A metro station, probably in Maryland. One of
those upper level outdoor ones. GIA and JUNE
(20’s, Black) sit on a bench, waiting for their
train. Gia has a magazine out, skimming
through it. June clearly has something to say.

JUNE

I signed another petition today.

Gia looks at her, unimpressed.

GIA

What for?

JUNE

What uh, what. For this, this girl who was. She was protesting and they locked her up,
they just took her, said she was like. I dunno breaking windows or some shit, being
violent, lying, basically they were lying about what she did.

GIA

Huh. Alright.

JUNE

Or. Actually. No sorry I’m wrong, it was this other girl, she was.

Flustered, embarrassed, she pulls out her phone,
begins looking through her email.

Shit. I got the email-

GIA

You don’t remember?

JUNE

No I do I do. It was the first one. That girl I was right before.

GIA

Ok.

Quiet. June squirms, uncomfortable.

JUNE

Sorry.

GIA

For what?

JUNE

I just feel like I should say. Sorry.
I’m not really saying it to you. You’re just here I don’t have anyone else to. To say it to.
Except inside my own head, where it kind of echoes around.

(beat)

I didn’t remember.

GIA

Alright.

JUNE

That’s bad.

GIA

I don’t really get why’re you’re telling me this. Like any of this, I don’t really care that you signed a petition-

JUNE

You don’t?

GIA

No.

JUNE

Not. I don’t mean you should care that I signed a petition, I mean. You don’t care that
there are petitions to sign?

GIA

What do you want from me here, June? Like what’re you-

JUNE

I dunno, Gia, I don’t-

She sighs, frustrated with herself.

GIA

Yesterday you mentioned this thing you donated to, some victim’s family to help pay
their rent, and the other day you were talking about emails to send to senators or the police or-

JUNE

Gia-

GIA

And today you’re talking about this petition. You’re asking if I care about this petition?

JUNE

I just-

GIA

You’re not asking me if I care about this petition, you’re not, you’re asking me if I care
about something bigger than a petition or an email or a Go Fund Me, you’re asking if I
care about the sum of all those things. Or about what’s behind them.

JUNE

Maybe.

GIA

That’s really fucking rude.

JUNE

Really-

GIA

Yes.

Quiet. They kind of stare down each other. Gia
wins, June looking away, uncertain.

JUNE

Sorry. Never mind.

GIA

Alright.

Quiet. A train passes by, not theirs.

JUNE
(trying)

How’s classes?

GIA

Fine.

JUNE

I saw that poster you designed. For the BSU, their spoken word night. It was great.

GIA

Thanks.

JUNE

You’re stuff’s always great though, so. Figures.

Awkward. June fumbles for something to say.
Gia is clearly bothered.

Do. Do you think they’ll ask you to speak? At graduation, for your program’s ceremony-

GIA

I dunno. Probably.

JUNE

Probably yeah, yeah. You’re so good, so. Probably.

GIA

You don’t have to try so hard.

JUNE

What?

GIA

I’m not mad.

JUNE

Well.

GIA

I’m not.

JUNE

Well I mean you’re just clenching that magazine pretty tight and you haven’t stopped tapping your foot-

Gia forces herself to stop doing both of those things,

breathing out a frustrated exhale through her nose.

GIA

There. See? Not doing it anymore.

JUNE

I didn’t mean to make you mad.

GIA

Where’s this train? Like seriously where is it-

JUNE
(miserably)

Gia. I really didn’t.

GIA

I’m not mad so stop June, just quit it.

JUNE

I just-

GIA

I said-

JUNE

I just. I don’t really see you. Doing that stuff.

GIA

Ok? And?

JUNE

Forget it, never mind.

GIA

No, what’re you saying?

JUNE

Shit, Gia. I just, I don’t.

She peeks at her. Sucks in a deep breath.

Fine.

She summons up some bravery. Looks her in the eye.

I think it’s really messed up that you can’t spend a minute of your time signing a petition,
or sharing a link, or sending an email. And I think it’s even more messed up that you
don’t seem to care, at all, that, that these things are happening that they exist that these people exist-

GIA

And I think it’s really fucked up that you can’t remember the names of ‘these people.’

June flinches back, stung. She looks away,
shameful. This annoys Gia even more.

Seriously. So don’t come at me with-

JUNE

I’m not coming at you-

GIA

You are-

JUNE

It’s just not that hard, it doesn’t take much it doesn’t cost you anything ok and it, it just-

GIA

What?

JUNE

It worries me! Because, because.
You’re my friend. And.

And you’re. You’re better than me-

GIA

What? No I’m not what the-

JUNE

You are though you are, it’s always been like that, ever since the sixth grade. You’re
always running ahead and I’m chasing after you. Like you’d go catching frogs and I was
too scared to hold one, or you’d jump from the swings and scrape your knee and you’d
laugh while I was crying cause you were bleeding, and and I always had to copy your homework-

GIA

June.

She kind of just mouths some words, stunned.
She doesn’t know what to say.

June. It’s. It’s not like that.

JUNE

It is though!

GIA

You’re great June. You’re amazing. You. I don’t know why-

JUNE

I wasn’t, I wasn’t amazing I don’t think so, not until I met you and. And you taught me how to be brave-

GIA

You taught me too / you taught me to be kind and-

JUNE

No no just, just. You’ve always been. I just want you to be someone who, who worries
about this, about people, about your people. I want you to be someone who, who cares.

GIA

I care.

JUNE

You could show it a little more, is all.

GIA
(defensive again)

Yes, because going onto Instagram and sharing a link someone else put the effort and
time into making is peak activism. I’ll get right on that.

