Some Kind of Prayer
Some kind of prayer
Lights up on the inside of an apartment. Background of the night sky. The apartment is divided into the kitchen, the living room, two bedrooms and a study. Only the lights in the living room are on. Sound of the door slamming. Lights go off in the living room. Lights up in the study and the smaller living room. LEO is smoking inside the study. He violently flips through a book. A TEENAGER is sitting in front of a desk in the smaller bedroom, back to the audience. He looks at his phone. Sound of footsteps. Lights up in the main bedroom. SELENA enters the room. She has a knife in her hand. She wipes her tears and kneels down, leaning on her bed.
SELENA: Dear Heavenly Father.
She wipes her tears again.
SELENA: Dear Heavenly Father.
Smoke appears in front of her. An ANGEL in a white gown and white mask slowly descends to the ground. SELENA looks at him sincerely and with relief, puts down the knife, clasps her hands together in front of her chest and continues praying.
SELENA: Dear Father. Please strengthen me, because I don’t know how to live this life. What did I do this time to cause this disaster? Since I prayed last week, what day were you not satisfied with? Am I not a righteous leader at the company, a faithful and gentle woman at home? I know there were some conflicts within my team. One of my team members, he is just always ill. Sometimes physically, sometimes not. I honestly can’t be sure. That’s problematic, right? So I said, “You cannot keep doing this to me.” He just gave me his medical records. I said, “That’s not what I’m asking for. What’s going on? Why are you like that? Can you not fix it?” He said he couldn’t. So I said, “Then you are not suitable for here. I think you should take a rest first.” So he left. I shared that with my son. I was just trying to share my day. You know, since we’re friends, I thought, not just parent and child. But he said I was so inconsiderate, so...rude. But...it’s the company’s rules. So I said there was nothing I could do. He said, “You can’t speak like that.” I didn’t quite understand. I asked him to explain, but he didn’t want to. So I asked again. He was looking at his phone, but he finally put it down. He said, “Why do you like to judge others so much?” I said, “Because they’re not natural.” He laughed at me and said, “What do you mean?” I said, “What the Bible says,” because God, you would not think that sickness is natural, right? He replied, “But the Bible also taught you to be forgiving.” I was shocked, but he went on, almost mercilessly. He said, “It’s the same as when you tell me when I should sleep. But it’s not the Bible’s rules, it’s just your rules.” I had to interrupt, “Sleeping late is just not natural.” He said, “Point that out in the Bible. Can you point that out in the Bible? You just don’t respect others. Do you ever even try to listen to me speaking? No, you don’t.” I could not accept that. Of course I listened to him. I was listening to him just then. So I said he had gone too far, and left the room. Was that my mistake? I thought if I did something wrong, the Holy Spirit would give me guilt. I did not feel guilt. And that is the only odd thing I recall, the only thing I can blame for today’s...catastrophe.
She stops for a bit and starts to talk more slowly.
SELENA: I really hate this silence...I would rather my husband call me in, or watch TV, or even just make some noise, any normal noise, so that I know it is over.
LEO closes the book, smashes it on the table. He keeps smoking while staring blankly at the wall.
SELENA: People in the church were sharing some interesting testimonies. And I was discussing what my son said with my friends. So I went home a little late. I called Leo, my husband, on my way home. He did not seem too happy. But he seldom does, anyway. But when I got home, I found that the door was locked from the inside. I knocked. Nobody answered. I tried to call Leo. He didn’t pick up at first. Finally, he did. He just roared, “Go away!” I could even hear him from outside the door. I started praying, to you. He finally opened the door. He’s so tall. You feel it especially when he is angry. He just stared at me, asking in a cold voice. “Where did you fucking go?” I knew he knew the answer, we both did. It was just the fuel to get his anger burning. I tried to say it cheerfully. “I went to church. You know the schedule, right?” He erupted. He spoke in an almost deafening voice. “You go there three times a week! What is the church! Your home? You’d better just stay there. Stay with your stupid filthy friends.” He looked at me and said, “Did you hear me?” I was thinking it was just him being out of his mind again. He would probably stop after a while, automatically, and there was no good arguing with him. So I went to the kitchen and started to fetch some food for dinner. He followed. He kept saying, “What is so good about church? Why would you rather tell all our secrets to strangers than talk to your family!” I just continued preparing my food. He mumbled, “Betrayer. You lier. You want to ruin my name.” I could not bear it. I said, “They are not strangers.”
