A bedroom. The walls are slightly off-putting shade of pink. The room’s a weird mix of childhood nostalgia with more mature furniture- the bed’s covers are a modest gray, but there are old and well loved plushies on a shelf against the wall. The bookshelf has a mix of comics and novels.
MARY enters, making a beeline for her bed. She carries a succulent in her hand. LEE, her sister, comes in more hesitantly, clearly uncomfortable. She’s also a little bit judge-y, looking around the room distastefully.

LEE

Still haven’t painted over the pink, huh.

Mary places the succulent delicately down on her nightstand. She’s oddly intent, very focused in on this plant.

What happened to painting a mural in here? Thought Mom and you bought paints and
everything.

Still no response.

Mary. Mary!

Mary looks back at her.

MARY

What?

LEE

I thought you were gonna get rid of the pink.

MARY

I like it.

LEE

And you were supposed to donate these stuffed animals, too.

She picks up a penguin plushie pointedly.

MARY

I like them too. You got that one for me. At Six Flags.

LEE

Well definitely keep this one, then. The rest are up for debate.

Mary shrugs then goes back to looking at her plant. Lee pokes around the room before sitting on a beanbag across from her. She’s a little awkward getting settled in.

LEE
(struggling)

Freaking-

MARY

(not looking at her)

Alright?

LEE

Get a chair Mary, fucking hell-

MARY

(peeking over, giggling)

Just sit down Lee.

LEE

Jeez.

Quiet. Lee ends up looking at the succulent too. She scrunches her nose.

You like your, uh. Plant? Cactus thing?

MARY

It’s a succulent.

LEE

Alright. Your succulent.

MARY

It’s nice.

LEE

Sure hope so. Can’t believe you made us stop on the way back.

MARY

Well, we were passing it. The market looked nice. They’re only out today and on weekends,
so.

LEE

Yeah, but a succulent? I thought you didn’t like plants. You always said they creeped you
out.

MARY

They do. Just growing on their own, deciding things by themselves. Ever since we looked
at plant cells in science class, they’ve always grossed me out.

LEE

Why then? If they’re so freaky.

MARY

I dunno. I just. Wanted something to care for. I guess.

Quiet. Lee shifts, uncomfortable.

LEE

It’s nice. I guess.

Mary hums, thoughts elsewhere.

Hey. Mary. Are you-

MARY

Do you want the ashes?

LEE

What? The hell?

MARY

Do you?

LEE

No, I don’t want the fucking ashes.

MARY

Ever since you moved away you started cussing like Dad.

LEE

Ugh. Don’t say that. I don’t want the ashes.

MARY

I don’t think Mom and Dad want them.

LEE

I thought you’d want them.

MARY

I just wanted the paw prints.

LEE

Where are they?

MARY

Downstairs on the counter. When they asked if we wanted the ashes too no one else
responded, so. I just said yes.

LEE

Well, we all thought you wanted them. If you don’t just. Just. I don’t know. Maybe
Grandma would want them?

MARY

I don’t think so. She doesn’t like animals, she always brings up that dog that bit her as a
kid.
Besides. We bought the vase and everything.

LEE

It’s a nice vase.

MARY

It’ll be horrible, looking at it every day. Mom’ll probably put it in the living room, right
by the TV. Just this constant reminder.

A moment. Lee sniffs. Mary nudges a leaf on her plant pitifully.

LEE

I’ll take it.

MARY

You will? Don’t you live in a studio, is there room?

LEE
(trying to hide how creepy it is to her)

Yeah, sure. It’s just a vase. I’ll just. Put it in the. Kitchen. Or the bathroom. Or neither. I
dunno. As long as it’s not near my bed, it’s fine. It’s fine.

Mary manages a smile. Lee relaxes some seeing it.

MARY

She was a good dog.

LEE

Remember when she peed on me?

MARY

We’d just gotten her! She was scared.

LEE

She knew exactly what she was doing. She looked me dead in the eye. All over my white
Vans. I don’t think she liked me.

MARY

She loved you. She loved everybody. I’m sure she was sorry.

LEE
(trying)

She was good. She let you put those ugly sweaters on her, so. Must’ve loved you.

MARY

When we were holding her and saying goodbye. I was thinking. “Something’s ending.”
And I felt like. That time at the pool when you dunked me under the water and held me
there, and it felt like the water was passing through my skin and into my blood and
everything got cold.

LEE

You’re so dramatic. I’ve said sorry like a thousands times. I bought you watermelon right
after that. You were under for like, ten seconds.

MARY

I couldn’t swim.

LEE

You learned that day, didn’t you? Now you swim like a pro.

MARY

I just felt like that, again. That sorta fear. “Something’s ending.”

LEE

Well. All things do.

Lee gets up and moves back to the bookshelf, pulling a book off the shelf. It’s some YA novel.

You still reading this stuff?

MARY

They keep making new ones, so.

