THE SINS OF THE GRANDFATHER (a play in free verse)

Welcome to:  SCENE 3


(Even while doubling over, wheezing and coughing, she seems to rush to say:)
Of course, I knew. Ha! You mean he made you fulfill a promise he was unwilling to perform this side of the grave?

He always loved you.

(Turning away briefly, then back)
If we are to look out upon the muse who breathed into his poem, go with me along this leveler ground-clinging fog that strangely hugs one’s calves, hovering there and no higher.

Scene 3

SETTING:  Downstage Right to Upstage Center is a rather freeform, bow-shape “lip” of the precipice. Shrubbery and brush, here and there, follow the contour of the “lip.” Everything on the other side is blackness. From Upstage Right to Left, is the backdrop of the snowy, twin peaks in the distance, which, from mid peak down seems submerged in an ocean of fog. Ground-fog, about one foot tall, covers the remainder of the stage. The tops of the twin peaks glow from the sunlight behind them.

AT RISE:  ROBBIE and BETTY stand Centerstage Left, having just reached the crest of the mountain they had climbed. They stand in the ground fog.

I know he wanted to come.

We must hurry, young man, else all will be for nothing if we get there after the sun has burned away the fog.

All will vanish;
for nothing that mind creates
can endure that terrible sun,
the sun’s first shafts.

Don’t talk; just walk.

He really did love you.

All those years … Why did he not come, then?

He had my Dad and my Aunt to raise. He had obligations. He had his job. Besides, he said …
(Thinking better of finishing)
He said?

Grandpa said that Betty, above all, would understand that.

And he explained those words, did he?

No, he said it and then he only smiled.

If you only knew the irony that smile contained.
But Look! Look!

 (Having been so intent on their words, he hadn’t noticed, before now, those magnificent twin peaks that seemed to float on an ocean of gray foam. He recites:)
Those peaks
Which eat endlessly the valley
Somewhere beneath the smoldering plain.

I think it was over there—yes—there where the edge curves out then back like a pouting lip. Yes, here it is—we’re here now where we stood hand-in-hand, while in his other he held the sheet from which he read.

It must have been a magical moment.

You may look out at all that vastness, young man; you may marvel at it, but to the black-robed judge in me, yes, even then … balanced, logical, by all means literal that’s naught but ground fog out there, held aloft by a perfect barometric equilibrium between the downward pressures from above and the upward pressures from below. And even as Robert read, my thought interjected: “Fog … it may look for all intents like something smoldering, but indeed it’s fog! Indisputably, it’s fog.
 (Closing her eyes and speaking softly)
Young man …?


Would it be too bizarre a notion in your mind to think for a moment of standing here beside me?

Not at all.


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