At Capacity--Scene 12: Julia in charge

(Julia’s hospital room. She’s in a hospital bed, heavily sedated. The railings of the bed are up high so she can’t get out. Claire sits in the corner, reading a magazine. Steve stands at the foot of the bed, staring at his sister. Every time Julia stirs, Steve tries to get close to hear what she’s saying. But she’s not saying anything. Steve sighs and then resets, and the same pattern happens again. Julia sort of looks off into space, eyes half open, looking away from Steve. She starts to mutter.)

JULIA (garbled and slurred)
I don’t want that to happen… I don’t want that to happen… I don’t want that to happen…

STEVE (jumping closer)
What?  Julia?

(No response)

STEVE (quietly, tentatively)
Julia?

(No response. Steve waits for a moment then tries again.)

STEVE
Julia? Can you hear me?

(No response. He signs again.)

CLAIRE
They told us she wasn’t going to answer if we talked to her. They have her on a lot of meds. They said to wait for her to talk.

STEVE
Yeah, but she just did.

CLAIRE
That was in her sleep.

STEVE
But her eyes are kind of open. How can she be asleep?

CLAIRE
You two always did that. Slept with your eyes half open.

STEVE
We did?

CLAIRE
Yeah, it was like you didn't want to miss anything.  You still do it.

STEVE
I do?

CLAIRE
Yeah, you do. And it’s weird. You're asleep in the living room at night when I come to the house, but you’re eyes are sort of open. I feel like you’re watching me.

STEVE
I don’t remember seeing you.

CLAIRE
Right. Because you were asleep. Just like Julia is now.

(Steve continues to stare at Julia. Claire goes back to her magazine. Steve signs again.)

CLAIRE
Why don’t you sit down? Standing over her like that isn’t going to make her talk.

STEVE
I want to be here for her when she wakes up.

CLAIRE
Crowding her is not going to make her want to wake up any faster.

STEVE
She should know that we’re here.

CLAIRE
She knows.

STEVE
How do you know?

CLAIRE
People know. Sick people have a lot of control. She knows. She’s the one who’s in charge right now.

STEVE
She looks really helpless.

CLAIRE
Looks can be deceiving.

STEVE
Are you saying that she’s faking this? How could you say that?

CLAIRE
That’s not what I’m saying at all! Jesus, Steve, give me some credit. She’s our sister. What I’m saying is that you trying to control what happens with her is pointless cause she’s the only one that can make anything happen right now. That’s how it works. The doctors think they know what they’re doing, but they’re just doing what worked for another person. Julia is Julia, and she’ll come out of this when she’s ready.

STEVE
But don’t you think that—

CLAIRE
No. I don’t. I think that maybe if you leave her alone, she might actually start to come out of it.

(Steve stands there, looking at Julia.)

CLAIRE
She never liked that kind of attention. Especially after the stuff with Uncle Steve and—

STEVE
Don’t talk about that in here. Please?

CLAIRE
Why not?

STEVE
I want her to wake up. Not go further away. She can hear us. That’s what they said. I don’t want her to ever hear that name again.

CLAIRE
Oh, Steve. God, you really need to get a grip on all of this.

STEVE
I’ll do whatever the hell I want to do about this. I can’t believe that I didn’t know about any of this. All these years and no one ever told me.

CLAIRE
Look at how you’re reacting. Maybe that’s a clue as to why

STEVE
I’m her twin. She should have told me.

CLAIRE
Well, maybe she didn’t tell you because she knew how hard it would be for you. Sixth sense and all?

STEVE
But I could have helped her.

CLAIRE
No one can help her, Steve. I told you. She’s got to do this. Her recovery is in her hands. No one can do it for her. It’s hers to do.

(Steve stands looking at his sister in the bed.  Julia starts to stir, sits up, eyes open wide, then lays back down.)

STEVE
Julia, are you ok?  Julia?

JULIA (garbled and slurred)
Get the dolls.

STEVE
What?  What did you say?

(Julia turns her head and looks at him, directly into his eyes.)

JULIA (slowly with a little more clarity)
Get. The. Dolls.

(Julia takes one more big intake of breath and the she shuts her eyes. She’s breathing, but now she’s deeply asleep. Or passed out.)

STEVE
Get the dolls? What the hell does that mean. Get the dolls… Claire?

CLAIRE (still with her magazine)
I don’t know, Steve. She’s working it out on her own.

STEVE
Get the dolls…  Get the dolls. (realizing that she’s talking about the carolers). Get the dolls. OK! Got it!  On my way!

(Steve grabs his coat and starts to exit.)

CLAIRE
Where are you going?

STEVE
To do what Julia said. Sixth sense.

CLAIRE
What?

STEVE
I’m getting the dolls.

(Steve exits and Claire looks after him, completely bewildered.  She goes back to her magazine as the lights in the hospital room fade, and the lights all around Julia’s bed begin to glow brightly, then fade.  End of scene.)