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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Monologue Mania Day #284 by Janet S. Tiger Helping Hands Nov. 23, 2014
Warning - strong language and adult issues Helping Hands
(for Caregivers Anonymous) A monologue by Janet S. Tiger © all rights reserved firstname.lastname@example.org
(Lights focus on an older woman, she is not fat, not skinny, not ugly, not beautiful, not much of anything, but when she opens her mouth, she has a beautiful voice, like honey, with a very slight accent. She goes over to the newest member and looks at her.)
So you think what you gonna tell us that we're gonna be, what? Surprised? Horrified? Upset? Or even worse, we might laugh at you? (She laughs) Honey, we have heard it all here! We are all in the same boat - we take care of someone. And we all have a story. And I'm gonna tell you my story.......
(The others protest, she waves her hands to quiet them)
.......even though everyone here knows it.....maybe it'll help you see that you are not alone! Look at me....
(She puts her face close to the other woman, who pulls back a bit)
No need to back away, I'm not that ugly anymore. I'm old and ugly, which is acceptable.....and lemma tell ya, I know the difference, because I was born ugly, and my own papa left us because I was so ugly. At least, that's what my mama told me, just before she left with my good-looking brothers, left me with my Aunt Anita......who raised me, and helped me.
(She pulls a scarf out of a pocket and ties it around her head, leaning her face away)
Not so bad now, right?
(She takes the scarf off)
I keep this scarf with me to remind me what it was like my whole childhood, it's what I wore to school. Didn't help, they still made fun. My Aunt would say, 'pretty is as pretty does' and so is ugly, don't pay attention to mean people.'
I tried, but that meant I could only talk to her and the other old people where we lived in Long Beach after the war.
'But I'm so ugly, who will marry me?' I would ask her and she would shake her head. 'Not so hard to find a man, just go where there are sailors, men in uniform, pick one who is drunk, with a nice face, not mean. Men are simple, they will do almost anything when they are drunk or when they want a woman. The man is drunk, you drive to Las Vegas, get married, do the thing I told you about that you should only do when you get married, and bingo! You have a man!' And she would laugh, but I listened, and I saved my money and bought a car, and one day, when I was eighteen, I went downtown.
When the boys were not drunk, they ignored me. But once a few drinks were in, they were very....friendly. I picked one with a nice face, from Nebraska. He got so drunk, I didn't think it would work, that we would get to Las Vegas and he would be asleep. But sex wins......he told the minister he wanted to marry me and he smiled. He was blind....blind drunk.
I'll never forget his face the next morning when he woke up and saw me....
(Her eyes open wide and she steps back as if she's seen the devil.)
I almost cried, but I pretended to love him. He didn't run away, and when it turns out I was pregnant, his parents insisted on meeting me, and making him do the right thing. His mother looked at me and when we spoke, she said (Midwest twang) 'I thought for sure my son had done another idiot thing, like he did when he signed up for the Navy, but once I saw you, I knew he did good. Welcome to the family.'
And she kissed me, and I looked at her, she was older already, but I could see she had not been that good-looking as a girl......that is one of the great things about gettin' old, everyone hits the same level of ugly. And plastic surgery just makes it look plastic ugly! So now, I don't have to wear the scarf.
(She listens, the others are urging her to get to the point)
All right, I'm getting there! Everyone's in a rush, that's the problem with the world, too much rushing. Anyhow, my husband, Randy was his name, he dropped dead of a heart attack at 38, shoveling snow. No insurance, not much from the VA, so I had to work. What could I do? I did what I did my whole life, I took care of people. I had taken care of my Aunt, and then my mother-in-law, the word spread, and people would call, I would be on what I called...death watch.
Waitin' for people to die. But then, one day, oh, this was about twenty years ago, I was takin' care of a man, Mr. Hutchison, his name was, a nice man. He used to watch me when I cleaned up his room. He hated a messy room. He was almost blind and could barely go to the bathroom, so I had to help, and then he started having accidents, so we're onto diaper duty, and I could see he was a little embarrassed at first, then one day, I went by his bed and he touched me. You know...he touched me. And when I pulled away, he held my hand.
'Please' he said, 'I just want you to touch me.....but not because of a diaper. Because I'm a man.'
I thought I'd be horrified, but I wasn't because I understood. And then he said.....(she is very moved by this).....'You are so beautiful, Yolanda.'
I almost cried, no one had ever said that to me before. Not my parents who left me, not Aunt Anita, not even my husband could handle that lie, but here, he said it, and I knew he meant it, even if he was blind.
And then he told me he had a hundred dollar bill hidden under his mattress. Now in those days, $100 was all I was making a week, live-in, and my car's just had a leak in the radiator, so I thought...what the hell? He saw that I was hesitating, so he says, 'Don't worry, I can't do anything anymore, so you won't get pregnant' ....and we both laughed.
No one was home....so..... I took off his diaper, and..... I touched him, and he was so happy. He wasn't a rich man, but he gave me nice tips every week, and when he died, his daughter gave me a check for $5,000. She told me he left it for me in his will, but I think she knew what was going on. She said she knew I made him happy, that she knew he appreciated the good care. That I had ...what did she call it?.......helping hands.
(Looks at the girl again, laughs)
Oh, you can sit there judging me, but I'll bet you voted to give old people the right to smoke that marijuana......funny, smoking is bad, then it's good, but sex, even with all the things you see now on the TV, sex is somehow still only for young people!
But it's not. And after Mr. H, I decided he was probably not the only older man in.....such circumstances, and I found these men, and .......now I have money saved, and the last gentleman who I took care of, Mr. Eddie, he left me $50,000, so right now, I'm taking some time off, and in my time off, I'm taking care of my cousin who just broke her hip. Because that's what I do.....I help.
(She holds up her hands)
With my helping hands......
(Lights down. End of scene)
Janet S. Tiger 858-736-6315 www.JanetSTiger.weebly.com Member Dramatists Guild since 1983 Playwright-in-Residence Swedenborg Hall 2006-8 --------------------------------------------------------