by Robert Alexander Wray

CHARACTERS 

Kate 

Joan 

Becca 

TIME 

Present 

PLACE 

A mountain overlook 

(KATE, JOAN and BECCA, on the edge of a clifftop) 

KATE 

…It’s a short walk…Just a few short steps and you’re… 

BECCA 

Off the cliff. 

JOAN 

Splat. 

KATE 

…This is where I go when I need peace. I sit here, on this rock, look out at the close-enough-to touch clouds, the soaring hawks, the cloud shadows on the trees below…Such a sweeping view… 

BECCA 

What does that cloud look like? 

JOAN 

A blob? 

KATE 

It’s a breast. A breast-like phallus. 

JOAN 

Are you on drugs? Are you kidding me? 

BECCA 

I see it. It’s breast-like and phallic at the same time. See the curve? The tiny nipple? And the rest  of it’s like a shaft. 

JOAN 

How do you explain that smudgy area where the balls should be? 

BECCA 

…That’s where God got frustrated… 

KATE 

The sun’s burning my face. 

(Silence)

BECCA 

I feel like jumping. I jumped through a cloud once. It’s not legal, but I did it anyway. Before I  went through it, the air got cooler and moist, then I sank into complete whiteness and fog. I had  my eyes open, but I couldn’t see. I felt cold. Luckily, I made it past. I saw land and opened my  parachute. 

JOAN 

You and your crazy skydiving adventures… 

KATE 

These grand mountains: Waves of motionless tsunamis with epic swells of green valley…Hawks  near and far, silently aloft.  

JOAN 

You’re so poetic, Kate, I could just shit. 

KATE 

(Laughs) 

Remember when I was nineteen and still dating Steven? We were at a party and I had to do a  number two. Which I did. A very dainty, ‘plop, plop, plop,’ and then I couldn’t flush it. The toilet  wouldn’t flush. Horror struck me. I knew nothing about toilets and I had no choice but to tell him,  “Honey, my poop won’t go down. Please don’t look at it. Keep the seat shut.” So terrified…Silly  me, wanting him to think I didn’t shit. 

(Silence)  

BECCA 

I’m getting turned on thinking about cheesecake. Literally, not in the figurative sense…Sorry.  

JOAN 

I wish I got turned on thinking about George. I feel like such a whore for some reason whenever  I’m around him. 

KATE 

Why is that? 

JOAN 

I don’t know. 

BECCA 

Is it ‘cause he picked you off the street and gave you twenty bucks for a blowjob?

JOAN 

Maybe that’s it. No, I’m being serious. I need to end it. 

BECCA 

Just do what I did with my ex: Take him to a bar, get drunk, and try to find as many euphemisms  for ‘I don’t want to see you anymore’ as possible. You know, ‘It’s not you, it’s me,’ or, ‘I’m raining  on the inside, the clouds have come,’ stuff like that. Then, just…fade away. 

JOAN 

Gosh, you’ve got it all figured out, haven’t you, Becca. 

(BECCA shrugs) 

(Silence) 

KATE 

I need to ask you both something…’Cause, well, we’re family and I feel–Oh look! Look at that  Sun Devil! 

JOAN 

What’s a Sun Devil? 

KATE 

That! That little vertical rainbow in the clouds…See it? 

JOAN 

Oh… 

BECCA 

What did you want to ask us? 

KATE 

Remember when we were kids, when mom and dad were alive and we had that tree in our yard  with a twisting trunk? 

BECCA 

Yes, we loved that tree. 

KATE 

So impossibly beautiful. Its fall-colored leaves would still linger on, right on through December  and January.

JOAN 

The only tree in the neighborhood that refused to let go of its signature yellowy leaves. Stubborn  tree. 

BECCA 

The wind would whisper: ‘C’mon, let go, let go.’ 

JOAN 

The leaves answer back: ‘Yeah yeah, sure sure.’ 

KATE 

Hanging on to its last vestiges of golden beauty as if spring didn’t exist. It had a personality, a  sweet life force. 

JOAN 

How we cried when the men with orange helmets and chainsaws came and cut it down. Sawing  branches, tossing them into a horrific sounding grinder machine. 

KATE 

With that never-ending motor. 

BECCA 

Sawing at the trunk, having trouble, having to go deeper and downer to get the trunk itself removed. 

JOAN 

Just to chuck it into the gaping maw of that ugly dirty truck contraption. 

KATE 

We go out there with our tiny tear-smudged faces, asking why. 

JOAN 

“You’re taking down the tree? How come?” 

KATE 

“It’s rotting, little girl. It’s dead. It might continue to sprout leaves a few more months, but that’s  about it.” 

BECCA 

“But we love this tree.”

KATE 

“Yeah, people get attached to their trees. But, the guy above us, higher up, requested we take it  down.” 

JOAN 

We say goodbye to the tree, touching it, caressing it. 

BECCA 

We take a part of it to keep as a souvenir. I still have it. A bare sprig of limb on my dresser. 

KATE 

And the next day, that bird with the rust-red breast, pausing at the site of the missing tree, skittering  around, confused. 

JOAN 

The dog had to change his whole routine. 

BECCA 

The girl next door lost the means of hiding from her parents whenever she wanted to kiss a boy.  No more secret kisses. 

JOAN 

Only one tree gone, and the world alters. 

(Silence) 

KATE 

You see that tree over there, where I carved our initials? 

JOAN 

Oh. 

BECCA 

“K heart J heart B, forever.” 

KATE 

…I want you both to spread my ashes around it.  

(Silence)

JOAN 

(In tears) 

What did the doctor say? 

KATE 

It’s everywhere, Joan. It’s twisted itself everywhere. 

BECCA 

You’re not going to try and… 

KATE 

No. 

BECCA 

Chemo? 

KATE 

No. Not again. 

(Silence) 

(KATE puts her arms around JOAN and BECCA) 

KATE (cont’d) 

Oh, look at that cloud…It’s a butterfly, fluttering away… 

 THE END

Robert Alexander Wray is a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, has won awards, and been published as well as produced in New York, regionally and abroad. Other plays include: Melancholy Echo, Savage Variations, and Bullet for Unaccompanied Heart. He’s based in Charlottesville, VA.