BETA

Architecture of rain

DROWNING/DROUGHT

(Lights on the glass castle plastered with photographs, newspaper clippings of the accident, random articles of writing and scraps from ALL-GROWN-UP’s room.)

(SOL is at the dinner table with an empty water glass. SCY is lying alone on the bed. SILINA is in the bathtub, soaking.)

SOL

Don’t go out. Don’t go out at night, in Paris, in Barcelona, in New York. I don’t care. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, I know. I know what I told you when we were sitting on that Malaysian Airlines flight ordering our fifth round of chicken satays four days after the airplane from Beijing to Malaysia went missing. But daughters don’t come back twice. They come back the first time you lose them and they are eight years old in the middle of the Japan World Expo with a sticker on their chest saying, “my name is Silina and my mother’s number is 91023838, please call her for me if I am lost.” They come back the first time you cook instant noodles at disneyland and they tell their entire class you are the best chef in the world. They stay crying in your bed for hours asking not to leave for the next two weeks, but then they will decide to leave. There is a word for a mother who has lost a child, but there is no language for the emptying of emptiness. The insurance company compensated us with twenty thousand dollars. We gave it all away to children in Nepal and built them a school. We visited, and rode elephants, and gave ourselves a thick, blubbery layer of saviour in place of sadness. Three months later their faces were the ones under earthquake collapsed debris. There is no compensation for compensation.

 

SCY & ALL-GROWN-UP

To my mother, I am not a body.

(SCY is fingering the space between her two hipbones.)

SILINA

Living with a dead person means you cannot think about their dead face or their dead body. That is not them.

When you think about someone who has already reached the full stop in their sentence, you have to think about a specific word, phrase in the middle, an image of what they are to you.

 

SCY & SILINA

She is six-years-old, before glasses, before pre-pubescent lankiness, before.

(It is raining outside.)

SCY

Fuck.

(Accident. They are in separate rooms. Thunder strikes. SOL is holding a photograph. They are all thinking of ALL-GROWN-UP and themselves. ALL-GROWN-UP is holding a walkie-talkie)

 

ALL-GROWN-UP

Over.

Over.

Goodnight, over.

I love you, over.

Simon says over.

Turn off the radio, over.

Can you sing to me, please?

 

(Thunder. Lightning. Immense downpour.)

(Flash. The house is dismembering itself.)

 

ALL-GROWN-UP

In every person rests a little girl or boy in a puffy red jacket in the snow.

(Flash. SILINA, SCY, and ALL-GROWN-UP are standing in a line on the side of the road.)

SCY

There comes a certain age when you decide that child no longer has a place in your body, so she sits in the crook of your elbow where you can’t quite feel your skin when you pinch it, or the curve of your clavicle where you used to rest your eraser in class just for fun.

(Flash.)

SILINA

That little girl will be the same child who used to walk to school in the morning and stop at every tree along the road to turn around and wave goodbye to her mother standing at the crosswalk, waiting to see her disappear through the school gates.

(Flash.)

ALL-GROWN-UP

(Flash.)

You splice your body so you think you will forget. But sometimes you feel itches you can’t quite scratch at the right place, or sharp pains you can’t heal.

(Flash. Headlights. Flash. Stillness.)

You do not say goodbye to childhood,

You inherit them while growing up.

(It rains so hard the photos, clippings, everything starts falling through. It collapses. Glass shatters. Darkness.)

(SCY has a blue rain jacket on.)

(SILINA has a yellow rain jacket on.)

(ALL-GROWN-UP wears a red poncho and holds a rainbow umbrella.)

(It rains of gravity pulling on red balloons full of insatiable helium.)

(Blackout.)

GLASS CASTLE

(Lights. The glass castle is gone. Stillness. Emptiness.)

(Enter SILINA. SILINA hauls in a miniature model of a new house.)

SOL

Don’t go out.

(The lights go out.)

 

SOL

Please, don’t go.

(All lights go out, and we are left with a singular candle.)

 

SILINA

When she died, we dismembered her.

SCY

Extracted her soul and put it on a pedestal

SILINA

Looked into her cracked skull and expected to hear her voice

SCY

Held her cooling hand and wanted blood to be proof of violent life

SILINA

Our dad wears grey polos with khaki pants.

The one with the hole in the chest he wears to sleep.

And the one with the loose stitches on the sleeve he wears to the gym.

He asks us why we did not remember him. His name. His body. His face.

His bloody grey shirt and bloody khaki pants after the lap dance of a car accident.

Waking up to a bloody tongue and a missing tooth.

Ambulance bumping up the hill.

In this play we are choosing the memory of the mother who was not there to cradle her daughter. In this rendition we are giving her the chance to hold her daughter to sleep one last time. In this one, he is not heartbroken for the luggage that fell or the ambulance ride only the older sister got to sit in on. In these few moments of stillness, we are telling the same bedtime story of death brought back to life, and all the colours start blending in until even darkness looks like the rainbow. There is no gravity to remembering pain, forgetting is the harder one.

In this one he is not running into a hospital room saying,

ALL-GROWN-UP

Is she gone yet?

(ALL-GROWN-UP lies down on the medical table.)

