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A monologue from the play by Emma Goldman-Sherman
Jane’s father, an entomologist, spends years away from home working in a rain forest.
Here, he has come home for a while, and she tells him what she thinks of his being an absentee father.
Are you getting a divorce? Cause if you’re getting a divorce, you haven’t changed a bit. Do you still spend your nights dozing over a textbook in that leather chair as if you’re really there?
At least when you are gone, you are gone. Now you’re supposed to be here, but you’re gone at the same time, sort of like . . . I know! I know!
You’re Virtual Dad! Plug him in and pretend he loves you! Am I bothering you? Making you want to leave again? Go on. You’re good at it.
It will be just like all the other times you’ve left, only this time, you’re already packed. I can hardly look at you standing by your bags.
I can’t tell if you’re coming or going. Do you know the difference, or is there only one way for you? It’s away, right?
This is the moment when you swing by to tell me you’re leaving again, on a longer trip with a bigger grant to study something even stranger than before, before I’m even used to having you around?
I’m sorry. I guess I’m feeling cold and unwelcoming. Are you lonely for your long lost family, the one you never really wanted, or do people want families before they’re formed and then freak out that they can’t manage them once they get them?
I don’t know. I’m just a kid. How would I know? All I know is that my adults, the ones assigned to me, they don’t seem to want me around, or I can put it differently, they don’t want to be around me.
Ah, you say that isn’t true. You say you love me, but doesn’t love mean being available to a person? Most of my life I haven’t even been able to call you, and forget visiting. A person needs shots and a state department visa just to get to you.
But you have a great excuse, because the rainforest isn’t wired for cell service. I have this thing about not seeing people in the flesh. My therapist, are you in therapy?
You really should be in therapy, you know. So Mary Beth, my therapist, says I flunked Peek-A-Boo. It’s that stage in development when a kid starts to trust her primary caretaker, to believe that he or she is there even if she can’t see him.
I flunked that part, and if a person isn’t right before my eyes, I don’t necessarily believe they exist. So if you really are here, and you’re really not just stopping in to say you’re leaving again, you’re going to have to do better than this.
Silence, your silence, isn’t working for me.