A Time to Forget
THE SETTING is the living room of an apartment filled, almost cluttered, with a mixture of modern and old-fashioned furniture—vases, lamps, bowls, small tables and cabinets containing all manner of china, gilded picture frames, and bric-a-brac, a mingling of chrome and glass and woods and fabrics. A grandfather clock stands off to the side but clearly visible, especially the fact that the pendulum never swings. A large, very modern leather sofa dominates center stage. The front door is stage right and slightly ajar; an entrance to the apartment’s other rooms is stage left.
(The scene opens with ALICE, a woman past middle age, walking around the living room affixing price tags to items and writing prices on the tags. She stops in front of the grandfather clock, checks her watch and fixes the clock’s time. ALICE hesitates putting a tag on the clock.)
ALICE: (Calls out) James. How much for the clock? (Pause as she listens to a voice only she can hear; she laughs) Be serious, James. We won’t be able to sell it if we ask that much . . . You paid what?! James that’s—you paid two months rent for this old thing? That was too much. Really, James. If I had known that, I wouldn’t . . . Oh. Well, yes . . . Of course. But . . . Yes, James. It could be worth more now, if you say . . . I . . . all right.
(Pause; she adjusts the clock as she listens)
I know. You’re right, James. But we can’t take the clock with us. There’s no room in the new place for even half our things . . . It’s not that small. Really, James. You liked it well enough when we looked the place over. IF you don’t like it, why did you—(Laughs)
You always say that. “Anything for my dear Alice.” Oh, James. It’s a shame we couldn’t afford any place bigger with your pension. But the kitchen in our new apartment! It’s so bright. I’ve never seen a kitchen with a window that big before, James. I wonder how anyone could not love that kitchen. All the sunshine that must come in there—it’ll be so wonderful, James. I could spend all morning there. And most of the afternoon, too. It seemed like such a warm place. For the both of us, James. You could spend a lot of time there with your newspapers and crosswords. You won’t have to squint to read like you do now.
Like you—our old kitchen is so—so gloomy. A dreadful place, really. (She wraps her arms around herself as if caught with a chill) So cold and dark . . . No, James—(She laughs weakly) Not because of you. You can be a bear in the mornings at times. But you always come—you . . . you come around soon enough. You come—James? It’s so cold here. So. Cold. A horrible place, James. No sun. No warmth. No—you—dark. It’s cold. And empty, James. James? JAMES? Where are you? Please. James. Please, come—James. Where are you.
(ALICE has been slowly making her way to the EXIT at stage left. She EXITS. CURTAIN.)
(Opens with ALICE and a YOUNG MAN. It is a short time later. The front door is open. The YOUNG MAN has a vase. He gives ALICE money. ALICE seems slightly dazed, aware of her surroundings and what transpires, but not quite in tune with things going on around her.)
YOUNG MAN: Thank you. Mom’s going to love this.
(The YOUNG MAN begins to EXIT stage right. ALICE goes about the living room, straightening things up, and occasionally putting price tags on things she missed earlier. SCOTT ENTERS carrying two large suitcases. He is wearing a business suit, though he is not yet comfortable in such clothing.)
SCOTT: Mother. There you are. You have to be at the home—(He looks at his watch)
We should’ve left twenty minutes ago, Mother. I’ve been looking all over for you. What are you—(To YOUNG MAN) Who are you?
YOUNG MAN: I came for the vase.
SCOTT: (Setting down the suitcases) Vase. What vase? Mother, what’s going on—
YOUNG MAN: It’s for my Mom’s birthday. I wanted to buy her something nice, and she likes vases.
SCOTT: Mother—you sold him that vase? Mother.
ALICE: Yes? (Turning, she finally notices SCOTT) Oh. Hello, Scott.
SCOTT: (Cutting in) What are you doing, Mother?
ALICE: Where—why do you have my suitcases, Scott? What—
SCOTT: You sold him Mrs. Wilson’s vase?
