The Flower Shop

A short play written by myself and Callista Lugar, performed onstage at my high school.

ACT ONE

SCENE I

Lights up on a flower shop, cluttered and earthy. There is a large box window on the back wall where the street can be seen. There is a door stage right that is the entrance to the store, and there is a window in the door with a sign hanging from it that says OPEN from the audience’s perspective, CLOSED from the outside. There is a bookshelf beside the door holding more flowers and vases on display. There is a doorway stage left that has a curtain hanging over it to separate the main store and the back. The checkout counter is beside the doorway to the back, stage left of the window and the side of it facing the audience. There are hooks behind the counter with seed packets on display. There are two tables in the center of the store with more flowers in pots and containers. There are also business cards and pamphlets set out. Larger pots are on the ground in empty spaces. Two folding chairs lean against the wall stage right of the box window, partly hidden with a large plant. Underneath the tables there are many stacked pots and a few watering cans of different variations. Flowers of many kinds and in many different pots are in the box window and there are vines and flowers on display on the walls. The picture is a very colorful one, but not chaotic. It is an organized earthy clutter.

AMANDA, a woman in her 50s-60s, dressed in a dark floral dress and black sweater, can be seen in the window of the door, unlocking it with a small ring of keys. She enters and the bell above the door jingles as she walks in, followed closely by LIZ, a middle-aged single mother with hair slightly disheveled but not messy. She wears a faded pink sweater with dark jeans with an oversized purse over her shoulder. AMANDA turns the open/close sign to show open from the outside.

LIZ. (Crosses SL to cashier table.) And then he has the audacity to tell me, me of all people that I should be watching my kid more closely! (LIZ puts her purse on the counter.) She’s my daughter, I think I know more about how to take care of her than he does. Honestly…

AMANDA. Mm hm…

AMANDA continues to walk toward the counter and LIZ and AMANDA begin to set up shop.

LIZ. Are you listening to me?

AMANDA. Yes…but the guy did save Lacey from running out in front of a car. Maybe he was a little rude about it, but…

LIZ. But what?

AMANDA. Well…did you say thank you? (Beat.)

LIZ. (Curt.) No I did not.

AMANDA. (Chuckles. She is used to this.) I’m going to go get the seeds. (AMANDA goes into the back door SL.)

LIZ. (Calling to her, joking.) Don’t get lost back there!

AMANDA. (Offstage.) I’m not that old yet!

LIZ. (Laughing.) Well you’re getting there!

LIZ chuckles and walks over to one of the tables and arranges some flowers in a vase and set the business cards and pamphlets out. AMANDA returns from the back with seed packets in her hands. She begins placing them into the almost-empty hooks behind the counter.

AMANDA. When do you think you’re going to be done with that painting?

LIZ. What painting?

AMANDA. (Beat.) The painting, Liz, you said you’d—

LIZ. Ohh that painting, yes that’s um—done. I’ll bring it in…

AMANDA. Tomorrow?

LIZ. Next week maybe.

AMANDA. You know, if you don’t actually do it this week you never will.

LIZ. (Beat.) Hey Amanda.

AMANDA doesn’t look up, she recognizes this pause and tone of voice. This is a conversation they’ve had before.

AMANDA. We’re not talking about this right now, Liz.

LIZ. Fine, I’ll talk, you listen. You can’t keep doing this.

AMANDA. (Gesturing with seed packets.) Doing what?

LIZ. Don’t do that.

AMANDA. (Putting seed packets down onto counter.) Fine I’ll stop.

Amanda turns her attention to organizing the counter, straightening various items and then picking up a picture frame.

LIZ. (Exasperated.) Amanda, honestly—

AMANDA. (Puts photo face down on counter.) I’m not doing anything.

LIZ. (Turns to face AMANDA.) Exactly.

The bell to the front door SR rings. CHARLIE, a man in his late twenties walks in. He wears a button up shirt and khaki pants; his hair is perfectly in place and is put together in a “Leave it to Beaver” kind of way. He is on his way to work. CHARLIE  crosses to the first table he sees, oblivious to the tension. AMANDA sees CHARLIE walk in and exits quickly to the back, taking the rest of the seed packets with her. LIZ sighs and turns to help the first customer of the day.

LIZ. Good morning. Can I help you?

CHARLIE. (He smiles briefly at her, then walks around the walls looking at flowers. Not making eye contact with LIZ.) Morning, Just looking around.

LIZ walks toward the back to go find AMANDA. AMANDA walks out with packets of flower seed in her hands, almost bumping into her.

LIZ. (Harsh whisper.) You need to talk to him.

AMANDA. (Counting the packets in his hands.) Talk to who?

LIZ motions toward CHARLIE, who has made her way to the other table with multiple displays on it.

AMANDA. Oh… (She looks up briefly and begins to count the packets again.) I’m getting to it.

LIZ. You need to tell him / now.

AMANDA. Not now.

LIZ walks into the back leaving AMANDA to help CHARLIE. AMANDA tries to get her to stay, but is unsuccessful. Beat. AMANDA prepares herself for just another business interaction.  She walks toward CHARLIE.

AMANDA. Another bouquet today?

