(It is August of 1996. There is a mythic tone in this opening scene, as if it were snatched out of a sea of dreams and draped in purples, reds and greys. The lighting might suggest this. It is a memory. Out of an offstage bathroom, Dawn, 28, strolls in, wearing a thin robe. She is wet from a shower. She sits on one end of the couch, staring at an invisible Baye, standing nearby. Baye is thirteen. Her voice is unceasingly soft. Her stare does not waver.)
Dawn Baye, why are you so far away? Itís okay. Come closer. (Baye does not move.) Come closer. Sit with me. Good boy. (She runs her fingers though his hair.) Sweet baby. Look at me. Do you trust me? Be honest, I can take it. Do you trust me? Are you afraid of me? Do I scare you? Listen to me, Baye. I would never want to do that. I love you, Baye, and I donít know why. But I do. And I want no one but you. (Quiet.) Do you want to touch me? Do you? Let me help you. (She takes his hand and places it on her thigh. She watches as it slowly moves up and down. She guides his hand upward. She closes her eyes and holds his hand over her breast, still covered. Now she reveals it.) Do you like me? Am I beautiful? Mm, thank you. Touch me, please. Here. Here. (She closes her eyes again and becomes lost in the moment.) I love you, baby...God help me... (She takes his face in her hands and kisses him deeply, then stands and pulls him to the bedroom as the lights fade.)
(It is 2004. Richard and Baye are alone. Richard is in a chair. Baye is lying on the couch.)
Baye Iím on a couch now, you happy?
Richard Iíd be happier in my office.
Baye This is our new office. Iím finally free, so I donít have to suffocate in any more stuffy offices.
Richard Fair enough for now. So letís get moving.
Baye Iíll save you a little time. Letís see...in the last three days I have not taken any drugs, nor desired to. I have written zero letters to Miss Lee since last November. My paranoia has dissipated...and Iíve done plenty of reading. That take care of your list?
Richard For the most part. Thank you. Now on to the real deal.
Baye Bring it.
Richard How does it feel to be out?
Baye Like a fresh breath of polluted air.
Richard Is that good or bad?
Baye Mostly good.
Richard Care to elaborate?
Richard Baye, if weíre to continue this, we need to keep the lines of communication open and flowing.
Baye Open and flowing? Did that come straight out of your textbooks? Youíre somethiní else, Stanley.
Richard How does it feel to be free?
Baye I just told you.
Richard I asked you how it felt to be out. Not to be free.
Baye I donít get your point.
Richard As far as I know, you havenít been free since you were thirteen.
Baye Donít start all that again.
Richard ďAll thatĒ is why Iím here, Baye; itís what drove you to assault that poor girl and land in juvenile hall for the rest of your underage life. I think itís worth grappling with.
Baye And you think I need you to help me with that?
Richard Iím just offering an ear.
Baye Youíve been offering your ear for two years now, not to mention your dick.
Richard Excuse me?
Baye You think Iím blind? Youíre trying to fuck my mother, and donít even try to lie about it. It ainít about me. Itís about you gettiní your nut inside my mom, so you can chill with that ďoffering an earĒ bullshit.
Richard Get up.
Richard Get your ass up from that goddamn couch.
Baye You canít talk to me like tható
Richard You listen, boy. I have spent the last two years trying my damndest to help you reclaim your life. I lost countless nights of sleep over you, Iíve even cried for you. Iíve kept myself here out of my faith in your ability to move on with your life after so much was taken from you. This has nothing to do with your mother, and it never did. So you say one more thing about her, and not only will these sessions be over, but I will personally beat the shit out of you. (Quiet.) Weíll pick up some other time.
(He turns to leave.) -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Alisha is watching Titanic on TV. She pulls out a used tissue and dabs at her eyes. A moment later Michael enters, sweating. He drops his gloves onto the kitchen table and plops down next to Alisha. She lays her head on his shoulder. They watch TV.)
Michael I heard you crying from outside.
Michael No, but I like to think so. Fathers should be connected with their daughters. I know we don't have the, the mammary connection and all that, but I don't know. I like to feel close to you. (Beat.) Just thought I'd share that with you. Didn't come out very well.
Alisha Do you think Kate's pretty?
Alisha Look at the TV screen, Dad. You see the lithe figure kissing Leo? That's Kate.
Michael I can't tell how pretty she is, but I've got a great view of Leo's head. The head is very pretty.
Alisha Dad, come on, be honest! Is she pretty?
Michael Not as pretty as your mother.
Michael Hey, what's with that?
Alisha She's totally blind.
Michael Well don't bring me into this spat, Alisha. You and your mother need to work that out.
Alisha Whatever. (Beat.) Icebergs suck.
Michael In this movie I like them. My favorite scene is when Leo's a popsicle.
Alisha That's so mean.
Michael And so true.
Alisha Did you fix the car?
Michael Working on it. I fix computers, not cars.
Alisha Then get a mechanic.
Michael Don't be ridiculous.
Alisha You are so stubborn.
Michael You're calling me stubborn? If I'm the kettle you're the pot.
