Inside, there’s a knock.
BETH and JERRY rise. JERRY moves toward the door. Enter JODIE from the kitchen. She runs to the door before her father gets there.
Enter CHARLIE and SANDY.
JODIE lunges at her brother and hugs him.
CHARLIE: Jodie! It’s you? You look good.
JODIE: No I don’t. Charlie, you’re home.
His parents stand in line, JERRY in front. CHARLIE and JERRY embrace.
CHARLIE: Hi Dad.
JERRY: Charlie, how are you?
BETH and CHARLIE embrace.
BETH: My son. Charlie.
BETH: You haven’t changed, except you’re taller.
CHARLIE: I’m the same height, Ma.
BETH: You’re thin.
JERRY: No he isn’t.
CHARLIE: Sandy’s a good cook.
BETH: She cooks?
CHARLIE: Of course, Ma.
JODIE: to SANDY Sandy, we’re having roast. Do you like roast?
SANDY: Sure I do, Jodie.
JODIE: to BETH She knows my name.
SANDY: to JODIE Of course I do. I’ve heard lots about you.
JODIE: I don’t know anything about you.
How would she know anything about me?
BETH: to JODIE She and Charlie probably talk a lot.
JODIE: Charlie doesn’t know anything about me.
SANDY: to JODIE You grew up together, right? After eighteen years, I’ve heard the family stories, over and over.
JODIE: Well, you haven’t heard them all, because Charlie doesn’t know them all. I didn’t abandon my family like he did, and…I’m older than he is.
SANDY: Five years.
JODIE: That’s right.
SANDY: Charlie tells me about you. He’s still scared of the dark, because of the way you used to spook him.
JODIE: He told you about that!
SANDY: Sure he did.
CHARLIE: It scared me. I was five years old and you got under the bed and screamed “boo.”
JODIE: It was a little mean, but you deserved it.
CHARLIE: How did I deserve it?
JODIE: You bit me.
CHARLIE: Not a real bite. I was playing.
JODIE: You should have known better.
CHARLIE: I was five.
JODIE: Even five year olds shouldn’t bite.
SANDY: to JODIE And you have a false tooth, right? This one, right here.
She points to one of her own front teeth.
JODIE: He told you about the curtain rod?
SANDY: That whole sword fight is so clear in my mind, like a movie I’ve seen ten times. Jodie with the ruler. Charlie with the six foot curtain rod.
She pantomimes the action.
The fencing. The final stab to the mouth.
CHARLIE breaks from the conversation with JODIE and turns to his parents.
CHARLIE: Sandy, here’s my ma and dad.
BETH and JERRY shake hands with SANDY, and then turn to CHARLIE
JERRY: How was the traffic?
CHARLIE: It’s all changed. Rainer Street is six lanes, and there’s not a single house left.
BETH: Things change, Charlie. You can’t get back the time. Twenty years.
CHARLIE ignores the implications here. He shows no signs of guilt, remorse, or emotional reaction of any kind.
CHARLIE: Hey – an occasion, huh? Fiftieth anniversary. The food smells good.
BETH: Jodie’s the chef.
How’s my grandchild? Lori.
after a moment…
CHARLIE: Sandy sends pictures. You get the pictures, don’t you?
BETH pulls out a box of pictures and looks at them.
SANDY: That reminds me. Here are her spring pictures.
SANDY gives BETH a packet of pictures. BETH puts them with the others and takes a look.
BETH: She’s a beautiful girl, but I wish I knew her. She’s sixteen.
CHARLIE: Yeah, Ma. Rough age. Remember when Jodie was sixteen? When I was sixteen?
BETH: It wasn’t so bad.
CHARLIE: It wasn’t?
BETH: Well, then. But now, it seems pretty good.
JODIE: I’ll check on the roast again.
BETH: Don’t open the oven.
JODIE: I’ve got to open the oven to check on it.
BETH: You’ll ruin it.
JODIE: I won’t, Ma. I’ve got a trick.
