Dates on a Calendar
A ONE-ACT PLAY
TIM, Son of SUSAN, aged 19.
EDGAR, Father of CARLY, aged 50.
JOHN, Son of ROSE, aged 18.
CARLY, Daughter of EDGAR and DIANA, aged 14.
EMILY, Friend of CARLY, aged 15.
SUSAN, Mother of TIM, aged 42.
ROSE, Friend of SUSAN, aged 41.
VICKI, Friend of SUSAN, aged 38.
JULIE, Friend of SUSAN, aged 40.
DIANA, Wife of EDGAR, aged 40.
LAURA, Friend of DIANA, aged 48.
MARY, Friend of DIANA, aged 45.
TERRY, Neighbor of DIANA, aged 22.
TORRIE, Sister of TERRY, aged 21.
TIM: Some stories are told and are forgotten. Other stories are told and are remembered. And sometimes, different stories are told, yet share the same theme, making them sound like the same story. This is a story about something in my life that happened to me, a tragedy that has been told in many stories, from an African folk tale to a modern-day animated film. This tragedy I have lived through still marks my life today. It started and ended all in the evening, yet forever changed my life. This is a play I have written about this story. Just so you know, my nameís Tim. Iím 19, and I have high-functioning autism. It took place at the 40th birthday party of one of my motherís best friends...
During this play, each group will be shown once in conversation. When a group is shown, lighting should be moved to focus on the group. While everyone is talking at the same time, we are only going to listen to portions of everyoneís conversation.
JULIE: So, how is everything with you, Susan?
SUSAN: Well, my son is now going to the community college. Thatís where he wanted to go. Itís a lot cheaper for us anyway, Julie.
VICKI: You could have always found a scholarship...
SUSAN: Those things donít always actually work. They require you pay something, and itís always more than the local college. Besides, he wants to do something that doesnít even require college, Vicki.
JULIE: College is important for your life. By not making him go to college, you are hurting him in the future.
SUSAN: Not if his job does not require college. He wants to work in computers. Heís already been given a job by a company providing he gets a Software certificate. Heíll get that and start work.
ROSE: You still on the friend hunt?
SUSAN: Rose, I knew you were going to ask that. My son just does not have that many friends, except for his family. There are many boys his age at the college, but he just doesnít get along with them.
ROSE: Is that normal?
JULIE: No, itís not. Everyone needs friends. I wouldnít know what to do without all of you. I wouldnít be able to live.
ROSE: My son always had friends. He had so many friends he would rarely be home during the summer. I even had to set rules on when he had to come home.
VICKI:† Maybe your son will find someone later in the year.
SUSAN: Well, thereís this one boy that tried to befriend him named Josh...but then I remember Josh calling up and saying that he was weird and crazy and didnít talk to him again. Itís just...I had many friends when I was his age. Why doesnít he?
EMILY: Yep, Carly.
CARLY: Well, I tried to talk to Gary today at lunch. He hasnít been answering me the past few days.
EMILY: Well, do you like him?
CARLY: I do. Just as a friend. I want to be his friend. Itís just...he hasnít talked back to me. I hope I can be his friend.
EMILY: Well, keep trying. Maybe heíll get around to you.
CARLY: Thanks. So, how has school been?
EMILY: Well, letís see. Iíve had this horrible paper Iíve had to write for Social Studies. It has to be at least three pages long, and I have to give one reference, and it canít be from the Internet. I mean, is the teacher living in the Dark Ages? The Internet is where you research, not a book!
CARLY: What class are you in?
EMILY: Iím in honors world history.
CARLY: Well, thatís ďhonorsĒ for you, I guess. Iím glad Iím not in honors classes.
EMILY: I guess so. Anyway, thanks for sharing the book with me. I like your shirt.
CARLY: Thanks. I just got it from Target.
JOHN: So Tim, you rooting for the Cubs?
TIM, engrossed in his book, does not respond. JOHN pats him on the shoulder.
JOHN: Tim? Did you hear me?
TIM [looking at JOHN]: Oh, no, Iím not into sports, John.
JOHN: But donít you want the Cubs to make it?
TIM: I couldnít really care one way or the other.
JOHN: Well, I hope they win.
TIM: Anyway, today in English I was asked to work with a new partner on our next paper. In class we have to do six papers, and now Iím on paper number 2, which must be done with a partner. My partnerís name was Tammy, and she gave me a lot of nice ideas. We got along pretty nicely. Sheís pretty nice. We got along well.
