The Strength Of Mother Africa (Soliloquy for female)
This is a play about a Black woman, a mother, a lover. She finds that for whatever reason, she is about to lose her man, her family, her life. If we should assess our situations, and find ourselves not unlike this Black woman, it may be well worth our time to give the answers that she gives.
(She turns to the right, as if looking up a set of stairs.)
“No – you’re not getting anything else to drink tonight. Now, close your eyes and go to sleep. Good – I love you, too”.
(She turns to the front of the stage and pauses. She takes a deep breath as if getting herself together. She wipes her eyes with a tissue that is in her hand, and then turns left to face the man who is seated at the nearby table.)
“I can’t begin to tell you how I feel. Just what the hell is it that you want? Am I a disappointment to you? Do I nag too much? I try my best to be the woman that makes you happy, but with all my efforts, the best you can do is stay in the streets. Well, this is for you”.
(She balls up the wet tissue and throws it at the man)
“Those are the last of my tears. I refuse to cry another drop. Don’t think for one minute that my tears are a sign of weakness. Those tears are the emotions that come from my heart. I am not weak, I am strong. I am the pride of Mother Africa, and the most extreme conditions only serve to make me stronger. So, if you think that I am going to fall apart, if you think that I’ll just roll over and die . . . think again. I am the woman who loves you. I need you, and you need me. You have two children up those stairs who think the world of you, and you still can’t be happy.
You might as well start smiling, because this is where you belong, and this is where you’ll stay. Is there another woman out there that you think can make a better home for you? I never thought that you’d cheat on me, and, right now, I still don’t think it can happen. But, on the outside chance that there is another woman, be advised that you belong to me. You tell that wench that I will bring her mad drama!
That’s always the first thing that comes to mind. I suppose that the streets and you so-called friends can try to take you, as well. Have you forgotten who I am? I am the woman who has been at your side through it all. When Mister Charlie said he didn’t need you anymore, it was this Black woman who went out and got a job. It wasn’t because I was hungry – it was because you are my man. Who cries in your place when your macho standards hold your tears inside? Who hurts with you when prejudice tries to make you believe that you’re less than a man? Tonight, I remind you . . . in case you’ve forgotten.”
(She raises her hand in a “Don’t speak!” manner, and then runs her fingers across her lips.)
“These are lips to die for. These are the lips that kiss away the pain when you think life’s not worth living. They speak the words that make your heart sing, words like ‘I love you’. When passion comes to play, these lips glide across your body, and send you into ecstasy.”
(She smacks her hip with her right hand.)
These hips are strong. They bore babies for you, and they still rotate like the earth on its axis.”
(She cups her breasts with both hands.)
“These are the breast that fed Mother’s Milk to your children. I know that they hang a bit more than they used to, but, even now, when your hands caress them, it’s you who breaks out in a cold sweat. It’s your moans that echo into the night.”
(She sweeps her arm the length of her body.)
“Black man . . . tell me you don’t want some of this, and you can walk out that door and never look back. I won’t lift a finger to stop you. But, the, again, I won’t have to, because you know you can’t walk out on this.”
(She walks over to the chair where the man is seated, and lifts one foot onto the chair beside him.)
“I get older with each new day, but I keep myself desirable for you and only you. Touch this skin and tell me that you are leaving me. I defy you.”
(She returns her foot to the floor and kneels beside him. She grabs his hand and holds it to her heart.)
“Touch my heart and tell me that you can’t feel the love that waits for you, and I will set you free. My heart beats only because there is you. You can’t find a woman who loves you more . . . because she doesn’t exist.”
(She rises and walks back to center stage.)
“Yes – my body is worn and I have seen a few years, but I am no where near finished. I don’t have to beg you to stay. If you leave, there will be another to take your place, and willingly. But, that’s not going to happen. Understand that I am not begging you – I’m just trying to make it plain. You belong to me. If there is no other woman, then you tell the streets that they can’t have you either. Do the streets keep you warm at night? Do they feed you when you’re hungry? Do they love you when that need comes over your body? No? I thought not. Well, they can’t have you. I refuse to let you go. You’re a good man. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have to leave. I’d walk out the door my damn self. But, you’re a good man, with a good mind, and a good heart. This body, this mind, this heart . . . they draw their strength from Mother Africa. Nations have conquered every part of her, and she has managed to survive. She has managed to thrive. As she is strong . . . so . . . am . . . I, and I will not be defeated.”
(She begins picking up clothes from the backs of chairs.)
“I’m done. My ranting is over. I’ve already bolted the front door. Don’t think that puts you on lockdown. I’d be the last woman to try and kill your spirit and freedom which lies within you. You have a key. You have both the ability and the right to walk out that door, just like you’ve been doing, lately. But, hear me, Black man: I’m going upstairs, and if you know like I know, tonight, and every night hereafter, you’ll be right behind me, to warm my feet and caress my body and to make me understand that . . .
(She touches her finger to his forehead.)
You have not . . . lost . . . your mind!”
(She turns towards the imaginary stairs and walks off the stage. Fade to black.)
copyright 1997 blackstarr
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