BETH: What’s that?
JODIE: It’s my own secret.
BETH: A secret that could put undercooked meat on the table.
JODIE: It works.
JODIE: You can visit while I check on it.
The four of them sit down. There’s a pause while they wait to see who will start.
JERRY: Does Lori have her driver’s license?
JERRY: Why not?
SANDY: She’s sixteen. She’s in no hurry to get one.
CHARLIE turns to his mother.
BETH: protecting herself with a bit of irritation
CHARLIE: You remember my friend from high school – Steve Ackert?
BETH: Of course I remember Steve. I’ve seen Steve. Every now and then, he’s in town. He comes by for a visit.
CHARLIE: He came and visited us. What a disaster. He told Lori all about the stuff I did in high school and college.
BETH: You were a good student.
JERRY: That’s probably not the stuff Steve told her about.
JERRY: You and Steve were friends, not study partners.
CHARLIE: He told Lori about that time we got arrested. You remember that?
BETH: Nobody forgets things like that.
SANDY: Charlie! There are other things we can talk about. Why are you telling them this?
CHARLIE: I thought they might appreciate it.
JERRY: We do.
CHARLIE: Now my daughter thinks it’s okay to stay out late and scare the hell out of us – because Steve told her I did that. Steve doesn’t understand. He doesn’t have children.
SANDY: Lori is a good girl. But at her age, friends are important. And she has a protective father.
JERRY: Teenagers like to stay out as late as they can. It’s natural.
BETH: How late does she stay out?
CHARLIE: The other night she came in at one thirty.
BETH: My word!
CHARLIE: It’s Steve’s fault. He told Lori that we used to stay out later than that.
BETH: You did.
CHARLIE: But he shouldn’t tell her that. When Lori breaks our rules, Steve thinks it’s funny.
JERRY: I wouldn’t call it funny, but it does create a certain balance.
CHARLIE: When we have a beer, he flaunts it. He’s empowered my daughter to question my authority.
JERRY: mocking He’s empowered her?
CHARLIE: Well, he gave her some ideas.
JERRY: Sad story.
BETH: Don’t let her push you around. She’s a girl. The world has changed. You’ve got to put your foot down.
CHARLIE: That’s the way I feel about it. Sandy trusts her.
BETH: Don’t. She’s too pretty.
JERRY: Where is she now?
CHARLIE: Spending the night with a friend.
CHARLIE: Oh, one of her girlfriends. Shelly Reison.
SANDY: Shelly’s a very nice girl, from a good family.
BETH looks at the photos of Lori
BETH: I can’t get over these pictures.
Have you seen them?
BETH: Not these.
BETH, not letting go of the pictures, shows them to JERRY.
BETH: You should have brought her here with you!
CHARLIE: Next time.
BETH: Next time? It’s been twenty years! She’s sixteen and we’ve never seen her!
SANDY: There will be a next time. Soon. Absolutely.
BETH: Bubbie’s in her room, watching T.V. Go see her. She’s with Clemmie.
CHARLIE: Clemmie! Clemmie’s still here?
BETH: She’s back there with Bubbie. She wants to see you too.
CHARLIE: beginning to exit
Sandy, come meet my grandmother.
SANDY: You talk with her first. I’ll visit with your parents.
CHARLIE: Don’t you want to meet her?
SANDY: I will.
JERRY: Hey, we’ll take Sandy for a walk and show her the neighborhood — while you sit with Bubbie.
SANDY: That sounds fine.
CHARLIE: You don’t want me to go with you?
JERRY: No. Visit your grandmother.
BETH: You owe her a visit.
JERRY: Beth, let’s go.
BETH: I’ll stay here. Jodie might need some help.
JERRY: She doesn’t want your help.
BETH: She doesn’t want it, but she might need it.
JERRY: She doesn’t need it, and she won’t let you help. You’re aggravating her. Let’s go.
BETH: Okay. I’ll go for the walk.
BETH, JERRY, and SANDY exit. CHARLIE exits.