by Kate Berneking Kogut
Setting: bare stage except for a table and chair
Character: Older ANNIE, middle-aged
A pool of light surrounds Older ANNIE.
I don’t remember the first time he hit me. Wouldn’t you think I’d remember something like that? The physical? That’s over for me. But the other…? Why does he still have so much control over me…?
(sits; struggles to collect herself)
I was in the kitchen earlier today – barefoot. I dropped a glass. It broke, of course, and I just stood there, waiting. I couldn’t breathe. Finally I heard him walking toward the kitchen and I was bracing myself because I knew I was going to hear how stupid I was, how clumsy I was. But all I heard was “Are you okay?”
It wasn’t “him.” I looked over and there was this incredible man with a broom and a dustpan saying something like “don’t move” and that he’d “get this” and before I knew it.
…I was laughing and crying and then he got concerned because he thought I was hurt—you know, that I’d cut myself, and I couldn’t…I couldn’t tell my husband that for a split second I thought he was someone else.
(takes a moment to collect herself)
Where do I begin? I have this hole—this…pit inside me. I try to fill it, to ignore it, to cover it up. I’ve even tried to laugh off, because, hey. That’s me—the life of the party. Everybody likes Annie. She’s fun!
And sometimes—for a while—I think that this time—finally, it might work.
I’ve even imagined how it would be if I ran into him on the street. I’d be very calm, very together, because I’m over it, you know? I’d ask how he’d been, wish him well. And I would be fine. I would. I’d be fine. I’m over it. It’s done.
(closes her eyes; deep breaths)
I’m okay. I have a great life now: a fantastic husband, wonderful kids. All that…it’s over. It’s in the past. Over.
(shudders; looks at audience)
You know I finally have what I want—I’m surrounded by people I love but I’m—I’m driving them away. And now I’ll probably end up alone. “He” always said I would. Said that eventually everyone would see what I’m really like.
(beat; composes herself; quiet)
When I look back—sometimes it seems so unreal…
(looks at the audience)
I’ve read all the literature—I’ve seen the statistics. But I don’t know. I don’t feel like a statistic. You want to believe that this could never happen to a woman you love, don’t you? Not to your friend or your sister…or your daughter…
Everything is not fine.
(sad, frustrated chuckle; a weak smile)
I know that “he” is out there someplace. “Him.” I know that I could run into him on the street or I could see him in the grocery store…he could find out I told you. I have children, a husband—they had nothing to do with him—but what if…I mean—
It was all so long ago—but it doesn’t always seem that long—see, sometimes all my feelings get jumbled up and my imagination starts to run wild and so… And so I imagine that as I leave here tonight…I’ll go outside, I’ll breathe the fragrance of the night air, and just when I’ve almost convinced myself that I can get past all this…that someday I will get past all this—I remember that he could know. He could know that I’ve told you and if he does…? Somehow—somehow he’s gonna make me pay.
copyright © 2003 Kate Berneking Kogut. All rights reserved. _________________________________________________
Kate Berneking Kogut has had productions and development readings of her scripts in New York, California, and throughout the Midwest. She is an Assistant Professor in the department of English/Creative Writing at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, where she teaches playwriting and screenwriting. She earned her PhD in theatre from the University of Missouri.