He laughed: “Who are they, then? They’re people as brainless as you. And you all get cheated together, easily.” I shrugged and said, “Whatever you say. You must be smarter than us. And what you do all day is just stay at home, complain, comment.” I knew I shouldn’t have said that, especially to my husband. He threw my bowl to the ground and roared, “Fuck off!” I froze. He smashed the rice cooker, walked towards me and jabbed me with his finger. He was talking loudly. “ Religion has destroyed your stupid mind. Since when can an employee like you think she’s a boss? I’m just unlucky. But if I want to, I can restart anytime, and gain ten times your salary!” I did not dare to speak a word. He continued. “You unfaithful being! Did you forget the time you relied on me! Now when I have bad luck, you don’t even want to stay at home. Go! Fuck off! Stay with your ‘friends.’ Don’t let me see you again.” He walked away, and slammed the door.
She touches the knife.
SELENA: I am not sure why I brought this here.
(Slightly smiling) But yes... This is why I’m here right now. I know it will eventually pass...... No more than three days later, everything will go back to normal, but when I’m still in this trouble, I don’t even know how to last the next half an hour. What will he do when I leave the room, or when he leaves the room?
She rubs the knife with her finger.
SELENA: Please forgive me for saying this. God, you know how I have always behaved. I say to you every day, “Please do help my husband. He has great talents. He can be of great use to you.” I say, if you want to train me, to make me stronger, I would faithfully and gladly do my best. But...is this going to have an end? I lead people to you, all the time. Then they become happier. Their lives become better. Gradually, their whole family becomes better. I smile every day. But when I go home, there is not even one person to talk to. When I stand in my son’s room, he just looks at his screen. I ask him: “Anything interesting in school?” He only replies, “Nothing.” Then after a minute he would look at me for the first time, and say, “Why are you still here?” And I cannot stand the smoke in Leo’s room...I don’t like the TV programs he watches either. Sometimes I feel I am stuck in a swamp. Or, I feel like myself, you, and my family, most specifically Leo, are three things with equal weight on a balancing scale. I can only keep two to continue my life in a normal way...Sometimes I really want to ask you, if you do love me, would you mind sending me a very small present?
SELENA looks into the ANGEL with the mask. He just stands still.
SELENA: I know it is wrong, but sometimes, I cannot help myself thinking about accidents. I love Leo, I really do. He’s ambitious and confident and brave, or at least he used to be. I wanted this adventure with him, not to be stuck in a company till death. But a teammate shouldn’t hurt you, right? And he is not just a teammate. So I cannot help...the accidents. You know...maybe he smoked too much. Maybe he was yelling too loud. Maybe it was the wet floor after taking a shower. Maybe the pillow flipped onto his head. Or maybe, something more serious than an accident...
SELENA turns to the ANGEL again. He still stands still without any reaction.
SELENA: I know this is a sinful thought. But why, why would you create me to be like this? If you want me to function in this suffocating situation, why have you not made me into a stronger person? Or it makes me wonder, who are you? And it makes me think, why am I sacrificing so much to love you, when I can abandon you and have less trouble with my husband? And less trouble with my life?
She closes her eyes.
SELENA: I can still see you, without the mask now. You know, I used to think you should have hair of a very light golden color, blue eyes, just like the paintings. But now when I pray, you have dark hair, you change. In my mind, you are the colleague who is always sick, and I don’t feel odd. Right now, I do not feel guilt or love, not from you. So it makes me wonder if you’re real. It makes me wonder, who have you been all this time?
SELENA stands up. She holds the knife in her hand. She approaches the ANGEL, hugs him.
SELENA: Thank you. You were a beautiful fantasy.
SELENA stabs the knife into the ANGEL’s back and let go. He falls down on his back. SELENA sighs.
SELENA: I hoped that you would have stopped me.
SELENA kneels down at the side of the body and takes off its mask. It is LEO’s face underneath.
END OF PLAY