In my opinion and unfortunate experience depression is like looking from the outside in at yourself and the outside is cold. You want to be inside with the part of you that is still happy where it’s warm but the door is locked, for now. You would and should keep trying to get inside but right now you are tired, both physically and emotionally. The funny thing is the door locks from the outside and the keys to the door are not entirely impossible to obtain but you are too tired to look for them right now, so for now you remain cold. Maybe you have a jacket and maybe you don’t but either way you’re not inside where it’s comfortable.
It’s Time to Get Better
The Family: Alec, Anne (the mother), Stephen (the father)
The Psychiatrist: Dr. Sonne
Walgreens Employees: Pharmacist, Cashier
Act I: Family Secrets
Act II: Dark Roads Lead to Closed Doors
Act III: Reunited
This play is set in an imaginary town
This scene takes place in the psychiatry office of Dr. Frederick Sonne. Alec is in the private office where patients receive therapy with Dr. Sonne. Alec is on a mahogany brown leather couch alone with a light brown pillow tucked underneath his left arm. Alec is on the left side of the couch facing the doctor as far from the center of the couch as he possibly can be. The doctor is sitting facing the couch that Alec is sitting on. The doctor is sitting in a finely upholstered red chair with stately arms and legs. It can be noticed that the doctor’s chair is worn but it looks comfortable nonetheless. The walls in the private office are an off white and there are several paintings hanging on the wall. The paintings are crude but oddly pleasing to the eye and are all signed by the same artist “TC”. There are a few small potted plants around the room. There is a side table next to the doctor’s chair that houses several notepads and pens. Alec’s mother is in the waiting room alone. Dr. Sonne has no receptionist and his entire office consists of the private office and the waiting room. No discernible words can be heard from the waiting room.
Dr. Sonne: How do you feel?
Alec: (responding with an attitude) Fine.
Dr. Sonne: (looking at Alec, writing notes in his notepad, then looking back up at Alec) How’s school going for you?
Alec: Good I guess. Nothing really changes.
Dr. Sonne: How has your mood been?
Alec: My mood?
Dr. Sonne: Do you still feel sad most of the time? Anxious? Do you still have that feeling in your chest?
Alec: Yeah. I still spend most of my time alone if you’re wondering that too. Still quiet.
Dr. Sonne: (writing notes in his notepad then looking up at Alec) So you would say your mood has worsened since I saw you last, stayed the same, or improved?
Alec: (breaking eye contact and sitting there thinking for a few seconds) It’s the same.
Dr. Sonne: Have there been any negative stimuli in your life recently? Any good moments?
Dr. Sonne: Hmm.
Dr. Sonne reaches for a different, smaller pad of paper from his side table and begins writing on the lines of the paper.
Dr. Sonne: I’m recommending you begin taking anti-depressants.
Alec: (looking Dr. Sonne dead in his eyes with a straight face) Are you serious?
Dr. Sonne: Your depression hasn’t improved since I last saw you. We’ve been seeing each other for just over two months now and your condition has gotten worse and stagnated since we first began. I was hoping increased therapy sessions would be enough but I think medication in addition to our sessions is the best treatment for you now.
Alec: It’s not gonna work (getting frustrated). I don’t need medication.
Dr. Sonne: You don’t know that. You need to give it a try.
Alec: (leaning in towards the doctor from the couch and speaking softly and in an angry tone of voice) I’m not taking any fucking medicine like some psycho. I’m not crazy.
Dr. Sonne: No one said you were crazy, Alec. If you really don’t want to take the medicine that’s your choice but at least take the prescription and if you don’t want to take it then you don’t have to but at least get the prescription filled in case you ever need it.
Dr. Sonne rips the prescription from the small pad of prescription paper and holds it out in front of Alec to take from his hand but Alec just looks at it from the couch.
Dr. Sonne: Alec please take this. I can’t force you to take the medication but please get it filled. It is for your own benefit.
Alec takes the prescription from Dr. Sonne begrudgingly and looks at it then looks back at Dr. Sonne.
