FRANNY, a middle school aged girl, is alone on stage. It is dark with a single spotlight shining on her. She is holding a cup of water and sitting on a stool.
I didn’t realize this would be so hard. Our teacher gave each of us a glass of clean water, told us girls that we were all Mary’s. Then, she told the boys to take a swig from their glasses, swish it around, spit it in our cups and move on down the line. I was near the end of the procession, watched as Leah’s cup grew fuller and yellower, cringed when I saw plankton like floaters in Emily’s, couldn’t look up when Jackson’s spit didn’t quite hit its mark and splattered a bit on my shoe.
(Beat. FRANNY’S hand with the cup of water starts shaking, some water spills as she talks.)
His slow “wouldja look at that” whistle made the water in my cup tremble, I swear it. He said sorry, and I said its fine, but it wasn’t. And our teacher knew it too. She walked over to me, and do you know what she said? She said, “Look at your cup. No one could call you Mary with that filth inside of it”. I wanted to argue, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t ask for my cup to get like this, for boy after boy to ruin a name that wasn’t even my own. I wanted justice. I wanted to wash my cup, fill it again. And again. No one would spit in it, but maybe I’d allow sips, knowing that I could always find more water.
Spring, 2017 Issue