JOHN: Was she cute?
TIM: I didnít bother to look.
JOHN: Was she cute?
TIM: I told you, I was busy working on the paper with her.
JOHN: Well, was she cute?
TIM: I told you I didnít know.
JOHN: Well, did you ask her out?
TIM: Of course not.
JOHN: Why didnít you ask her out?
TIM: Why would I? I barely know her.
JOHN: Well, you started talking to her, and then you should have asked her out.
TIM: Look, you donít just ask a girl out that you just met.
JOHN: Why not?
TIM: You donít get it, do you?
JOHN: What? Itís fun to ask girls out when you first know them. You get to see if they like you or not.
TIM: Wouldnít it be creepy if someone you just met asked you out?
JOHN: No, itíd be nice.
TIM: Actually, it would be creepy.
JOHN: Look, why didnít you do it, man!
TIM has had it. He pounds his book on the table.
TIM: You know, some people believe that girls are actually people and not objects!
CARLY: That was nice. If he bugs you, just ignore him. He might think youíre crazy, but I like you. Whatís your name?
CARLY: My name is Carly.
EMILY: Iím Emily. Sheís my best friend.
TIM: I can see that.
CARLY: Iíve known her since kindergarten.
TIM: So what brings you to this party?
CARLY: Oh, itís my motherís birthday.
TIM: My mother and your mother are best friends. My mother talks about your mom all the time. So have you seen any good movies?
CARLY: Yes. I just saw the new American Girl movie.
TIM: Did you like it?
CARLY: I did.
TIM: Truth is, I used to love American Girl dolls. When I was eight, I saved my allowance up for an American Girl doll. I still own her today.
CARLY: You did? Which one?
TIM: Personally, I own Felicity.
CARLY: I own four dolls. I donít play with them anymore, thought. Iíve outgrown it.
TIM: When I was nine, I wanted to give my cousin an American Girl book, but I couldnít buy one. So I took out my book and typed the whole thing for my cousin.
TIM: Do you like American Girl dolls, Emily?
EMILY: Yep. Not anymore, Iíve outgrown them as well. But I do remember when I bought Kit.
TIM: So what has been going on now?
CARLY: Well, I donít know. Iíve been going to compete at IE tournaments.
TIM: IE? Whatís that?
EMILY: Individual events. Sheís on the speech team.
TIM: I went to school here, so Iíve heard about that. But I donít know what it is. So what does the speech team do?
CARLY: We each compete in our own event with schools in the area. Itís hard for me, because, for some reason, my coach asked me to compete in 3 events. Most of the time, youíre either in 1 or 2.
TIM: Why did she ask you to do that?
CARLY: She thinks Iím good enough.
EMILY: So where do you go to school?
TIM: I go to the community college. Do you know what that is?
EMILY: No, I donít.
TIM: Itís a college in town. I graduated last year from high school.
EMILY: Is college hard?
TIM: Sometimes it is hard. But other times it isnít. So what is your favorite class? I liked history.
CARLY: I hate history. I like drama. We have a new drama teacher and sheís really nice.
TIM: Thatís a nice class.
CARLY: It is. I like it too. Itís nice to have a class that doesnít give homework, rather than the other classes I have to take.
TIM: That would be nice.
CARLY: So why did you like history?
TIM: Iíve always liked history. In the fifth grade, I remember being the only kid who enjoyed social studies. The kids would laugh at me since I always loved social studies and they didnít.
CARLY: I didnít like it in the fifth grade either.
EMILY: I remember in my fifth grade social studies class, being asked on a test how many chests of tea were dumped into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party. That was
TIM: Yeah. But that was a long time ago.
CARLY: Tim, thereís something that I want to give you.
CARLY pulls out a picture.
CARLY: I like to draw. Hereís one of my pictures.
TIM: Why are you giving me this?
CARLY: I like you, Tim. Youíre a really nice guy. Youíre a lot nicer than other guys I know. I think we could be good friends.
EMILY: I like you too. My mother always tries to tell me to stay away from guys, but I know youíre safe. Youíre a nice person, and I can see that.
TIM: Well, letís be friends then.
CARLY gives TIM her picture.
We now cut to the other table, where EDGAR, DIANA, LAURA, and MARY are sitting. They are unaware of what went on at the neighboring table.
LAURA: So how do you feel on your 40th birthday, Diana? Do you feel any different?
EDGAR: Nope. She looks the same, and sheís told me that she feels the same. Well, sheís still my wife, and I love her.
