Still Life – Monologue (Michelle)

A monologue from the play by Seth Kramer. (The play ‘Still Life’ is part of the anthology ‘Special Days’)

MICHELLE (twenties – thirties) 

Michelle is in a hospital gown, her hands are wrapped. 

That’s what they all say. The f***ing head shrinks who won’t leave me alone now. That’s their line of crap.

(Vicious.) “Time to let the healing begin. Let’s talk about what you’re feeling. What you’re afraid of.” I don’t need to hear this sh*t from you! (Beat.)

A few times a week, you know, they come in here and prod me. The doctors. The psychoanalysts. The physical therapists.

And we go through the same routine every time. They —they take needles and poke at my hands. I watch them do this.

Each finger, my palms, my thumbs. Watching for any kind of reaction. “Did I feel that?” No. “Can I move this?”

No. “What sensation do you get when I do that?” Nothing! They give me balls to squeeze, and “fine motor” tasks to practice.

They hook me up to a machine and take turns running electrical currents through my stumps. Just to see which fingers twitch a little and which ones remain lifeless.

(Beat.) We have the talks. The talks about . . . About degrees of progress . . . about long-term improvement and adaptive skills for the real world and all that sh*t.

(Beat.) That’s my life now. (Beat.) You do a thing long enough, your whole life, I guess . . . I don’t really think it matters what that thing is . . . Bowling, playing poker, art . . . 

I don’t think it matters. Eventually, it becomes you —that part of you that gives you a reason to wake up and breathe every day.

I mean, that’s what it’s all about, right? (Beat.)  Your purpose, right? (Pause.) The FIRE took that from me.

It took everything. Every single thing I ever made —Painted —All of it just torched to high hell. You have no idea what that means.

What that felt like. (Pause.) I was meant to burn there, with everything else. You should have left me.

Read the play here

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