Kate Artz, “The Conversation” Transcript

Telephone dial tone, followed by numbers dialing rapidly, as on speed dial. After a few rings, the clatter of a telephone receiver being picked up.

[in a distracted, listless tone] Hi mom—

Good. Pretty good, I guess—

Oh, he did? That’s great—


Oh good—

No, I’m fine, it’s just… I don’t know—

No, it’s not that. It’s just… Tracey. I just don’t really know what to do about her anymore, you know?—

[speaking a bit faster, becoming more animated] I just don’t understand her, I don’t know how she’s gotten to be this kind of girl, I never imagined—

No mom, I know, that’s not what I mean—

You haven’t seen her, mom. Ever since the beginning of the school year she’s been different, I don’t know—

Well like a few nights ago, it was Wednesday and she had school the next morning and at 9 o’clock at night she just strolls out the door without a word—

[insistent] But you didn’t SEE her, mom. She went out like a streetwalker, alone, no friends to pick her up, just walked right out wearing next to nothing, I couldn’t believe it—


[bitterly, defensively] That’s not the same, I never—

I always called to—

Ok, well, I do NOT expect to be a perfect role model, believe me, but I—

Maybe, but I do expect to die with some dignity, not with my brains all split up on the pavement like that girl of 17 – 17 mom, almost Tracey’s same age – attacked on the street because she attracted the wrong kind of attention—

Well, that’s what they say—

It was different then, it’s not the same—

[softer] No, I don’t remember—

[tired sigh] I just… I know it doesn’t have to be like this. I see other girls and their mothers, it doesn’t have to be a war—

Yeah. I just keep thinking of when she was 6 and obsessed with those flowers in the yard. She’d bring me some every day and was so proud, she just seemed so happy and so filled with love to the end of time, you know? And I think, how can this be that girl?—

[more agitated] Oh, I know. Haven’t I changed? Do you know I switched all the lights in the house to 40 watt bulbs because those harsh LEDs were making the lines around my eyes stand out?—

I know, it’s embarrassing, it’s completely ridiculous, but there I was, wandering the house, changing all the bulbs like an idiot.—

[resigned] No, not really—


I know you’re right—

I just miss her, and I’m scared. We used to be close. It seemed like there was so much time and now there’s not and I want it back.—

I don’t want to lose her completely—

[softly] Mmmhmm—


No mom, you know I wasn’t—

[gently insistent] I always needed to know you were there, though. That was the only way I could—


Uh huh—

I… I suppose so. Yeah.—

[door opening, slamming]

[hurried, forced casual tone] Ok mom, thanks, I actually have to get going. I’m going out to run some errands and then I have to pick Frank up at five—

Yup, thanks mom. Call me later, ok?—

Love you too. Bye.—

[dial tone]