A Window

by Donna Kaz

Characters

JOANNA            a woman in her 30s.
FRANCINE         a woman in her 20s.

Setting            

New York City

LIGHTS UP: JOANNA in spotlight. She pauses, looks out and speaks.

JOANNA
So I’m not where I want to be. OK. I accept it. I make good money and someday I won’t be doing this anymore, I’ll be doing what I want. At least I have a view. On clear days you can see past Staten Island. And I like that cause I live on Staten Island and when I look past it I think that someday I’ll be past it too. I’ve worked here for five years. Five years in a restaurant would be a long time but I tell myself that this is not just any restaurant. This is where everyone wants to eat at least once in their lives. You know what they say about the restaurant business – the three most important things are location, location, location! Every table is a window table.

(LIGHTS UP opposite side of the stage on FRANCINE.)

FRANCINE
I usually sit on the aisle but it’s not full so I sprawl out and sit near the window with all my stuff on the aisle seat. I’m tired. Why do I always feel tired after taking a week off? I’ve got to stop needing a vacation after my vacation. Maybe I can catch up on some sleep. I lean my head against the window.

JOANNA
My kids like to visit me at work. Well, they don’t really come to visit me, they ride the elevators. I tell them that they’ll get sick going up and down so fast but they never do. When they can’t go up and down anymore they stare out the window. They can only come up here when we’re getting ready for the exterminator and only if George is managing. You think we wouldn’t see bugs up here but you’d be surprised.

FRANCINE
Tomorrow it’s back to work. I can’t wait. The way I earn a living is cushy. That’s what my sister calls it. A “cush” job. Everyone has a need and I have what they need. That’s how you sell. You don’t have to do anything, people just come to you. I never thought of sales as an easy paycheck but in the end I don’t do much of anything except talk. And I’m usually talking about things that have nothing to do with the sale. Schmooze talk. Chit-chat. What’s the weather like? Stuff like that.

JOANNA
I’m taking classes at night. I work all day, go to school all night. When do I have time to take care of my house, my kids, I don’t know? It’s like I have three full time jobs – three forty-hour-a-week jobs. I think that’s more hours than there are in a week. Doesn’t add up. My life.

FRANCINE
We take off and I look at the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign, waiting for it to go off so I can get up.I look out the window and I see boats in the water and I can just make out people on the beach. This is the end of summer but it’s still great beach time. People don’t realize it but the water stays warm right though to November some years. This is my favorite time of year – when it’s still summer and most people don’t realize it. They’ve been fooled by Labor Day. Back to work. Back to school. Well, hello! We have at least three more weeks of summer. At least.

JOANNA
Every fall I feel the same way. It’s like the beginning of school was when I was a kid. Most kids hated going back but I couldn’t wait. I loved knowing I was about to learn something new with each grade. The air suddenly changes at the end of August and that’s the sign that soon things will be changing inside of you. I can see the changes in the air from up here. It’s going to be fall soon.

FRANCINE
This weekend I’m having a barbeque. I live right on the beach. I’ve invited everyone. All my friends will come over and play volleyball, surf, cook, blast the music. The neighbors don’t complain because they are too busy doing the exact same thing. People who live on the beach are cut from the same cloth. We’ve got sand in our shoes but it doesn’t matter one bit.

JOANNA
I’m folding napkins. It’s early. This place does a big breakfast thing…meetings, conferences, hundreds of bagels and gallons of coffee. I’m folding napkins and I’m pushed back out of my seat looking out the window.

FRANCINE
We’re still climbing so I close my eyes. I can feel the brightness of the sun through the window on my eyelids. There is noise and the gravity pulls me back in my seat and we go up.

JOANNA
I’m staring at the sun, kind of looking through it. You’re not supposed to look directly at the sun.

FRANCINE
Whenever it begins, you know the noise from engines and the sunlight on my face – it always puts me right to sleep.

JOANNA
The rays are going straight into my pupils. But it feels okay.

FRANCINE
Lift off. And I’m dreaming in dreamland.

(LIGHTS CHANGE. MUSIC/MOVEMENT. BEAT.)

JOANNA
This woman comes in. I don’t recognize her as one of the staff so I’m thinking she’s one of these go getters, you know…these career women who just have to be the first one at every meeting.

FRANCINE
I smell coffee. I realize that I am starving…haven’t eaten all morning and I’ve been up since five. What’s for breakfast?

JOANNA
Are you here for the conference?

FRANCINE
Hope you have something besides cold cereal.

JOANNA
I think that maybe she’s a crazy. Oh yeah, they find their way up here too. I’ve seen all kinds up here.

FRANCINE
I see this woman and something tells me to go up to her. She smiles at me, a real friendly smile.

JOANNA
Can I help you? I think I know her from somewhere I can’t remember where exactly.

FRANCINE
She is so familiar but I can’t remember her name. I look for a name tag. She doesn’t have one. Don’t I know you?

JOANNA
You look very familiar but I don’t think so. Now I want to get back to my napkins but she won’t go away.

FRANCINE
The feeling when you are having a dream and you try to get out of it by waking yourself up because you know it’s only a dream.

JOANNA
Now she looks like she may be crazy. She’s batting her eyes like she’s got something in them. I ask her if she feels okay.
FRANCINE
I have to sit down. Wait, I am sitting down. Then I have to get up.

JOANNA
I look around for someone else to see if they can help. Maybe someone else in the place knows this woman. I can’t see anyone else. Is this daylight savings time and I missed it? I look at my watch.

FRANCINE
Where am I? I don’t know what else to say.

JOANNA
It’s Tuesday.

FRANCINE
I know it’s Tuesday but where is it Tuesday?

JOANNA
I don’t know what you mean.