(The YOUNG MAN has resumed trying to EXIT.)
SCOTT: Come back here. Look. You can’t have that vase.
YOUNG MAN: Why not? (He glances at ALICE, who is quietly leaving the room) She just sold it to me.
SCOTT: She can’t sell it. It’s not hers. This isn’t her—look, she doesn’t live here, O.K.? You’re going to have to give me that vase back.
YOUNG MAN: It’s Mom’s birthday.
SCOTT: Look, all right. Mother’s been—she’s been having problems. Her mind drifts. She wanders off and does things she’s not supposed to. (He reaches into his pocket) Look. Here. (He pulls money from a clip) How much did you pay?
YOUNG MAN: Five dollars.
SCOTT: Five? Mother should’ve just gave it to you. O.K., look. Take this. Ten bucks is more than enough.
YOUNG MAN: (He looks at the vase) My Mom likes vases. I just got a job—my first paycheck—and I wanted to get her something special for her birthday with my own money.
SCOTT: Here—here’s twenty. Go buy her a vase some place else. O.K.? Just give me—I need the vase back.
(SCOTT practically snatches the vase from the YOUNG MAN’s hand. SCOTT holds out the money to him.)
SCOTT: Take the money.
(The YOUNG MAN reluctantly takes the money.)
SCOTT: Now, if you don’t mind, we have to leave. (He sets the vase down, glances at his watch, and looks around the living room, surprised to find ALICE gone) Mother! It’s time. Let’s go.
(The YOUNG MAN leaves with a look of disgust and without closing the door)
(ALICE returns to the living room with a folded quilt.)
ALICE: Why are you shouting, Scott? (She places the quilt on the sofa and busies herself putting a price tag on it.)
SCOTT: (Impatiently) You shouldn’t be here, Mother. Today’s not cleaning day. Give me Mrs. Wilson’s key. Come on, Mother.
(ALICE absently gets the key from a pocket and gives it to SCOTT. SCOTT looks at his watch and goes to pick up the suitcases.)
SCOTT: Look, I’ll tell her goodbye for you when she gets back from vacation. We need to get going.
ALICE: What about the tag sale? You know we can’t take all this with us. The new apartment—
SCOTT: Mother. (He drops the suitcases and goes to her) There’s not going to be a tag sale. O.K.? Look, do you remember what today is? I called yesterday and you said that you’d be ready.
ALICE: Of course. Your father and I are going to move into our new apartment today. You’re supposed to help, Scott.
SCOTT: (He looks at his watch) I’ve got to be back at work in an hour, Mother. Look, all right. You’re moving, O.K.? There’s your suitcases. That’s all you need.
What about everything else? Your father said—
SCOTT: (Cutting in) Dad’s—(Takes a deep breath) They’re waiting for you, Mother. And I have to get back to work.
(SCOTT takes her by the elbow and gently leads her to the front door and the suitcases.)
ALICE: They? Where—James said everything will be—Scott. Scott, where’s your father?
SCOTT: Shh, Mother. We need to leave.
(SCOTT picks up the suitcases. ALICE takes a step back.)
ALICE: Scott. Go get your father. I’m not leaving without him.
(LANNY ENTERS and goes straight to the sofa, inspecting it as one would a new car.)
SCOTT: What are you doing? Get out of here!
LANNY: I came for the couch.
SCOTT: The couch?
(He drops the suitcases and glares at ALICE; to LANNY)
You need to leave.
ALICE: (Loudly and overlapping) James? JAMES? Scott, where’s your father?
SCOTT: Please, Mother, be quiet.
LANNY: (Overlapping) I hope you ain’t thinking of buying it.
SCOTT: Look. I don’t have time—
(LANNY pays no attention to him. SCOTT notices that ALICE has gone back to putting price tags on items. While LANNY talks, SCOTT can be seen talking insistently with ALICE in a low voice. ALICE can be seen responding, but in a way incongruent with SCOTT’S anger.)
