ACT ONE: Center stage contains a podium, and nothing else. A sign across it reads “H.A.” and a small (but still visible to the audience) line underneath it clarifies “Heaven Admissions”. The Heaven Admissions Director stands behind the podium, tapping his fingers and looking bored out of his mind, when the sound of a DOOR KNOCKING jolts him awake. He straightens up and clears his throat, trying (and failing) to appear dignified.
Heaven Admissions Director: (obviously indifferent) Come in.
From STAGE RIGHT enters a tentative old woman, Danielle, age 80. She stands uncertainly for a few moments, waiting for some kind of instruction. After about a minute, however, she grows visibly impatient and clears her throat.
Heaven Admissions Director: (looking up in irritation) What?
Danielle, age 80: (hesitantly) I’m Danielle Barton. I’m…
Heaven Admissions Director: (cutting her off) Ah, right. Barton, age 80. Died yesterday in her sleep from old age. (Looks at her for confirmation)
Danielle, age 80: (slightly confused) Well… yes…
Heaven Admissions Director: So… (Beckons her forward) What’s your story?
Danielle, age 80: (Slowly approaching podium) Story? (Thinks a second) I… guess I don’t really have a story.
Heavens Admissions Director: Sure you do. Everyone has a story. (Danielle, age 80 reaches the podium) Why don’t you just start from the beginning?
Danielle, age 80: Well… I grew up in a fairly good sized town, raised by both of my parents. I moved back there after college, with my college sweetheart (She looks away while saying his name, as if the thought of him is causing some unbearable memory) Bradley. We were married and had a beautiful daughter (smiles reflectively) Analeigh, but then one thing led to another and it just (smile fades) didn’t work out. But Analeigh lived fairly close to me, so we got to visit a lot to talk and work and… just be together. So I guess overall my life wasn’t so bad. It was even- happy.
Overhead Voice: (loud and booming) LIAR!
The stage is suddenly bathed in darkness. When the lights come up again, the podium has been replaced by an old, vintage couch. On it sits Danielle, age 79, and her middle- aged daughter Analeigh, both reading magazines. As Danielle, age 79, reads hers, she shakes her head and lets out a small “tsk”.
Analeigh: (Looking up) What?
Danielle, age 79: (Almost laughing) According to this article, two- thirds of divorce cases are being filed by women. Isn’t that typical? We finally take the lead in something and its filing divorce cases.
Analeigh: (quietly) You’re the one who filed the divorce case against Daddy…
Danielle, age 79: (immediately defensive) Don’t start that again, sweetheart.
Analeigh: (standing up) But Mom, it was twenty years! I don’t understand how after twenty whole years, you just stop loving one another!
Danielle, age 79: (uncharacteristically calm) We’ve been over this, Analeigh. Your father and I were unhappy and confused and we wanted to get a divorce.
Overhead Voice: LIAR!
The stage is swept into darkness again. When the lights come up, a hard, grey bench has taken the place of the couch. On it is Danielle, age 49, and her husband Bradley, age 45. After a few moments of tense silence, Bradley, age 45, speaks.
Bradley, age 45: (restraining himself) It didn’t have to end this way. (Looks at her for a reaction, but gets nothing) Oh, the silent treatment, huh? Very mature. (Under his breath) Like a lot of other decisions you’ve been making in the past few months.
Danielle, age 49, just looks at him, obviously hurt by what he just said. Bradley, age 45, sighs.
Bradley, age 45: Never mind. I shouldn’t be talking like this. This wasn’t your fault. It was no one’s fault.
Overhead Voice: LIAR!
Once again, the stage goes dark. This time, when the lights go up, the stage is completely empty. Then, OFFSTAGE RIGHT, Danielle, age 48’s voice is heard.
Danielle, age 48: Don’t bother, Bradley. I’m not staying. I can’t!
Danielle, age 48, runs on carrying a suitcase. Bradley, age 44, follows her, a pleading expression on his face.
Bradley, age 44: Danielle, why?! You’re a human. Humans make mistakes.
Danielle, age 48: Yes, but they don’t make them for two whole months! How can you be so okay with this? I cheated on you! Do you really not understand that?
Bradley, age 44: (sighing) All I understand is that I love you (Approaching her slowly) and that when you love someone, forgiving them is as easy as one… two… (Pulls her in and kisses her) three.
Danielle, age 48, just looks at him silently. STAGE LEFT, we see Danielle, age 80, step out from the wings to watch.
Bradley, age 44: (Getting down on one knee, as if proposing, and grabbing her hand.) I forgave you, Danielle. Now all you needed to do is forgive yourself. (He smiles) Do you?
Danielle, age 80, holds her breath, knowing what’s coming.
Danielle, age 48: (Monotone) No.
Bradley, age 44, drops her hand in shock. His smile fades. The spotlight on them fades until it is complete darkness. They exit and Danielle, age 80, silently walks to where they stood. She stands for a moment until a voice OFFSTAGE LEFT startles her.
Heaven Admissions Director: (offstage) So you weren’t lying. You really were happy at one point (He walks out from STAGE LEFT to join her).
Danielle, age 80: (Confused) You mean that… back there?
Danielle, age 80: I broke his heart! How could that possibly have made me happy?
Heaven Admissions Director: Because you let yourself be unhappy.
Blackout. THE END.