Drama

A Quiet Courage: A Play by Abigail George

Image: Pixabay.com

Jerome: I am just sick and tired of this apartheid and of wondering when and how it is all going to end.

Lewis: It is going to end in a revolution.

Tommy: No, man. You have been reading Che Guevara’s Guerrilla Warfare again, haven’t you? It’s banned, don’t you know? Where did you even get a copy of that boy?

Dulcie: We must not fight violence with violence.

Jerome: I don’t believe in violence.

Lewis: Look here, I do not believe in violence either but where does that leave us. It leaves us in the lurch. It keeps us getting locked up even though we never said anything, provoked anything or raised a fist in retaliation.

Jerome, man, you keep your girl in order. Your lady should be left at home. She shouldn’t be accompanying you to these meetings of ours. You’re a woman, Dulcie. You will never understand these things.

Dulcie: (In a quietly determined voice) Are you saying that a woman cannot be a comrade, a cadre, fight for equality’s sake?

Jerome: Hey, man let her talk. If you listen to her, she makes a lot of sense.

Lewis: Ja, she makes a lot of sense for a girl, ha.

Dulcie: Thank you. I’m flattered even though what you said didn’t really sound like a compliment.

Lewis: I don’t understand what she means when she talks about inequality.

Dulcie: Women can fight too, you know.

Tommy: I’d like to see that happening. Women fighting with guns and knives. Swiss army knives, Dulcie why don’t you just stick to knitting or crochet like my sisters. Didn’t your mother teach you anything about being a good girl? Onse Dulcie has been reading the newspaper. Next thing you know onse Dulcie wants to join a gang of thieves or something. You’re a girl, so act like one.

Lewis: Who is going to look after the children, cook, clean, raise the family, our sons and daughters, make the roast chicken and potatoes for Sunday lunch while we sit in prison, isolation, in a cell our soul, our spirit rotting away.

Dulcie: You’ll make a fine speaker, you know. You’re a real politician.

Tommy: Dulcie, you talk so much. Why don’t you go make conversation with other women instead of sitting her with us guys?

Lewis: Ja, why don’t you talk about the latest fashion, Dulcie, with the other young ladies and why don’t you wear a little lipstick, a little makeup?

Tommy: Let the men talk for a change.

Jerome: When Dulcie speaks, you must all listen because when she speaks, does not she always makes a point?

David: Dulcie is a woman who knows what norms and values are and she has principles.

Lewis: Dulcie is jy nou a feminist?

Dulcie: I just believe that women also have a role to play in the underground movement, in the struggle, in intelligence, in fighting for human rights, the rights of women and children in a world that says it is folly.

Lewis: Folly, watse woord is dit nou?

Tommy: How am I supposed to believe what she is telling me? She’s mos jus a girl.

 

*******

 

Dulcie: (Standing alone in the middle of the stage with Jerome, her boyfriend) Jerome, at the end of the day, this will be the story of us. The story of how a revolution began.

Jerome: In the midst of all turmoil there was also love. We must never forget that.

Dulcie: (Holding hands with Jerome) What is love anyway?

Jerome: You’re breaking my heart, Dulcie. So you’re saying it means nothing to you if and when I say those words to you?

Dulcie: You know that other things are more important to me.

Jerome: You know its fine in front of Chicken and Loon, your political stance, but this is me you’re talking to. You don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not.

Dulcie: What are you saying? You don’t see women as being comrades in the struggle?

Jerome: Why do you have to be so stubborn, girl?

Dulcie: Oh, now I’m just a girl who has her head in the clouds. A girl with the face of love.

Jerome: What if I want to marry you?

Dulcie: And if I say no?

Jerome: I can be very determined.

Dulcie: The wisdom of man is as abstract as a painting.

Jerome: Not more of your intellectual sayings.

Dulcie: You think it is nonsense? All of this stuff about the forced removals doesn’t concern you?

Jerome: It doesn’t matter what I think.

Dulcie: No, it matters what Chicken and Loon think. It matters to you, doesn’t it, what your friends think of me?

Jerome: Yes, it does and no, it does not. What do you want to say? Who wins? You or me?

Dulcie: History only keeps repeating itself if you give it permission.

Jerome: Does this mean you will go underground for the movement?

Dulcie: What are you doing now? What are you trying to say?

Jerome: It does not matter. You have said it all.

Dulcie: I am not going to lose my temper. I am not going to lose my temper.

Jerome: Lose your temper. Tell me where to get off. See if I care anyway Dulcie. I love you. I do not want to see you caught up in this.

Dulcie: You mean leave it to the men. Let them decide my fate. Let them decide what happens to me. Leave it to the government. Leave it to the movement. No my destiny is not written in the stars, it is written on a piece of paper. It’s a law passed by officials in uniform with stupid grins on their faces when they humiliate you.

Jerome: Here.

Dulcie: What?

Jerome: Let me hold you.

Dulcie: No. We’re fighting.

Jerome: No, you’re fighting. I am just stating my case. Let me hold you for just for a while.

