Trusting Place

Two women in their forties try to help a young girl on her way to college.

Aggie  –  A Middle-aged woman

Holly   –  A thirty year old mother of two.

Concepcion –  A young housekeeper

A bench on the grounds of a resort hotel in Texas Hill Country. The play takes 25 minutes.

[It is a hot June day in the Hill Country of Texas, at a resort hotel, the Rancho d’ Oro.  We see a wooded alcove with a couple of benches, a birdbath, a few bushes and rocks.  A middle-aged, unremarkable woman enters, and carefully arranges herself—glasses, note paper, pillow, iced tea, etc.–  occasionally fanning her face with one of the items.  In all this production, she knocks her room key into the weeds next to the bench.]
AGGIE:  Drat.

[Looking for key she “disappears” behind the bench.  There is a rustling noise and then her head appears over the top of the bench and she sets a small package down on it.]

Lord help us all.

[She disappears again.  A pretty woman of about thirty comes into grove, holding hand over mouth.  She looks around, determines she is alone, and then screams a couple of times.  This brings Aggie up to stare.  The woman collapses on the bench with Aggie’s things, and starts crying.  Aggie, looking disappointed, starts trying to retrieve her belongings.]

Excuse me.  Excuse me.  Excuse me; you are sniveling all over my letter paper!

[The young woman finally hears her and sits up, still crying, and hands Aggie her things, carefully, including, at last, the package, which she treats with the same noncommittal politeness as the others.  Aggie holds package gingerly.]

These aren’t mine.  [woman shrugs ]  I found them back here, while looking for my key.  I’m certainly not the sort of person who carries a package of prophylactics to write a letter to her sister!

HOLLY: [she speaks with a strong Texas drawl]  Why would I care?  Do I look like I would care what you carry around, or where?
AGGIE: Look, I’m sorry to interrupt your nervous breakdown but I was here first!
HOLLY: [Trying to control sobs with intakes of breath.]  Okay, okay.  I’ll go.
AGGIE: Actually, I was trying to leave you alone, but you were sitting all over my things.  Besides I dropped my room key down here somewhere, and I can’t leave until I find it.
HOLLY: Well, have a nice life.  [starts out]
AGGIE: You don’t have to leave, if you just let me find my key.  Or help me, and I’ll leave sooner.

[Acting without any real interest, Holly wanders over to “look for the key”]

HOLLY: [Picking up piece of paper, handing it to her] You dropped your letter, too.
AGGIE: [Taking it] Thanks.  My letter?  I hadn’t written any letter yet. It’s a note.
HOLLY: People sure do drop things from this bench.
AGGIE: No, look.  In between these two rocks, there’s a little space.  The perfect place for secret messages.  I did this sort of thing with my sister when we were kids.
HOLLY: These are pretty advanced kids if they’re using rubbers.
AGGIE: That’s right; maybe they were in there, too.  Why, this is a trysting place.
HOLLY: A which?
AGGIE: Trysting place.  I don’t know where I got that term from. Some Victorian novel, I suppose.  You know, just a place where to people get together to—you know.
HOLLY: Imagine doing it on one of these benches.  They’re not very long.
AGGIE: I am beginning to wonder if I want to keep searching.  Who knows what I’ll find next.
HOLLY: What does the note say?
AGGIE: Do you think we should read it?
HOLLY: Why not?  It’s not the US Mail.  Here, I’ll do it.  We’ll put it back. [reads]

“Querida Paloma,”

AGGIE: Their secrets are safe with me.  My Spanish is strictly tourista.
HOLLY:  The rest is English.  “I’m putting these, and the decision, in you beautiful little hands, which I kiss in gratitude for the joy of our precious moments together, every moment a jewel.”  Whew!  [Shakes note, as if it were hot.]  “da da da. ….every moment a jewel.  I will be there after dinner.  Your adoring, B.”  Now that is a boy with a well-developed line.
AGGIE: It doesn’t sound in the least like something a boy would say.
HOLLY: Well, I guess not!  Some of this is so—[suddenly remembering] “Every moment a jewel.”   I know who wrote this, and it’s not a teenager.

I started writing this at a resort in the Texas hill country, where my husband was giving a talk to a gathering of tax lawyers.  The rest was strictly from my imagination.  I’ve seen in my lifetime a lot of destruction by older men prey on young women, including Presidents, heads of TV stations, and famous reporters.  One of those stories must have been breaking when I wrote this.  Most women deal with a number of those men in their lifetimes, so I wanted to show one way  more experienced women try to help the younger ones avoid the pitfalls.