Broken Drawer (2019)
By Ali O’Connor
Hampton Bays High School
Click here to watch Broken Drawer
Scene opens with spotlight on center stage. There is a chair and a side table next to it possibly with a lamp on top. LILY enters carrying a toolbox and a glass of water. She sets down the water next to the chair and begins to work on the drawer in the side table. It is broken. She tries to pry it open multiple times before finally getting it to burst out. She laughs and celebrates her triumph against the drawer. She goes to close the drawer again but realizes that its stuck again. She lets out a sound of frustration and defeat and begins to work on it again.
Off-stage we hear a car door close and a house door open. MARK enters. He stands and watches LILY for a few beats before saying:
(She doesn’t hear him.)
MARK Hey! Lily?
(Lily turns around)
LILY Oh! Hi Mark! Sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the sound of my own frustration. This dumb drawer is still giving me trouble.
(Mark is waiting for Lily to get up and give him a hug but she continues with her work.)
MARK It’s alright… (Beat. He can tell she’s not being very responsive.) So, how was school today? I didn’t see you in the hallways.
LILY (Slams the drawer back into place) It was good! Busy though, Miss Cartner asked me to help her construct some sets for the play so that took up most of my day. (Stands up) I tried to wave to you when you passed the art room, did you not see me?
MARK No, I must not’ve but, (Little beat) you didn’t come to lunch with me either like you normally do. Actually now that I think about it, you haven’t come to lunch that much these past few weeks. Did I do something [wrong]?
LILY (Cuts him off before he can finish) No! Like I said I’ve just been busy.
MARK With what?
MARK What have you been busy with? And please be honest with me.
LILY What’s that supposed to mean?
(She goes back to trying to get the drawer unstuck.)
MARK I don’t know Lily! I just feel like you’re kinda shoving me off lately. You don’t really text or call me anymore and you don’t tell me everything like you used to. We used to talk for hours about how our school days went and exchange gossip that we had heard. Now I feel like we talk like strangers do.
LILY (Not turning around) I’m sorry but I’ve just been really busy lately and I rarely go on my phone because its a distraction. (Turns around) Where’s all of this coming from?
MARK It’s not “coming from” anywhere I’ve just been noticing it for a few weeks. (Beat.) If I did something wrong, you can tell me.
LILY (Thinks about this for a second or two) It’s not anything you did wrong, like I said I’ve just been busy. I’ve been picking up extra shifts to help my dad out, working on sets for the play, taking care of my little sister, and I’ve been buried in schoolwork. I’m sorry if you feel like I’m avoiding you but that’s not my intention. Plus I can’t even get this drawer to open and close properly so that’s taking up whatever free time I have.
MARK Alright, if you’re sure that’s all there is. (Beat. Mark can tell there’s something more going on but he can’t figure out what it is.)
LILY I’m sure. (She goes back to working on the drawer)
(Mark paces back and forth and watches Lily for a while before saying:)
MARK Do you love me?
(Lily pauses for a while. What should she say? She doesn’t want to hurt him, and she does love him but…)
MARK Lily? Are you listening to me?
MARK (Sadly) Do you love me?
LILY (Defensively) What do you mean? Of course I do!
MARK (Getting angry now) Really? Because it doesn’t feel like you do anymore…
LILY (Stands up. Interrupting Mark, but he doesn’t stop talking) Where is this coming from? I don’t understand what you mean.
MARK You’re shoving me off! You’re ignoring me, you won’t tell me anything anymore and it hurts! It hurts me that you are shutting me out and you won’t tell me why. If there’s something wrong you can tell me, but I can’t keep pretending that everything’s okay when clearly it’s not. This relationship needs communication in order to work, especially if you want to stay together while I’m in college.
LILY (Pauses for a moment and looks at Mark. She doesn’t know how to respond.) I…I don’t know.
MARK Don’t know what? If you love me?
