Driveway Theater had its world premiere in the Midwestern suburbs on May 21, 2013 under the direction of absolutely no one. Soundtrack by Sheryl Crow, for no particular reason except that no one bothered to change the music and it happened to be playing.
Morning. A driveway somewhere in the Midwestern suburbs where a woman and two teenagers, a boy of about 18 years and a girl, who is 15, are approaching a small black sedan, which is parked slightly askew. The woman's hair and clothes are also slightly askew and she has the air of someone who is trying to remember something. It is the very last time the three of them will ever be in the car together on the way to school. But she doesn't realize this until later. In fact, until just this second, as she is typing this sentence.
Girl: Can I drive?
Boy: No. You'd just have to switch drivers a mile away. It makes no sense
Girl: How come you let him make all the decisions?
Woman: (starts to speak)
Boy: Who parks like this? When are you going to learn to park?
Woman: (starts to answer)
Boy: Why are we leaving so early? School doesn't even start for 40 minutes. Why do you always let her decide when to leave?
ACT I, Scene Two
Interior of car. Woman behind the wheel. Boy in the passenger seat. Girl in back.
Woman: (addresses boy) So what would you like to eat at your graduation party?
Boy: I don't know. Food.
Girl: Spell his name out in pancakes.
Woman: Oh. Remember when I did that? Do you want me to spell your name out in pancakes?
Boy: You did that for her. That wasn't for me.
Girl: You never spelled my name out in pancakes. How come you never spelled my name out in pancakes?
Driveway of suburban high school, five minutes later. The girl has just exited the car, but the boy is still seated in the passenger seat, flipping through a copy of Wired magazine and making no move to get out. It is the last day of his senior year.
Boy: Why are we here so early? The doors aren't even open yet.
Woman: Someone just went in.
Boy: (looks up briefly before returning to his magazine.) They were buzzed in.
Woman: (reading over his shoulder from the driver's seat) Zombies are getting faster. I knew it.
Boy: I hate when they do stories like that. It's just silly.
Woman: I read that magazine for stories like that. (Pulls her wallet from her purse and pauses to choose from between denominations of currency.) Is $10 enough?
Boy: Maybe. (He takes the money but still does not get out of the car.)
Woman: Don't forget to pick up your graduation tickets.
Woman: (sighs.) Here. At the school. They sent out an e-mail, which I printed and taped to the refrigerator door three days ago.
Boy: Can you just text it to me?
Woman: Why would I text it to you? You are already here. At the school. Where the tickets actually are. Why don't you just ask someone inside? You know, where the tickets are.
Boy: (looks at her as if she has just suggested something ridiculous.) Where are you going right now? Just go home, read the note on the refrigerator and then text it to me.
Woman: (Opens mouth to speak, but then changes her mind. Boy exits.)
Later that same morning, same suburban driveway, same car, same woman behind the wheel. A man dressed for work and carrying a briefcase gets into the passenger seat with the air of someone who is trying to remember something. No one speaks. The woman fumbles briefly with the iPod connected to the car's speakers, trying to figure out what song was playing earlier during the conversation about pancakes, zombies and graduation tickets. Some song she hasn't heard in forever. Not that you could call it a conversation. She backs out of the driveway, listening, which she knows is a mistake. A half mile away, the man exits. He does not notice she is crying, or maybe she just has something in her eye?
She returns to the house, walks into the kitchen and pulls a note from the refrigerator door. Picks up her phone and begins to text:
"Seniors will pick up caps, gowns, honor tassels and commencement ceremony tickets in the Commons at Door A."
I think I've been in that play.
Posted by: Gigi | May 21, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Now I'm crying. Geez.
Posted by: nthnglsts | May 21, 2013 at 06:01 PM
It comes and goes. Right now = gone. He left me with an empty gas tank and a car full of crumbs last night. So that helps.
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | May 22, 2013 at 09:29 AM
I was sad the entire week before we sent the older pup off to college. My lovely bride was upbeat with all the planning and packing.
The morning we left, we got everything into the truck and the instant I put the gear shift in reverse to pull out of the driveway, my lovely bride simply lost it. Not lost it as in a tear tracking picturesquely down her cheek. Lost it as in wracking sobs.
Fortunately the feeling fades -- usually even before they come back home to live.
Posted by: Suburban Sheepdog | May 22, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Yes, but your boys are easy to live with, whereas mine needs help making toast. Oh god. Who is going to make his toast at the University of All Our Money?
Posted by: Suburban Kamikaze | May 22, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Exactly. Or bring the fresh towels and folded, hung clothes or make the coffee just right or know he does NOT like cheeseburgers with melty cheese or make him eat a vegetable once in a while or put money in the backpack or find the right, the only discontinued shampoo on Ebay or or .... wait a minute, the answer to all of that is NOT US.
Posted by: nthnglsts | May 25, 2013 at 04:38 PM