By Bonnie Harrell
A play about purity. Two scenes going on simultaneously on opposite sides of the stage. Both scenes are conversations between two girls. In each scene one of the girls is trying to help the other girl from making the same mistakes she had done in her past.
Scene 1 takes place between Hawley: and Mariah: in a grocery store pharmacy. Scene 2 takes place between Stephanie: and Jessica: in a restaurant.
(Mariah is picking up her prescription for birth control and Hawley is just there for cough drops)
Hawley: Hi Mariah. (Eyeing prescription) What are you here for?
Mariah: (Hiding her pills behind her back, she picks up the nearest thing she can get her hands on) I'm just here getting face wash. What do you want? [defensive tone]
Hawley: Oh, I'm just here for some cough drops for my sister.
(Stephanie sees Jessica sitting by herself at the local restaurant. She approaches Jessica as her boyfriend Jared goes to find a table.)
Stephanie: Hello Jessica. How are you today?
Jessica: [gives an indifferent grunt] Okay, I guess.
Stephanie: [Sees Jessica looking at her watch] Are you waiting for someone?
Jessica: [long exasperated sigh] Yes.
Hawley: [hesitantly] Hey, there's a concert in town this weekend. Would you like to come with me? It'll be an awesome time of worship. (She says this with a trace of skepticism)
Mariah: No thanks. I don't have time to go to a concert.
Hawley: Oh…are you going to be with Garret?
Stephanie: Are you meeting your parents here?
Jessica: As if my parents would be seen anywhere with me, I'm waiting for my boyfriend. [checks watch again]
Stephanie: Oh, are you waiting for Josh, or is it John that you're dating this week?
Jessica: [shoots Stephanie: a glaring look] It's Keith and he and I have been going out for awhile now.
Stephanie: Oh. I thought you had moved out of Keith's place. I heard somewhere that the two of you had broken up.
Jessica: [getting really frustrated, starts to stammer] I…I did…we did…Ugh! Keith and I broke up and I moved in with Josh, I…I mean John, and well, that didn't work out either so I made up with Keith and now I'm living with him again.
Mariah: Yes I am. Why are you so quick to judge me?!! You think that you are so much better than me but you're not! It's none of your business what I am doing, and no, I don't want to spend any time with you, ever.
Hawley: I wasn't judging you honestly, I just want to help, and it looks like you could use a friend.
Mariah: I have plenty of friends, thanks, I don't need you. I have Garrett, that's enough for me.
Jessica: [to herself] Where is he? He should have been here thirty minutes ago.
Stephanie: Should you call someone? You can use my cell phone if you need to.
Jessica: [rude tone] I have one of my own thanks. Besides, there's no one else to call.
(Jessica shoves her chair away form the table she's been sitting at and moves to the window at the front of the restaurant. Stephanie follows after her)
Stephanie: Why don't you call your parents? I'm sure that they would come pick you up if you really needed a ride. Or, if you would like to join us for a little while, Jared and I [motions to Jared who has been patiently waiting at their table] would be glad to take you home when we finish eating.
Hawley: [quietly] What about Jesus? What about your family, surely you need them?
Mariah: I have Jesus, you think that I'm just this awful person don't you? You have no idea what it's like. You think it's some sin the way that Garrett and I are together…
Hawley: It is a sin! The Bible clearly states that sex is for a man and a wife, not two kids living together! Why…
Mariah: [very angrily] Are you judging me? I mean who says we are having sex?
Jessica: [Jessica's eyes momentarily soften then harden again.] Why can't you just leave me alone? [yelling out] Why don't you just leave your good deeds for someone that really needs them? You do-gooders are all the same.
(Jessica storms out of the restaurant and stands alone in the parking lot.)
Stephanie: [yells after Jessica] What? I don't understand! [Stephanie follows Jessica outside to the parking lot]
Jessica: Oh, don't give me that! You know what I'm talking about. You're always trying to "help" me. Did you ever think that I might not need your help? I'm fine. My life is perfect just the way it is. I don't need someone like you messing around in it.