LANNY: (Overlapping) Man, I love this couch. When me and my cousin—you know Jimmy, right? He stays on the floor above me. You don’t? Anyway, we were making money on the side, you know, moving tables and couches and heavy crap for some of the old people when they bought something or got rid of stuff. That’s the crap, you know? Man, when I heard about the tag sale in 4C I ran up three flights of stairs—no elevator or nothing, you know? When me and Jimmy, my cousin, brought this couch up here—had to be about two summers ago, the hot one when the Super told us to put our shirts on, said he wasn’t about to have no half-naked men, and sweatin’ at that, runnin’ around his building, I told Jimmy, my cousin: “Jimmy, man, I got to have me a couch like this. This is real leather, man.”
(LANNY laughs. SCOTT looks at his watch, pulls out his cell phone and dials. He talks animatedly in hushed tones as ALICE returns her attention back to the grandfather clock.)
LANNY: Jimmy said that a couch with real leather ain’t no couch but a sofa. Don’t much matter to me what you call it as long as it feels as soft as my girlfriend’s—(He looks up at SCOTT) Man, can I sit on it? See how it feels?
ALICE: (Turning around) The quilt goes with the sofa. I think they look nice together—
SCOTT: (Turning off his cell phone and cutting in) Are you still here? I thought I told you to get out of here.
(He glares at LANNY. ALICE busies herself with the clock.)
LANNY: (With disappointment) Man, it’s sold already. Ain’t it?
SCOTT: Look, all right. Nothing’s for sale. I don’t know what makes you think you can just walk into someone’s apartment—
LANNY: (Cutting in) Hey man, people have been in and out of here all morning. I just came for the couch. I don’t want no trouble, man.
(ALICE goes to the couch, picks up the quilt and EXITS stage left with it.)
SCOTT: All morning? Mother. How many things have you sold—Mother?
LANNY: It’s all over the building, you know? Tag sale in 4C. My cousin Jimmy, he bought a great lookin’ color T.V. about an hour ago. He called me at work and said the couch—the sofa—was still here. When I got off work I ran all the way up here. No elevator or nothing, man. So, how much—how much for the sofa, man?
SCOTT: Look. There’s been a mistake. (He looks at his watch and sighs with resignation) I’m definitely not going to make the staff meeting now. And I still have the sales report—and Mother. (He looks around the living room) Look—what’d you say your name was?
LANNY: Lanny. 8G. The fourth apartment on the—
SCOTT: (Cutting in) O.K. All right. Look, I’ve got a deal for you, Lanny.
(LANNY looks at the sofa in anticipation)
No. Not the sofa. Look. This isn’t Mother’s apartment.
(LANNY looks around the living room)
She can’t sell you the sofa, or anything else in here. None of this is hers. This is Mrs. Wilson’s—
LANNY: (Cutting in apprehensively) Oh man. This ain’t her stuff? Man—Jimmy—hey, Jimmy’s PO ain’t going to like this. (He turns to leave) Jimmy don’t need—
SCOTT: PO? Wait—wait a minute. Don’t leave.
LANNY: His PO, man. Parole Officer. Buying a stolen T.V. will get him sent back to prison in a heartbeat. His PO’s by the book, man. I got to tell Jimmy—
SCOTT: Wait! No, don’t—wait. Look, all right. No one stole anything, O.K.? There’s just been—Mother wandered in here and thought it was her apartment. That’s all. Thought she was still having that tag sale and Dad—(He pulls out some bills) Look, here’s twenty bucks.
LANNY: Man, I ain’t into that.
(SCOTT walks quickly to LANNY to keep him from leaving)
SCOTT: I need you to help me. Look, I need you to find out everyone who bought things from Mother—from here. Everything, you got that? Can you do that for me? I’ll make sure everyone gets their money back. Plus—(He quickly counts the money on his clip) Plus ten percent for their trouble. I have to get all of Mrs. Wilson’s things back. Everything, O.K.?
