing you know, you're embracing a hug dealer and trying to explain to the police that you stumbled and he caught you--which, by the way, did not work for me.
SEEKER: Mother, that won't happen.
CURED: You don't know that.
SEEKER: I'm not you. (She picks up the diary and holds it against her chest) I want to meet my donor.
CURED: You know that isn't possible.
SEEKER: Doesn't City Hall keep records?
CURED: I don't even know who your donor is. It could be anyone. (Beat) If you're not going to give me the diary, at least stop writing in it. Maybe tear out that last entry. I want to keep you safe.
SEEKER: I'm sorry. (She gets up from the bed and crosses to the door. The CURED stands.)
CURED: Where are you going?
(Lights fade as the SEEKER exits, leaving the CURED alone.)
To Be Continued...
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