Friday, May 30, 2008

Excerpt from the play CORIE

BEN abandoned CORIE twenty years ago. Now he has returned, telling her that he never stopped loving her. At the point where we pick up the dialogue, we are well into the second Act, and BEN has just informed CORIE that he is dieing of leukemia.

CORIE: Window’s still hot. Been dark for hours, but th’ window’s still warm t’ th’ touch. An awning would be nice, don’t ya think? Some cool shade from th’ heat o’ th’ sun. Wouldn’t that be nice?

BEN: Would you sit down for a minute?

CORIE: Had an awning once. Cheap flimsy thing, all canvas an’ wood. Norm tol’ me th’ first big wind an’ it’d be gone. It was.

BEN: I’m worried about you.

CORIE: I know what I want – saw a pitcher o’ it in th’ Sears catalogue. Aluminum an’ steel. Pretty, too. White with a green edge. I could order it – be here in a couple weeks. Wouldn’t take long for us t’ put it up. An’ then we could … we could … somethin’ …

BEN: Please don’t do this.

CORIE: What? I’m not doin’ nothin’.

BEN: You’ve had enough pain in your life. I don’t want to cause you any more.

CORIE: Ya don’t cause me pain. You’re m’ pleasure an’ m’ joy. Don’t ya know that?

BEN: I have leukemia.

CORIE: An’ you’re getting’ better. That’s what them pills are for. Ya haven’t coughed hardly, all day.

BEN: Some days are better than others, that’s all.

CORIE: Don’t wanna talk ‘bout it no more.

BEN: We have to.

CORIE: Monday – no, wait – Tuesday, we’ll drive up t’ th’ clinic in Elkhorn.

BEN: That won’t help.

CORIE: Lincoln, then. They got hospitals there, good as anywhere.

BEN: You’re not listening. I’m not going to get any better.

CORIE: Stop sayin’ that.

BEN: It’s true.

CORIE: Ya don’t know that – not for certain. Not for positive certain.

(BEN starts to object.)

No. Lemme finish. I know what you’re thinkin’ – I don’t know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, jus’ clutchin’ at straws. Well, maybe I am, but so what? I’ll clutch at ‘em all day, if I’ve a mind t’. Beats layin’ down an’ diein’, don’t it? I buried m’ maw an’ paw, m’ son, an’ m’ best frien’. An I’ll tell ya somethin’, I purely didn’t like it much. Held Edie’s han’ for twenty-six hours straight, ‘till it wasn’t Edie no more, jus’ a dead thing liein’ there. But I never gave up – hopin’, prayin’ – never did. So if ya think I’m gonna give up easy on you, you’re wrong! I won’t! An’ if I won’t, why are you?

BEN: You think that’s what I’ve done?

CORIE: Ya made me a promise once.

BEN: What was that?

CORIE: Don’t ya remember? When we was first together, an’ everythin’ was such a wonder – we stayed up ‘till three, four in th’ mornin’, every night?

BEN: We made a lot of promises.

CORIE: One. One special one. Ya promised when we got old, you’d try t’ live long enough so I could die before ya? Ya remember? I didn’t wanna be old an’ alone without ya. Scared me. Shouldn’t I only pretend that happened?

BEN: Don’t be cynical.

CORIE: I’m not – don’t have ‘nough experience for it – ‘cept what I learned from you.

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