After many failed attempts, William urges his friend Betsy to try one more IVF attempt. This monologue appeared in a previous version of my full length play Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth.
Betsy. Listen… (beat)
I know when people try to comfort others, they always say “it’ll be okay.” But it won’t be okay. It will probably never be okay. And I can only imagine there will be days where you want to scream or punch someone. There will be times of epic pain, the kind that forces you to your knees. Again, I can only imagine so. Which means I’m not a hundred percent sure of anything. But what I am sure about is that through all your moments of not being okay, I will be here for you.
We tried to have a child and it didn’t work. And I know you and Shoshanah talked about adopting if this didn’t work out. And it would be SO easy for me to walk away right now. I could go on with my life with no attachments, which is what I’m used to I guess.
But I’m a glutton for punishment. And you know that, from the first time we met, in the third grade. I asked if you wanted to be friends and you kicked me in the shins and ran off. And the next day I came back and asked again and you kicked me in the shins and it kept happening until…it didn’t.
So as your friend with very bad shins, I want to tell you something. Last night at work, I was staring up at the sky, imagining Voyager out there somewhere. Hoping it would tell us it’s still alive. Hoping against hope that I don’t go down in history as the engineer who managed to lose NASA’s thirty-five year old space probe.
And up in the sky I traced the big dipper like I used to as a kid. It was always my constant in the sky. But then I grew up and learned that in a hundred thousand years from now, the stars that form the big dipper will have completely rearranged itself. And the big dipper as we know it, will be gone.
So I can gaze at the night sky and I pretend it is peaceful and in order. But what’s also up there is a fiery sun and all these celestial bodies formed out of a giant explosion. And from this chaotic fireball came stars and planets and our Earth. Which proves there is order in chaos, and all of it can be explained through equations and quantum theory. But what also came out of that mathematically proven chaos was us.
What I’m trying to say is, mathematically speaking, nothing is impossible. We only say that because it extends the reaches of our lives, right? But if you just remove that limit of time, then the math is possible.
The math says we can ultimately achieve the unachievable as long as we…well, live forever. Okay, I know that’s not realistic. No one’s gonna live forever.
So to make up for our finite lives, we have to lessen the odds…by trying again. And I know you said you didn’t want to, but we simply must. As much as humanly possible again and again, failing until we don’t. Until the math becomes possible. Because, you see, each and everyone one of us…
We are perfect math.
And we will make that baby. Together, we’ll make that baby. I know we will. And hopefully in time, we’ll realize this pain…for us…is not the end of the universe. It’s just a kick in the shins. So what do you say?
End of Monologue