[Friday evening. The end of summer. MAVIS and MARK are seated at
the dining table, which is covered with textbooks, notebooks, etc.
After a moment, MARK stands and starts for the counter area.]
Where are you going now?
I need to sharpen my pencil.
You "need" to sit your happy behind down and do these problems.
If you keep jumping up every five minutes, you'll never get
C'mon, Mavis. It's Friday night.
I know that. It's not like I don't have other things I
could be doing with my time.
Then why don't you go do 'em and quit buggin'.
Don't try me, kid. I am not in the mood.
Me neither. I'm tired of this. I want to have some fun.
You been having fun all summer. Now it's time for you do some
work. School will be starting before you know it and you've got a
lot of catching up to do if you're gonna be ready.
Why do I have to go back now, anyway.
When would you prefer? You're a very smart kid, Mark, but you're
already behind. You want to get into college, don't you?
I don't see what difference college makes.
What's the point?
The way you talk about "Hugo Boss" this and "Giorgio Armani"
that, you're gonna need a reeaal good job. You better start
thinking about your future.
[Laughs] I am . . .
It doesn't sound like it.
. . . but since I don't have that much time left . . .
What do you mean?
. . . before I kick.
Kick? What's that? What are you talking about?
Before I kick. You, know . . . kick the bucket. I mean what's the
point of making plans and doing all this work if I'm just gonna die
anyway. And I am gonna die. Let's face it. You talkin' about wasting
time going to college – I'll be lucky if I make it to seventeen. I
just want to have some fun while I still can.
That's not true.
I'm too old for fairy tales, Mavis.
You don't know what you're talking about.
No? I didn't watch the news today. Somebody discover a cure for
You don't have AIDS. You have been infected with HIV. There's a
I know, I know. I been to classes at the clinic too.
Well, you must not have paid any more attention then . . . than
you have to this algebra. Nobody knows yet whether everyone with HIV
will eventually develop AIDS.
Most of 'em do. Sooner or later. Most do. And they die.
Is that how you've been thinking all of this time?
Sure, I been thinking about it. Wouldn't you? Ain't no big thing.
I just gotta be realistic, face facts.
The "fact" is that you don't know how much time you have. Nobody
does. I could walk out that door tonight and get hit by a truck on
my way home. I'm not going to give up on my life because that
Getting hit by a truck is not very likely. All you gotta do is
look both ways before you cross the street. With the virus –
It could be ten, twenty –
– thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years from now.
And it could be six months from now.
You don't know that.
It's a lot more likely, though. C'mon, I seen it happen too many
times before. Guys who look pumped and healthy one minute. Big
niggas. Out on the basketball court, kicking ass. They drop out of
sight for a couple of months and the next time you see 'em, they're
down to about sixty pounds. Clothes hanging all off them like a
skeleton. Walking down the street so slow you can barely tell
they're moving. Before you know it, word hits the block that they're
[Snaps his fingers.]
Just like that. And that's what I got to look
forward to – not college. Not "happy ever after".
So, what are you going to do? You're just going to give up on
yourself, on your life? Stop trying?
All I'm sayin' –
Because, if that's the case, tell me now . . . and I won't
"waste" anymore of your time.
It's no big deal.
What kind of attitude is that? Don't you know how important your
mental state is to your health?
I'm not pressed. Gotta go sometime, might as well get it over
Don't you dare . . .don't you ever say that to me again.
You sound like you want to die, and I am so tired of that
fatalistic crap. If one more snot-nosed, wet-behind-the-ears,
too-young-to-pee-straight kid, says "Gotta go sometime.". . . to me,
I will send him or her personally. You kids talk about death
like it's a joke. You talk about life like it's nothing. I've been
to more funerals, seen more children die in the last five years than
you'll see in a lifetime. Bright, beautiful, black boys – and girls
too – killing themselves and each other over what? Sneakers?
Jackets? Drug turf? Boyfriends, girlfriends, video games... wrong
looks? I see them destroying their lives and their families everyday
with drugs and guns and gangs and foolishness. Just mindless,
unnecessary . . . bullshit. And when you try to warn them, when you
try to protect them, it's always that same idiotic response. "Gotta
go sometime." And then it's their teachers and their families who
are left behind to deal with the devastation. If I have to see one
more heartbroken, hysterical mother trying to climb into the coffin
with a dead son not even old enough to shave yet, I will –
[Overcome, She pauses to regain her composure.]
Life is precious, damnit. Whatever time we have. And if
you don't know that, if you're just gonna sit around watching the
clock and . . .waiting to die . . . then, you don't deserve my
concern. You don't know it, but you are already dead.
I don't have no family no more . . . probably won't nobody even
notice when I do kick.
What do you think a family is? Dad and Mom and Dick and Jane and
Spot the dog? Do you think it's the "The Brady Bunch" or "The
Huxtables" where nothing bad ever happens and there's always plenty
of everything? A family is the people who are in your life, who love
you and care about what happens to you and accept you for who you
are. And if you don't think you have anybody like that, then you
haven't looked around lately. If you don't think that you have a
family, dear heart. . . well . . . then you aren't as smart as I
thought you were – and you don't have a clue what a family is.
[MAVIS crosses to window, her back to him. After a moment, MARK
moves to her. Not knowing what to say, he returns to the table
[After another moment.]
I guess I could, bust a few more of these problems . . . just in
[Without looking around.]
[After MARK reopens the books, MAVIS returns to the
table and stands over him watching.]
[Quietly, after a moment.]
I don't really want to die, Mavis.
[She strokes his hair, kisses him on the
I know, baby. I know.