The Disappointments of Life
By: Chris Ciprietti
1. Joe (father)
2. Emma (daughter)
3. Todd (neighbor)
Joe enters from stage left. Emma is sitting in the middle of the stage on a chair crying to herself. Joe walks in to try and talk to Emma. Emma is in public high school; she has lost her mom at a young age, and only has a dad to lean on. She is crying because she does not have a date for the formal.
Joe: Emma my girl, why are you crying like this?
Emma: Dad, I am really upset. I can’t stop crying. I feel as though I’ve been let down in life.
Joe: What happened? You can tell me.
Emma: Well I don’t know if I want to tell you.
Joe: Is it boy issues?
Emma: No….well, maybe.
Joe: Can we talk about it?
Emma: Well, since you insist, do you remember how we have a winter formal coming up for school?
Joe: Yes of course. When I was your age I was a part of many of them. Why?
Emma: Well a boy I really liked who I thought liked me and would ask me to winter formal did not even ask me if I was interested in going with him. And what made it even worse was that he asked my friend, who said yes.
Joe: Oh my, are you letting boys get the best of you at such a young age? Do you know why this boy asked your friend and not you?
Emma: Um, I don’t know if I should tell you. I think…well I think I overheard him and his friends at lunch talking about how I’m not easy, and that going with my friend he is guaranteed to get a kiss and possibly other things on the first night.
Joe: Emma, Emma, Emma. It sounds like a good thing that your reputation is what it is. It is a good thing that you are known as a hard to get girl. Would you rather be known as a promiscuous girl who is known to just be with anyone? Or would you rather be known as a good girl who thinks of herself and her body as more than a sex object for teenage boys. My daughter, I am so proud of you. You are smart, beautiful, funny, and nice, but most importantly you are a great kid.
Emma: Thanks dad, I really appreciate that, but what am I going to do for a date? There is so little time and all the cute boys are taken. He is the one I really thought was worth going with. He is going with my friend and I am so freaking pissed off at her. Who am I possibly going to go with at this short of notice?
Joe: You can’t get yourself all worked up over this, because honestly, dances are overrated. At the end of the day you’re going to remember the time you had with your friends more than the time you had with your date. You have to pick a boy not because he is cute, but because he’s nice, and will be fun. Agreed?
Emma: Yeah. But I just don’t know who to go with, plus I have a beautiful dress that I wanted to wear, and now it is going to sit in the closet and attract moths for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be thought of as one of those girls who can’t even get a date for a school formal, my life is ruined!
Joe: You are such an awesome girl, not only because you’re my daughter, and I believe you will find someone, I promise.
(30 minutes go by, Emma reflects about what she is going to do, and Joe goes to watch TV and think of ideas. He eventually comes up with an idea. He calls his friend next door who has a son that is a senior at a private high school. He is very attractive, but more importantly very nice. Joe hopes to convince the older guy to take his daughter, because he knows Emma has always had a secret crush on him, but was too shy because he was older, more mature and went to a different school. After some time the phone rings.)
Emma: Phone’s ringing, dad.
Joe: Hey Emma I am busy making dinner. Answer it!
Todd: Hey Emma. It’s Todd from next door. What’s up?
Emma: Hey Todd, how are you? I haven’t seen you around since you were shoveling snow after the blizzard.
Todd: Yea I have been really busy with school and all.
Emma: Oh fun, me too, but it’s been a good school year, so far!
Todd: Not really, but hey I have a question. I was wondering if you wanted to come with me to your winter formal. I am asking you this because I have a few buddies that go to your school, and I would love to take you while also seeing them.
Emma hears this come out of his mouth, pauses and puts the phone down.
Emma: I would love to.
Todd: Great, well it should be fun! I will pick up on Saturday at 6 p.m for a few pictures and all.
Emma: Todd, sounds exciting! I can’t wait for Saturday. We are going to have a fun time!
Todd: All right well see you then, good night.
Emma: Good night, see you later!
Joe: What hunny, who was on the phone?
Emma: Oh my god you’re not going to believe it. It was Todd from next door! He asked me to my winter formal!!
Joe: That is great! He’s a cool guy, I am so excited for you!
Emma: I know me too!
Joe: See Emma, it will always work out! Now you get to wear that beautiful dress, and show off your older date to everyone!
Emma: I am so excited I just want to scream! I don’t think I am going to tell my friends. I’m just going to let them find out for themselves when they see the two of us come into the formal together!
Joe: Good idea. They will be in shock to see you with an older guy.
Emma: I know! They will all be jealous! Thanks dad for helping me, you’re the best father in the world! Now it’s time for me to figure out how I am going to do my hair upstairs for the big day! I’m going to bed on a happy note. Boy what change of events from earlier! What a day!
Joe: Good night Emma, I love you!
Emma: Good night Dad, I love you too!
(A few days pass, everything is going according to plan and the preparations for the formal are complete. It is 6:15 p.m on the night of the formal, and Todd isn’t here yet.)
Emma: Where the hell could he possibly be?
Joe: Just running a little late I’m sure.
(Time passes and no Todd. She calls over with no answer. No knock or call would come. Her worst fear had come to fruition; she had been stood up, and now knew he was not coming. She cursed furiously into the empty air, and slammed her door vowing never to go to school again. Joe tried to help to no avail. There was no point. She came out of her room in the middle of the night, makeup smeared over her entire face, with a duffle bag, a note, and her formal dress in a wrinkled ball. She left the note on the kitchen table, burned the dress in the middle of the street, and ran away, vowing in her note never to be seen again. She was right. Emma was never seen again).
© Chris Ciprietti
Bio: Chris is currently a senior at Widener University outside of Philadelphia.