Alec: Fine, but only because my mom will kill me if I don’t listen to you.
Dr. Sonne: This is about you, Alec. Not even your mother can make you take this medication.
Alec: So she’s not gonna ask why I’m walking out of here with a prescription for anti-depressants? Yeah, right.
Dr. Sonne: You have confidentiality with me and you’re twenty-one so your mother doesn’t even have to know about this. You know I’m never legally able to discuss our meetings with anyone unless you give me permission. Put the prescription in your pocket if it means that much to you.
Alec: (giving a half-hearted smile to the doctor and speaking sarcastically) No let’s bring her in. Let’s tell her. She should hear about me being medicated so I don’t overdose and kill myself.
Alec’s mother enters the room and Alec walks out and waits in the waiting room for his mother. Alec slams the door behind him.
In this scene Alec, Alec’s mother Anne, and Dr. Sonne are still at the psychiatry office. Anne is in the private office with Dr. Sonne and Alec is in the waiting room following his session with Dr. Sonne. The waiting room is a pale yellow with three large navy blue upholstered couches surrounding a large brown coffee table. There are several scattered magazines on the coffee table and some of them have been collecting dust. In one corner of the waiting room there are some children’s toys. Alec is playing on his iPhone while his mother is talking with the doctor behind the closed door.
Anne: How did it go today?
Dr. Sonne: Has your soon been displaying any alarming behavior recently?
Anne: (her soft smile slowly turning into a soft frown and acting surprised) What? What do you mean?
Dr. Sonne: His depression has not improved since I saw him last time and I think he may be exhibiting signs of suicidal thoughts.
Anne looks at Dr. Sonne and buries her face in both of her hands then holds her head while looking down at the floor. Dr. Sonne has both hands balled up with his elbows resting on the arms of the chair with his right leg crossed over his left leg and is looking at Anne.
Dr. Sonne: Anne?
Anne: How do you know? I know he’s depressed but I haven’t seen any signs of that. He’s just quiet is all.
Dr. Sonne: Anne, before he walked out of here he said you should know about the prescription I wrote for him in case he overdosed and killed himself.
Anne: (speaking defensively) What? Well how did he say it? Was it in a joking manner? I’m sure he wasn’t serious!
Dr. Sonne looks at Anne with a worried face and slightly raises his voice.
Dr. Sonne: Anne it doesn’t matter if he was joking or not! Either way he said it in this office. You should be concerned. The medication I prescribed him can be addictive if they’re not taken properly!
Anne: (speaking defensively and getting angry) I don’t think he meant to say it the way he did!
Dr. Sonne: I know this is not easy to deal with your child being depressed and it’s certainly not easy accepting the fact that your child may be suicidal but denying these facts is only putting Alec at risk. Now this medicine can help him get his thoughts and feelings under control in addition to our therapy sessions. Only thing is he said he won’t take the medication.
Anne: Well what am I supposed to do? I can’t make him take it!
Dr. Sonne: I recommend getting the prescription filled, crushing one pill a day and putting it in one of his meals.
Anne: (speaking angrily) So you want me to drug my son?
Dr. Sonne: It’s not drugging. This medicine can save his life. Anne, your son is suicidal. Our sessions aren’t enough anymore.
Anne looks at the doctor with tears beginning to well up in her eyes.
Dr. Sonne: (leaning slightly in towards Anne) I know this is hard but this is the best thing to do for Alec. You don’t have to use the whole prescription. Just try the medication for a week and see if there’s any improvement but we won’t know if this medication will help Alec unless we try.
Anne: (sniffling and wiping a few tears from her face) Well won’t he find out I’m putting it in his food?
Dr. Sonne: I do this with some of my older patients. Just crush the pill until it’s a fine powder then sprinkle it in to foods like mashed potatoes, sandwiches, or other soft foods. If it’s done right he won’t be able to taste it. You could put it in drinks even. Just mix it well!
Anne: Are there any side effects?
Dr. Sonne: Not really. He may feel a little tired and occasionally may feel nauseous but otherwise he should feel fine. He’s not allergic to anything is he?
