A lady in the crowd
It is a late winter night in San Francisco. Traffic is slow and a few vehicles carefully drive above a slippery road of thin ice. A far distance from the main highway stands a small one story home decorated with a garden of weeds and dead grass. Behind the walls of this impecunious home lies a dusty kitchen with a sink full of dishes. Above an old wooden table sits a middle aged mother and daughter having a heated argument about their dysfunctional relationship.
VALENTINA: (Angrily) Shut your mouth Astrid!
ASTRID: (Taunting voice) Oh? I see, (pauses) do you want me to quit teasing you because you can't handle the truth?
VALENTINA: I know the truth, you're just a stupid spoiled brat!
ASTRID: Bullshit, I'm sick of comforting you with lies. All because you're not woman enough to handle the truth. (whispers) You're a coward.
VALENTINA:(Cries out) Fool! You don't have a clue what it's like. I'm trying Astrid... (sighs) but it's so hard.
ASTRID: (Sarcastically) You make it sound like torture. Horrible isn't it?
VALENTINA: No it's not like that. On the contrary. i-it's (pauses) well you don't see it. You feel it.
ASTRID: (Blankly) That makes no sense.
VALENTINA: Little Astrid it'll all make sense one day.
ASTRID: Little? I'm seventeen years old. I'm practically a grown adult!
VALENTINA: Well sweetie, I hope your first love will lead you in the right direction. This young man better not be a wrong turn. I wouldn't want to see you hurt and stuck in a dead end.
ASTRID: Don't sweat it, I'm in no rush when it comes to this. Who knows? I might even die alone.
VALENTINA: No that's probably going to be me.
ASTRID: Not funny.
VALENTINA: I wasn't trying to make you laugh. I really mean it. No one compares to him. He was never mine. I don't think he could be anyone's. He never wanted to be owned, and that's what I loved most about him.
ASTRID: Aw! That's so cheesy but this isn't Romeo and Juliet. He's gone and life goes on. (pauses) I just want to see you happy again.
VALENTINA: (staring at the ground) I am happy.
ASTRID: Oh really, are you sure about that? Or are you just trying to convince yourself?
VALENTINA: I'm not lying! I'm the happiest woman who's ever lived.
ASTRID: Happy by being a work alcoholic? (shakes head) You've been trying to crack this case for a lifetime. Get some rest Val. You've got to set your limits.
VALENTINA: There are no limits.
ASTRID: You've got to throw in the towel already. You're killing yourself trying to find a criminal who could be anywhere across the World.
VALENTINA: We'll see about that. It's about time I prove you wrong.
ASTRID: I'll believe it when I see it.
VALENTINA: Bruno Gabino is one of the FBI'S top most wanted. This is the case of a lifetime. Look (pauses) catching an Italian drug lord who's been under our radar for over ten years would show that no one messes with federal law. I'm not going to give up. I'd rather die trying.
ASTRID: Day in and day out you've got your head stuck up your ass. Always working for the stupid Bureau. You're the best the agency has (pauses) but mom you rarely come home.
VALENTINA: I just want you to have all I've never had. I work my butt off so you can have (extends arms) all of these nice things. Meanwhile, you don't appreciate the sacrifices I make. But hopefully someday, you will.
ASTRID: Mom. Money isn't everything.
VALENTINA: mumbles) Besides there isn't much to do besides work.
ASTRID: Wrong. There's a World outside of the Bureau.
VALENTINA: (sarcastically) Reaklly, like what?
ASTRID: To begin with, you can move on. You can fall in love again. Besides dad is dea-
VALENTINA: (outraged) Shut up!
ASTRID: (shouts) Dad is dead!
VALENTINA: It doesn't matter if he's dead. I don't want to be with anyone who's not Sebastian.
ASTRID: But da-
VALENTINA: I said shut the hell up!
ASTRID: Dad is gone!
VALENTINA: (Slaps a side of Astrid's cheek).
ASTRID: This isn't the mother I remember from when I was a child.
VALENTINA: I won't love any other man like Sebastian, so why would I even bother? (Pauses) I'm sorry sweetie... I-I didn't mean to hurt you.
ASTRID: Your hits don't hurt. What hurts is seeing you never come home. All as a distraction to escape from your depression.
VALENTINA: (Lowly whispers) I'm sorry.
ASTRID: No you're not.
VALENTINA: I am my dear. (sobbing) I'm so sorry for doing this to you!
ASTRID: I just want you to quit working 24-7.
VALENTINA: I guess I'll stop working double shifts then. I'm going to rearrange my schedule.
ASTRID: (crying) I just miss who my mother use to be. Mom please come back home.
VALENTINA: I will.
VALENTINA: (Hugs Astrid) I promise.
Authors Note: "Come Home" was originally a project I wrote while attending UCSD. It felt extremely nauseating to act out my writing dialogue in front of over fifty people. I found courage I didn't know I had and the crowd enjoyed our performance. People's reactions were priceless. They laughed, gasped in shock, and gave a large,"Awwww," for our grand finale. Lots of thanks to one of my close friends, Alyssa, from the South West drama club who played the role of Astrid.