Stephanie: [struggling to control her temper] Everyone needs help sometime or another. No one can do everything alone.
Jessica: I do just fine alone. I like it that way. I like to be alone. Now stop trying to make me another notch on your Bible case and go away!
Stephanie: Another notch on my Bible case? Is that what you think I'm trying to do?
Jessica: Duh! You're so transparent. Do you think I'm stupid or something? I'd have to be blind not to see through all your weak attempts to "save" me. Well get over it, I don't need saving.
Hawley: Who do you think you're kidding??!! I saw the birth control! I know all about your mysterious trip to the doctor's office last semester. The whole school knows what you are… [looking at Mariah's stricken face] oh…Mariah, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean it…
Mariah: [tears streaming down her face] What am I Hawley, what am I? [walking away] You don't know anything you stupid hypocrite! I know about your past, you're' not as innocent as you want everyone to believe…
(the lights slowly fade until there's just one spot light centered on Hawley:)
Hawley: [looking to the ceiling] Oh father, what have I done? I've ruined my witness…I don't know what to do. How did those words come out of my mouth? That's not me…is it? Is this what I've become in my jealously, a hypocrite? Oh dear Lord, please forgive me. Just give me one more chance…
(A moment of silence passes between them. Stephanie doesn't leave but stands a few feet behind Jessica, praying about what she should do next.)
Stephanie: [quietly] You said that you can live alone, but can you live without love?
Jessica: What do you mean? [indignantly] I have plenty of people who love me.
Stephanie: [trying to get to the point] Really? Name them.
[Jessica stands in silence for a few moments as she tries to think of names of those people she knows genuinely love her]
(The setting is now the end of a church service. Hawley looks over at Mariah, two rows in front of her and there are tears streaming down Mariah:'s face. Hawley walks over to Mariah and sits down next to her. Mariah looks over and a frown crosses her face.)
Mariah: Listen Hawley, I…
Hawley: No, let me start. I'm so sorry, it's all my fault. I shouldn't have said those things to you. I had no right to say any of that. And you're right, I'm not perfect. But I've learned from my past. Yes, I was sinning, but I got saved. The Lord changed me and brought me out of those circumstances. All I did was call on the Lord and repent. I know it's hard. Sometimes Bryan and I are tempted, all the time really. We just won't give in, for ourselves and for each other. We have to rely on the Lord to keep us strong.
Mariah: I appreciate the apology, but I can't just leave. I have no where else to go. My parents don't want me, no one does. Garrett's the only one who cares.
Jessica: [without conviction] Keith loves me.
Stephanie: [gently] Jessica, you know as well as I do that what Keith feels isn't exactly love; it's more like lust.
Jessica: [angrily] Well, at least I have someone who desires me. Look at your boyfriend! He won't even kiss you! [takes a second to calm down]
Hawley: I care, I really do. And it seems like Garret cares about you but he doesn't. He only wants you for what you can give him…
Mariah: Garret really does love me, you'll see, he really does. [trying to convince herself] I need him…I can't leave. I'm really sorry too about what I said…it's just that you won't leave me alone. Why do you care so much? And why are you always trying to save me? Do you honestly think that I feel nothing when I come to church? I'm not a godless heathen.
Jessica: Why do you care about this so much anyway? Why don't you just give up? Everyone else has.
(Stephanie slowly approaches Jessica and places her hand on Jessica's shoulder, which Jessica automatically shoves away. Jessica then takes a few steps backwards, away from Stephanie)
Stephanie: Because, you're a scared little girl crying out for help; you put on a pair of shoes way to big for you and now you're tripping over them. You may not admit that you need help but I was there once. I know what you're going though.
Jessica: What do you mean, you were there once?
Mariah: Do you want to know why I live with Garret…do you?
Hawley: [quietly] Mariah, you don't have to…I mean it's none of my business.
