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Precious Lives

Posted on April 9, 2012 by in Positively Literary

Drama by Kathey Norton

INT. HOSPITAL DAY

STACIE ROBINSON, admitted to the hospital after attempting suicide, is filled with anger and tries to free herself from the restraints after waking to find out she survived.

STACIE: No! I want to die!

Stacie is approached by KIMBERLY BENNINGTON, a thirtyish woman with a pale, skeletal face, balding bleach blonde hair, blue eyes that seem to disappear into the hollows of her skull, and bruise-like sores splashed across her arms and legs.

KIMBERLY: Well, I’m glad to see you’re finally awake, Stacie Robinson.

STACIE: (confused) Who are you?

KIMBERLY: I’m Kimberly Bennington, your roommate in this grand hotel they call a hospital.

When Kimberly opens the curtain to reveal the morning sun, Stacie quickly looks away.

KIMBERLY: (Continued) How can you hide from the beautiful sun? Do you remember being brought here?

STACIE: No.

KIMBERLY: So why did you slash your wrists?

Kimberly points at Stacie’s bandaged wrists, but Stacie ignores the question and stares past Kimberly at the photographs and posters of a beautiful blonde woman that are taped on the wall in front of the beds.

KIMBERLY: (Continued) That was a year ago.

Stacie looks at her in disbelief since Kimberly’s skeletal body and balding head bear no resemblance to the model in the photographs.

KIMBERLY: (Continued) Those were taken before I was diagnosed with AIDS.

STACIE: AIDS?

KIMBERLY: Stacie, I know what you’re going through.

Kimberly grasps Stacie’s hand.

KIMBERLY: (Continued) After I found out I had AIDS I tried to kill myself, too.

STACIE: When did you find out you had AIDS?

KIMBERLY: About six months ago. I had ignored the warnings about using dirty needles.

STACIE: You’re a drug addict?

KIMBERLY: Was. I quit using after I found out I had AIDS.

Kimberly smiles sadly.

KIMBERLY: (Continued) Sort of like closing the barn door after the horse got out, right?

Stacie does not respond.

KIMBERLY: (Continued) I was told I only had three months to live, but here I am and I plan on staying around because I’m too damn determined not to die. I can’t model anymore, but maybe I can play AIDS patients in films. Talk about realism, right?

STACIE: Why did you use drugs? Your life seemed so glamorous.

KIMBERLY: At times, but there was a lot of behind the scenes crap I dealt with.

STACIE: Like what?

KIMBERLY: My agent, the photographers, and the public were happy when I kept my mouth shut and played the role of the dumb blonde Barbie doll, but when I tried to speak my mind about the treatment of women in the media or some other controversial issue, I was told to be a “good little girl” and to not think for myself. I began to believe that I was just another pretty face, and that’s about the time I started shooting up heroin.

STACIE: Why didn’t you just stop modeling?

KIMBERLY: I did stop and tried acting, but that was even worse with all the casting couches and favors everyone thinks you owe them. I found work in low budget independent films nobody ever saw, and I was too high to remember my lines.

STACIE: (Sighs) The glamorous life doesn’t sound so glamorous.

KIMBERLY: The price you pay is pretty high for living that lifestyle.

STACIE: My life is boring in comparison.

Kimberly crawls into bed with Stacie and leans against
her pillows.

KIMBERLY: So tell me your story, Stacie.

STACIE: Every morning is the same thing. I gulp down my breakfast, fight for a seat on the bus, and arrive at work to hear my boss yell at me for being late.

KIMBERLY: What do you do?

STACIE: I’m a products tester.

KIMBERLY: Interesting.

STACIE: I just felt that my life was going nowhere. Before I tried to kill myself I was passed up a third time for a promotion.

KIMBERLY: But, Stacie, I don’t think being denied a promotion drove you to suicide. What else is going on?

STACIE: I recently lost my boyfriend.

KIMBERLY: He died?

STACIE: (Laughs) Oh no, he broke up with me to marry his high school sweetheart.

KIMBERLY: How long were you two together?

STACIE: Five years.

KIMBERLY: Stacie, no man is worth killing yourself over. There’s a great big world out there filled with men in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

STACIE: (Starts to cry) I just feel so alone.

Kimberly takes Stacie’s hand in hers.

KIMBERLY: Before you can learn to love anyone again, you have to learn to love yourself.

Stacie nods in agreement as Kimberly dabs at Stacie’s eyes with a tissue.

STACIE: So why are you in here?

KIMBERLY: I was having problems breathing, so they’re keeping me under observation to make sure I’m not getting pneumonia.

STACIE: You know I never really wanted to die. When I saw the blood pouring out of my wrists I knew it was a huge mistake.

KIMBERLY: You just wanted to stop hurting.

STACIE: Yes, and now after seeing how brave and determined you are to face the future, I want to keep fighting.

KIMBERLY: Life is what you make of it, Stacie. Just don’t forget how precious and fragile it all is. Enjoy each day as if it were your last.

Stacie takes a deep breath and smiles.

KIMBERLY: (Continued): We’re both going to be fine, Stacie. And when we get out of this place, we’re going to kick some ass.

Stacie laughs as Kimberly rests her head on her shoulder.

STACIE: (As narrator) Unfortunately, on the morning I was scheduled to be released from the hospital, Kimberly, who developed pneumonia, died in her sleep. A year since my suicide attempt I’ve not only managed to get promoted to executive products tester, but as Kimberly did, I’ve learned to live each day as if it were my very last. I owe my life to Kimberly Bennington.

THE END

Kathey Norton is a screenwriter, novelist, and poet whose writing credits include an article, “Reflection on Rejection,” published in Fiction Writer’s Magazine, and poetry published in four anthologies. Visit her Web site by logging on to www.katheynorton.com.

March 2012

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  • Sandra Peck

    This little play covers a big part of what life is all about for EVERYBODY.    

    “Life is what you make of it.” and “You have to learn to love yourself.” are two
     powerful ideas. Ones I need to remember to incorporate into my own life; and 
    ones I wish I could implant into so, so many others I know and care about.
    Thank you, Ms. Norton, for reminding me.