Dr. Sonne: Good.
Anne: You know my husband has suffered from depression before, too. And my brother!
Dr. Sonne writes down some notes in his notepad.
Dr. Sonne: Would you say mental illness runs in your family?
Anne: I mean…I wouldn’t say so. No.
Dr. Sonne: Can you think of anyone else in your family who has ever suffered from depression or any other mental illness. Your mother? Father? Cousins? Aunts?
Anne thinks for a few seconds and looks around the room in thought, avoiding eye contact with the doctor.
Anne: No, not that I can think of.
Dr. Sonne: Hmm. It’s possible that family history of mental illness can be causing Alec’s depression. You said your husband has been depressed?
Dr. Sonne: And what is your husband’s name?
Dr. Sonne writes more notes in his notepad.
Dr. Sonne: Hmm and how is Stephen’s relationship with Alec? Is it good?
Anne: Yeah, it’s good. They talk a lot but not as much as they used to since Alec’s depression has gotten worse.
Dr. Sonne: What things do they do together? What do they talk about?
Anne: (trying to come up with something to say) I mean…sometimes they…
Dr. Sonne looks at Anne with a soft smile waiting for her response to his question
Anne: Stephen works a lot so they haven’t been able to talk a lot (she says this nervously while shaking her head up and down frantically)
Dr. Sonne: What does your husband do if you don’t mind me asking?
Anne: (looking at Dr. Sonne nervously and speaking quickly) He can’t tell us. Something with the government. Top secret!
Dr. Sonne spends several seconds writing in his notepad while Anne looks anxiously at him writing. The doctor finally looks up and smiles at Anne.
Dr. Sonne: How is your husband’s relationship with you?
Anne’s phone vibrates in her purse. She pulls her phone out and she looks down to see a text from Alec reading “Let’s go!”
Anne: (speaking quickly and rushing to put her phone back in her purse) I’m so sorry, doctor. I forgot I have another obligation today and I need to head out now. Thank you so much for today!
Dr. Sonne: (surprised) Alright, well the copay for today is $35. Do you want to set up Alec’s next appointment now or-
Anne: (pulling out the checkbook from her purse and tearing out a blank check) Uh I’ll call you and set it up. Um, here just write in the check. I’ll call to set up the appointment tomorrow. Thanks so much!
Anne opens the door to the waiting room and closes the door behind her.
Alec: What the fuck was the hold up? Are you crying?
Anne: Let’s just go, Alec.
Alec and Anne leave the office and take the elevator to the ground floor. They leave the building and walk towards Anne’s car.
Alec and Anne are in Anne’s car. Alec is in the passenger seat and looks out the window, rarely looking at Anne. The radio is on and a local news channel is playing. There isn’t much traffic and they are rarely stopped by red lights.
Anne: Do you want me to stop and get food anywhere?
Alec: No thanks. I’m not hungry.
Anne looks down at the steering wheel for a brief second and then looks back up at the road.
Alec: (handing the prescription paper to Anne) The doctor wants me on meds.
Anne takes the paper and puts it in her pocket.
Anne: How does that make you feel?
Anne: How does that make you feel? Do you feel good? Do you want to take the medication?
Alec: (sounding annoyed) I don’t wanna talk about this with you.
Anne: Alec I just want to understand. I ju-
Alec: (raising his voice) Clearly I’m not fine, mom! If I was fine I wouldn’t be seeing a fucking psychiatrist every goddamn week!
Anne looks forward at the road then looks at Alec. Tears begin rolling down her face and then she looks back at the road. She grips the wheel tightly and uses her left hand to wipe tears off of her face.
Alec: I’m the one who’s depressed and you’re the one crying? Right. Maybe you should take my medicine for me!
Anne: (talking through the tears) I just want what’s best for you, Alec. Talk to me. Please!
Alec: (shouting) Why should I tell you anything? You said I was fucking crazy last week. You’re the one who’s crazy and you won’t even admit it but I’m the one seeing a doctor!