LEE

You don’t have to read them. They’re for like, 13-year-olds.

MARY

I want to know how it ends.

LEE

It’s time to move from Nickelodeon to HBO, Mary.

MARY

You always leave things so easily.

LEE

And you never leave at all. Like why’re you still here?

MARY

Come on Lee.

LEE

I told you, you can move in with me. Get on your feet.

MARY

I like it here.

LEE

You’re clingy in the worst way. If something’s nice or kind or good to you, or takes care
of you, you stick to it like crazy glue.

MARY

What’s wrong with that?

LEE

Bad things come in pretty packages, sometimes. Move out of your parent’s house. It’s fuc-
It’s about time.

MARY

I dunno. Maybe.

She leans back, falling backward onto the bed.
She stares at the ceiling.

She had to go, huh.

LEE

She was suffering.

MARY

She was, yeah.
Do. Do you think.

LEE

What? What?

MARY

What took her place, you know? What. Did her going. Make space for something else?

LEE

How would I know something like that?

MARY

It had to, right. It had to. There’s gotta be a reason.

LEE

She was sick, that’s why.

MARY

For. For endings, for. Bad things. There’s gotta be. A reason. Something new took her
place. Or else. Why couldn’t she stay?

LEE

You’re thinking some heavy thoughts.

MARY

My dog died.

LEE

That’s not it. There’s something else. Usually you’d just be crying all day, and I’d have
to force you to eat and drink water and get tissues for you. What’s up, did something
happen?

MARY

I’m just thinking, Lee.

LEE

Well stop. Cut it out. You’re worrying me.

(beat)

You can care and care and love and want something as much as you like, but in the end
all things leave, all things go. You’re gonna water that cactus of yours for years, but one
day it just won’t be here anymore. Everything expires.

MARY

It’s a succulent.

LEE

It’s ugly. I wanted you to get the one with the red tips-

MARY

That one was ugly. You could’ve gotten it if you liked it so much.

LEE

I’d forget about it by the end of the week.

MARY

You would.

(trying it out)

Everything expires.

LEE

Yeah.

MARY

Scary.

LEE

It is. But. It’s about what you do with it, with fear. I think.
I’m always scared about. Something running out, or ending, like you. But that’s why I do
everything I can until then. Or. Maybe I’m trying to outrun it, in a way. You just want to
sit around, in denial.

MARY

I’m not in denial.

LEE

It shouldn’t take your dog dying for you to finally consider moving out-

MARY

I’m not considering it-

LEE

I got a comfy couch, is all I’m saying. Can even buy an air mattress.

MARY

I’m sure you do.
Maybe.

(beat)

Are you going to stay here a while?

LEE

Hell no.

MARY

Lee….

LEE

I didn’t even want to come back for this! Sorry Mary, sorry, but. Now I gotta hear Mom’s
passive-aggressive comments about how far I moved away, or who I’m dating, or how I
gained a little weight. And dad’s emotional constipation is as strong as ever.

MARY

You didn’t have to.

LEE

I did.

MARY

No-

LEE

For you I did, obviously, so.

Embarrassed, she sits next to her on the bed. A moment.

MARY

Mom and Dad are getting old, aren’t they?

LEE

Damn Mary.

MARY

Older.

LEE

Yeah, of course.

MARY

Each year I get more and more scared.

LEE

Of what.

MARY

That something will. Happen.

LEE

Ok.
Ok.
I don’t want to talk about this.

MARY

I worry all the time about it. I’ll wake up at 2 am, thinking about it. You know Dad sleeps
on the couch sometimes, so. I’d go down and check on him, make sure he’s still
breathing. Crazy.

LEE

They’re fine. They’re fine.

MARY

One day. They won’t be.

LEE

Not today though, so just.
Jeez, Mary.

MARY

Sorry.

LEE

Just because your plant’s gonna die one day doesn’t mean you stop watering it, right?

MARY

Right.

LEE

So. Water your plants. Finish your books. Paint the walls a new color. Move out,
eventually. Right now things are. Alright.

MARY

Except for the dog.

LEE

Except for the dog.

A sniffle. Then another. Mary starts to cry quietly, hiccuping and wiping her nose with her sleeve.

There they are.

MARY
(distraught)

My dog.

LEE

I know.

MARY

I miss her.

LEE

I know. Come on. I wore this shirt knowing you’d snot all over it.

She turns and hugs her, letting her cry into her shoulder. A moment.

MARY
(muffled, snotty)

Will you help me pack?

LEE

Yeah. I will.
You gotta put some of this shit in storage though.

Mary coughs out a laugh, a snotty mess. Lee grins, hugs her tighter.

Blackout.

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 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. 

More of Niara’s work in Mixed Mag:

I Signed Another Petition Today (Issue 6)

Hair (Issue 5)

Remarkable (Issue 4)

Getting Married Today (Issue 3)

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