Mariah: Well you might as well know. My parents divorced when I was16. Dad moved away and I lived with Mom for awhile. When Mom moved in with her new boyfriend I packed up and left, I couldn't stand the way he tried to boss me around like I was a child or something! My Grandma was too old to let me live with her and she had no room so I moved in with Garret. I started coming to church because of Grandma, it was the only time we got to spend together, and then she got sick and died.
Hawley: I'm so sorry, I had no idea. I wish that…
Mariah: [scornfully] That there was something that you could have done? Well, there was nothing. I had to take care of myself, and that's what I've been doing ever since. I can take care of myself and whoever else comes along.
Stephanie: You know that what you're doing now just doesn't feel right but you don't know how to make amends. You feel like there's no escape of any kind for you, that you're stuck forever. You hate the life you're living but you have no where to go, so you just…stay. You stay right where you are until you can't take another second of it. You stay until your spirit is completely broken and then all you're left with are pieces of shattered dreams that are lying on the ground in front of you. [she pauses to let her words sink in for Jessica]
(Jessica continues to stare at Stephanie unbelievingly. Stephanie presses on with her narrative)
Stephanie: The world that you're living in is so dark, that the unhappiness and the melancholia seem tangible. It's like you can almost take them in your hands and hold them to you. The darkness and emptiness become a solace for you. You feel like the darkness is all you've ever known. You can't remember anything happy and when you do, the memories are glaring like the sunlight and they cause you pain. They hurt because you feel that this absence of joy is all your fault and you're constantly wondering what you've done wrong this time. You thing there's no one else you can blame because you're alone and don't need anyone and so you crawl deeper into you're world of darkness.
Jessica: [in a strained voice] How do you know that?
Stephanie: I told you: I was there. I used to be just like you Jessica. I got into the party scene and I would go out drinking with my boyfriend of the week and get into trouble occasionally. After my last boyfriend, Brent, broke up with me I slowly started to realize how much of myself I had given away through that relationship. I no longer felt like a whole person. Every time I thought about what I had done with him physically my stomach turned inside because I knew that I had compromised. I had always wanted one of those fairy tail relationships where prince charming is perfect and romantic and treats me with respect. Instead I had found Brent, who treated me like a goddess and told me I was beautiful all the time but then treated my body with utter disrespect. I was a little uncomfortable with how physical he was at first but I convinced myself that as long as we didn't actually have sex I was still pure and it was ok to mess around. Besides, I told myself, he loved me. Somewhere along my journey of recovery I found a friend who led me to the Lord. I thought that I had done too many terrible things to ever lead good life but I accepted Christ into my life and was forgiven. Because of his grace I was able to start over again and now I am happier than any person has a right to be.
Jessica: [wipes a tear form her cheek] How did you find the strength to do it?
Stephanie: God has given me the strength. I still struggle everyday but I have learned to give everything over to God. Once I found my identity in the Lord, and learned to depend on him alone, God blessed me with Jared. I still feel that I don't deserve him but I am so thankful to have him in my life.
Hawley: Oh no! Mariah, you're not pregnant are you?
Mariah: I don't know. [getting up, and starting to walk away] Now you see why I can't leave, don't you? [she walks away]
(Hawley gets to her knees and starts to pray)
Hawley: Oh Father, what do I do? How can I help her……? [the lights fade on her praying]
Stephanie: You commented on how he never kisses me or holds my hand. He does that because he knows what I've been through and he doesn't want to give me added temptation. He could easily lead me back to where I was, but he doesn't because we've made a promise to each other and we're holding to that promise. You need someone like that to help you when you stumble.
Jessica: [scoffs] Where am I going to find someone like that?
Stephanie: [feigning hurt] What am I? Do you not see me standing here? [Jessica smiles] What do you think I've been trying to do all this time? [a long pause] Now let's get back in there. I'm sure Jared's about to starve and I know my stomach's been growling for a while. [Jessica laughs. Stephanie places her arm around Jessica's shoulder and they walk together back into the restaurant.]
Copyright Bonnie Harrell, all rights reserved.
This script may be used without payment, provided no charge is made for entrance to the performance. In return the author would like to be told of any performance. She may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org