Anne: (also shouting now): I said I was sorry, Alec. How many times do I have to say it! I’m sorry! I wasn’t thinking clearly! I-
Alec: Well then that makes all three of us then doesn’t it?
Anne snaps her head to look at Alec and her face tenses.
Anne: Your father just needs time to clear his head. He’ll come back!
Alec: (shouting again) He only left because you wouldn’t get help! He left because he was depressed because YOU wouldn’t get help! You probably told the doctor some bullshit excuse about work, right? Is that why you were crying in there? Cause I know for fucking sure it wasn’t over me!
Anne turns the radio off.
Anne: (speaking softly and visibly holding back anger) I know you’re upset right now Alec but I’m not the reason your father left. Your father was sick and he wanted to get help. Now I’m trying to get you help because I love you and I want you to get better.
Anne gets to a red light and stops.
Anne: (tears rolling down her face and her voice breaking at times) I’m not the reason your fa-father left, ok? I love him. I ju-u-st want you to be happy! Don’t you want to be happy?
Alec: I want you to drive the car now.
Anne looks up and sees the light turned green and begins driving the car again.
Anne: You do know I love you, right?
Anne looks at Alec with a smile on her face and Alec looks back at Anne and gives a fake smile in return.
Alec: (in a sarcastic tone) Yeah.
Alec immediately loses the fake smile and looks back out the window with a blank face. Anne looks back at the road and also has a blank face. She looks defeated and her eyes are puffy from the tears. She looks to her right and sees a Walgreens coming up.
Anne: I’m going to stop in here to get something. Do you want anything?
Alec continues to look out the window and does not respond to Anne’s question. Anne pulls into the Walgreens parking lot and leaves the car to go inside the Walgreens. Alec never once watches Anne leave the car and continues staring blankly out the window.
Anne is inside the Walgreens and immediately heads toward the back of the store to the pharmacy. Anne waits in line behind two people at the pharmacy line with the prescription Alec gave her in hand. After a few minutes she gets to the front of the line.
Pharmacist: Good evening welcome to Walgreens! How can I help you?
Anne: Yes, uh I’d like to fill a prescription.
Anne hands the prescription to the pharmacist.
Anne: This is for my son and it’s kind of urgent. Do you know how long it will take until this is ready?
Pharmacist: We actually have this available right now but if you wait about ten minutes we can have it ready for you. You can wait here in the store if you want.
Anne: Perfect! Thank you so much!
Pharmacist: We will call you over when it’s ready.
Anne: (smiling at the pharmacist) Thank you!
Anne walks away from the pharmacy counter and begins walking through the aisles after picking up a small handbasket from the front of the store. Anne walks to the drink aisle and picks up two blue Gatorades for Alec. She also picks up a pill crusher and a box of microwaveable mashed potatoes. Anne then walks to an aisle that has magazines in it and picks one up and flips through some of the pages but eventually puts it back down. Anne walks to the front to pay for her items and puts them on the counter for the cashier to scan them.
Cashier: Did you find everything ok?
Anne: Yes, than-
Anne look up at the cashier to see that his name is Stephen. She slowly loses her smile and begins to stare blankly forward, not once making eye contact with the cashier. She stares blankly ahead, as if she were in a fugue state.
Cashier: Ma’am? Are you ok?
Anne continues to look blankly ahead for about ten seconds. As Anne stands in her fugue state she starts to hear the sound of her name being called get faintly louder and louder until she comes back to consciousness.
Pharmacist: (from the back of the store) Anne? Your prescription is ready!
Anne looks down at the front counter and sees the cashier has already bagged her items then looks back up at the cashier who looks concerned. Anne is breathing heavier than normal but not too heavy.
Cashier: (speaking hesitantly) That’s gonna be $18.48, ma’am.
Anne frantically pulls a $20 from her purse and hands it to the cashier.
Anne: (speaking nervously and frantically) Keep the change.
Anne takes her bagged items from the counter and walks quickly to the back of the store where the pharmacy is located. When Anne arrives at the pharmacy counter she meets the pharmacist who then hands her the bag with the prescription in it. Anne pays for the medication, still frantic and disheveled.
