Miracle

CHARACTERS

KATE                                                                                                                             30.    Aria’s mother.

ARIA                                                                                                                               7.    Kate’s daughter.

SETTING
A park, in any town.

TIME
November, hopefully not forever.

At lights up, Kate, 30, is sitting on a bench C; outside, November, a chill in the air. Her large handbag sits on the ground next to the bench. Behind Kate is a scrim showing bare trees and an open expanse of land. We hear a young girl shriek, and Kate looks up. ARIA, 7, rushes on from the audience, holding a plastic container of milk. Aria collapses on the bench.

ARIA

Mama!

KATE

What’s wrong, sweetheart?

ARIA

Lincoln asked me to share my milk, and when I said no, he tried to take it from me.

KATE

And what did you do?

ARIA

I stomped on his foot and ran away.

KATE

What have Daddy and I said about sharing?

ARIA

I don’t have to if I don’t want to.

KATE

And?

ARIA

No more foot stomping.

KATE

That’s right.  It’s your milk, and if you tell him no, he should respect that.  But stomping on feet isn’t the best choice, okay?

ARIA

Okay.

KATE

What would be a better choice?

ARIA

Telling him “no,” again.  But that doesn’t always work.

KATE

So, what could you do?

ARIA

Yell.  Yell, “Hands off, you big fartface!”

KATE

Or tell an adult.

ARIA

That’s not as fun.

KATE

Can we pretend I’m a good mom, and stick with telling an adult?

ARIA

Okay, we can pretend.

KATE

Drink your milk.

ARIA

It’s gone.

KATE

Do you want some crackers?  I have crackers

Kate reaches for her handbag.

ARIA

No thank you, I’m full.

KATE

Okay.  I think I’ll have one, though.

Kate eats a cracker.

Are those your friends?

ARIA

Some of them.  That’s Kennedy.  She’s really smart and always wears fancy clothes.

KATE

That is easily the most expensive jacket I’ve ever seen on a seven-year-old.

ARIA

And Susan runs all of our games.  The boys didn’t used to let the girls play, but she made them.  Now we all play together.

KATE

What about Lincoln?

ARIA

He usually plays by himself.  He likes really artsy stuff, like theatre.  I’d rather play kickball.

KATE

You’re very good at it.

ARIA

Thank you.

KATE

I spoke to your grandmother today.  She would have come, but her back is acting up again.  She was putting her flowerpots back into the shed and she fell.

ARIA

I miss Grandma.  You should go see her.

KATE

I will.  When she’s feeling better.  I don’t want to be an imposition.

ARIA

You could bring her some of Daddy’s chicken soup.

KATE

I sure could.  That stuff works miracles.  Miracles.

ARIA

Where is Daddy?

KATE

He’s at home, making some special food for your birthday dinner.  Lasagna.

ARIA

I love lasagna!

KATE

It’s my favorite too.  And since you’re turning seven, you can have a great big piece.

ARIA

And ice cream?

KATE

I think we can find some.

ARIA

Yay, ice cream!

KATE

Not like you need any more sugar, little one.

ARIA

And it’ll be Mama and Daddy and me.  Just us.

KATE

Just us.  Is that okay?

ARIA

Yes.  Birthday parties are overrated.

KATE

What about presents?

ARIA

I like presents.

KATE

Don’t tell Daddy, but I brought you one.

Kate pulls a thin package out of her handbag. Aria tears the present open.

It’s a book, about great women of history.

ARIA
(Reading)

Jackie Kennedy…Susan B. Anthony…Mary Todd Lincoln…

KATE

So see, you can be anything you want to be.  Unlimited potential.

ARIA

I could be a chef like Daddy.

KATE

Or a teacher, like Mama.

ARIA

Nah.  I don’t really like kids.
I could be an astronaut.

KATE

Sure, an astronaut.  That’s a lot of school, though.

ARIA

You like school.  You and Daddy met in school.

KATE

Yes, we did.  First year of college.  First day, actually, we met at orientation.  We were on the same team for the campus scavenger hunt.

ARIA

Did you win?

KATE

You know, I don’t remember.

ARIA

Daddy’s so competitive, he would remember.

