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The Woman Behind the Glass
The setting is at the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, Illinois in the late 90’s on a Thursday morning. The twins are in the lobby of the jail. There are three beige walls that surround the stage. There’s a row of chairs against the left wall and the front desk is against the center wall. There’s some plants next to the chairs and the door to the meeting room is on the right wall. There’s a secretary sitting behind the desk and cops walking around behind her. There is chattering between the cops and sounds of the phone ringing and the secretary answering. Faith and Hope are sitting in the chairs waiting to go back into the meeting room to meet their birth mother. They are the only two sitting in the lobby.
[Hope turns towards Faith with a worried face.]
Hope: Faith, are you sure you want to do this? Meeting her won’t help change things. We should go.
[Faith shakes her head as she looks down at her feet]
Faith: No, we are staying. I want to meet the woman who abused us and abandoned us! [shouts] She needs to see how she damaged us. Damaged me.
Hope: I don’t want to meet her. [she rubs her hand over the scars on her arms] She hurt us, Faith.
[Faith smirks and bites at her lip ring]
Faith: She hurt me more than you. You were her “favorite.” That’s why I’m depressed and you act like everything is just fine. You’re hiding a darkness behind your mask, sis, and you need to let it out at this woman for what she did.
[Hope looks away with tears in her eyes as she stays quiet]
Faith: I’m right, aren’t I?
[Hope jerks her head toward Faith quickly, anger in her voice]
Hope: You need to just let it go! Move on! It happened 13 years ago and you’re still stuck on the same damn thing. Just accept that it happened and be glad we got adopted by great parents.
Faith: I am glad we were adopted by good parents, but they don’t understand what we went through. No one does.
Hope: I do. I was there going through it with you. Why don’t you just talk to me?
Faith: What good would that do? It won’t fix how I feel inside. Like you said, you were there with me. So you can’t help my problems, when they’re yours too.
Hope: You’re my sister and I love you. I want to help the best I can.
Faith: No one can help me.
[The secretary calls them into the meeting room with two cops by their sides]
The second scene is in the visiting room of the prison. The three grey walls remain but there are two chairs on either side of glass, along with two landlines. There is a cop standing in the background to the right with his arms folded. The woman is sitting on one side of the glass while Hope and Faith walk in on the other side.
[Hope and Faith slowly walk between the cops as they guide them to the visiting room where they see a woman sitting behind a glass barrier with a landline in her hand and there is one chair on the other side of the glass with a landline as well. Hope sits in the chair as Faith stands beside her.]
[Hope picks up the phone and slowly brings it up to her ear, her hand shaking]
Hope: Susan Taylor? [stutters]
Susan: That’s me. Who are you?
Hope: My name is Hope and that is my sister Faith. We’re your daughters.
Susan: I don’t have any daughters. You’re mistaken me with another woman.
Faith: Don’t lie to us! [shouts] You know damn well we’re your daughters. Maybe you don’t recognize us without the bruises and black eyes and cigarette burns and fresh wounds. Or possibly because our names were changed from Crystal and Nikki! You named us after the drugs you were most addicted to! Who does that?
[Susan looks up at them with tears in her eyes]
Susan: I’m sorry girls. I was young and didn’t know what to do with two young kids. Your birth father left so it was just me and my druggie friends watching you both.
Faith: Yeah, and then one night while you were stoned out of your mind, one of your “friends” decided to have some fun with me. I screamed and no one came to help me. Hope was crying in the corner of the room! You let a man take advantage of your 4-year-old daughter! What mother allows that? And the worst part of it, was that when I told you the next morning, you didn’t believe me and said I was just looking for attention.
Susan: The drugs took over my mind, I wasn’t thinking straight.
Faith: You weren’t thinking at all! You never did!
[Hope looks up at Faith]
Hope: Faith, be nice. Don’t be so mean.
Faith: Why should I? She abused and left us! [she slams her hand against the glass, causing Susan to jump back]
Susan: I told you, I was young and stupid. I’m sorry.