FRANCINE
I have to close my eyes.

JOANNA
Are you going to faint?

FRANCINE
I need to get up. Is that sign off yet?.

JOANNA
I look around for help. George is usually here before anyone else but he’s not here. Now I’m convinced that its daylight savings time and I missed it. Don’t they do that on weekends for crying out loud?

FRANCINE
I’m gonna fall.

JOANNA
Not here.

FRANCINE
Here.

JOANNA
She falls onto my chest like a sack of potatoes.

FRANCINE
Lift off. I need lift off.

JOANNA
I have no idea why but I pick her up in my arms. I didn’t think I could pick anyone up.

FRANCINE
Now I’m floating. I’m flying. They say it’s good when you dream you are flying. I’m flying and the sun is shining down on me, bouncing off my arms like they are wings.

JOANNA
I carry her over to the window. It’s much farther than I remember. It’s taking a long time to get there. I can see Staten Island through the glass and the sky is blue.

(LIGHTS CHANGE. MUSIC/MOVEMENT. BEAT.)

FRANCINE
Now I wish I could figure this one out. You know, analyze the dream while I’m having it? It feels like I’m flying because I have to get somewhere fast and so I fly instead of walk. Does that mean that in my life I have to do some things faster because time is going by and I’m not moving? Or maybe it means I’m not as successful as I want to be. Or maybe just the opposite…I’m flying because I don’t have a care in the world.

JOANNA
Call it instinct or intuition or someone up there showing me what to do. It’s the time when the knot in your stomach unwinds and you just go forward without even thinking about it. That’s how it was with picking her up. She falls onto me but I don’t let her slump and help her to the ground. I don’t call out for help. I don’t check her heart beat. I just pick her up because that is the right thing to do.

FRANCINE
Whatever it means in the long run, for now, I am floating high. And I’m moving at a medium sort of pace. Not too fast and not too slow. Just right so that I can take everything in. Like the plane is now a bus is now a car on a summer’s day driving the scenic route through the country.

JOANNA
I’m doing the right thing and it feels like a dance, like a balancing act where everything is in line, like the energy is flowing between us. Like we are one.

FRANCINE
One lane, one direction. One driver, one car.

JOANNA
She is saying something but I can’t make it out.

FRANCINE
I’ve got no strings on me.

JOANNA
Then she’s begins to get heavy in my arms and I don’t know where I’m going anymore.

(LIGHTS CHANGE. MUSIC/MOVEMENT. JOANNA and FRANCINE face each other for the first time. BEAT.)

JOANNA
Are you alright? Are you sick or something?

FRANCINE
I was dreaming that I was going somewhere….

JOANNA
You need the bathroom? Can you walk?

FRANCINE
Going along at just the right speed.

JOANNA
You are holding onto my arm very tightly.

FRANCINE
Where am I? I can see blue.

JOANNA
That’s a window. It’s the view.

FRANCINE
You let go of me.

JOANNA
I caught you.

FRANCINE
Doing what?

JOANNA
You were falling.

FRANCINE
Falling?

JOANNA
To the floor.

FRANCINE
I was flying, not falling.

JOANNA
Okay.

FRANCINE
I was flying and you brought me down.

JOANNA
You fell on top of me. I mean, you leaned against me like you were going to fall. Look, I’ll get someone.

FRANCINE
Who?

JOANNA
Someone who can help you.

FRANCINE
Were you sitting and I was standing? Or where we both standing?

JOANNA
I don’t remember. Really.

FRANCINE
It matters.

JOANNA
I don’t remember.

FRANCINE
Think about it. I didn’t fall. I flew.

JOANNA
So you were flying. You were flying and I brought you down. So sue me.

FRANCINE
I’m not mad. I’ve put it behind me already.

JOANNA
Good for you.

FRANCINE
Shall we go?

JOANNA
I work here.

FRANCINE
Cushy job?

JOANNA
Not exactly.

FRANCINE
Then let’s go.

JOANNA
Where?

FRANCINE
Wherever you like.

JOANNA
I think you should rest.

FRANCINE
Don’t leave. Stay with me.

JOANNA
Okay.

FRANCINE
I’ll just wait with you, if you don’t mind.

JOANNA
As long as you don’t get up and go flying again.

FRANCINE
You could come too.

JOANNA
If you promise to take me somewhere far out there I may just take you up on it.

FRANCINE
I promise.

JOANNA
I’m ready then.

FRANCINE
I can get you a cushy job too.

JOANNA
That too? Everything all at once?

FRANCINE
Maybe. I’ll have to check.

JOANNA
Let me know.

FRANCINE
You’ll know.

JOANNA
(Suddenly) Oh God!

FRANCINE
What?

JOANNA
I just thought of something.

FRANCINE
It’s alright.

JOANNA
No, it’s not. There’s too much left.

FRANCINE
Leave it.

JOANNA
I don’t want to leave it.

FRANCINE
You know it’s right. You know it.

JOANNA
I’m going to fall.

FRANCINE
Not with me here. Now, are you ready?

(FRANCINE and JOANNA look out. MUSIC/MOVEMENT.)

[BLACKOUT]

CURTAIN


 

AWindow_Kaz_Photo_lgeDonna Kaz is a memoirist, poet and playwright whose work has been seen at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, The York Theatre, the Edinburg Festival Fringe, Harlem Stage and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. She has been published in Lilith, Turning Wheel, Step Away Magazine, Trivia: Voices of Feminism and the Women’s Studies Quarterly. She is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of residency fellowships from Yaddo, Djerassi, The Blue Mountain Center and The Ucross Foundation as well as being a featured writer at the Pulse Poetry Slam, Carpo, Uncle Mo’s and Wordstock. Donna is currently an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. @donnakaz

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