BOBBIN
A Stage Play About Coping

By David Durham
(setup: Phil is seated - fixing a sewing machine. Judith is standing watching. Lilly is off stage)



Judith
I’m glad you could get the day off. Everything’s been so quiet since…

Phil
Hey, not a problem. It’s one of my husbandly duties. But, you still need to get out and start doin’ things. It’s been two months. It might sound insensitive but you’ve got to get on with your life.

Judith
I’m not ready yet, I…I just need time.

Phil
We could go out and do dinner or a movie…

Judith
No…I…It’s still a little too soon.

Phil
Well then I guess it’s TV and the Microwave. (Fixes sewing machine) Hey, what do ya know.

Judith
This is great! How’d you get it to work? (Phil gets up, Judith sits at machine).

Phil
I don’t know, I was just messn’ around with it. I think somethn’ was loose.

Judith
Wow. I inherited it from Grandma Lill. I remember my mom telling me stories about Grandma and this old machine. She said she was a seamstress at a silent movie studio back in the 20’s. And she ran her own dress shop on the side. I don’t know how much of it was real. You know how my mom is with stories. She used to talk about Grandma sewing by candle light and dying the cloth by hand…

Phil
Yea and it was up hill both ways to school…

Judith
I remember stories about the extravagant gowns she made and the stars that wore them to opening nights…

Phil
You know how your mom likes to exaggerate.

Judith
Yea, well, at least you got it working. This thing probably hasn’t run in a hundred years. I wonder what it’s worth?

Lilly
(appears from back stage) It’s not for sale.

Judith
Can I help you?

Phil
Can you help me what?

Judith
Who are you?

Phil
What?

Lilly
Don’t you recognize me?

Judith
Who’s that woman?

Phil
What woman? What are you talking about?

Judith
The woman standing…behind…you…

Lilly
Has it been so long?

Phil
Honey what’s wrong?

Judith
Who is that woman?

Phil
(Looking around not seeing anyone) Where? Where are you looking?

Judith
What do you mean where!? She’s standing right…there…Don’t you see her?

Phil
Honey I don’t see anything. Is she out the window…

Judith
(Panicking) This isn’t funny.

Lilly
(Walks slowly around the room looking at different things)

Phil
I’m not trying to be funny, I just don’t know who you’re talkn’ about. Where is she?

Judith
She’s right there (Pointing).

Phil
(Can’t see anyone) Honey, I don’t see who…

Judith
Stop it, this isn’t funny!

Phil
Calm down. It’s OK, you’re gonna be ok.

Judith
Don’t you see her? (Begins hyperventilating)

Phil
Here, just sit here, I’m gonna get you some water or something. (runs out the back)

Lilly
This is a beautiful home.

Judith
What do you want? Who are you?

Lilly
Judith, don’t you recognize your Grama Lill?

Judith
My grandmother died before I was born. Who are you?

Lilly
There was a time when I was dead.

Judith
Philip!

Lilly
Don’t you recognize me from your mothers photographs?

Phil
(Running back on stage) I’m here honey. I got, I got your pills. The ones Dr. Silva gave you.

Judith
I don’t want any pills. Can’t you…can’t you see her?

Phil
See who? Here, just take these.

Judith
No…no…you can’t see her can you?

Phil
Judith there’s no one here honey. You’re just imagining…

Judith
(Looking at Lilly). I’m just imagining?

Phil
Just take these. You’ll feel better.

Judith
I’m just imagining…

Lilly
Does it feel like you’re just imagining?

Judith
She’s talking to me.

Phil
There’s no one there.

Lilly
You still don’t recognize me?

Judith
She does look like Grandma Lill.

Phil
What?

Lilly
That’s because I am.

Phil
Judith you need to take these pills. I think the stress …

Judith
But I can see her!

Lilly
Seeing is believing.

Judith
But you can’t be real.

Phil
That’s right, she’s not real.

Lilly
If I’m not real then why are you afraid of me?

Judith
I’m not afraid.

Phil
Well you still need to take these pills.

Judith
No, I’m alright.

Lilly
I see you fixed my sewing machine.

Judith
Phil fixed it.

Phil
I fixed what?

Judith
The sewing machine. She’s asking about it.

Phil
You’re talking to her?

Lilly
I see you married a smart one.

Phil
I’m gonna call Dr. Silva. You just…don’t move. (Runs back stage)

Lilly
That sewing machine was my livelihood. I would spend hours…

Judith
…hours sewing by candle light, yes I know. My mother told me all the stories…

Lilly
Your mother told you most of the stories…

Judith
Are you a spirit or ghost…or real or…

Lilly
I am…here. For you. To help you.

Judith
For me? What? It’s my time to die? Are you…

Lilly
No. It’s your time to live. And you’re not living. Not since the accident.

Judith
What do know about that?

Lilly
I know everything.

Judith
What are you? An angle? A conscious?

Lilly
You have no word for me. Just call me Granma Lill.

Judith
Why are you here? Why did you come?