LANNY: (Tentatively) Jimmy ain’t going to get in no trouble with the T.V.? This Mrs. Wilson—
SCOTT: No, no. I’ll handle all that. He’s not in trouble. He just needs to bring that T.V. back.
LANNY: He will. Jimmy don’t want no trouble.
SCOTT: Look. If Jimmy helps me—if I get all of Mrs. Wilson’s things back, I’ll make sure Jimmy gets a new T.V. And—(He glances at the sofa) And I’ll make sure you get a new sofa, too. Just like Mrs. Wilson’s.
LANNY: A leather couch, man? Just like—
SCOTT: Yes, leather. If I get everything back.
LANNY: I guess I can ask around. Jimmy, my cousin, he’ll know more than me. He works for the Super here—when he ain’t working at the gas station on the corner—he does mostly electrical stuff, but pretty much whatever the Super wants—
SCOTT: (He looks at his watch impatiently, cutting in) O.K. All right. Look—if you hurry up, I might be able to make it back to the office in time to finish that report before midnight. It really can’t wait until tomorrow. (He escorts LANNY to the door) Remember: a T.V. for Jimmy and a leather sofa for you. O.K.?
LANNY: We’ll get everything back, don’t worry—
(SCOTT practically shuts the door in LANNY’s face. He looks around the living room at all the price tags. He snatches a few off.)
SCOTT: Mother! You need to take these tags off. We have some time now. Not much—Mother. (SCOTT’S cell rings. He EXITS stage left answering it.)
(Opens a short time later with ALICE reluctantly pulling off tags. She is alone and her monologue is a mixture of her talking to both herself and James. ALICE speaks in a level, normal voice.)
ALICE: Things don’t make sense anymore. Remember when we decided to move, James? Wasn’t hard to settle that, with your pension and all. Made all the sense in the world. Stay in an apartment we couldn’t afford. Silly. Now, Scott wants—what do you suppose has gotten into him lately? He spends all his time at work. He hasn’t dated a girl since college, James. I asked him about it the other day. Said he didn’t have time for things like that. What does he mean, “things like that”? I don’t understand, James. What about children? I’ve always wanted grandchildren, James, ever since—(Notices suitcases) James? Why does Scott have my suitcases? He says we are moving. All in a hurry. Yelling and getting after me to hurry up. That’s no way to treat—he used to be so . . . I don’t know, not in a hurry all the time. He used to have more time for me. (Pause. Her wandering has taken her back to the grandfather clock. She looks at her watch and sets the clock’s time.) Maybe you need to have a talk with him. Scott’s been so—so different since you—(Slight pause Since—since he got that job. Work, work, work. That’s all he thinks about now. James, do you know the he forgot my birthday? I got a phone call from him yesterday and I think to myself, you know, he has been busy, maybe he doesn’t have the time to wish me happy birthday in person and he’s calling me now to do that. But no. Scott rattles off something about moving—no, not moving. He said to be ready, that I’m going—(Pause) I think that job of his is too much for him. Why else would he forget that we are moving into our new apartment today? Then he comes in here, telling me to hurry up, let’s go, it’s time to leave, it’s time to take the tags off, time—(Throws tags onto a nearby table in anger) It’s time—it’s time for what, James? What is it time for—I don’t understand. (Looks at the clock and fixes its time again) I don’t know what you ever saw in this old thing. It’s always slow, James. Needs too much attention. You ought to be able to set the time and forget . . . forget about it. (Pause; then softly) Forget that it’s even here. (She looks around the living room and notices the suitcases again) I can’t, James. I just can’t. Oh, James—Scott wants to—he wants to send me away—James! You can’t let him—Scott can’t do this. He can’t. James. James, don’t let him. Please. Don’t let Scott—
(The apartment’s doorbell buzzes)
James? James—Scott. We need to—Scott?
(SCOTT has entered, talking on his cell phone. He holds up a hand to ALICE, says a few words impatiently into his cell phone, then hangs up. The doorbell buzzes incessantly.)