SILINA

And she is not curled up on the ground whispering

SCY

Please, please, please, please

(SCY stands up from the ground and sits at the dining table)

SILINA

And she is not about to board the flight to

SOL

Hawaii, for a cruise under the beachy sun

(SOL puts on a medical jacket and a face mask. She sanitizes her hands.)

SILINA

And I do not wake up to the sound of

SCY

Try again! Another hour, try again!

(Flatline. SILINA moves into the other room with her architecture tools.)

SILINA

Now here is the pencil you use for/ outlining.

DOCTOR

Suturing.

SILINA

And the one you would use for/ sketching.

DOCTOR

Incising.

SILINA

And this one would be for/ marking.

DOCTOR

Slicing.

SILINA

Oh, and of course this one is my favorite, and it’s for/ measuring.

DOCTOR

/Puncturing.

SCY

What?

SILINA

What/ did you say?

DOCTOR

We did all that we could.

SCY

What was that?

SILINA

Want to see/ my model?

DOCTOR

The body.

SCY

Maybe later.

SILINA

No, no, I want you to see it. It’s super cool.

SCY

Fine. Explain it to me.

SILINA

It’s kind of falling apart, but I/ spent three days doing this.

DOCTOR

We tried CPR for an hour.

SILINA

You see these different wall heights? I had to cut these heights individually, which/ took forever to measure and actually slice into.

DOCTOR

We tried suturing the wound, but it was too big.

SILINA

Here are the slits in the wall where light would come through and cast a shadow/ through the windows and into the building and create natural lighting.

DOCTOR

You can see here where the blood coagulated where the skull cracked through.

SCY

Can I see?

SILINA

Wait. Wait./ Here.

DOCTOR

Are you sure?

SCY

Yes. Yes, I want to see it.

SILINA

/Can you see it?

DOCTOR

Can you see it?

SCY

I can’t. SILINA /Look closer.

DOCTOR

It’s OK.

SILINA

I’m going to build this.

DOCTOR

It’s OK.

SILINA

I’m going to build us this house, and we’re both going to get bathrooms en suite.

(SILINA grabs her cutting knife and a new cutting board.)

DOCTOR

We’re going to need to do a CT. A scan. Sort of like an X-ray.

SILINA

Do you want to live on the second or the third floor?

SCY

Can I have a towel?

(SILINA starts creating.)

(SILINA grabs a ladder and begins to hang paintings from the ceilings, not to cover up holes, but to make it seem like home again.)

DOCTOR

Are you sure?

(DOCTOR is holding out a towel. SCY takes it.)

SCY

Yes.

(SCY unveils ALL-GROWN-UP’s face, neck, and shoulders, and begins to wipe away stains from her body. With each slow movement, the sun shines brighter, and brighter.)

(SCY starts singing her lullaby)

(With each motion and line, ALL-GROWN-UP starts to move little by little. BY the end of the song, ALL-GROWNUP has left the room, and SCY is wiping an empty memorial.)

SILINA

(Spotlight. Meditation.)

People always clap for the wrong reasons. – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye. My favourite line in The Catcher in the Rye has always been about the ducks. Scy hated that book so much she dug out all the pages on in the inside and glued them together to make it a secret hiding box for her diary. I only think of her when it snows recently. Lampposts at 8 pm in quiet snowfall. Bathtubs being drained. Poems my sister still writes about her. Slowly, little fragments being flattened and carved so they fit. So where do they go, the ducks? Where do they go in the wintertime when it snows and gets all icy and frozen over? I don’t think there’s a guy who comes and takes them away in a truck or anything. But sometimes I wonder if they just know how to fly away.

ALL-GROWN-UP

Every time she thinks of me, she is remembering me, she is piecing my voice, my grasp, my knobby knees, my low tied-back ponytail, my flat chest, my non-existent body back into a person. Every time I am leaving the body, pressing into her chest.

SOL

A dead person is not the same as a dead body. The morning after she died we all piled into a car to leave her. Her body was sitting in a dark, sterile freezer, while we were trying to step foot in a vehicle that wouldn’t crash again. I was not afraid of driving. There is nothing to be afraid of when you have the wheel in your hand.

SCY

We stopped eating meat for forty-nine days. The amount of time it takes for the soul to reincarnate from one body through the skies to another. They say she has taken shape in the body of a boy this time. They say she has been sending signs from above through the shapes of a red balloon and singular red roses. In waking moments, I believe them.

(The door to their new home opens, and in the rain, a beam of sunlight shines in.)

(SCY enters the bedroom.)

(SILINA is building the house. SOL is staring up at the light.)

Goodnight room

Goodnight moon

Goodnight cow jumping over the moon

Goodnight light

And the red balloon

Goodnight nobody

Goodnight mush

And goodnight to the old lady whispering “hush”

Goodnight stars Goodnight air Goodnight noises everywhere.

(The sound of knocking.)

 

SOL

Hello?

(More knocking.)

SCY

Come in.

(ALL-GROWN-UP comes in. She is beautiful.)

 

ALL-GROWN-UP

Someone called about a construction job, a paid job.

SILINA

Come in. We’ve been waiting for you.

(Blackout.)

(The play has ended.)

 

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