Instant Monologues
Grave Instant Monologue


GRAVE

EXT: A PEACEFUL CEMETERY, WELL-MAINTAINED BUT UNVISITED

TINA is wandering among the graves with a single flower in her hands. She's reading the gravestones with idle interest.

TINA

Okay, Pete. Who's the extra flower for today? I always put one on poor Mrs. Cassablanca's grave, but her grandchildren moved back to town six months ago and they've been bringing her lilies on the regular.

I know you love this place, but it can be dead depressing on Memorial Day. Where are all the flags and flowers? It doesn't take long for people to stop visiting the dead. One or two generations at most. And almost everyone here has been dead since 1875. 'Cept for Mrs. Cassablanca. At least it's peaceful. No one steps on the peonies I planted, which is something.

(She moves to the oldest section in the graveyard)

Let's choose one of these people. I love trying to figure out their lives just by the dates and epitaphs.

(Peers closely at one and wrinkles her nose)

Yech, not this one-"Sarah, wife of David Goodman." A woman's whole life reduced to an arrow pointing toward a man. If you think mine's going to say, "Tina, wife of Peter," you're sadly mistaken, my dear. Ooh, one of these might be good.

(Stands between two graves. One is waist-height and marble, with clear text along the face.
The other is a grubby little stone. The words are crumbling away and hard to read)

Okay, I arbitrarily decree that it will be one of these. Who's this guy?

(Reads from the first gravestone)

"Dr. W.B. Mealey. Born in Pennsylvania in 1809. Came to Oregon in 1845. First school built on his land. Donated land for this cemetery. Member of first legislature. Helped draft constitution of Oregon. Assisted in organizing first United Presbyterian church. Died July 1853."

(Glances backward with a raised eyebrow)

Pretty impressive resume. And not a single flower to show for it. What about this guy?

(Squats down and brushes away moss in order to read it)

"Polish Solider. 1853." Hm.

What do you think, Pete? I never asked you what you'd want as your epitaph and now I wish I had. I'm kind of glad I didn't put every impressive thing you did on there. Kind of distracts from the important stuff. I think you would have liked, "Loving husband and son, gone too soon." Those things will always be true.

(Smiles to herself and puts the flower on the soldier's grave. Stands up and brushes off her hands before glancing back at Peter's grave. Looks around for a long moment and then smiles and exits the stage)






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