Michael You're the one who won't join the chess team.
Alisha Dad, not again.
Michael Yes, again. You've got too much potential young lady.
Alisha I'm not a lady. Ladies are old.
Michael You're nuts. It's not that I love you out of obligation, but I wouldn't rule out bewilderment.
Alisha I guess I'm doing something right.
(Linda enters and sits on the other end of the couch. They silently watch TV.)
Linda We should sleep soon.
Alisha I wanna see Kate blow the whistle.
Linda Fine. Michael?
Michael (Watching intently) As soon as he's a popsicle. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A few days later, in the early evening. Martin is in the front yard, fiddling with a bag of plant fertilizer. He's more focused, however, on speaking the plants to life. He is animated and bright, even dancing a bit. Near the end of his summoning, Lily slowly enters from the back of his house, offstage right. She stops just outside the front door and gazes at him, smiling.)
Martin Did ya hear that, children? He called you dirt. He called you dirt, where is your righteous indignance at his failure to imagine? He calls you dirt, I call you promises! Promises destined to fulfill themselves, to break through the cracks and shine like the stars you are! You may be dirt right now, but with time...with time my precious children, you will flourish! You will triumph over the fearful skepticism of those that always wanted to plant but never bothered to learn how. In the face of every lazy assed dreamer you will spread your fragrance and color throughout this unborn garden, you'll make the most of your seed and sun and create paradise! For this was your destiny before I ever dreamed of you. Do you believe it? Do you believe it?? I do. You're gonna be fucking amazing. Rise my babies... (To some smart aleck offstage) The hell are you lookin' at, kid? Never seen a man talk to his dirt before? (To himself) Heh heh, I love these kids.
Lily (Softly) You haven't changed. Thank God.
Martin (Stunned, and quietly thrilled) Oh my goodness, Lily? You're a week early.
Lily I'm impatient, you know that.
Martin How did you sneak in like that?
Lily You always leave your back door unlocked. As I said, you haven't changed. Give me a hug, you goof.
(They embrace, laughing softly, using the moment to lightly touch and remind themselves of the other. They are both surprised with the ease of the embrace.)
Lily You have more hair than I thought you would. It seems unnaturally dark, though.
Martin I do nothing to my hair, thank you very much. And I see the wrinkles haven't found you yet.
Lily They're on the hunt, but I'm faster. And I leave lots of detours.
Martin I don't think they'll catch you for a while. Did you bring any bags?
Lily They're in my room. I wasn't expecting a busboy.
Martin Well how did you know which was your room?
Lily Obviously the big one, who are you talking to?
Martin I actually hadn't gotten your room ready since you weren't supposed to be here for a week. I'm not too surprised though. You sticking with the expected? Not my Lily.
Lily Not mine, either. Well I see you've done pretty well for yourself. I'd almost think you were happy.
Martin I am, so happy in fact I've decided to settle down and start a family.
Martin Yeah, they're outside. Their current name is Dirt. But don't say it to their face, they'll grow thorns with your name on them.
Lily Oh I can handle thorns. You should know that, or did you forget?
Martin Yeah yeah, you're a plant lady, I remember.
Lily Horticulturist. You always screw up names.
Martin Oh I'm the screw up? Do you still refuse to proofread and/or edit your letters? They should invent paper with spell check.
(He laughs. She smiles.)
Lily It's spelled right to me. Language isn't relevant unless it's malleable.
Martin Still campaigning for the quote book award, eh?
Lily Why quote what you don't understand?
Martin You have changed. It's right there.
Martin Hell, I don't know, well come sit, make yourself at home. Are you thirsty? Hungry?
Lily I'm fine. I'll take some water though.
Martin Fresh outta water.
Lily Apple juice?
Martin Fresh outta A.J.
Martin I got whiskey. Lots and lots of whiskey.
Lily You can't be serious.
Martin Not completely. I've got water.
Lily Is it filtered?
Martin Uh, is the faucet a filter?
Lily Never mind.
Martin (Laughing and handing her iced water) I'm just having fun! You know me. There, clear, filtered and iced, just how you like it.
Lily Thank you.
Martin You were by the ocean weren't you?
Martin When you finally decided to write me. You were by the water, giggling to yourself.
Lily I was by the water, yes.
Martin See, some things just kinda stick. I could tell by the handwriting.
Lily Do you still light candles for your parents?
Martin Every birthday, 7pm.
Lily How was your birthday?
Martin Oh, you remember it, eh?
Lily February 23rd. I sang for you, didn't you hear?
Martin I'm afraid I didn't, my dear. Thank you though. Every March 28th I get wasted. It's fun.
Lily I'm honored.
(Martin goes to the mantle and picks up the letter.)
Martin You know, Lily, I should be the one that's honored. This is my old paper. I recognize the smell.
Lily I found it in some old boxes. It seemed appropriate.
Martin It aged well.
Lily That's a pretty painting.
Lily The painting, it's pretty. Where did you get it?
Martin Uh, some buddy of mine a while back. I like it too.
Lily I really like that.
Martin I thought you would. She's beautiful. (Beat.) So what would you like to do?