Dulcie: I want to believe I can make a difference in the world Jerome. I want to change the way bad people think, act. Can’t you see that?

Jerome: Let me just hold you Dulcie. You want to heal the world. It’s enough for just one person to love you in this world.

Dulcie: We’re scavengers and vultures.

Jerome: You can look at it that way if you want too.

Dulcie: I know that there will be some lost, some found.

Jerome: There’s a kind of magic in the movement. In some of it there’s a kind of awesome view of the world, a beauty and a terror. Nights on fire, tin shacks, a heap of scrap metal, the dance of families, the familiar, the unfamiliar, sleeping women and children who live in fruitless misery and futility.

Dulcie: I know how perceptions at first glance can be misleading. How they’re really not realities at all. How there’s no normality in the light and energy in the auras surrounding people.

Jerome: That’s how I fell in love with you. You see the light in others in an indescribable way. I want you to know that. I want you to see that although Chicken and Loon may joke in their way, I think they look up to you too.

Dulcie: I wouldn’t go as far as to say that.

Jerome: You’re so unaware of how many people admire you, you know.

Dulcie: Jerome, what do you want to say? Just say it.

Jerome: I want to fight.

Dulcie: But you expect me to wait at home nights on end worrying about you.

Jerome: I want to fight.

Dulcie: Then fight, Jerome, you don’t need my permission.

Jerome: But there’s something you need to understand about my fight. I am no lone wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Dulcie: That’s not something you have to explain to me. I understand you. I understand the way you think, the way you move in this world.

Jerome: I’ll be leaving you sooner than you think.

Dulcie: What are you saying?

Jerome: I think you know that I love you.

Dulcie: I don’t feel quite deserving of your love, you know.

Jerome: Well, I love you anyway.

Dulcie: You know we can’t escape it.

Jerome: I just need to hear you say it sometimes, that you care more about the political situation that South Africa is in.

Dulcie: I care about you; isn’t that enough?

Jerome: Let’s talk about love.

Dulcie: I don’t want to talk about love.

Jerome: I love you.

Dulcie: I don’t care.

Jerome: Why because there are more important things on your mind?

Dulcie: Once upon a time you actually thought you knew me.

Jerome: Serious Dulcie.

Dulcie: Yes, I’m serious.

Jerome: Intellectual Dulcie.

Dulcie: Plain Dulcie.

Jerome: Silly Dulcie with her entourage at the church and imaginative Dulcie in church and Dulcie the comrade in camouflage and boots in the field with her army knife and gun.

Dulcie: Every night I’ll be saying my prayers.

Jerome: You scared.

Dulcie: Of course, I’m scared.

Jerome: I mean are you scared of dying.

Dulcie: I haven’t spoken enough in front of many of those kinds of people really.

Jerome: Look at me Dulcie.

Dulcie: I don’t feel ready to speak in front of people who are attracted to a cause, the issue, the international headline, what?

Jerome: It’s late and I want to get to bed.

Dulcie: Do you think we’ll get married someday?

Jerome: Yes.

Dulcie: Do you think we’ll have children?

Jerome: Yes.

Dulcie: Did you know I don’t like clowns.

Jerome: Well I knew that some sacrifices had to be made.

Dulcie: I don’t have problems with circuses, lions, and elephants though.

Jerome: Only ‘pale faces’ and white people and police spies and the Special Branch.

Dulcie: I used to love the circus when I was a child. And you?

Jerome: Girls.

Dulcie: I love the sea. Sometimes it’s the best part of my day. I feel there’s something so sacred about it.

Jerome: What am I going to do about the men who fall in love with you?

Dulcie: Play housewife and move furniture around a lot.

Jerome: Sacrifices have to be made.

Dulcie: Men have to make sacrifices too.

Jerome: Now can I kiss you.

Dulcie: Perhaps. Let me think about it.

Jerome: You’re driving me crazy woman.

Dulcie: Now you know what it feels like when I am trying to have a serious conversation with you.

Jerome: So tonight is the end of ‘us’ then.

Dulcie: Us? What I mean is that tonight is the end of nostalgia.

Jerome: Tonight is the end of ‘Dulcie loves Jerome forever’.

Dulcie: Go back.

Jerome: Go back to what Dulcie?

Dulcie: Go back to when we first met. Let us go back to when the ballad of Dulcie and Jerome all began. It began with us. When we first met in high school. It is in our hearts.

————-

Image: Pixabay.com

About the author

Abigail George

Abigail George’s fiction was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She briefly studied film at Newtown Film and Television School in Johannesburg. She is the recipient of grants from the National Arts Council, Johannesburg, Centre for the Book in Cape Town, and ECPACC (Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council) in East London. She has been widely published from Australia, to Finland to Nigeria, and New Delhi, India to Istanbul, Turkey and Wales.
Her blog African Renaissance can be found online in Modern Diplomacy under Topics.
She contributed for a year to a symposium on Ovi Magazine: Finland’s English Online Magazine. She is a poet, fiction writer, feminist thinker, essayist, and a blogger at Goodreads.

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