Faith: Sorry can’t fix it. Nothing can. I just wanted to see the woman who did this to us, and to show you how we turned out to be. Well, take a look at us. Hope hides her pain behind a smile and she tries to lighten up her life with color and happy things. Me? Well, look, I’m depressed and suicidal and I’m not afraid to show my pain. I’m dark and all I do is sit around and wonder why this had to happen to me. Why couldn’t I just hide it like my sister? I guess that’s what makes us different. I have to see a therapist and she doesn’t. I’ve attempted suicide and she hasn’t. She smiles and I don’t. Either she’s a great actress or just genuinely better than me. [she shakes her head and steps back from the glass]
Hope: Faith, I hurt too, I always have. I just try to not think about what happened in the past and just live in the moment. I don’t need a therapist because I’m good at dealing with my problems and emotions. I’m not better than you, I just cope better. [she looks up at Faith with eyes full of tears]
[Susan wipes tears from her cheek and sighs quietly to herself]
Susan: I know this won’t matter to either of you but, you both turned out beautiful. You could be worse, you know, but you aren’t, and I’m proud you didn’t turn out like me.
Susan: My visiting time is almost up so I’d like to tell you more about me and what happened. When I was 17 I was heavily addicted to drugs and my regular drug dealer, Chase, had me pay with sex instead of money, since I was broke from running away from home. He was 34 at the time and when he found out I was pregnant, he ran off and I never saw him again. 9 months later I gave birth to you two in an abandoned warehouse with only the help of an old homeless man. For 4 years I did drugs, drank, and abused you all, which I know was wrong but I couldn’t think right with all the drugs messing with my head. [she sniffles] One day, I knew I couldn’t let you all grow up in an environment like we were living in so I decided to leave you all in an alley way next to a dumpster. I called the police and reported seeing two small girls abandoned just to make sure you all were safe. I was protecting you. [she coughs her smoker’s cough loudly]
[Both girls stay quiet, taking all the information they were just given in]
Hope: So, how’d you end up in prison?
Susan: Uh, let’s see. Drugs, robbery, child abuse, and… [she coughs again] murder…
Hope & Faith: Murder!?
Hope: Who…Who’d you kill? [her hands get clammy and she shakes a little, her forehead dripping with sweat beads]
Susan: After I decided to leave you both, a year later I got pregnant again by Chase. Once he heard I gave you all away, he came back to me, and offered more drugs in exchange for sex. Of course, the addiction that controlled my brain allowed it. When I told him I was pregnant for a second time, he vanished again. I was beginning to think he was doing this on purpose. [she smirks and shakes her head with a grin] 9 months later, I gave birth to a boy, Blaze. Of course, a street name for Marijuana. He was born with heart defects and a low birth weight, due to the drugs I was on during the pregnancy. I knew he wouldn’t live long and I couldn’t go to a hospital for help because I didn’t have money and I knew I’d get arrested for the drugs and alcohol I had. So, about three days after he was born, I threw him off of a bridge at nighttime. I was too upset about killing him that I didn’t notice the policeman across the bridge, watching me. He saw everything I did and I got arrested. I’ve been here now for 8 years.
Faith: How could you! You killed an innocent baby! [she yells into the phone]
Susan: He was going to die, I had no choice! [she cries]
Hope: It wasn’t the right thing to do, but I understand why you did it.
Faith: Are you on her side now? What the heck, Hope! [her eyes fill with hate]
Hope: No, I’m not. I’m just saying I understand, not that I agree with it! Calm down.
[The policeman walks up behind Susan and says that their time is up. She stands up and he takes her by her arm. Hope stands up and cries silently as Faith spits at the window]
Faith: Go to hell! [she yells]
Susan: I’m getting executed tomorrow so I’ll be there soon. I love you both, goodbye.
[Hope lip motions “I love you too” towards her as Faith smiles from ear to ear then turns to Hope]
Faith: Looks like the wish I’ve had ever since I was little, will finally come true.
[The scene ends and the curtain closes]