Coffee Therapy — the play

SCENE 17
SR. DARNELL sits in front of a TV with a remote control in his hand. He cries uncontrollably.
After a moment, he pauses the movie and gets up. He goes to the mirror and looks at himself. He cries some more. Then he returns to the chair and starts the movie again.
CORRIE enters the room.

CORRIE
What’s wrong?
DARNELL pauses the movie.

DARNELL
This movie reminds me of my grandparents.

CORRIE
What is it?

DARNELL
Avalon.

CORRIE
It’s good, huh?

DARNELL
Great.

CORRIE
I haven’t seen you cry like this since that Anne Tyler book. What was that, Dinner at the Homesick CafE?

DARNELL
Homesick Restaurant. But this is different. That other time was from the pain pills after my gum surgery.

CORRIE
Did you take anything tonight?

DARNELL
No.

CORRIE
Nothing?

DARNELL
No.

CORRIE
Just the movie is doing this?

DARNELL
It’s unbelievable.

CORRIE
Maybe you shouldn’t watch it.

DARNELL
It’s almost over.
He sobs.

CORRIE
God, are you all right?

DARNELL
Leave me alone.
CORRIE leaves. DARNELL watches more of the movie, and resumes crying. After a moment, he pours himself a glass of wine, walks to the front of the stage, sits down cross-legged, and cries some more. He never takes a sip, just cries.
After a moment, a small, elderly woman, DARNELL’S GRANDMOTHER, enters. She speaks with a Russian accent.

GRANDMOTHER
Your grandfather was a very stubborn man. He and his brother had an argument, and they never spoke again.

DARNELL
Yeah. I never knew him.

GRANDMOTHER
He was like you. But you have everything. He came to this country with nothing!

DARNELL
Yeah yeah. I heard the story.

GRANDMOTHER
He was a stubborn man.

DARNELL
How old was he when they had the argument?

GRANDMOTHER
Twenty-seven.

DARNELL
What’d they argue about?

GRANDMOTHER
Vegetables. He was a stubborn man. He hated vegetables.

DARNELL
So his brother made him eat some.

GRANDMOTHER
He told him he should. His brother had a beautiful garden. Anything a person can grow to eat, he could grow. He told your grandfather that the two of them should have a plate of his homegrown vegetables to honor their own mother. My God, that man was proud of his garden. But your grandfather would not touch a bite. His brother said, “She would have been disgraced to see you refuse the chance to eat such fresh tomatoes, and onions – green beans and peas.” In those times in Russia, food was not an easy thing to come by. Those people would have given anything to have had such vegetables. So your uncle told your grandfather that he disgraced the memory of his own mother.

DARNELL
Big argument over vegies.

GRANDMOTHER
Yes! My God, it was an argument!

DARNELL
And they stopped speaking.

GRANDMOTHER
Altogether! Over thirty-five years without a word. Because he wouldn’t eat a green bean and take a bite of a home-grown tomatoe.

DARNELL
So he didn’t like vegetables. Then what happened?
She slaps him.

GRANDMOTHER
Then? Then – what did it matter? They died.

DARNELL
Thanks for the cheery story. Hey, Grandma, you ever consider therapy?
She slaps him again.

GRANDMOTHER
Therapy? Cheery story? You should know a few things about yourself!
She exits. DARNELL gets up, sobbing again, and goes to the coffee shop. He pours the wine, which he has not tasted, into the sink.

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