written by Rebecca Louise Amsterdam (for a competition)
Suddenly you turn around and you're all grown up. That one bit of news and you become insta-adult. He never deserved what happened. He didn't use drugs and he never slept around. The only thing he might have done was to be born a hemophiliac, which wasn't even his fault. His future was so bright. A born star on the stage, he could take a character in a script and really bring it to life. He became the person saying those words. He was even accepted to Juilliard. Only the best of the best get in, and he was the best. [pause. a new aspect of him] He had the most beautiful hands. Those hands could hold your own and all of your troubles went away. We would go out on a clear night to watch the stars and he would hold me close and those tapered fingers would play with my hair, or stroke my cheek, so softly. We used to try to count how many stars there were. They went on forever, and we decided so would we. [pause. its hard to go on] We found out he was sick when he went in for his before-college-physical. I remember he was wearing the navy blue cable-knit sweater I gave him for his 19th birthday. I started to cry when he told me. It was tainted blood he had been given as a child after a major bleeding episode. He told this, and held me as I sobbed, never shedding a tear. He was the one sick and I was the one sobbing hysterically! He was always so brave to the outsider's eye. I know he was scared. He told, and only me. He started drug therapies and was doing really well. He was still "healthy" and active, though not at Juilliard, at the local junior class. Then he had a bleeding episode and had to go to the hospital. He broke down when he had to tell the technician to double up her gloves because he had had AIDS. After the episode he got worse. He was in the hospital for months. He... He never came out. [crying] Three days after his 20th birthday, he died. I nearly died with him. I couldn't deal with losing him. That bright star in my life had been fading slowly and finally burned out. The person I loved more than life, my friend and love, was gone. Suddenly I turn around and Jonathan was no longer standing beside me. Only recently have I been able to look at the stars and not break down completely. The constant ache is still there, and it always will, but the sharp yearning is slowly leaving. [looking towards the skies] Jon, I will always love you. [choking on her words] I still hear your voice. Someday I know, I'll suddenly turn around and there you'll be, standing beside me once more.
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