D.C. Copeland
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THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO ROSE

CHARACTERS

Rose
Jon
George   (possibly nonexistent, and only spoken by Rose)


STYLE
Rose's monologues intermixed with current interfaces between other characters, real and imagined.
George can be present at all times, with a light shining on him during the times he is dialoguing with Rose perhaps or he can enter and exit, or he can simply exist on stage like Rose, at all times. The other option is that Rose is merely talking to herself. Director's choice.

SET
Aside from a rocking chair, a bench, and a watering can - no stage furniture, props or set.



THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO ROSE


ROSE
She is rocking in a corner and sighing. She is rocking in a corner and sighing and saying "why oh why oh why me today" I don't want to move from my seat so I'll just sit a little longer. That's what she's saying as she's sitting and sighing in her corner. Or maybe she's not even saying it maybe she's only breathing it in her sighs. It's a whisper. It's the meaning of the sighs. The meaning of the sighs is actually "why oh why oh why me today, I don't want to move from my seat so I'll just sit a little longer." The world goes by and I sit and sigh, softly here and the roses bloom and die and wilt and I rock and rock and rock a bye. In my own little corner. He died....pneumonia...infection of the lungs...So now its only me and I don't have to do anything anymore. He said I'll waste away. Who are you to say such things? Who are you too say such things truly. I'll be fine. I'll get up when I need to defecate and urinate and make a bottle of soup. Bottle of soup. Hahaha. It's a can. The soup's in a can but I said bottle. Haha. True. Funny. What will you do? Will you pick up the phone? He's given me a phone, you see. See a phone - a phone that's made without a cord or... It's hysterical Ill never use it. Use the corded phone...I tell him...Use the corded phone... the corded phone...can you do that for me son? My son. Yes. Jon. Yes...Yes. And George...died...and now I sit and don't feel like moving from my seat...roses will wilt and roses will die no sense in moving from the seat today. No sense in it. No sense.

Jon comes.

(JON enters.)

JON
How are you, Ma?

ROSE
And he talks to me and I can barely hear what he is saying.

JON
The kids miss seeing you. Will you come to the park with us this weekend? Angie is taking ballet and Jordan is in the jazz band ....He is driving me and Anita nuts with his practicing but kids will be kids you know...Suzie and I must have drove you and pa mad when we were babes. When you're a jet you're a jet all the way....

ROSE
I can't really hear him anymore...I just feel the grief welling up inside of me. I make up some of what he says. I used to love West Side Story. George and I saw it on Broadway. Maria. I just met a girl named Maria. He's talking about his life and I'm thinking about death and it doesn't really make sense to listen anymore – It sounds like a symphony that I've turned very low. And I can just feel stifled tears.

JON
So Mom, how about we go for a stroll and look at those flowers...they could use some tending to? Mom?

ROSE
Oh Jon. Oh I couldn't today.

JON
C'mon Mom...Please....I don't-I don't want to water them alone. You've got the magic touch.

ROSE
The magic touch. You flatterer.

JON
But It's the truth.

ROSE
He's so sweet my son he reminds me of a flower....of what flowers used to smell like when I smelled them.

Alright then, Jonny boy. But sing to me.

JON hums "Maria" from West Side Story.

ROSE
I like that song.

ROSE takes JON'S arms and they walk about the stage and smell make believe flowers and JON holds a watering can.

JON
You said pa used to sing it to you....Tell me about when you met my father.

ROSE
George?

He wants to know about George. What can I say?

ROSE
George, spotted me before I spotted him. No it was the other way around. I saw there at the head of the meeting group and he was a leader and he had dark brown hair and wiry glasses and a sense of dignity and big arms with kindness...He had a sense of kindness and I volunteered immediately to be on his committee and we worked so hard...socialist party we were back then. You had to be in the old tenement days....

JON
And you fell in love.

ROSE
One day, you see, I was very pretty back then, several boys were all asking me out...well one boy that I wasn't particularly fond of...was chatting me up and I saw George walking down the street and I said "George, George I have something to tell you about the meeting tonight" and I said "Pardon me so and so but I have to go and talk to George."

JON
And you did.

GEORGE
And you took my hand.

ROSE
I took his hand.

GEORGE
And I felt like you belonged right there.

ROSE
I belonged with you.

GEORGE
And I asked you out after the meeting that night for coffee.

ROSE
You asked me out after the meeting that night...for coffee.

GEORGE
And I walked you home.

ROSE
You walked me home.

GEORGE
I was a gentleman.

ROSE
And you wouldn't touch me! Not even a handshake! So shy!!!

GEORGE
After the meeting the next night, I walked you home.

ROSE
You walked me home the next night...and I kissed you....on the cheek to say goodbye.

GEORGE
I kissed you. The next time...on the cheek.

ROSE
No.

GEORGE
Yes.

ROSE
No, I kissed you.

GEORGE
(brushing her hair from her face) How I loved you.

ROSE
Do you still?

GEORGE
Of course. I'm still here. I'm waiting for you.

ROSE
But what is there left for me to do? Why can't I be with you now?

GEORGE
Take care of our children. They need their mother still.

JON
Mom?

ROSE
I hadn't been listening to Jon. I'd been lost in my memories again. It happens a lot, where I just talk to George, his ghost, his spirit, his memory. What difference does it make. Life passes me by and I forget about the roses. In the winter of my life I'd let it all crumble to the ground.

ROSE
Jon?

JON
Yes, Mom.

ROSE
Bring the children this weekend. We'll have a picnic in the park.