CHARLIE. (Distracted.) Uh… yeah, yes please.

AMANDA. What flowers would you like?

CHARLIE. I’ll just have the roses today.

AMANDA takes a small bouquet of roses from a bucket behind her, again smiling briefly at CHARLIE and handing him the bouquet.

CHARLIE. Thank you.

AMANDA crosses to the cash register, CHARLIE follows.

AMANDA. (She sets up the cash register.) Your girlfriend is one lucky gal.

CHARLIE. (Smiling, he seems to brighten up at the mention of his girlfriend.) Yeah…I mean, thanks.

AMANDA. This is the third time you’ve come in this month.

CHARLIE chuckles.

AMANDA. That’ll be twenty-five dollars, hun.

CHARLIE. She uh…I’m…(CHARLIE sets down his keys on the counter to get out his wallet. He hands some cash to AMANDA. AMANDA takes the money.) I’m thinking of proposing to her this upcoming Tuesday. (CHARLIE smiles at the thought.)

AMANDA. (Hearing this news, she stops what she’s doing and looks up at him.) Really? (beat) How are you going to propose?

CHARLIE. (Chuckles.) Lots of flowers.

Beat.

AMANDA. (Resumes what she is doing, takes out CHARLIE’S change) Well, I hope you keep coming back. (Hands CHARLIE his change, a sincere smile on her face.)

CHARLIE. (Smiling.) I certainly will.

CHARLIE takes his change, puts it into his wallet, and leaves, forgetting his keys on the counter. AMANDA doesn’t notice.

AMANDA. Have a nice day!

As soon as he is gone, LIZ comes out from the back as if she was waiting for CHARLIE to leave. She rushes past AMANDA to stand on the other side of the counter. AMANDA avoids eye contact, straightening things on the shelves behind the counter.

LIZ. So how’d it go?

AMANDA pretends not to hear LIZ and continues to rearrange things. LIZ doesn’t say anything. AMANDA looks up and LIZ gives her a ‘really?’ look.

AMANDA. Oh, that! I guess it, ah…never came up. (She gives a small shrug)

LIZ. (Sarcastically, but not unkindly.) Oh, so you mean the fact that you’re his mother from 20-some years ago and you moved to this city and opened a flower shop in the hopes that he would come wandering in here and you could reconnect just (shrugs shoulders) didn’t come up?

AMANDA. (Exasperated now, stands up, facing LIZ.) Liz, I can’t just…come out and say it! These things take time.

LIZ. Well you’re running out of it.

AMANDA. This is my issue, okay, I don’t need you informing my decisions.

LIZ. Amanda, please just see what I’m seeing. You’re not able to discern what to do because you’re—

AMANDA. I’m not able to discern? Liz, you of all people don’t have the right to tell me what to do about my relationships.

LIZ. (Hurt by this comment.) What is that supposed to mean?

AMANDA. (Regretting saying it.) I didn’t—(Sighs.) Okay, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought Robert into this—

LIZ. No, you shouldn’t have.

AMANDA.  I’m just frustrated. It never seems like the right moment.

LIZ. (Beat.) Amanda, I don’t mean to pester. It isn’t really my decision. It isn’t my decision at all. But as your friend…Amanda, you’ve been waiting for this for…what, a year and a half? I just don’t want you to miss your window.

AMANDA. I won’t miss it, Liz.

LIZ. (Gently.) You might if you keep putting it off.

AMANDA. I won’t miss it.

AMANDA walks past LIZ into the back room. LIZ sighs, exasperated. She watches AMANDA go. The door jingles. CHARLIE enters the flower shop, slightly out of breath, in a hurry.  LIZ looks over, a little startled to see him right after her conversation with AMANDA. LIZ quickly sets the picture frame up and angled slightly towards CHARLIE.

CHARLIE. (Out of breath, as he is crossing to the counter.) I forgot my keys.

CHARLIE goes to grab his keys off the counter and notices at the picture frame, stopping.

CHARLIE. Huh.

LIZ. What is it?

CHARLIE. Oh, nothing, it’s just I—used to wear that shirt.

LIZ. Oh?

CHARLIE. Yeah… (Beat.) Is this your son?

LIZ. No, I have a daughter.

CHARLIE. Oh.

LIZ. (Beat.) Wait one second.

LIZ hurries through the curtain. CHARLIE picks up the photo and looks at it. Beat. Voices can be heard through the curtain.

AMANDA enters from the curtain, looking annoyed and sees CHARLIE at the counter. She hesitates, we see her struggle to articulate something to say.

CHARLIE. (Confused.) Is this your picture?

AMANDA. (Crosses past him to chair, struggling.) Can we sit down?

CHARLIE. (Beat.) Is this me?

AMANDA. I’ll make it quick, promise.

(Beat.)

AMANDA sits in one of the chairs. CHARLIE pauses, then slowly crosses to the chair and sits next to her.

CHARLIE. Is this me?

AMANDA. You see—

CHARLIE. Is it. Me?

AMANDA looks up at CHARLIE. Beat. She can’t avoid this any longer. She takes a deep breath.

AMANDA. Yes. My name is Amanda Beckett. I’m your mother.