SCOTT: All right. All right.
(He opens the front door. LANNY and JIMMY ENTER. JIMMY carries a T.V., LANNY a lamp and a bowl. JIMMY sets the T.V. down and goes back out into hallway for the rest of the things. ALICE goes to the sofa and sits down.)
LANNY: We got everything, man. I told you me and Jimmy, my cousin, we would get all your stuff back. Didn’t I?
SCOTT: Are you sure? I can’t have Mrs. Wilson come back and find something missing.
LANNY: Yeah, man, I’m sure. Jimmy, my cousin, he knows how to find stuff. Ain’t that right Jimmy?
(JIMMY nods as he brings in another item)
My cousin Jimmy used to have a real good nose for things, back when he weren’t legit. That was a long time ago. He’s clean now—has been—right Jimmy? and he’s all legit. But he still knows how to get things done the old way. (Quickly) He didn’t break no laws or nothing. See? You got your T.V. back.
(SCOTT’s cell rings and he answers it aggressively. JIMMY returns with the last item and goes about putting things up—obviously not where things go, but making an earnest effort to straighten everything up. LANNY follows him around the living room, halfheartedly moving things around and generally just being nosy. JIMMY eventually ends up near the sofa and ALICE.)
JIMMY: Hello, ma’am.
ALICE: Oh,—hello. I remember you. I hope nothing’s wrong with the television.
(JIMMY nods in the direction of the T.V. and SCOTT. ALICE sees the T.V. and sighs loudly.)
JIMMY: (Indicating the sofa) Is it all right if I sit down? Lanny’s had me running up and down this building all afternoon.
ALICE: Yes, of course.
(JIMMY sits down)
It’s a shame my son made you bring your television back.
JIMMY: I guess I had to.
ALICE: I don’t know why. We can’t take it with us.
JIMMY: Where are you going?
ALICE: We’re moving. James—my husband—his pension wasn’t what we thought it’d be.
JIMMY: (With a small smile) Yeah, things don’t always turn out the way we expect.
ALICE: That’s the truth. We couldn’t afford to stay here. So we had to leave. The new apartment is a lot smaller, but—well, we just don’t have the money for a bigger place.
JIMMY: I’m sorry to hear that. Sometimes we got to make do with what we got, though.
ALICE: Yes, we do. We have to make out the best we can.
(After a slightly uncomfortable pause, JIMMY looks around the living room. SCOTT finishes his phone call.)
JIMMY: Your husband, he’s left already?
ALICE: (With confusion) James? He—has he left? (She looks around, gets halfway up from the sofa, and calls out) James. James?
(SCOTT eases her back down onto the sofa.)
SCOTT: Mother, please. (To JIMMY) Look, my father’s gone.
ALICE: Gone? (Softly) James.
JIMMY: (To SCOTT) He left you and your Momma?
ALICE: (Overlapping) James.
SCOTT: (Easing JIMMY up off the sofa, pulling him off to the side) Will you leave her alone about it? Look—Dad died almost eight months ago.
JIMMY: Oh, hey—I’m sorry.
SCOTT: (Angrily) Why? You didn’t do anything.
ALICE: James. Oh, James.
(ALICE begins to weep and SCOTT goes to her.)
SCOTT: It’s all right, Mother.
JIMMY: She said they were moving. I’m sorry.
SCOTT: (Getting up and going to JIMMY) No. I’m taking her to a home. Look, all right—we were supposed to have been there three hours ago if not for all this mess.
JIMMY: (Narrowing his eyes) A home?
SCOTT: She’s had lapses. They’ve been getting worse and worse, O.K.? What else can I do? I can’t look after her all day, everyday. I just—I have too much work, that’s all.
JIMMY: You cain’t do that.
SCOTT: Do what?
JIMMY: You cain’t send her to no home. She—
SCOTT: (Cutting in angrily) I can and will. I have no choice.
