Coffee Therapy — the play

SCENE 4
SR. Back in DR. WINKERBLOOM’S office, the location of the chairs has shifted, suggesting that it’s a another day, another session.

DARNELL
My problem is my parents.

WINKERBLOOM
Are you sure?
Pause.

DARNELL
They use me like a punching bag. And they communicate with each other by taking turns hitting the bag.

WINKERBLOOM
Maybe it’s more like a switchboard.

DARNELL
Yeah!
Long pause while DARNELL contemplates this metaphor. WINKERBLOOM waits for DARNELL to say more. At this point, WINKERBLOOM is attentive.

DARNELL
They aren’t direct with each other. That’s why I never learned to be open…and honest, until I came here.

WINKERBLOOM
So now you’re learning to be open and honest.

DARNELL
Yeah.
This remark immediately puts WINKERBLOOM to sleep. Her head falls to her chest again.

DARNELL
Switchboard. That’s it. It’s like…all these loose connections…and I’m suppose to get it straight. They make me into a switchboard.

WINKERBLOOM
drowsily
They…make…you.

DARNELL
Yeah.
Long pause. WINKERBLOOM sleeps. DARNELL, silenced by her sudden slumber, is at a loss for interpretation and action. He agonizes over what to say next. He wants to come up with something that will wake up the therapist. Finally…

DARNELL
Last year, when I was in Europe for a semester, they came to visit. We were in this hotel in Venice. I had to share a room with my parents. Couldn’t that be psychologically damaging?
She opens one eye and responds.

WINKERBLOOM
I suppose it could.
She closes the eye. DARNELL carries on without her attention.

DARNELL
They had this fight. I mean, here I am, homesick, glad to see them if I’m going to be honest about it.
DARNELL stops. WINKERBLOOM lifts her head for a moment, but when he resumes his story, she goes back to sleep.

DARNELL
They made this long, expensive trip and spent the time arguing…then left me there by myself to sort it all out.
WINKERBLOOM raises her head and responds.

WINKERBLOOM
That must have made you feel…caught in the middle.

DARNELL
Yeah.

WINKERBLOOM
Frustrated.

DARNELL
Yeah.

WINKERBLOOM
The human switchboard.

DARNELL
Uh huh.

WINKERBLOOM
No one to turn to.

DARNELL
No one. It was semester break. It was just the three of us. We were in a hotel room.

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