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A monologue from the play by Nicky Silver
Well, I left my apartment. It was about noon and it was a nice day, so I thought I’d walk to her [my friend Binky’s] house. She lives on 75th and Columbus, which, I realize, is a very long walk, but I thought the exercise would do me good—
I hadn’t eaten anything yet, so I stopped at the diner on my corner, for some breakfast, and I picked up a newspaper so I’d have something to do.
I was reading my paper when the waiter came over and asked if I was . . . alone. Well! It was obvious that I was alone! I was sitting there, in a booth, by myself—
did he think I thought I had an imaginary friend with me?! I was alone! Did he have to rub it in? Was he trying to be funny? Did he think he was, in some way, better than me?
It was in his tone. He said, “Are you alone?” But what he meant to say was, “You’re alone. Aren’t you!?”— And I can’t imagine that he’s not alone every single day of his miserable, pathetic life! He has terrible skin.
And it’s not attractive. Not the way bad skin, or at least the remnants of bad skin, is attractive on some people. On some men!! It’s never attractive on women—have you noticed that?
Just one more example of the injustices we are forced to suffer! If we have bad skin, we’re grotesque! Let a man have bad skin and he can be Richard Burton for God’s sake!
I HATE BEING A WOMAN!! I’ve strayed. The point is this waiter has terrible skin, and greasy hair and his breath stinks of something dead and his face is entirely too close to mine, and he insults me with his breath and his tone of voice and asks if I’m alone.
I feel my face go flush and I want to rip his head off! I’d like to pull his hair out, only I’d never be able to get a decent grip—it looks as if it hasn’t been washed in a decade!
I want to pick up my butter knife and stab in his sunken, caved-in chest! But! I simply respond, (Grandly) “No, I’m married, thank you.” (Pause)
I realize, now, of course, that my answer was illogical. I realize that it was inappropriate. But, at the time, it was all I could think to say.
Well, he leans back and, really, in the most supercilious manner, he leers at me and intones, “I meant, are you eating alone.” “I KNEW WHAT YOU MEANT!”
I KNEW WHAT HE MEANT! I don’t know why I said what I said, I just said it! He made me sick. I hope he dies. I shouted, “I KNEW WHAT YOU MEANT!”
And I am not a person who shouts, generally. I don’t like shouting. It hurts to shout and it hurts to be shouted at. My mother shouted quite a bit and I always thought the veins in her neck looked like the roots of a tree.
But I shouted. Everyone looked at me . . . because I was standing. I didn’t mean to be standing. I didn’t remember standing, but I was. I was standing.
I must’ve leapt up when I shouted. So I was standing and everyone was staring at me. The place was very crowded, much more crowded than I ever recall seeing it before.
And suddenly, it occurred to me, that these people, my neighbors, gawking at me in endless silence, were the very same people who had watched Ford and myself have sex that first night when we met.
I was humiliated! I thought I would die! Or be sick! I was certain I was going to be sick right there at my table, standing up, being stared at!
And then everyone in the neighborhood would mutter under their breath, every time they saw me, “Oh there goes that woman. We’ve seen her have sex, and we’ve seen her vomit.”
I WOULD LIKE, AT SOME POINT IN MY LIFE, TO CLING, WITH WHATEVER ENERGY I HAVE, TO MY DIGNITY!