JIMMY: She’s going to need someone. (He looks at ALICE) Especially now.
SCOTT: Look, all right—Mother isn’t going to be alone. There are other people at the home. It’s almost like a private hospital. She’ll have someone to look after her. I can’t do it.
JIMMY: She doesn’t need someone—she needs her family. She’s going to need you. (For the first time, JIMMY’s face sets with a hard look) Why you doin’ this? What she do to deserve sendin’ away?
SCOTT: Do? I can’t leave her alone for a minute. Look at what she did this time. Came into Mrs. Wilson’s apartment and sold her things!
JIMMY: (Softly with an edge) That ain’t no reason.
(LANNY walks up to JIMMY. SCOTT stares at JIMMY, who does not back down or blink. SCOTT gives in, shakes his head, and sits down on the sofa with ALICE to console her.)
LANNY: Why you gettin’ on him about his Momma? I thought you just wanted a color T.V.?
JIMMY: It ain’t right.
LANNY: Let him do what he wants. That’s his Momma.
JIMMY: (Angrily) His Momma ain’t no T.V. to do with as he likes. (Slight pause) Like you do with yours.
LANNY: (Unfazed) She where she suppose to be. It’s her fault for drinking like—
JIMMY: (Cutting in) Just the same. You don’t visit her or write or nothing.
LANNY: (Laughs) She don’t need me for nothin’. She didn’t need me that time when she stayed drunk for three weeks and locked me out of the apartment to sleep in the hall. Or when she hit that cop in the face with the Crockpot, with the pork roast in it and everything, and gone to jail. She’ll get by without me. You know that Jimmy, like she always has.
JIMMY: All I know is that you’re doing the same thing to your Momma that he wants to do with his.
LANNY: Come on, Jimmy. You know what it’s like in jail; prison I mean. You always braggin’ about how you made it in there all on your own. Being your own man and not havin’ to depend on no one but yourself. You did it, she can too. She don’t need no one.
JIMMY: I did it because I had to. Going to prison, or any place where you feel like it’s a prison, is like being dropped off in a jungle and forgotten about to fend for yourself.
LANNY: Man, we ain’t never forgot—
JIMMY: That’s what it feels like. You get scared in a place like that, no familiar faces. No friends or family. Just you—you’re surrounded by people, but you might as well be on the moon by yourself. That’s the worst part of it, Lanny. I could handle everything they did, or tried to do, to me. But being cut off from my family—well, I’m lucky I made it.
LANNY: Luck? Then you got more luck than a rabbit’s foot. (Laughs) You always come out on top because you work, man. You ain’t lazy and don’t ask nobody for nothin’. You your own man and look out for yourself when no one else will. You done all right for yourself. I ain’t goin’ to worry about Momma, you know that. Hey, Jimmy, what about your T.V.?
(JIMMY turns away in disgust at their long-standing argument and walks over to SCOTT and ALICE.)
LANNY: Ask him about my sofa, too, Jimmy.
(JIMMY looks back and glares at him; LANNY laughs.)
LANNY: All right, Jimmy. Just asking, man. Hey—I bet the game’s still on.
(LANNY goes to the T.V., plugs it in, finds the game and watches it. He can be heard cheering and generally talking to the T.V.—he is background noise only, not loud enough to interrupt or overwhelm the dialogue of the others.)
SCOTT: (Looking up at JIMMY as he approaches) Look, I appreciate your help, getting all of Mrs. Wilson’s things back. But you don’t have any business here with me and Mother.
JIMMY: Then who does?
SCOTT: I do.
JIMMY: You just said that you ain’t got no time for her.
SCOTT: I didn’t mean it like that—I am taking care of her.
JIMMY: No you ain’t. You’re sending her away.
SCOTT: I’m not—
JIMMY: (Cutting in) She’s going to be more alone around all those strangers than she is now.
SCOTT: Look, all right. I don’t want to do this, O.K.?
JIMMY: Then don’t.