AMANDA’s eyes are glued to CHARLIE’s face, watching for some sort of reaction. CHARLIE is taken aback.

CHARLIE. What?

AMANDA. (Rushed.) I know this probably isn’t the best way to tell you, and I—I understand if you’re mad, my God, you have every right after—after what I did to you, and your father. So if you want to walk out right now, and—and leave, and get married, and never see me again, that is completely fine. I’m not trying to force myself into your life, or anything. You can…you can choose what to do.

Beat. There is a long silence while CHARLIE attempts to grasp this.

CHARLIE. Oh my God… (Realization. He looks up to AMANDA.) What the hell?

AMANDA. I—

CHARLIE. No, I was—you were gone! Forever, you were… you weren’t something I—you weren’t anything! (Another realization.) I bought flowers here… (Realization is mounting.) For my girlfriend! And you just, you didn’t say anything? That whole time? (Shaking his head.) Why not?

AMANDA. (Uncertain.) I don’t know. I suppose that I just…wanted to see you.

What AMANDA says seems to hit something within CHARLIE. He looks up sharply.

CHARLIE. (Bitter.) You wanted to see me?

AMANDA. (Quiet.) Yes.

CHARLIE. I needed you to want to see me before this. Way before this. It’s—it’s too late for—

AMANDA. I know. I know that we’ll never be…we’ll never have the relationship you wanted, needed, but I…I just wanted you to know that leaving you and your father was one of—is the worst mistake I’ve ever made. (Tears come to her eyes.) I regret it every day. (Beat.) The reason I’m here is to… apologize. (Genuine.) What I did was inexcusable. (Beat.) I’m sorry.

CHARLIE takes a deep breath and looks at AMANDA.

CHARLIE. (Clipped.) Okay.

He stands, puts his keys in his pocket and folds up the chair, placing it against the wall. He crosses to the door, opening it up.

AMANDA stands, crosses towards CHARLIE.

CHARLIE  doesn’t stop and continues out the door

The door closes with a jingle. AMANDA is left alone onstage. There is a feeling of hopelessness and loss to the picture. Blackout.

SCENE II

A few months later. LIZ is unpacking Christmas decorations. The bell rings and  CHARLIE enters. He walks toward LIZ. LIZ straightens.

CHARLIE. Um, Hi.

LIZ. (Standing up abruptly.) Oh. How’s the girlfriend?

CHARLIE. Fiancée.

LIZ. Oh, congratulations!

CHARLIE. (Happier.) Thank you. April and I are really excited!

(Beat.)

CHARLIE: Can you give this to Amanda Beckett please?

CHARLIE hands LIZ an envelope with the name “Amanda” written on it. Beat.

LIZ. (Bright.) Sure.

CHARLIE. Thanks.

CHARLIE exits in a hurry. The bell rings. AMANDA enters through the back carrying in a vase with big flowers in it, blocking her view.

AMANDA. Who was that? (Setting the vase down on a nearby table.)

LIZ walks over to AMANDA and extends her arm to give him the letter.

LIZ. This is for you.

AMANDA stops what she’s doing and turns to LIZ. Beat. AMANDA takes the letter and opens it. She sets the envelope on the table next to the vases and opens the card. Lights dim to only show AMANDA on stage. USR a spotlight on CHARLIE appears. AMANDA reads the letter to herself.

CHARLIE. Dear Amanda Beckett, I don’t really know how to begin this… I suppose I could start by saying that I’m still in shock. You left when I was six, and most of my memories of you have faded. I’ve been thinking a lot about how as I grew up I always wanted to meet you. I think some part of me recognized the empty place that you created when you left, even if my mind couldn’t quite grasp the significance of it. But now that you’re finally here, part of me wishes you weren’t. Although I’ve always dreamed of meeting you, that fantasy faded and was replaced by a bitter resentment, something that isn’t completely gone. I guess that’s part of the reason I’m writing this instead of saying it to you… So I don’t say something I’ll regret later. Sometimes, I just want to tell you to go to hell. I want to forget you were ever here. It makes it that much harder that you gave me that option. This is all so unexpected, and my instincts have been telling me to leave, to shut you out. And it takes a lot of my willpower not to.

I told my fiancée about the photo and you and everything. She told me it wasn’t just about me; it’s about you too. That you made an effort to reconnect, and that should count for something.

This doesn’t mean that I forgive you, or that what you did is any less devastating. But I do think I would regret not having you in my life.

I’m still bitter. (Beat.) I don’t know if I am ever going to get over that, but I’ve decided I don’t want to shut you out.

I’m not sure I could if I wanted to. April really loved all the flowers and is insisting we hire you for the wedding.

We’ll be by the flower shop soon.

Charlie

Lights come up on the flower shop and CHARLIE is now gone. LIZ, still standing, is still watching AMANDA, waiting for her to say something. AMANDA is quiet, LIZ  and puts her hand on her shoulder. AMANDA flips the pages back in order, and while doing so, a small card falls out. AMANDA bends down and picks up the card.

LIZ. What is it?

AMANDA. (Beat.) A wedding invitation…

Blackout.

Speak Your Mind

*