Play #76—We Used to Spin Like Tops

Two older children are sitting stiffly in chairs, placed opposite to one another, in their parents’ living room.  The girl, Helen, is thirteen years old.  Her brother, Mark, is fifteen.  They sit for a long while in silence until, finally, Helen speaks:

[Note:  Helen’s first speech is taken directly from Helene Cixous, Insister of Jacques Derrida (Stanford University Press, 2007, p. 23]

Helen (tentatively):  Do you remember when we used to spin like tops?

Mark (enthusiastically): Bounce like rubber balls!

Helen (excited):  We Leapt like kites!

Mark (equally excited)Floated like feathers!

[There is a lengthy pause]   

Helen:  But of course that’s when Granddad was still alive.

Mark: Yes.  And Mama and Papa.

Helen: And Aunt Jessica

Mark: Yes.

Helen:  And the dog.  What was his name? 

Mark:  Her name.  It was a female.  Her name was Linda

Helen (absently):  That’s right, Linda.

Mark:  Do you miss her?

Helen:  Who?

Mark:  Linda.

Helen (vaguely):  Oh yes, certainly.  We had a bird too, didn’t we?  What was its name?

Mark (sullen): Linden.

Helen (clapping her hands in delight):  Linden!  Really?  That’s delightful!!  A wonderful name for a parrot!

Mark: It was a budgie. 

Helen (brightly):  Are you sure?

Mark (crossly):  Of course I’m sure.

[There is another lengthy pause]  

Helen (resignedly):  Well, it doesn’t matter.

Mark:  No.  Not now.