DIANA: I feel fine, Laura. Besides, they say 40 is the new 30. I donít have to worry about getting old just yet.
MARY: My mother once told me when she was getting old, ďIím just showing you what will happen to you someday.Ē
LAURA: So, how have things been with you, Mary?
MARY: The same as usual. Iím still in the middle of my divorce. Itís difficult...and it takes time. But it was worth it. My husband was a dishonest man, and I have to get away from him.
DIANA: What exactly happened?
MARY: I donít really want to talk about that. Not everyone has to know what happened.
DIANA: Well, itís always up to you if you want to share. Itís your divorce. Iím so glad my husband isnít like that, right?
EDGAR: Yep. I donít know why some men think they can just get away with stuff and it wonít affect their marriage.
LAURA: So, how is your daughter doing?
MARY: Sheís doing okay. Itís difficult. Sheís becoming a teenager now, and has just started high school. You know how difficult those years are with everyone judging you for crazy things. She actually doesnít have that many friendsómost girls make fun of her. Thank god Emily is still her friend. Sometimes it seems
DIANA: In the end, how popular you are in high school doesnít always matter when you grow up.
EDGAR: We just hope that as she and her peers get older, theyíll accept her. Now, when do you want to present your birthday cake?
DIANA: Oh...Edgar, thanks. I almost forgot. Iíd actually like to do that at about 8:00...which is in fifteen minutes.
EDGAR: My wife wanted it to be as fresh as she could, so weíre picking it up from the store and bringing it directly here.
LAURA: Well, youíd better go then and get your cake.
DIANA: Well, see you in a few minutes, then.
EDGAR and DIANA get up and leave.
LAURA: Well, would you like some food? Thereís plenty in the kitchen, and Diana said we could have our fill.
MARY: Sure. Letís go.
LAURA and MARY get up and leave. At the same time, TERRY and TORRIE† enter.
TERRY: Oh, my God. We are so late, Torrie.
TORRIE: Iím sure we are like, the, last ones here. I hope my makeup is on right. I donít want to make a bad impression.
TERRY: You look fine. You spent over two hours before we came here putting it on. I just hope my hair looks nice.
TORRIE: Your hair looks fine, Terry, as well. And like always, I brought your favorite colored hairties if you need them.
ROSE walks to greet TERRY and TORRIE.
ROSE: Hey, girls!
TERRY + TORRIE: Oh, hi Rose!
TORRIE: Weíre sorry weíre late. We came to celebrate Dianaís birthday.
TERRY: Do you know where she is?
ROSE: I just heard she left to get her birthday cake. You know how she likes her cakesóas fresh as they can be. You donít need to be sorryóyou are here. Go find a place to sit.
TERRY: Torrie, letís sit over there.
TERRY and TORRIE sit at the table where CARLY, EMILY, JOHN, and TIM are sitting.
TERRY: So, anyway, next week my boyfriend and I are going to the Cascada concert.
TORRIE: How much did that cost? I hear tickets for those concerts are expensive.
TERRY: This one was reasonable. Anyway, at least my boyfriend wonít be asking me to pick evergreen needles there.
TORRIE: Havenít you told him youíre not interested?
TERRY: I know. Itís just he always wants to pick evergreen needles whenever we go for a walk. He has like...a whole collection of them in our house.
TORRIE: Well, anyway...how was your shopping trip?
TERRY: It was very nice. My friend Paula took me to Bebe, and 5, 7, 9, and Kohlís for my birthday. I got a new dress from Bebe. I hope to be wearing it the day I get engaged.
TORRIE: What color is it?
TERRY: Itís saffron, and it sparkles. Itís something I would have wanted to wear to the prom if I had it. At least my daughter can use it when she finally goes to prom.
TORRIE: Should we be having this conversation here in front of children? TORRIE points to EMILY and CARLY.
TERRY: I donít think theyíre even listening. Look, the girls are having a personal conversation with that guy. They probably would want some privacy too.
TORRIE: No, I think they should leave. [To CARLY, EMILY, JOHN, and TIM]: Hey guys, weíd like some privacy. Could you move somewhere else?
EMILY: Oh, okay.
TORRIE: You might want to have some privacy as well. You might feel more comfortable talking between yourselves when there are no adults present.
CARLY: Letís move to the area around those two chairs. Then we can sit together, Tim.