Anne: (speaking nervously to the cashier as she backs slowly away from the counter with the medication in hand) Thank you so much! Have a nice night!
Pharmacist: Thank you. You too!
Anne frantically walks to the front of the store. As she walks through the aisle the bag containing the pill crusher and mashed potatoes catches the edge of one of the shelves and the bag rips open. Anne kneels down to pick up the items and frantically stuffs them in the other bag containing the Gatorades. Anne stands back up and begins walking quickly towards the exit again. Before she walks out of the store she makes awkward eye contact with the cashier but just keeps walking out of the store, visibly embarrassed. Anne makes her way to the car to find that the passenger door is open and Alec is not in the car.
Alec is walking to his father’s apartment from Walgreens. It is beginning to get dark outside and it is around 6:48 PM. He is walking down Howe Road which is the road adjacent to the Walgreens. The road is a four lane road, two lanes on each side. There is no sidewalk but there is enough room between the road and where the tree line begins for people to walk on. Alec is walking with his back to the traffic in the grass between the road and the tree line. It is not pitch black outside yet but it will be in twenty or thirty minutes. The tall trees that line the road are silhouetted black from the darkness and the black outline of the tree tops meet the sky which is a mix of bright yellow, pink, and pale red. The road is very poorly lit and the light posts are not evenly spaced along the length of the road. Alec’s father’s home is about a thirty minute walk from the Walgreens and Alec is about twenty minutes into the walk. Alec is alone. Alec has the same blank face he had in the car with his mother. He’s thinking about all the things that took place in the last few hours and also about his father who won’t pick up the phone.
Alec: (on the phone while it rings trying to reach his father) Come on. . .come on…
The phone goes to voicemail and he listens to the same message that he’s heard four times previously. “You’ve reached my cell! Sorry I can’t answer your call right now but I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!”
Alec: (leaving his fifth voicemail and annoyed) Dad come on. It’s me, Alec! I want to see you. You haven’t been picking up your phone all day or at all two days ago. What the hell? Call me back when you get a chance. We really need to talk!
Alec hangs up the phone and thinks about calling a sixth time but decides against it and keeps walking down the road. Several cars drive by with the headlights hitting Alec’s back, lighting him up like a Christmas tree then making him dark again. Alec looks back at the cars coming as he keeps walking and then looks back ahead.
Alec: (thinking to himself) What the hell am I even gonna say to him? I haven’t seen him in like two months. My mom’s probably looking for me. Whatever. I-
Alec’s right pants pocket vibrates and he reaches to pull his phone out hoping it is a call from his father but it is call from his mother. He rejects the call and puts the phone back in his pocket and starts to get angry.
A large truck drives by loudly in the lane closest to where Alec is walking which startles Alec. Alec stops for a moment, takes a deep breath out of frustration, and then keeps walking.
Alec: (speaking out loud to himself) What’s the name of this place again?
Alec reaches to get the phone out of his pocket and looks to see old text messages from his father to remember what the name of his apartment building is. Before Alec scrolls to the message containing the address his mother calls him again which makes the messages screen disappear. Alec rejects the call again.
Alec: (shouting angrily out loud to himself) Leave me the fuck alone!
Alec goes back to the messages page in his phone and sees that the apartment complex is named “Howe Place”. Alec puts his phone back in his right pocket and looks up at the sky realizing it has gotten darker than when he last noticed. He keeps walking down the road and thinks about the night his father left him and his mother. He thinks about all the times his father sent him halfhearted texts about coming back home and spending time with Alec and how those plans never came to fruition. Alec begins to tense up in his face a bit and he crosses his arms. For a moment Alec starts to get a little emotional.
Alec: (thinking to himself with tears welling up in his eyes) Why didn’t you come back? Why has everyone lied to me? Why am I not enough?
Alec repeats this and similar thoughts in his head and stops for a moment. He looks down at the ground and sees the tears fall from his eyelashes to the ground. His fists are balled up and his arms are parallel to his body. He repeats all the bad thoughts he has been thinking in his head: “why am I not worth it?” “Why am I not enough?” “Why can’t I just be happy?” This all goes on for about twenty seconds as the tears just keep rolling down his face and hitting the ground.