JUNE

Alright I know I’m not. I’m not Angela Davis or anything alright, I know that I’m not freaking uh, freaking Malcolm X-

GIA

You are definitely neither of those people, no-

JUNE

But I’m doing something, alright, I’m doing something and it’s a little but it. It just.
I think about this all the time, Gia, lately it’s always. It’s buzzing around in the back of
my mind. And when I can block it out for a moment I log on and there’s just. It’s
something else something else happened. I can’t just. I can’t just not look or, or think
about it or. Don’t you care?

GIA

Obviously I do. Of course I do. You know that, so it’s really / hurtful that-

JUNE

I do I know I just. It’s just that.
You remember when we went to go protest?

GIA
(annoyed)

Come on-

JUNE

And I. When we got down there. All those people, pushing forward. Or kneeling down
and raising a fist. Or shouting out names and chanting. And then suddenly they were
running, because, because the police were pushing in and, and throwing smoke bombs
and there was this loud cracking noise and for a second I thought they’re shooting, someone got shot-

GIA

I was there I know-

JUNE

And I know you care I’m sorry I do I know because you. You went up there, you were in front, I remember because this one girl tripped running away and you helped her up-

GIA

June-

JUNE

But I. Gia, I didn’t do anything. I just. I stood in the back, away from all that. I just. I just
stood there, and. I took a few steps forward and would just freeze up, this cold would
pour into me and I’d step back. I couldn’t even raise my voice sometimes, I couldn’t even
say their names, I wasn’t loud enough.
I don’t want to. Feel like that again. I was there but. I wasn’t doing anything.

GIA

You did something. You helped me make signs, and, and you handed out water bottles and snacks you had a book bag full of them, of granola bars. And you were there-

JUNE

Not like you, not like everyone else, all those people.
I just. Remember you doing that and it confuses me on why. Why you’re like this now.

Gia clenches her jaw, bothered. She looks away.
It seems like she won’t say anything. June ducks
her head down.

GIA
(sudden)

There are thirty students in my year and only five Black kids. We started out with eight,
but there’s only five of us now. The rest left. I’m lucky if I get a class with one of them.
Last week a white girl said hi to me in the hallway then stuck her hand in my hair, right
away. Like she was petting a dog. Said she liked how it looked, how it felt. Like it was really a compliment. I just smiled and asked her not to do it again. Laughed it off. Pretty much the same thing happened a few days later, this time a stranger, on the train.

JUNE

I didn’t-

GIA

One of my teachers said she’s surprised I’m still there. Smiled at me, laughed,
complimented my work, said I could really go places, that I’m ‘not like the rest.’ My
advisor said I should consider putting some work into doing my hair, put on some
makeup, wear better clothes so that people would take me seriously. Said it was just
‘career advice.’ I laughed it off. Let myself be shit on.

JUNE

Oh.

GIA

That’s just this month.
I just keep thinking. One day. One day, I’ll look back and you’ll be miles behind me. And
then another day I’ll look down and you’ll be rungs below me. And once I get to where I
need to be. I’m pushing the door open. I’m bringing everybody in with me. Hopefully. If
I get shit on now, maybe further down the line, someone else won’t have to.

JUNE

Gia. Gia-

GIA

Sometimes. Sometimes the protest is just existing. That’s. A lot already. Because a lot of
people. Don’t want us here.

JUNE
(watery)

Yeah.

GIA

Please don’t cry.

JUNE
(sniffing)

I’m not.

GIA

You are.

JUNE
(crying)

No I’m not see I’m not-

GIA

You are so embarrassing.

JUNE

I’m sorry Gia-

GIA

It’s fine, jeez, stop already damn.

JUNE

I just-

GIA

I said it’s fine.

(beat)

Send me the next petition you find.

JUNE

Ok.

(beat)

I’ll. I’ll be sure to, to research, first. And. And remember names and, and. Everything.

GIA

Alright, sure. Wipe the snot off your face. You’ve always been such a crybaby.

JUNE
(laughing)

Yeah.

Gia gets a napkin from her bag, hands it to June.

GIA

Here.

June takes it, fixing herself. Gia looks at her,
then back to the platform.

You taught me a lot, too.

JUNE

You’re just saying that.

GIA

I’m not. I’m really not. Had to teach me something today, didn’t you? Back then, too. I
never would’ve though to bring water and snacks there, to the protest. Never.

(beat)

Sometimes I look at you, and I’m like. Her heart’s too big for her. For her body, for her
brain. It’s too big. And I worry because of it. And then sometimes I’m jealous. Because
I’d like to be more like that, like you, and it’s so effortless for you.

JUNE

You’re gonna make me cry again.

GIA

Please don’t. Ran out of tissues.

She looks at the screen for arrivals.

The train’s delayed.

She stands, gathers her things.

Whatever. Let’s just stop by the grocery store then go back to mine. I’ll make dinner.

She starts walking towards the escalator. June
scrambles a bit to catch up, settling into a walk
beside her.

JUNE

Ooooh Gia’s gonna cook! Can we have honey salmon?

GIA

You gotta make the rice.

JUNE

I thought you were cooking?

GIA

It’s gonna be a team effort.

JUNE

Fine. You always burn the rice anyway-

GIA

I like the bottom brown-

Their voices fade and they exit, stage fading to black.

Niara Mae is a playwright, actress and director from the Washington, D.C. area. Most recently, she’s written for Here We Go’s 24 Hour Play Festival, and an upcoming episode on The Language of Us podcast. She’s currently working on her thesis play for her final year at The New School for Drama. 

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