SCOTT: What am I supposed to do? Quit my job and stay home and take care of her myself? And live off what?
JIMMY: (Shakes his head slowly) Don’t matter what you do—just don’t quit your Momma.
(SCOTT’s cell rings again. He gets up reluctantly this time and answers it. JIMMY replaces him on the sofa.)
JIMMY: You miss him, don’t you?
That’s because you loved him. Anything that separates you from a loved one is a hard thing, ma’am. Sometimes, it can make you hard, too.
ALICE: (Softly) I can’t—I love him too much.
JIMMY: Yeah, you cain’t stop, no matter the circumstances. (Pause) Even after they’re gone.
ALICE: I don’t want him to be gone. I don’t want to be alone. I want him here with me. Like he’s always been.
(SCOTT’s conversation on the cell gets loud as he watches JIMMY and ALICE talk.)
JIMMY: You ain’t alone.
ALICE: It’s hard without James.
JIMMY: You got a son that loves you.
ALICE: Scott—he . . . he has his own life.
JIMMY: But he’s got time for you.
ALICE: (Glances at SCOTT on the cell) He has to work. He doesn’t have time for me.
JIMMY: (Smiles) He’s here now, ain’t he?
(JIMMY looks at SCOTT and listens to his conversation. He turns back to ALICE and smiles for her.)
He’s on the phone with them now. Those people at the home.
SCOTT: (Overlapping, on cell) No. Never mind. I won’t—I don’t have time. Get Jack to do it . . . No. I can’t.
ALICE: I don’t want to leave. I’m scared. I don’t—
JIMMY: He’s telling them to cancel everything.
JIMMY: Yes, ma’am. Your son—he ain’t going to send you to no home.
SCOTT: (Overlapping, on cell) I don’t care. I’ve got to get Mother settled in . . . You do that . . . Yes, that’s your decision . . . Do what you need to—I’ve got to . . . I will, then. O.K. . . . I will—yes.
ALICE: He’s not? Scott—
JIMMY: You’re staying here. You ain’t leaving.
(She looks up at SCOTT and smiles at him. SCOTT ends the conversation on the cell.)
SCOTT: Mother, I—
ALICE: Thank you, Scott. Thank you so much.
(SCOTT looks uncertainly at ALICE, then to JIMMY, who stares hard at him.)
JIMMY: I was just telling her that you changed your mind.
SCOTT: I what?
JIMMY: About the home.
SCOTT: (Looks from ALICE to JIMMY) I—what did you tell her?
JIMMY: That you ain’t sending her.
ALICE: I want to stay here, Scott.
SCOTT: I didn’t—I was just thinking of waiting a couple of days.
(JIMMY stares hard at him.)
ALICE: Scott. You said—
SCOTT: Mother. (Long pause; he takes a deep breath) Mother, I—
(SCOTT’s cell phone rings again. He is about to answer it, then looks from JIMMY to ALICE. He turns the cell off.)
SCOTT: I only said that I was taking a couple of days off.
ALICE: Take off?
SCOTT: From work.
ALICE: I didn’t think you could do that, Scott.
SCOTT: I want—Mother, I want to spend a couple of days with you.
ALICE: You want . . .
JIMMY: See, I told you, ma’am.
(JIMMY puts up his hands and smiles. SCOTT goes to ALICE.)
SCOTT: Mother, look. I . . . I want to apologize.
ALICE: Scott . . .
SCOTT: No, Mother. (He glances at JIMMY) Dad—I miss him, too. I guess that’s why I’ve spent so much time at work. That was my way—that’s how I dealt with his—with everything.
ALICE: Scott. You don’t need—
SCOTT: (Shakes his head, cutting in) Maybe that wasn’t the best way, either. I know it’s been hard for you because it’s been hard for me, too. And—and I’ve been too busy to realize—too involved with work, with trying to forget that I . . . that I forgot you, too. I’m sorry, Mother.
ALICE: You work too much.
SCOTT: I know, Mother.
