A Promise to Carolyn1996

Francie Harper:
[Standing in a closet looking for something to wear] No, I'm not talk to them. I ain't having a thing to do with this. [she goes back to the mirror table where Kay and Debra are standing and sits down]

Kay:
Why not?

Francie Harper:
Because it's over and done!

Kay:
Francie, don't do this!

Francie Harper:
I'm not doing nothing. It's in the Lord's hands now which is where it belongs. Why drag it out now?

Kay:
You're afraid it's all gonna come out about you, ain't you?

Francie Harper:
ME? I don't have nothing to be ashamed of! I did everything I could about this and you know it too! I even took you all to the D.A.'s office the day after the funeral and what happened? You both just sat there, too yellow to say a word.

Kay:
We were kids! We were scared!

Francie Harper:
Well, you can tell yourself that all you want to, but you can't turn back the clock. What's done is done.

Debra:
What about after?

Francie Harper:
After what?

Debra:
After it was all over and Carolyn was in the ground? How could you take us back to Jolene's knowing what she done?

Francie Harper:
Now, wait just a minute...

Debra:
Were we that bad, Mama?

Francie Harper:
It was not like that!

Debra:
Then what was it? How could you take us back there year after year after we begged you not to?

Francie Harper:
You know, I heard this over a million times, but I don't recall no such a thing. As I recalled, you LOVED Jolene. You still do. Giving her little cards and everything, calling her MOM!

Debra:
You never gave a damn about us, didn't you?

Francie Harper:
That's not true.

Debra:
Then WHAT IS? Why can't you start telling the truth for once in your life so I can stop wasting my time on you? That you're gonna pretend to be a mother to me someday because that's all I really wanted. [Kay looks at Debra in amazement] And I wanted it so badly that I ended up clinging to the woman who killed my baby sister! [Francie slams down a brush and looks away] Come on, Kay, let's go. [They leave, and then Francie looks up and in their direction. Kay and Debra walk out of the house and onto the front yard]

Kay:
Whoa! Where did that come from?

Debra:
It's been coming for a long time!

Francie Harper:
[Coming out of the house] Wait! Will you just wait? [she runs down the front walk towards the girls] Okay, all right, you made your point. I will go in and talk to these people if that's what you want. I'll even testify for you if it ever goes that far, but... there's just one thing we ought to talk about.

Kay:
What's that?

Francie Harper:
Well, I don't want to go in there looking like... poor white trash. I mean, I do have to make a good impression, you know.

Jolene Maggart:
[Bringing a cup of tea to Debra who is hanging her head down on the porch] You feeling any better?

Debra:
[takes the tea cup] Yeah. Just feeling a little light-headed is all.

Jolene Maggart:
This is about Carolyn, isn't it? Kay got you all stirred up again?

Debra:
No it's not.

Jolene Maggart:
You can tell me the truth.

Debra:
No, Kay just wanted to know when Carolyn was born so that she could do her chart.

Jolene Maggart:
I have been very patient about this and I have not said a word, but if you're gonna stand there and lie to my face... [she turns to walk away]

Debra:
Mother? Mother, what did I do?

Jolene Maggart:
Do you think that I am blind? Do you think that I cannot see the way you're been staring at me? Kay's got you brainwashed now!

Debra:
NO!

Jolene Maggart:
Oh, you think that I am some kind of monster!

Debra:
That is not true!

Jolene Maggart:
Then what is all this about Carolyn, and when she was born and all that?

Debra:
I was just curious about Carolyn.

Jolene Maggart:
Right, you were just curious.

Debra:
It's true! She's my baby sister! I got a right to know about her! It's always been like some great big taboo about here. We're not supposed to talk about her, we don't even have her pictures up anywhere!

Butch Maggart:
[bringing a Christmas tree up to the porch] Is this a good spot for the tree, Jolene?

Jolene Maggart:
[distractedly] Yeah, it's fine. We're talking about Carolyn! [Butch sets down the tree] Do you wanna know why? Because what happened was a terrible, terrible thing and it's better left in the past. You were about three when it happened. You don't know how we grieved for that child. All you know is what Kay has been drilling in your head all these years and I just won't have it anymore. I won;t have you moping around giving me all these looks.

Debra:
I'm not giving you any looks! I just want everything to be ALL RIGHT around here for once! I want to talk about Carolyn! I want to ba able to think about her without feeling so guilty inside that... I wish I was up there with her!

Butch Maggart:
Now what the hell is that supposed to mean? It was an accident. She fell off the damn bed. [He takes the tree and walks into the house. Debra turns away]

Jolene Maggart:
There now, I'm sorry I yelled at you. [picking up the tea cup to give to her] But do you see what this gets us? Nothing but heartache?

Debra:
I just want to talk about Craolyn. I just want to remember her without having any nightmares.

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