sketch for my mother sketch for my mother

MOM and DAD sit onstage, pensive. DAD takes a deep breath and calls out.

DAD: Johnny? Could you come in here, please?

JOHNNY, a meek little boy, enters.

JOHNNY: Yes, Dad?
DAD: Hey there, sport. Ah. Hey, happy birthday! The big one-zero! You've got that second digit to contend with there now. Sky's the limit from here on out.
JOHNNY: Thanks, Dad.
DAD: (glances at MOM) And that's, ah, kind of why your mother and I called you in here, Johnny. Birthdays, and all. You see...well, it's been a great ten years, but...

DAD trails off. JOHNNY stares blankly at him.

DAD: Well, Johnny, ten years is a long time, and some day you'll understand that, and also, you're understand how it can be a very short time, too. I wanted to put this off for a while, but your mother insisted we get it done, because it's the right thing to do, and we're not allowed to wait any longer, what with the laws and all. You see, Johnny...we're not your parents. Your mother and I...well, we're not your mother, and, uh, I.
JOHNNY: You're not?

DAD looks at MOM for support. She squeezes his hand and nods.

DAD: No. You see, we found you when you were a baby, and we were allowed to keep you, but only for a while, and now the rules, well, they say we have to let you go. We can't have you any more.
JOHNNY: Where will I go?
DAD: Johnny, somewhere out came from somewhere. Everyone did. Somewhere, out there, your real mom and dad are waiting. They've been hoping all this time that they might find you, but you have to remember that it's been a long time, ten whole years since you were born, so they might be pretty far away by now. You've got to hurry, and you've got to run far. But I know you'll find them. You've got the kind of pluck and determination that...well, could only have come from some other parents. Other than, you know, us. So, I'm sorry, but you have to go now. You have to go out there in the world, and find what's waiting for you. We'll both miss you, but we're not allowed to see you any more. Goodbye, Johnny.
JOHNNY: (in tears) Goodbye, Da-...sir.
DAD: Bye.

JOHNNY exits. DAD waits a few moments, and then turns to MOM.

DAD: Why'd you make me do all the talking? You're the one who didn't want to buy him a bike!


sketch for my mother by Marc Heiden, June 2001.