Alec: (speaking aloud and speaking though the tears, his voice breaking from the crying): Why-hy am I not good enough fo-or anyone (sniffle)? Why do I ha-ave to be like th-this?
Alec hits his head with both his fists, not too hard but hard enough where it hurts slightly. He does this three times then drops his balled up hands back down towards his waist. Alec then wipes all his tears away and wipes his nose with his shirt. Alec gains his composure again and when he looks up he sees the lighted sign for “Howe Place” ahead and then proceeds to walk.
Alec has arrived at his father’s apartment complex. It is now completely dark outside and the sign for the apartment complex is lit but part of the sign is flickering on and off. A flowerbed full of pink and white flowers surrounds the sign on a median separating the entrance and exit to the complex. The parking lot is full of cars and most of the apartments are occupied with lights beaming from the edges of the windows from behind blinds and curtains. Alec walks to the left after entering the apartment complex and walks down the dimly lit sidewalk looking for building two and apartment fifty-eight. The buildings are located quite close together and there is about seventy-five meters between the entrance and the first set of buildings. As he walks towards the building several thoughts and feelings run through his mind, most common among them being anxiousness, fear, anger, and exhaust. Alec continues to walk down the sidewalk and sees the “2” on the side of the building and his heart begins to race. The apartment building is only two stories and his father’s apartment is on the second floor. Alec arrives to the foot of the staircase that leads to the second floor of the apartment building and sees the door to his father’s apartment upstairs and to the left. Alec just stands at the foot of the steps and thinks to himself while he stares up at the door from the bottom of the steps.
Alec: (feeling his heart beat rapidly while his forehead starts to shine from sweat) Come on (whispering to himself) come on…
Alec begins to slowly walk up the steps to his father’s apartment while his heart still beats rapidly.
Alec: (shaking out of nervousness and whispering to himself) Oh god.
Alec arrives at the top of the steps and turns immediately left and stands in front of the door to the apartment. The door is dark brown and there is a welcome mat lying on the ground. Alec stares nervously at the door then raises his right hand to knock on the door but stops his hand before it makes contact with the door. Alec hesitates then puts his hand back to his side. Alec looks down and momentarily shuts his eyes out of frustration and anxiousness. Alec then musters up the courage to knock on the door and then raises his right hand again to knock. Alec knocks on the door five times. Alec adjusts his shirt and stands awkwardly and visibly nervous at the door while he waits for his father to answer the door but no one comes. Ten seconds go by and Alec looks around the hall from where he is standing and then looks back at the door and knocks three more times. Still no one comes to the door. Alec walks up close to the door, placing his face within inches of it.
Alec: (talking out loud but not so loud that it would alarm any of the other residents) Dad! It’s me, Alec. Come on open the door. Please! We need to talk!
Alec knocks four more times and waits five seconds. He puts his left ear up to the door but can hear no sounds coming from inside the apartment. Alec backs quickly away from the door to look around the hall again from where he’s standing and then puts his left ear against the door again but still hears no sounds. Alec backs away from the door, dejected. Alec takes a deep breath out of frustration and then looks at the doorknob. Alec places his right hand on the doorknob with the hopes that the door will be unlocked. Alec turns the doorknob and the door opens. Alec opens the door slowly and walks cautiously into the apartment and closes the door behind him.
Alec: Dad? Are you home? Dad?