Phil
(Running back in) I called the doctor. He said you should take the pills and we should drive in to see him right now.

Judith
I’m not leaving the house!

Lilly
That’s one reason I’ve come.

Phil
Judith, you’re sick you need help.

Lilly
That’s another reason I’ve come.

Phil
Ever since his death you’ve just been getting worse.

Lilly
And that’s why I’ve come. I’ve come to help you.

Judith
She said she’s here to help me.

Phil
Well I’m here to help you too. Come on, let’s get your coat.

Judith
No. I’m not going anywhere.

Phil
Judith, I’ll pick you up an carry you if I have to.

Lilly
Ask him about his dog Fiffer.

Judith
Dog Fiffer?

Phil
What? What did you say?

Judith
She wants me to mention your dog Fiffer. You never had a dog.

Phil
I did a long time ago. He died when I was a kid. How did you know…Come one we’re going to the hospital.

Lilly
Ask how it died.

Judith
How did it die?

Phil
Ah, he was hit by a car, come on we’re leaving.

Lilly
That’s not the truth.

Judith
She says you’re lying.

Phil
How…it doesn’t matter. Come on.

Lilly
It matters very much.

Judith
How did it die.

Phil
It’s not important. I’m gonna get your coat. (exits back stage)

Lilly
He was playing one winter morning. The dog was running after a stick and fell through the ice. He never saw it again. He blamed himself for years.

Phil
(reenters) We’re leaving now.

Judith
He fell through the ice?

Phil
(shocked) How did you?…No one knows that. I was the only one there, no one knows that…how do you…no one knows that…(confused)

Judith:
She just told me. How could I know that unless she told me.

Phil
…Maybe I told you and forgot…

Judith
I never knew you had a dog.

Phil
How could you…know that?

Judith
She’s real isn’t she?

Phil
There’s no one here! The doctor said you might do this. You might invent people to take the place of…

Judith
I don’t invent people. I’m not crazy!

Phil
Please just come with me to the hospital.

Judith
So Granma Lill, am I crazy?

Lilly
You have suffered a terrible loss. And you don’t know how to cope, how to let go. That doesn’t make you crazy, only confused.

Judith
I’m not going. I don’t need to go.

Phil
Is that what the voices in your head told you?! Listen to yourself. You’re asking imaginary people if you’re emotionally disturbed!

Judith
I’m fine!

Phil
You’re not fine. You’re far from fine. Look at yourself. You’ve been locked up in this house for two months. You’re not eating. You don’t sleep. You don’t see anyone – unless they’re imaginary!

Judith
Stop it! I’m getting over a horrible tragedy! You don’t know what it’s like!

Phil
You’re right, I don’t know. But the doctors do. They want to help you, but you have to want their help. Let’s go to the…

Judith
…to the asylum?! The nut house, the crazy farm?

Phil
I’m your husband. I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you. Do you really think I’d let them do that to you?

Lilly
We only want to help you dear.

Judith
Why would they send a ghost to help me or voices in my head to help me or pills to help me?! I just want him back. Just bring him back. That would help me! Just bring him back (begins crying)

Phil
We can’t bring him back. He’s gone, he’s dead…he’s not coming back.

Judith
Why, why did it happen?

Phil
I don’t know. Nobody knows. Things just happen. Accidents happen.

Judith
(to Lilly) You know why don’t you? That’s why you’re here, to tell me. So why? Why did he die?

Lilly
Everyone has their time dear.

Judith
That’s bull! You took him away, God took him away.

Lilly
And you can’t let him go can you?

Judith
All I have left are his memories.

Lilly
And you hold them so tightly. And you’re afraid to move because you might drop them.

Judith
But I loved him. I loved him so much.

Phil
I know you did. But it’s time to let go. You have to let go. You have to move one.

Judith
I don’t think I can.

Lilly
I lost a love once. He was the love of my life. I was sure I couldn’t go on…

Judith
…but you did, I know. People keep telling me how they…

Lilly
No, I couldn’t go on. I didn’t go on. I ended my life.

Judith
What?

Lilly
I ended my life.

Judith
You killed your self? Mother never said anything about…

Lilly
Of course not. She was too young. She wasn’t told then and as time went by it was easier not to tell her at all. I am here to make sure you don’t take the same path I took. You must live.

Judith
I’m not going to kill myself.

Phil
What?!

Judith
No, no.

Phil
We are leaving now to the hospital.

Lilly
This is your last chance. Do you want to live?

Judith
Yes, of course I want to live.

Lilly
Letting go doesn’t mean you stop loving him.

Judith
I…know…

Lilly
You have to let go.

Judith
It’s hard.

Lilly
You have to let go.

Judith
(slowly turning to Phil) …I loved you so much.

Phil
(slowly moving toward Lilly) …And I loved you…

Judith
(to Phil) Why did you die?

Phil
And I will always love you.

(Lilly and Phil join hands and walk slowly off stage. Judith holds the pills, rocking back and forth staring into space)