Broken Open

by Beth Cramer

INT. FAMILY THERAPIST OFFICE - DAY
Play therapy office, pastel walls, shelves of miniature figures and sand tray.
THERAPIST
I want you both to pick something that represents you and something that represents each other and arrange it in the sand tray.
Robin chooses WONDER WOMAN, AN EAGLE, a DRAGON. Eli takes a SNAKE, HAWK and TIGER and places them in a circle around a small curled up CAT.
THERAPIST (CONT’D)
What’s going on here Eli?
He points to the SNAKE.
ELI
This is Odin.
THERAPIST
And why is Odin a snake?
ELI
The King Snake -- because he slithers through the grass among unsuspecting prey and then chomp. You don’t see them coming because they’re camouflaged.
THERAPIST
Whose the hawk?
ELI
My dad.
THERAPIST
Why a hawk?
ELI
He was a good hunter and he had excellent vision. He would have been able to eat the snake, but he was stupid and died.
THERAPIST
So the Hawk is dead.
ELI
Obviously.
THERAPIST
And who are you Eli?
ELI
I’m the cat.
THERAPIST
The cat seems threatened.
ELI
I guess.
THERAPIST
Where’s your mom?
ELI
She’s the tiger. Look her mouth is open ready to yell at me.
THERAPIST
Robin what do you have?
ROBIN
I’m wonder woman and the eagle and Eli’s the dragon -- wise, spiritual, but also dangerous.
THERAPIST
Why did you choose Wonder Woman?
ROBIN
I try to be strong -- be able to make money and manage Eli’s activities. And then I’m also the eagle who flies close to make sure Eli’s safe and I want to swoop him up if he’s in danger.
The therapist buries the cat in the sand.
THERAPIST
Now you’re dead Eli.
ELI
Yay.
THERAPIST
The thing about being dead is you can’t come back. How’s that feel?
ELI
Like my biggest accomplishment.
THERAPIST
And say six months later where do you think your mother would be?
ELI
I don’t know.
THERAPIST
Robin?
Robin buries Wonder Woman, the eagle and tiger in the sand. Steps back and chokes on her tears.
THERAPIST (CONT’D)
I see. So you --
ROBIN
I’d die.
ELI
Why?
ROBIN
Because you were my greatest accomplishment.

Writer's excerpt courtesy NYWIFT (NYWIFT.ORG)