Alec walks a few feet in to the apartment but then stops to look around before he moves any further. While standing in place Alec looks around to see the apartment completely dark with only silhouettes of furniture in his field of vision. Alec looks over to his left and sees a lamp sitting on a side table next to a couch and turns the lamp on. Once the lamp turns on he can see that the apartment is quite messy. There is a coffee table situated in front of two couches which occupy a corner of the apartment immediately to his left. The table is covered in papers and envelopes. There is also a dinner table with four chairs on each side of the table at the opposite corner of where the couches and coffee table are. The dinner table is free of papers. Alec walks over to the coffee table and begins looking through some of the papers. Alec picks up one paper which is a prescription for the same anti-depressants that were prescribed to him by Dr. Sonne. He picks up another paper which has lines of words written on them with lines scratched through them like someone had messed up. He notices other pieces of paper but does not pick them up. They are mostly bills and old mail. Alec then walks away from the table then walks toward the wall which has a few pictures hanging on it. He looks at one of the pictures which is of himself, his father, and his mother when Alec was younger. He then looks at a different picture which is of just his father and some other men he doesn’t recognize in Las Vegas. Alec walks away from the wall of photographs and walks towards the kitchen. He doesn’t enter the kitchen but he can smell a bad smell coming from that general area. He also sees a lot of fast food wrappers and empty bags of chips overflowing from the trash bin. There are also a lot of papers occupying the counter tops.
Alec: This is fucking disgusting.
Alec walks away from the kitchen and ends up at the beginning of the hall leading to the bedroom and bathroom and realizes that there is a light coming from under one of the doors that is closest to him. There are two doors at the end of the hall on the left side.
Alec: (standing in place) Dad? Are you there?
Alec starts to walk down the hall towards the door with the light coming from underneath it.
Alec starts to get a little nervous as no one is responding to any of his calls. He also notices that the same rotten smell from the kitchen is still lingering in the hall and that it is only getting stronger as he continues down the hall. Alec has a face of disgust as the rotten smells enter his nose and get stronger and stronger.
Alec: (thinking to himself) God what the fuck is this smell?
Alec arrives at the end of the hall and stands facing the door. The smell is now stronger than it was in the kitchen. Alec puts his left ear up to the door to hear if anyone is behind the door but he can’t hear anything. Alec knocks on the door three times but he still hears no sounds on the other side. Alec reaches for the doorknob with his right hand and twists the knob slowly but does not open the door yet.
Alec: I’m coming in!
Alec opens the door slowly and realizes he is in the bathroom. As soon as the door hits the wall Alec sees his father in the bathtub motionless and expressionless. His cheeks are sunken in and his skin is pale. His father is looking straight forward at the shower wall in front of him.
Alec: (nervous, speaking softly, and with his mouth slightly open in fear) Dad?
Alec walks slowly towards the tub and notices the tub full of red water. He also looks down and to the right next to the tub and sees a bloody razor with dried blood on it. Alec’s father’s eyes are open and the top half of his torso is not submerged in the water. His father is not wearing any clothes. The shower curtain is pushed all the way to the left side of the rack that’s holding it up. Alec looks down at his left wrist and sees several large cuts.
Alec: (speaking in a slightly elevated tone but still relatively quiet) Dad…no…(his voice starts to raise and tears begin falling down his face) no no no, Dad! No!
Alec drops down and kneels next to the tub and just sits there and begins to sob uncontrollably. He is now shouting with his hands on the edge of the bathtub.
Alec: No dad no! (taking a long pause to cry and rest his forehead on the edge of the tub) No!
Alec, still on the ground next to the tub, looks up at his father’s lifeless face and continues to sob uncontrollably. Alec’s phone vibrates again with a call from his mother but Alec doesn’t even look to see who is calling. Alec continues to cry next to the bathtub with his forehead resting on the edge of the tub.
Alec: No! Dad!
Alec is in the bathroom with his father. He is lying next to the tub curled up but is no longer crying. He is lying on his right side and his left hand is on the side of the tub, moving his fingers on the surface of the side of tub childishly. He is laying there with his face facing the tub. He has no thoughts, only grief. His eyes are puffy from the tears. His face is completely void of emotion and the only thing he can hear throughout the entire apartment is the sound of his own breathing. Alec leans up and looks at his father’s equally emotionless face. He does this for some time, not once breaking eye contact with the corpse. Alec begins to speak to his father while maintaining eye contact.
Alec: You know I have no one now, right?
Alec breaks eye contact with his father, looks at the wall to his right, then looks indirectly at his father again.
