Full Course Divorce: A Playette

Note: Here is the first act of a “playettte” that I wrote; it is semi-autobiographical. I hope it rings some bells that can now be silenced into serenity.

Also, the photos are by Dale Chihuly, famous glass blower. Some are from a permanent installation at the Delaware Museum and others are from his wonderful website. To see more of this wondrous glass, go to: www.chihuly.com. Since marriage is so fragile, I thought pictures of glass might be appropriate for the play.

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Full Course Divorce

© 2010

A Playette in Four Acts

Act One: Going Under

Act Two: In Over Her Head

Act 3: Drowning

Act 4:Full Set of Nails

Act One: Scene One

Going Under

Kate and Mitch’s Bedroom

Kate
(Pacing and Enraged)

Get out! Get out! Get out of my sight! Less than 12 hours have passed since you told Norma you would take care of me when I hurt my leg. I’m bleeding, have terrible cramps, and can’t stand on my feet and you ask me why I didn’t ask for a drink of water with the Midol? What are you, a sadist?

Mitch
(Embarrassed)

I’m sorry, Kate. It’s just that I am so tired and you woke me out of a sound sleep….

Kate
(Almost in tears)

Ya know, Mitch, you’ve run out of excuses. There’s always a reason for your being mean, but I can’t accept your apologies anymore. They’re like the boy who cried wolf once too often. Your “I’m sorrys” don’t mean shit! Just get out!

Mitch
(Resigned)

OK, I’ll go to the cabin for a couple of days while you cool off.

Kate
(Strong)

No, Mitch. I want you to move out. We talked about a trial separation and I think this is the time to try it, before we are so angry with each other that one of us just files for divorce. I want to save our marriage, but right now I need some time and space to think things through.

Mitch
(Almost speechless)

But what about Bekka? What will you tell her?

Kate
(Still strong)

The truth, for once! She’ll be 14 soon, She knows what’s been going on between us. She’s got eyes and ears. Fortunately, she’s still upstairs sleeping. I always let her sleep in on Saturdays.

Mitch
(Concerned)

Ok. Then I will stop by later to see her and talk to her myself.

Kate
(No longer angry)

That sounds good. In fact, why not take her out for dinner. I’m still working on some of the recipes for my cooking column and I could use a couple of uninterrupted hours to get the recipes into the computer.

Mitch
(Still concerned)

Can I call you from the cabin?

Kate

Just come here by 6 o’clock to pick up Bekka. That will give me time to talk to her and time for me to get rid of these cramps. God, I wish I was menopausal!! Kate allows Mitch to help her back into bed and hook up the heating pad for her cramps. He quietly gets dressed and packs a few items. Her anger spent, Kate speaks kindly.

Kate

Please don’t take all your clothes while Bekka is here. Wait until Monday after she goes to school. I think it will really upset her to see you pack.

Mitch

I think that’s a good idea. Can we still see Norma for our counseling session?

Kate
(Becoming exasperated again)

Mitch, I just don’t know. Let me get through this weekend and see from there.

Mitch

Oh, all right, I’ll go….for now.

Mitch gathers a few things and quietly closes the bedroom door and leaves. Once the door is closed, Kate cries softly as the scene ends.


Act One: Scene Two

(six months later)

Local Coffee Shop

Kate
(Hesitant)

Thanks for meeting me, Mitch. We’ve both been avoiding seeing each other, but I think I can talk now without getting angry.

Mitch

I know what you mean. I was so angry when you kicked me out I didn’t know what to do with myself. But the cabin is comfortable and I get to see Bekka a lot.  And we’re not fighting. So that’s good!

Kate
(Still hesitant)

Well, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I’d like to give our marriage another chance. We’ve put 28 years into this thing, raised two kids and are still raising Bekka. I don’t want to throw it all away without giving it another try. My therapist thinks it’s worth a try. What do you think Norma will say?

Mitch

Sometimes I don’t want to go to Norma. I felt we should both still use her for marriage counseling.

Kate

I know you do. But she seemed to favor you and I wanted unbiased counseling.

Mitch

Well, at the last session we had together, she seemed to think divorce was our only recourse.

Kate

That’s one reason I changed and now go to Sandy. I thought Norma was wrong in implying divorce was the only answer. Therapists aren’t really supposed to give advice. They’re just supposed to help you make up your own mind after seeing all the options. Actually, Mitch, I think Norma has a thing for you.

Mitch

Don’t be ridiculous!

Kate

Listen, lots of therapists have affairs with their clients. It’s unprofessional and not part of the training, but it happens. But I don’t care about Norma’s feelings towards you. I care about your feelings towards me.

Mitch

I don’t know, Kate. You kicked me out once and that really pissed me off. I’m beginning to feel that the article you read to me about separate but equal accommodations for long-term marriages might work for us. I kinda like being footloose and fancy-free.

Kate
(Controlling her anger)

With my friends! Bev and Marti already told me you practically propositioned them. Can’t you find your own women?

Mitch
(Smiling)

Jealous?

Kate
(Annoyed)

No, actually, the operative word here would be embarrassed. They have been our friends for years, and now that we are separated, you want to hit on them? It’s embarrassing!

Mitch

Sorry, when we made the agreement that we could date during our trial separation, we never said whom we could date.

Kate

True. But I never dreamed would ask our friends for a date, Now they are embarrassed to call me and I am embarrassed to call them. During times of troubles, women stick together and confide in one another. You have made that more difficult for me.

Mitch

I apologize for making your friendship more difficult, but not for asking them out, They are single and free to date, although no one accepted, probably because of your friendship for them. So I think you are safe to assume your relationships are intact.

Kate

I sure hope so. More importantly, I think we have a long history with our marriage and should give it a second chance. (She touches his arm.)

Mitch

I will do it on one condition. We make a list of what to do in the event this should not work out, so there are no ambiguities.

Kate

Like what?

Mitch

Well, for example, rules about dating while waiting for the divorce so we don’t run into this problem again about your friends. A list of who gets what, if we do divorce. How we work out child support and child custody.

Kate

Isn’t this list a little premature? I was hoping that getting back together would mean staying together.

Mitch

Sorry, I don’t share your sentiments. We can have a trial period of getting back together and review it every few weeks and then make a decision based on the next few months together.

Kate

I like the idea of reviewing our relationship every few weeks. But I want to make a commitment that we try to work this out, and if for some reason it doesn’t, you’ll at least stay for Bekka’s graduation from grammar school.

Mitch

I agree. This separation has been hard enough for her. I don’t think we should disrupt her life any more than necessary.

Kate

Thanks, I hoped you would agree to that. (Awkwardly) Well, when would you like to move back in?

Mitch

School starts next week and I would like to be here when Bekka begins, so how about if I clean up the cabin the next few days and move in over the week-end? Maybe we can go to the shore and spend Labor Day week-end as a family.

Kate
(Relieved)

I think that would be great! Bekka will be happy.

Mitch

And you?

Kate

Excited and scared, but ready to try!

(Tentatively, Kate and Mitch move towards each other and hug as both this scene and Act One end.)

Note: Act Two will be posted over the week-end.

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