My Best Friend, Anxiety (2018)
Maya Teixeira (Anxiety), Everett Rattray (Asha) in Hope Hamilton’s play My Best Friend, Anxiety
MY BEST FRIEND, ANXIETY
By Hope Hamilton
(Characters step on stage, lights up on both characters. Asha sits on her bed, Anxiety sits on the table.)
Anxiety: Fun day, wasn’t it?
Asha: Shut up.
Anxiety: Oh my god. Wait. I just thought of something. How do we know if we were even there?
Asha: I said, shut up!
Anxiety: You know, Asha, you’re really mean to me sometimes.
Asha: It doesn’t matter.
Anxiety: Asha, what? Tell me!
Asha: You have spent the last two years here in my mind, excruciatingly tormenting me, day after day, and you think I’m the mean one?
(Anxiety has a fallen look on her face, but then comes up with an answer, going back to her proud stature.)
Anxiety: B-But see, Asha, what you don’t seem to understand, is that I’m doing my JOB here. I don’t have a choice! There are ten thousand things that could harm you the second you walk out that door.
Anxiety: I’m serious.
Asha: You think I’m going to believe you? Why should I, after everything you’ve put me through? Nothing feels real anymore, so how am I just supposed to know you’re even telling the truth?
Anxiety: But I am being truthful. You think I like hurting you?
Asha: Um, yeah? Duh!
Anxiety: In the wise words of YOU, it doesn’t matter, I guess.
Asha: No. You aren’t doing this to me after I spilled my secrets on how I feel. We’re not doing this again. It’s my turn to get some answers.
Anxiety: You sure? This might not make sense to you, considering statistically I’m using half of your brain energy, minus all the hard work at school, it might be a little hard for you to grasp at this hour, and-
Asha: Oh MY GOD JUST SAY IT!
Anxiety: Ok, god. You could be a saint you know, with how you treat me? They’d just call you: “Our Lady of Perpetual Demand.”
Asha: Shut up.
Anxiety: Isn’t that phrase getting a little old now?
Asha: I swear to god if you don’t start spilling now I’m going to hurt you.
Anxiety: Be wise with your words, my dear Ash. Remember, I am a part of you. You hurt me, you hurt yourself too.
Asha: Nice poem, but I was being serious. (getting close to Anx, giving her a warning look.)
Anxiety: Fine. I’ll spill. But only if you let me take the driver’s seat tonight. Your Chem quiz is coming up, right? Oh. I can’t wait to see the way you look tomorrow if you’ve been up all-night stressing. (Mockingly) Pure, pure beauty, I’m sure.
(A tear of anger and frustration falls down Asha’s cheek. She wipes it and sniffles.)
Anxiety: Not this again.
(Asha finally stands down, and starts to look angry. She yells.)
Asha: Ok, you know what? I’ve had enough! Enough of how you talk to me and treat me, enough of your shitty behavior and enough of you ruining my life! The past two years have been absolute hell for me. You think it’s easy living with a constant driving force in depths of your mind, slapping you in the face with a; “you’re going to fail,” or; “You’ll never make it.” No? Well, it’s pretty goddamn hard, to say the least. And you are anything and everything that’s causing it. YOU. You small part of my brain that somehow always makes it to the front spot in the line that sees which one of you inside my mind makes it out of my mouth first. Will it be Happiness, Something I’ll Regret Later, or Excitement? No, it’s usually ALWAYS you. And I’m so sick and tired of you ruining my life day in and day out. You know what? I HATE you. More than I have ever hated anyone, EVER. And I mean it.
(Anxiety looks crestfallen. She doesn’t stop a tear from rolling down her face this time. Asha does the same.)
Anxiety: I didn’t know that’s what you really thought of me.
(Taken aback by her own words, Asha steps backwards a little bit, spacing herself out from Anxiety. She stutters, unsure of what to say.)
Anxiety: I mean, I know we aren’t really supposed to like each other, but I didn’t know you hated me that much.
Asha: I didn’t really mean it… I don’t think.
Anxiety: I’m pretty sure you did.
Anxiety: Please don’t waste your time apologizing. I get it. Anxiety is supposed to be hated. I’ve heard the stories from generations before. Some people even killed their poor Anxieties with prescription meds. I just thought… (pause)
Anxiety: I just thought you’d be…different.
Asha: Different, how?
Anxiety: When I was first assigned to your body, I instantly got a sense of compassion and wanting within your soul. A wanting to help others and make a difference. I saw a girl who was unlike the rest. I thought you would be the one to help me change the tradition of hating Anxiety, and maybe we could have completely turned and became friends. But it turns out you’re just like all the rest of them. Before I know it, you’ll be popping the Zoloft and I’ll be dead and gone.
Asha: I didn’t know you felt that way, Anx. I’m really sorry.
Anxiety: Like I said, don’t apologize. You have nothing to be sorry for. You’re not the odd one out, wanting to change, born in a family of hatred, sorrow and fear.
Asha: but you are.
(Anx doesn’t reply. It’s silent until Asha speaks up again.)
Asha: I never really thought about it this way. Any of it. I didn’t even know I was capable of saying those words that I said to you.
Anxiety: Well I’m glad you told me how you really feel, at least in a moment of complete disheartenment.
Asha: I wish I could take it back, I really do.
Anxiety: I don’t. Everything happens for a reason, and if you didn’t say those things, we would probably still be arguing.
Asha: You have a point there, Anx.
Anxiety: Hey, at least I’m good for some things.
Asha: I guess since it’s on the table, I was debating getting meds. I just felt completely out of control. I didn’t feel like I had any other solution except that.
Anxiety: I get it. And if we’re talking truth, I have to say that it’s probably not best for me to stay here anymore.
Asha: What? Why? I thought we would figure everything out.
Anxiety: Asha, get real. I’m Anxiety. I’m meant to break you down piece by piece. I’m meant to be killed off my meds or meditation, or whatever else can stop me. That’s just the life that was chosen for Anxieties, and it can’t be changed. As much as I want to alter the laws completely, I can’t. Even if I was different than the rest, I wouldn’t be staying truthful to myself. I’m sorry Asha.
Asha: Anx, you don’t have to do this.
Anxiety: Yes, I do. I have to go. After this, I won’t bother you anymore. Think of how much better your life is going to be when I’m gone?
(There’s a tone of desperation in Asha’s voice.)
Asha: Anx don’t talk like that! Please!
Anxiety: I’m going to miss you, Ash. I really am.
Asha: (under her breath) Anx please, please don’t go.
Anxiety: Goodbye, Asha Hollingsworth. Good luck on your Chem test. I mean it.
(Asha laughs sadly, then abruptly pulls in for a tight hug)
(Lights dim, Exit Anxiety. As lights come up, Asha is standing alone. She sighs in sadness and wipes a tear softly.
From offstage: Asha, dinner’s ready!
Asha: Coming, Mom.
(As a force of habit, Asha looks to her side one last time, hoping to see Anx standing next to her. She’s still alone. She finally gives up, discouraged.)
Asha: (Whispered, whimpered) Goodbye, Anxiety.
L to R: Maya Teixeira (Anxiety), Hope Hamilton (Playwright, Assistant Director), Everett Rattray (Asha)