Alec: I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the fucking tree, huh? Our whole family is crazy. Mom won’t admit it but I guess you never did either or else you wouldn’t be dead. Both of you lived in denial, but at least you were in denial together, huh?
Alec looks down at the floor with both his elbows resting on his knees and smiles, scoffs, then quickly frowns again.
Alec: You and mom were too busy to even figure out my problems. You both never asked. You both never even fucking tried to figure me out (his voice starts to grow in anger and he looks back up at his father). You guys waited until after you left to get me help!
Alec begins to shake with anger and starts yelling at his father.
Alec: You both denied everything while I suffered! You didn’t give a shit about me! You wouldn’t have let your son find you in a fucking bathroom with your wrists slit open like some fucking coward!
Alec jumps up from the bathroom floor and continues to look at his father. His fists are balled up and he is still trembling with anger. He is still shouting at his father.
Alec: If you really loved me you wouldn’t have done this! You wouldn’t have left me with nothing! You don’t even fucking care! You never fucking cared!
Alec’s eyes start to fill with tears and he starts to breathe heavily out of anger as his face tenses up. He then punches the wall to his right three times then places both hands on the wall. He pushes his forehead against the wall and begins heavily crying again. He remains standing as he is crying and he looks briefly at his father then looks back at the wall as his tears start to subside.
Alec: (speaking softly to himself) Why doesn’t anyone care?
Alec backs away from the wall and looks at his father again and walks towards the bathtub. He kneels down and drives his face within inches of his father’s face.
Alec: Fuck you.
Alec turns around and walks out of the bathroom and leaves it just as it was when he entered it. He slowly walks back down the hall towards the kitchen and the area with the couches and walks with a blank stare. He walks towards one of the couches and then sits down without leaning all the way back. He sits at the very edge of the couch, turns off the lamp he turned on when he entered, and remains sitting in silence.
Alec is sitting alone in the darkness of his father’s apartment on one of the couches in the corner. The vision of his father’s bloody corpse in the bathtub is seared in his memory. It is all he can think about besides thinking about all the ways his family has wronged him recently. Several hours have gone by since he left the bathroom and Alec has remained in the same spot on the couch the entire time. It is now 1:06 AM and it is completely dark outside. It is completely silent both inside and outside of the apartment.
Alec: (looking down at his phone to see all the missed calls from his mother) Hm.
Alec sets the phone down on the coffee table covered in all the paper and stands up and begins to walk towards the kitchen, still leaving all the lights off. When he gets to the kitchen he begins rummaging through the papers on the kitchen counter, seeing if he can find any notes from his father. He moves his hands arbitrarily through the papers and then his hand meets a small pill bottle. He picks up the pill bottle and shakes it to see if there is anything in it and the bottle rattles. Alec takes the bottle full of pills and walks back to the spot on the couch where he had been sitting for several hours and sits back down. Alec then picks up his phone from the coffee table, uses the flashlight function on his phone, and shines the light on the pill bottle. Alec reads the label on the pill bottle and it is the same anti-depressants that were prescribed to him. Still shining the light on the pill bottle he looks at the bottle intently for about twenty seconds. Alec shakes the bottle again to hear the sound of the pills moving inside of it. Alec sets the pill bottle on his lap then turns the flashlight on his phone off. Alec places the phone back on the coffee table in front of him. He then picks the pill bottle back up and twists the top of the bottle to open it. Alec holds out his left hand while his right hand dumps most of the pills into his unoccupied hand. There are only a few pills left in the bottle but Alec leaves the remainder of the pills in the bottle and places the bottle on the coffee table in front of him. Alec looks down at his left hand, barely able to see the pills in his hand. Alec has no expression on his face.
Alec: It’s time to get better.
Alec looks up from his left hand with the pills in it, tilts his head slightly back, and begins ingesting the handful of pills. He uses no water and he swallows a few pills at a time. After Alec finishes the handful of pills he remains sitting in the same spot on the couch. Alec takes a deep breath in, exhales, and stares forward. Alec then leans slowly back into the couch, still staring forward, then closes his eyes.