A Christmas Play
[Lynn sits in her dressing room drinking coffee]
Mary (knocking on Lynn’s door): Knock knock. It’s Mary… May I speak with you?
Lynn (still drinking coffee): Yes.
Mary: Lynn, I’m glad it wasn’t more serious. That the doctors gave you a clean bill of health.
Lynn: Yes. A relief.
Mary: I spoke with your father.
Lynn: What did he say?
Mary: He was concerned about you. Very concerned. Is it the stress of COMPETITION that triggered your fainting spell? Or SOMETHING ELSE?
Lynn: I’m going to tell you a story, Mary. About that PHOTO you found… This photo that I dropped… that you found earlier…
Mary: Yes? Who is it?
Lynn: This is Greg. He was my best friend.
Lynne: Let’s take a walk, Mary. I could use some FRESH AIR!
Mary: I could use some too. It can be CLARIFYING on so many levels.
Lynn: I’ll EXPLAIN MORE about the photo when we get out of doors.
Mary: Please do. I don’t understand what happened. But I want to know more!
(They go outside)
Lynn (showing Mary the photo that caused her to scream in agony earlier): Greg and I met at the rink. We became fast friends.
Mary: He has a pleasant face. He looks very approachable.
Lynn: Yes. He was one of the few people I was truly able to talk to! You know, BE MYSELF with! Unlike…
Mary: Unlike your father? I know that relationship leaves a lot to be desired.
Lynn: I was the happiest I’d ever been. Greg and I spent a lot of time together. Maybe too much time.
Mary: What do you mean?
Lynn: It was an innocent friendship. But my father did not approve because IT TOOK TIME AWAY FROM MY SKATING… - My father threatened to move me to another skating facility far away if I continued the friendship! So I started acting very COLD to Greg. I stopped talking to him! He didn’t understand. He thought it was something he did. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Mary: So you reluctantly ended your friendship with Greg because your father wanted you to focus on your training?
Lynn: Yes. And I never explained to Greg WHY I stopped talking to him. I regretted that! Because what happened to him afterwards will haunt me forever! When I see this photo, I think of my friendship with Greg… And I regret how it ended.
Mary: After you parted ways, what happened to Greg?
Lynn: It was almost a year later… After we stopped talking, I focused all my energy on my skating. I had just won the Junior Championship when I heard the news. Greg was with his older brother who was driving his car along an icy road. The car crashed. There were no survivors. When I heard about Greg’s accident, my heart stopped!
Mary: It must have been very traumatic for you.
Lynn: It was devastating. I went from winning the Junior Championship to learning about Greg’s death all on the same day! Greg was the kindest person I ever met, and to think of how I left things between us! …So unfinished! I should have told him why I stopped talking to him! He thought I hated him, when the opposite was true! He died not knowing. After Greg died, I was a ROBOT! … Skating all my elements, not really feeling like I was there. I did exactly what I was told.
Mary: He wouldn’t want you to dwell on his death, nor would he want you to skate in a limited way because of what happened!
(They go inside the skating rink)
Lynn: I SHOULD have stood up to my father! I SHOULDN’T have stopped talking to Greg! I SHOULD have told him why I did it!
Mary: You can’t dwell on the past, Lynn. What’s done is over. Keep only the best of your memories.
Lynn: If only I could. When I’m with my father, I feel angry at what happened! And I feel beaten down by his constant criticism!
Mary: He IS very hard on you… because he never made it past regionals. He wants you to go further than he did.
Lynn: My father’s the perfect example of, “Those who cannot do, teach”! Nothing I do is right in my father’s eyes! I can’t endure his way of coaching me anymore!
Mary: You should talk to him.
Lynn: He wouldn’t listen to me! He didn’t listen to me about Greg, and he won’t listen to me now! I stopped talking to Greg, because my father told me to end our friendship. I think of how I shouldn’t have done it [sic]! Especially since Greg’s gone now!
Mary: Your father doesn’t realize that you are still not over your friend’s death.
Lynn: It’s better that he doesn’t know, Mary. My friendship with Greg was personal. It will always be a part of my heart… the part of me that my father can’t criticize! Besides, he doesn’t have to. I do enough of that on my own.
Mary: Greg’s death was not your fault, Lynn. Please don’t punish yourself about it! He’d be proud of what you’re achieving in skating.
Lynn: Yes he would. He loved me. I wish my father felt the same way. When my father’s coaching me, I sometimes think that he HATES me.
Mary: He doesn’t hate you! He sees VICTORY in you. He’s harsh because… his dreams were never realized. As wrong as it is… he’s realizing them through you.
Lynn: At MY EXPENSE! I’m not sure how much I can take! Did you hear the belittling way he talks when he’s coaching me?
Mary: Yes, Lynn, it seems like you’re going through a lot… and at the same time, you’re having communication problems with your father.
Lynn: HE’S the one with the problem! My father won't LISTEN to me! He never does! All he thinks about is making me win! I've reached a point where... I'm not sure I WANT to win anymore! He practically bullied my love of skating right out the window.
Mary: Don't let it happen. Your talent is too precious.