JON
That's wonderful, Mom

ROSE
Good. Good. Good.

Imaginary children laughter.

JON and ROSE are sitting together on a park bench.

ROSE
When we got married officially we already had eloped.

JON
No!

ROSE
Yes. Its true. We knew our parents wouldn't approve because he hadn't the money. We were very poor in those days you see.

JON
Go on, Ma. I'm listening.

ROSE
Sweet boy....no but then we got "officially" married after he got a job working for his Dad in the leather business and then all our friends were there. We took an apartment and the first night, after we were wed, all of them sang below, "We know what you are doing We know what you are doing!" Hahaha.

JON
That's funny, Ma but you don't have to...

ROSE
Of course, I wasn't a virgin by then anyway....the elopement....

GEORGE
You were so beautiful. Did I tell you enough? That I thought you were beautiful?

ROSE
I don't know if I heard it enough...No....

GEORGE
Beautiful...You were beautiful. You were a diamond.

ROSE
I sigh. I am a million miles away. I can't help it. It's age. It's grief. It's a broken heart.
Jon, its cold, isn't it?

JON
Ill get you a sweater from the car.

ROSE
I'll watch the children.

JON exits.

ROSE
The children are funny. They look like Jon and Anita. Sweet. Life is so short. So short and fleeting and sweet and sweet. Like the inside of a kiwi when it's ripe or strawberry when its ripe – not the kind you get from the supermarket but the type that's grown off of the vine....and plucked and when its just so sweet and it's the first thing you eat for breakfast. Or a plum....oh, how I love fruit....a good plum when its in season. My mom used to have a bowl of fresh plums when they were in season...And they were so sweet....and so divine to go home to after a day of playing or school. Yuck...I wasn't a good student. I was always day dreaming even then...Stories...My prince charming...I loved fairytales. I had a best friend named Barbara. She was wonderful. We'd play in the courtyard and I would be the prince because I liked being the action character....the leader of course...

JON
Here Mom.

ROSE
Thank you, honey bear.

JON
We can go in soon, too.

ROSE
Yes, let's go in soon.

JON
I'll gather the kids.

ROSE
Yes. I'm glad we did this. Jon.

JON
Me too, Mom.

ROSE alone.

ROSE
So I'll sit and rock a little longer, rock a little. A little while longer. There's nothing truly to bring me out anymore. I surrendered to that the moments after George died. Maybe something, but truly nothing. I stay around because the grief over two parents dying so soon would be difficult for Jon and Suzie and I don't want them....

I will write them a letter.

Dear Jon and my dearest pussycat Suzie,

Whenever I go, please know I go because it was time. Your poor old mother misses her husband dearly. She loves you madly and fiercely you see, but something inside of her is dead. Like an old tree trunk. I still have roots here, of course, but my trunk has been lopped off. I'm barren. You can sit on me of course and take comfort, but I grow cold and old and I long to be with my George again. You understand. I'm sure you do. I'd never take my own life. But if the grief overwhelms me...well I don't know anyone that died of grief, but it feels like I could...so I'm writing you this letter.... So that if I go sooner than I was able to know your children well enough or be around another few seasons please don't think poorly of me. Heartbreak is the hardest to get over and at my age well...well...well...I love you, children of Rose and George, and I always will...children...children...I remember when we had you, Suzie, an easy labor. You came out laughing it seemed! And then Jon...a little more difficult but with a full head of rambunctious hair! George was so happy first to have a girl and then a son. And then to have grandchildren. Do you know he cried when Jordan was born, but I'll never repeat it. I swore I'd never say anything but he looked in my eyes and said, "Ma, we are grandparents...We are a big family." And he had so much love to give you all. So much.

And then I'll seal it ...to be delivered when or if I die sooner than they would like.

...If I could will it...

She is rocking in her corner and sighing and rocking in her corner and sighing. Not today, today I'll wait and rock and rock today. In my own little corner. Ill rock today.

Maybe Suzie will come soon...or maybe George. George. I'm thinking of you, George. I'm thinking of you kissing my shoulder, George and holding me. Tenderly. So tenderly.

I rock and I think of you. You made this chair. Oh, thirty years ago and I was thrilled and I made you the red sweater and darned your socks and I made baby clothes and grandbaby clothes and needlepoint pillows. You used to joke about my poor eyesight. Had to wear those glasses...Still do. Reading glasses everywhere. So stubborn about them I was. "Stubborn as a mule," you'd say. I think you loved that about me though, too.

Were you ever unfaithful I wonder?

Oh It doesn't matter now.

What does it matter now. It doesn't matter now.

GEORGE
My heart always belonged to you.

ROSE
I know dear. I know dear. I know. I'd like to come home to you.

GEORGE
Soon, darling. Soon, Angel...We will be together soon.

ROSE
We used to make buttersquash soup together. Corn and buttersquash and what else? Let me think now.

GEORGE
Sage, carrot, olive oil.

ROSE
And onion.

GEORGE
Salt and pepper.

ROSE
Not too, much salt now, George. Your blood pressure.

Oh George, oh my husband. Oh my other half. It does feel like that. Suzie and all her new age crap that she reads, "The Whole Self" - -- no no no – man needs woman, woman needs man...or rather people need their partners and companions and loves...To be whole...Otherwise there is a hole...That is what I believe. That is the God's honest truth as I see it anyway...(small laughter) The truth according to Rose....The truth according to Rose. Love each other...and when the other is gone...still love each other....and if the other does not love you anymore...still hold a place in your heart for that person...still love them...

Still love them....

I love you so.

(BLACKOUT)