LILY No! I do! Really…I just… (Trying to come up with an excuse) need to, uh, fix this drawer! (She is getting upset)
MARK What?! I’m trying to have a serious conversation about our relationship and all you can focus on is this stupid drawer?!? Lily! Look at me!!!
(LILY turns around to look at him, the drawer is still closed.)
MARK Lily, I don’t understand why you’re not opening up to me. Tell me what’s going on. You can talk to me, you know that right? I’m your boyfriend. Please tell me what’s going on. I love you, I care about you, and I want you to be okay.
LILY (Looks up at him with tears in her eyes) I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
MARK (Goes to comfort her) What? What’s wrong? (Pause) Lily, are you okay?
The drawer suddenly opens.
LILY (Looks at the drawer for a moment, and then up at MARK) No, I’m not. I’m not okay, and I haven’t been for a while. (She starts crying a lot)
MARK What? What do you mean? Is it something I did? (LILY shakes her head no) Is this why you’ve been distant?
LILY I’m just scared.
MARK (Concerned) Scared of what?
LILY I’m scared of getting hurt. (She sits down and cries even more)
MARK (Goes over to her) Hurt by who?
(LILY looks up at him tearfully)
MARK By me?
(LILLY nods her head and buries it in her hands, crying)
MARK I…I don’t…What do you? I don’t understand. Why?
LILY Because you’re leaving.
MARK What? I’m just leaving for college, I’ll be back in a few months. I just don’t understand why you’d be shutting me out because of that. It doesn’t justify why you’ve been ignoring me. You shouldn’t be scared, I’m coming back.
LILY I know that. Logically, I know that, but I’m still scared. I’m scared that the more I get to know you and the more that I care about you, the harder it will be when you leave. And I know that you’re not leaving me forever, but we both know that long distance won’t work out. I don’t want to open up to you and pour my emotions out if you’re just going to leave me, and yes, I know that you say that you’re going to come back, but my mom said the same thing before she left, and she never came back. It’s easier to treat you like a stranger or to get mad at you than it is to have to feel the pain of having someone I care about leave me. And I don’t want to keep putting effort into something that I know won’t work, it’s just too much, and I- I can’t handle it anymore! (She pauses for a moment because her tears and breathing have become too strong) (She calms down and then says:) So while I care about you, and I do, I really do, I care about protecting my heart and myself more.
(MARK stands there taking all of this in. He is in pain at what she is saying, but he doesn’t want to show it. He loves her, he would never leave her.)
MARK I…Why didn’t you tell me all of this? You know you could’ve talked to me about this. I didn’t know you were thinking all of this and I’m sorry for that, but now that I know what’s going on, maybe we can work through this. Maybe we can…
LILY (Cutting him off) I’m sorry, but I just can’t do this anymore. It hurts too much. I can’t keep pretending that everything is fine when it’s not.
MARK (Pauses) Are you breaking up with me?
LILY (Takes a deep breath before saying:) Yes. I can’t keep hurting myself by staying with you, and I can’t keep hurting you by ignoring you and by leading you on like this. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.
MARK (He is sad. He is also angry, but he chooses not to show this) Well then. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to say this for a few more months. (He pauses and looks at LILY for a while before saying:) Goodbye, Lily.
LILY (Sadly) Goodbye, Mark. (They hug each other tightly for a while. They don’t want to let go, but they have to. Then LILY says:) I didn’t want it to end like this.
(MARK begins to turn and walk off the stage, but before he does he turns around and looks at LILY with love and sadness in his eyes. He wants to fight for her, but he knows that it’s not what’s best for her. And so, he turns back around and with a heavy heart, leaves. LILY watches him as he goes. She didn’t want it to end like this. She wants to throw her fears away and tell him that she loves him and stay with him, but she knows she can’t. She goes back to shut the drawer, and it does. It shuts. She opens it back up again with ease, and realizes it’s fixed. She fixed it. She fixed her broken drawer.)
Scene ends with lights on LILY as she sits in her chair next to the drawer looking offstage where MARK left. She smiles sadly, then looks down at her hands and softly cries. Lights fade.