CARLY, EMILY, TIM, and JOHN all move to the two chairs. TIM and CARLY sit down on the chairs. JOHN and EMILY sit on the floor, cross-legged, on either sides of the chairsóEMILY on the left, and JOHN on the right.
CARLY: So, have people ever made fun of you?
TIM: All the time. I was made fun of a lot, in part because I liked American Girl dolls. None of the other boys understood why I liked it.
CARLY: Why did you like it?
TIM: Because Iíve always liked history. And as you know, you learn a lot about U.S. history with the American Girl dolls.
CARLY: Girls make fun of me too. I donít know whyóthey just tell me that Iím fat, or that Iím not cool. I also donít want to talk about my hair, or my clothes, or boys all the timeóand thatís what all the girls in my school want to talk about now. I guess itís because I like earth science, and am fascinated by earthquakes, and love Star Wars. I remember reading my Star Wars novels during recess and getting laughed by everyone, even the boys.
TIM: You think thatís bad? I would try to talk to people about my favorite American Girl book.
CARLY: Didnít you think people would laugh at you for that?
TIM: No, I didnít. I just liked it too much.
CARLY: Well, I thought the same way about Star Wars. I didnít understand why people laughed at me either.
TIM: Why do you like that?
CARLY: I donít really know. Itís just...really interesting to me.
DIANA and EDGAR enter with their birthday cake. They sit it on the table.
DIANA: Wait a minute. Whereís Carly?
EDGAR: Sheís over there. And sheís talking to someone else by herself she doesnít know.
DIANA: Oh, not again. I have told my daughter she is not allowed to talk to older boys. Theyíre not safe, and she could get hurt. The fact that heís even talking to her means heís probably dangerous. Boys donít talk to younger girls unless they want to hurt them. You stay here and guard the cake, honey. Iíll take care of it.
DIANA: Carly, you get away from that boy right now! To TIM: Why are you hanging out with my daughter?
EDGAR: Carly, you donít know him that well. And here you are, alone with him, separate from the rest of the party. That is not safe.
CARLY: What is wrong with you? Tim is my new friend.
DIANA: What did you say?
CARLY: I said he is my friend.
DIANA: What? Excuse me, young man, but my daughter is fourteen years old. You cannot just talk to a fourteen-year-old girl you donít know and then sit next to her where others are not looking. That is wrong. How old are you, mister?
DIANA: Then you need to be hanging out with other nineteen-year-olds, not fourteen-year-olds. If you do, you must be sick. Itís not healthy for you to be hanging out with fourteen-year-olds.
CARLY: This is crazy. All you can see is his age. He is a person just like me, not an age. And he wonít hurt me.
TIM: Excuse me, but we were just talking. I did not mean any harm to your daughter.
DIANA: Itís the same. The fact that you are talking to my daughter and even associating with her is wrong. If I see you again with my daughter, or a girl her age, I will call the police to make sure someone doesnít get hurt. You need to find boys your age to hang out with, like this boy over here. Points to JOHN.
TIM is silent. He feels that he cannot argue with this rigid parent, so he does not respond.
DIANA: Carly, come with me. I hope nothing like this happens for the rest of my party.
CARLY [quietly]: Well, goodbye, Tim.
DIANA and CARLY walk to the birthday cake.
EDGAR: You can tell me what happened later. Are you ready for everyone to say ďHappy Birthday?Ē
DIANA: Yes. We are. And Carly, if you go anywhere with anyone else tonight, you will be grounded. What you did was inappropriate. I donít care who he is, heís an older boy, and heís thus unsafe. As my English teacher might put it, all the worldís an age, and all the men and women are merely numbers.
TIM enters the stage to give his final speech.
TIM: Well, I never saw Carly again. And she never saw me. But Iíll never forget the day I connected with her. I did not want to hurt her, but her mother could not understand. As you can see, Iíve had my share of social rejection. Iíve also had difficulty interacting with boys my age as well. But Iíll never understand why I was just able to immediately get along with Carly. I mean, I am not supposed to get along with someone like thatóbut I did. But I did not.
Is all the world an age, and all boys and girls merely numbers? Is that all that matters, that our exit and our entrance is defined solely by the date of their death and birth? The infant who pukes on his nurse being defined as under age two, the schoolboy with his satchel at age five, the jealous soldier defined as being eighteen, the justice at thirty-five. I canít think of anymore to say. I do not believe this is the way it is. Ages, at first, seem to be just dates on a calendar, yet we often think they are more than that. Why should it matter how old she was. What really mattered was that for that one time...it seemed as if we had connected.