Louis Brown… a high school senior who has recently lost his father
Poland French… a high school junior who lost her parents in a car crash
Porter Kohan… a close family friend of Poland’s, adoptive brother
Lance Kohan… Poland’s adoptive father
Luke Brown… Louis younger brother
Maria Brown… Louis’ mother, drunk
The scene is set in an unnamed funeral parlor. There are chairs and fragrant flowers spread around, curtains drawn over windows, and several men, women, and children all in black chatting quietly with each other, some crying. There is a smiling picture at the back of the room with an urn placed on a table next to it. The room is dark.
Extras (1-4 persons): (standing in front of Maria Brown, Luke Brown, and Louis Brown with heads bowed and voices sympathetic) We’re sorry for your loss. Chris was a fine man and a good father. He died too young.
Luke: (eyes downcast and voice solemn) Thank you. He was a good dad.
Maria: (takes a sip out of a flask, stumbling a little into Louis and says loudly) No he wasn’t, stupid boy! The man was an idiot, no better than some useless dog!
Louis: (holding Maria up by her arm tightly and shaking her a little, eying the extras through the side of his eye) Mother! I know you’re upset, but you need to keep it together. (Turning toward the extras with a sad smile) I’m very sorry. My mother has been out of sorts lately. She was hit hard when we heard about my father’s unfortunate accident. Please, pay her no mind. Thank you for coming. My father would have been happy to have you.
Extras nod and smile at him before eying Maria suspiciously. They turn to walk away, leaving the trio alone. Maria pulls her arm away from Louis harshly and takes another swig out of the flask, sneering at the two boys, then stumbles away off stage.
Luke: (looking off toward where Maria disappeared) What’s wrong with mom? Dad wasn’t a dog. She loved him.
Louis: (sighing heavily and looking away from his brother) She does love him Luke. You’ll understand when you’re older. She just (pauses) is having trouble with him not being around anymore. We understand that, don’t we?
Luke nods and the two stand together, nodding at a few extras who wave at them from various places on the stage. From stage right, Poland, Porter, and Lance enter, each in black and looking somber. They pause for a moment, looking around, and starting when they spot Luke and Louis. Poland leads Lance and Porter over toward them and offers a hug and a kiss on the cheek to both Luke and Louis.
Poland: (smiling sadly) I’m sorry for your loss. I know it can be hard, but trust me when I say it will get better. (Pauses and takes a deep breath) By the way, I’m Poland. This is my family, Porter and his father Lance.
Lance and Porter nod.
Lance: Yeah. It can be really hard when you lose someone. I lost my wife, Porter’s mother (motions to Porter), to cancer several years ago. It was hard, but Poland’s right. It does get better.
Luke nods and motions for Porter and Lance to walk a little distance away, leaving Poland and Louis alone. The two stand awkwardly, shifting from foot to foot.
Poland: (clears her throat) I’m serious, Louis. It does get better. I know you don’t know me well, but I know how you feel.
Louis: (sighs exasperated) Listen, Portugal-
Poland: (interrupts) My name is Poland.
Louis: (sighs again) Poland. Whatever. Anyways, how would a stupid girl like you know anything about this. You have a wonderful father and brother. One of which I have and the other that was ripped away from me. (Begins shouting) With your mother, you knew it was coming! You have no right to say that you know how I feel!
Extras and the group of three (Luke, Porter, and Lance) look over at the two in confusion and shock. Louis adjusts his suit and clears his throat.
Poland: (in a low whisper) I don’t have anyone anymore. (Pauses) Porter, Lance, and Rebecca were close family friends who took me in. My parents died in a car crash five years ago. Just like your father. (Silence) Louis, we go to the same school and have been in the same class for years, but you never noticed did you? It was in seventh grade. You looked up when someone came to tell me. I saw you watch me leave. You probably didn’t care back then.
Louis: (softly) Poland-
Poland: They died on the way to pick me up. I hated it, but after they were burried, I picked myself up and smiled because I had to look out for Rebecca and Lance, and especially Porter, who is, to me, what Luke is to you.
Louis: (in a soft and confused tone) Poland… why are you telling me this?
Poland: (quietly, turning away, toward the audience with a blank expression) I needed hope, but that is something that I still don’t have. I know you need hope… and that is something I can give you. It does get better, Louis. Trust me.