By Anton Chekhov
(translation from original Russian by Karen Moy)
Setting: The Pax Wellness Resort and Spa is located in the desert, where the infirm come for the restorative qualities of the dry air and the pure agua.
JUNE, a pretty young widow, sits quietly weeping at her table. MARY, a matriarch, approaches her.
MARY: Hello, could you use some company?
JUNE: Yes... I could.
MARY: The beauty of the area seems to bring out deep EMOTIONS in everyone. What brings you to Pax Wellness Resort, June?
JUNE: I lost my husband seven months ago. And I hoped I could heal here.
MARY: I'm sorry for your loss. If you're looking for healing, this place does seem restorative. I just arrived this morning, and already I feel better!
JUNE: I've been here for two days so far. This place IS beautiful. But I find it difficult to be present. Grief is hard to shake.
MARY: (taking her hand) Give yourself time. It is an individual process and cannot be rushed.
JUNE: It's been months since I lost Charlie, and I STILL haven't been able to touch any of his things! Why haven't I been able to move forward in my life? It's like I'm stuck.
MARY: June, just the fact that you're HERE shows that you want to heal and move forward... a good sign! I'm going to take a walk after lunch. Would you like to join me?
JUNE: I'd like that, Mary.
MARY: Come then... Let us enjoy the BEAUTY this place has to offer! (They walk in the desert)
MARY: It's been said... Tears are the silent language of grief. (Sotto voce:) And for some things there are no words. (Seagulls circle over the desert sands, looking for water.)
Mary: William Wordsworth once said, "Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher." I've always believed we can learn from all people... AND all things.
JUNE: Charlie's things are untouched in the closet... and in drawers! Why can't I move forward?... Why can't I bring myself to touch any of his things?
MARY: June, your being here at Pax Wellness Resort shows that you ARE moving forward... and that you WANT to move past your grief. There's something restorative about being around the beauty of nature. I remember when I became a widow... it seems like only yesterday. Jack was my best friend. I understand your loss.
JUNE: I joined the club no one wants to belong to... and I'm sorry for YOUR loss, but it does help me feel not so alone. Thank you. Were you and Jack married long?
MARY: Not long enough. We met when we were in school... When the possibilities for the future seemed endless.
JUNE: I fell in love with Charlie when we were young, too. Losing him feels like losing my own youth.
MARY: I know what you mean, June. When I look back on my college days... I see Jack.
JUNE: You said you were able to move on after you lost him. How did you do it, Mary?... What's the secret to MY moving on after Charlie? (she weeps)
MARY: I took some much needed time to mourn. It's different for everyone... but take the time.
JUNE: That's why I'm here.
MARY: Take what you can from your experiences here. The atmosphere is beneficial.
JUNE: There is something healing about being around the BEAUTY OF NATURE.
MARY: I view Jack's passing as a lesson... as everything is in life. What can I learn from it?
JUNE: What DID you learn from it?
MARY: I want to be remembered well after I'm gone, as Jack is. I do my best to make it so.
JUNE: I can only try, and hopefully... it's enough.
MARY: I kept busy after Jack died. I realized I was needed in a different capacity.
JUNE: Sometimes it's hard to look beyond myself.
MARY: You're mourning. That's understandable.
JUNE: Maybe after my stay at this resort... I'll feel well enough to do my best work.
MARY: Hallmark once said, "Although it's difficult today, to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow." I can sympathize with you... because I've been there. I UNDERSTAND. I lost Jack a long time ago... but I never really lost him. I try to remember the LOVE we shared... and it HELPS me. After a period of mourning, I felt guilty for moving on. But Jack would want me to live my best life while I can. I know I'll see him again someday. As a widow I know the pain of losing a partner. It helps me be EMPATHETIC toward others.
JUNE (grinning): Like me.
MARY: Like you... who are going through something similar.
JUNE: I get the feeling you help many.
MARY: People tell me I help them through my counsel and friendship.
JUNE: Which you are able to do because you've been in their shoes.
MARY: Who knows the purpose of painful experience? I only know it's helped me HELP OTHERS with their pain.
JUNE: Mary, I'll take what you say to heart... and I'll try to move forward in my life.
MARY: I believe you can and you will, June. Being surrounded by the desert reminds me that LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL. Like anything, to see requires stopping the chaos... outside AND inside yourself.
JUNE: I understand what you mean. I have a class to attend, Mary. Thanks for giving me a shoulder to cry on... and encouragement after Charlie's gone.
MARY: My pleasure, June. Take care of yourself...