KATE

I think you’re right.  But I do remember, after the hunt we went back to his dorm, and we made cookies – ginger cookies.  They were awful.  Completely burnt.  So Arthur – Daddy – promised me he’d keep practicing, if I’d help him with his English homework.  We got married two days after we graduated, four years later.

ARIA

Did you wear a big poofy dress?

KATE

I really wanted to.  I’d always thought it was silly until I got engaged, and realized how much I wanted to feel special.  But we were flat broke, and we didn’t want to ask your grandparents for money, so I bought a lace dress at Macy’s, and he wore his best suit, and we got married at the courthouse.

ARIA

I didn’t know people did that.

KATE

It was actually really fun.  We all went out to dinner afterward.  I threw a fake flower bouquet.  And all the people we cared about most in the world were there.

ARIA

I wasn’t there.

KATE

You’re right, except you.

ARIA

I wish I had been.

KATE

I would have liked that.

ARIA

I’ll bet you looked beautiful.

KATE

I don’t know about that.  But I felt beautiful, and I think that’s more important.

ARIA

And then you had me right away!

KATE

Well, not right away.

ARIA

Why not?  Isn’t that what happens when people get married?

KATE

Sometimes.  But Daddy and I just wanted to be a couple for a while.  He started culinary school, and I got a teaching job, so we decided to wait.  We wanted to make sure we saved enough money so the baby could have a good life.  But everyone kept saying, “Oh, now is the best time to have kids!  You don’t want to be old parents!  Don’t you want your mother to have grandkids?”  And one day, you came along.

ARIA
(Giggling)

Surprise!

KATE

The best surprise in the world.  Daddy and I were very scared, but we couldn’t wait to meet you.

ARIA

Do you remember the day I was born?

KATE

Every second.  You caused me a lot of pain, you know.

ARIA

I’m sorry, Mama.

KATE

It was worth it.  Every push, ever rip, every tear, to see your little face shrieking to high heaven.  I held your Daddy’s hand and cried when they handed you to me.  I’d never held anything so small.  It was like the world stopped, and it was just our little family that mattered in all creation.
We brought you home, and put you in your crib, and it still didn’t feel real.  We named you Aria, because you would always kick when Daddy and I sang at Temple on Saturdays.

ARIA

Was I expensive?

KATE

You were very expensive!

ARIA

I’m going to go tell Kennedy.  I’ll bet I was more expensive than she was.

KATE

Don’t you want to hear the rest of the story?

ARIA
(Suddenly very grown up)

Are you sure you want to tell it?

Kate pats the seat next to her, and Aria sits back down, nestling her head on Kate’s lap.

KATE

I’d never been so tired in my life, so when it came time for your six-month checkup, I made Arthur go so I could sleep.  He was late coming home, and I was so worried, and – I didn’t mean to yell.  He was crying.  He said the doctor found a red spot on your eye.  That we would start seeing changes.  That you would stop hearing, stop seeing…stop moving.  That there was nothing we could do.

ARIA

Nothing?

KATE

We tried so hard, I promise we did.  We sold our little house, maxed out our credit cards, borrowed from anyone we could.  But all those people, everyone who insisted we have a child – they’d all vanished.  They were happy to care about you before you were born, but after…we were on our own.
I found you, lying on my chest.  I’d fallen asleep, I prayed you had too.  But it was over.  Our little surprise hadn’t become our miracle.  We asked for forever, we got two years.  Six months of that was heaven.  The rest was the darkest circle of hell.

ARIA

Would you do it again?

KATE

Which part?

ARIA

All of it.

KATE

I don’t know.  We decided not to have another child, it’s taken care of, but going back in time and doing it again, I don’t know.  We loved you so much.  You know that, don’t you?

ARIA

Yes, Mama.

KATE

Good.

ARIA

Can I go play with my friends now?

KATE

Of course, sweetheart.

Aria hugs Kate.

ARIA

I love you, Mama.  And I love my new headstone.

Aria runs off.  Kate picks up the book and discarded wrappings.  She pulls a small bouquet of flowers out of her bag and places them DC.  Kate exits.  The image on the scrim shifts to include headstones on the ground.
Lights down.
End play.


Kayla Hambek is an actor and playwright from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a B.A. in Theatre from Bethel University, and is currently pursuing her MFA in Playwriting at Augsburg University. Her most recent original work, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, was produced in June 2017 by Aethem Theatre Company.

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