By Sam, age 19, Massachusetts
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
(Mid-afternoon. That room. Carolynn is slumped on the floor, gently holding it in her hands. Ben enters. He keeps his distance.)
Ben: That was the last of the boxes.
(Carolynn nods meekly.)
Ben: (noticing it) Where did you find it?
Carolynn: Behind the dresser. He was always losing something back there.
Carolynn: I know. I know, but not this, Ben. We can't get rid of this.
Ben: Carolynn, we agreed -
Carolynn: (interrupts) Can't we just, I don't know, put it on top of that bureau in the living room? The one with the flowers.
Ben: Sweetheart, please, we can't do this again.
Carolynn: I have this vase that will match perfectly. We can just tuck it toward the back. Put it in a corner. Everyone will think it's just another decoration.
Ben: (desperately) Carol ...
Carolynn: But we'll know what it is. And we'll see it from out of the corner of our eye, and we'll know what it is, and he'll know we're -
Ben: Yes, Carolynn! Yes! Just like how we can frame his scribbles and say they're from some famous surrealist in Europe, or how we can stash his old clothes in the closet because no one will look back there, or how we can ...
Ben (continuing): I'm sorry. I ...
Carolynn: I don't understand why we can't ... why it can't just ... stay?
Ben: We can't be those parents anymore, Carolynn. Dr. Reddrick said -
Carolynn: I hate that man! Hate him.
Ben: But he makes sense! We keep a box or two in storage, out of reach, and give the rest the away. Make the house a clean slate. We need to purge.
Carolynn: I don't want to purge!
Ben: To make room for the new.
(Carolynn makes a motion to say something back, but can't find the words.)
Carolynn: You can't have it.
Ben: We'll ... put it in the attic.
Carolynn: I don't want it in the attic! I want it here with me.
(She breaks down into tears. Ben immediately goes to her side and comforts her.)
Ben: Hey, it's okay. It'll be okay.
(He sits with her.)
Ben (continuing): Dr. Reddrick said that having remnants of a ... that having that kind of environment can cause the second child to ... that it can have side effects. Look, when our boy or girl is old enough, we can explain what happened. I'll make a few calls, get the few things we saved back, and we'll introduce our child to their older brother.
Carolynn: Introduce them?
(Ben holds out his hand. She shakes her head.)
(Carolynn looks at it and slowly hands it over. They stay for a moment. She exits. Ben rolls it over in his hands and contemplates.)