ALICE: You even spend the weekends at your office. I sit around by myself all day. All day I think. And think and remember about your father until I think I’m going crazy. Sometimes I think your father—that James isn’t gone.
SCOTT: I miss him, too.
ALICE: But he’s not. He’s not here anymore. And I need—
SCOTT: I’m here, Mother. I’ll always be here.
ALICE: When I’m alone, I think about him. I think so hard and so much that my thoughts just come alive. (Softly) He’s here, Scott. Sometimes he’s here with me. Alive. He’s with me every minute, Scott. All the time. Even now, I can feel him—talk to him. (Looks intently at SCOTT) I’ve got to stop trying to bring him back. I have to leave him here, Scott. (Indicating her head) I have to be comfortable with him here. Because he can’t—James can’t be anywhere else. I need time, Scott—time to get used to all this. To him being gone.
JIMMY: And time to forget.
JIMMY: Some times are made for rememberin’. Some for forgettin’.
ALICE: I don’t want to forget.
SCOTT: (Overlapping) Jimmy.
JIMMY: Forgetting don’t mean you cain’t remember again later. Forgetting is just taking a break from remembering.
ALICE: (Slowly) Yes, you’re right. It can be. (She looks around the living room) Oh, Scott, what have I done?
SCOTT: It’s all right. Come on, Mother. Let’s go.
JIMMY: (To LANNY) Turn that thing off, Lanny.
LANNY: Man, there’s twenty-four seconds left. The game’s tied and—
(JIMMY walks over to the T.V. and turns it off.)
JIMMY: (Softly) We got to go.
LANNY: All right.
ALICE: (Slightly nervous) Scott, where—where are we going, Scott?
SCOTT: (Smiling) Home. We’re going home, Mother. (To JIMMY) Thanks, for everything.
JIMMY: No problem.
SCOTT: Come by tomorrow and I’ll settle with you and Lanny. You know Mother’s apartment number?
LANNY: (Before JIMMY can answer) Yeah. Yeah, we know it. 2D. She stays in 2D, two doors down from that Greek family. You know their apartment, Jimmy, the one with—
JIMMY: (Cutting in good-naturedly) The one with the door painted that ugly purple and the Super—
LANNY: Yeah! And the Super threatened to evict them. The Super is prejudice, man, he don’t like the color purple or nothing, just that yellow you see all over the building. Anyway, the Big Boss, he only likes the color green and told the Super to leave them alone. Told him he didn’t care if their door was polka-dotted so long as they paid their rent.
(They all laugh; even ALICE smiles without reservations.)
JIMMY: (To SCOTT) See you tomorrow. (To ALICE) Bye, ma’am.
SCOTT: (Overlapping as he picks up the suitcases) Come by anytime.
LANNY: Come on, Jimmy. I want to see who won the game. Since you gave your T.V. back, I got to go down—
(LANNY and JIMMY EXIT. LANNY’s voice trails off. ALICE stops at the door, turns around, and looks at the living room. SCOTT stops, too.)
ALICE: I’m sorry, Scott. I don’t—
SCOTT: Don’t worry about it, Mother. No harm done—we got everything back. Though I can’t believe you actually sold some of this stuff. Look at this junk.
ALICE: (Shocked, but smiling) Scott! Don’t say such things. (Pause) I kind of like that old grandfather clock, Scott. It reminds me . . .
SCOTT: (Off stage) Come on, Mother. I’ll help you unpack.
(ALICE looks as though she sees something and raises her arm halfway to wave. She stops short and shakes her head sadly. ALICE EXITS and quietly closes the door. There is a pause. A MAN ENTERS stage left, goes to the grandfather clock, opens its glass case, and inserts a key. He winds up the clock, gives the pendulum a starting push, and watches it for a few beats. Satisfied, he closes the case, looks briefly at the closed front door, then EXITS the way he entered. Two beats. Three. The clock strikes an hour as the CURTAIN lowers.)