Mom Comes Out


DAUGHTER

(ENTERING) Mom, Mother…

MOTHER

(OFFSTAGE) Rachel? Wait out there. I’m coming, I’m coming.

DAUGHTER

Are you still in bed?

MOTHER

(OFFSTAGE) Late night.

DAUGHTER

It’s ten in the morning!

MOTHER

(OFFSTAGE) I thought you’d be studying for finals right now.

DAUGHTER

I’m not worried about finals.

MOTHER

(OFFSTAGE) Of course you aren’t. You’ve been acing tests since you were ten years old. (SHE COMES OUT BEDROOM DOOR JUST AS DAUGHTER IS ABOUT TO GO INSIDE. SHE’S WEARING A ROBE.) So, to what do I owe the honor of this early morning visit?

DAUGHTER

I have something I have to tell you.

MOTHER

Uh-oh. So tell me.

DAUGHTER

(LONG PAUSE) I… I… decided I’m not going to graduate school.

MOTHER

What? No!

DAUGHTER

I know I’ve always been very focused, just powering through college, knowing exactly what I want to do.

MOTHER

And I love that about you! And now you’re about to leave for the graduate program of your dreams.

DAUGHTER

But I’m not going.

MOTHER

Oh, please, Rachel.

DAUGHTER

Mom, you’ve been so miserable since Daddy left. I want to stay here to help you through this difficult time.

MOTHER

Oh no!

DAUGHTER

It’s what I want to do. I can always go to graduate school. You need me now.

MOTHER

Oh Rachel. (HUGS HER) What a wonderful daughter I have. I am so touched. But I’ve been much better lately.

DAUGHTER

You have been pretty cheerful since you came back from that Buddhist retreat. But who knows how long your good mood will last?

MOTHER

If I get depressed again, I’ll just go to another retreat!

DAUGHTER

(PAUSE) Did I hear something?

MOTHER

What? I didn’t hear anything!

DAUGHTER

It sounded like a… like a giggle.

MOTHER

Oh, god, the toilet makes that sound when it’s running. (MAKES SOUND OF GIGGLING TOILET) I have to call the plumber.

DAUGHTER

It came from your bedroom. There’s no toilet in there.

MOTHER

No, honey, it just sounds like it’s coming from the bedroom. It’s an auditory illusion, you know, like an optical illusion for the ears… (AS RACHEL STARTS TO GO OFFSTAGE) where are you going?

DAUGHTER

I left a book here last time. I think it might be in your bedroom…

MOTHER

I’ll look for it, honey. (RUSHES OFF, DAUGHTER GOES TO DOOR) No, no, don’t bother coming in. I’ll find it! Here it is!

DAUGHTER

This isn’t mine.

MOTHER

Oh, no?

DAUGHTER

The Well of Loneliness?

MOTHER

Oh, well. We’ll find your book later. Give that to me.

DAUGHTER

Wait a minute. What is this about?

MOTHER

Nothing. It wouldn’t interest you.

DAUGHTER

Don’t tell me you’re reading this!

MOTHER

Me? Of course not! How could I possibly be interested?

DAUGHTER

Then how did it find its way into your bedroom?

MOTHER

Someone must have left it there.

DAUGHTER

Exactly!

MOTHER

I mean, I mean… I ordered something else from the library. They must have given me the wrong book. Those librarians. People see them as shy and retiring, but that’s an outdated stereotype. They’re really very… frisky… interesting people… librarians… you wouldn’t think it…

DAUGHTER

What’s all this talk about librarians? You were never a reader.

MOTHER

Wasn’t I? Well, you know, sweetie, people change. You can change. I can change.

DAUGHTER

People your age don’t change! I’m going to find my book!

MOTHER

No! Wait! It’s not in there! The room’s a mess. (DAUGHTER PUSHES HER AWAY, GOES OFFSTAGE) I don’t want you to see the mess! Oh, it’s such a mess.

DAUGHTER

(RETURNING) It certainly is a mess. Your brassiere flung one way and your panties another way.

MOTHER

It’s true. I’ve changed. I like to fling my underwear. Fling it here, fling it there…

DAUGHTER

Or perhaps you prefer someone else to fling your underwear for you.

MOTHER

Someone else? What are you talking about?

DAUGHTER

I’m talking about the woman in your bed!

MOTHER

There’s a woman in my bed? (RUSHES OFF TO LOOK, RETURNS) You’re right. There’s a woman in my bed.

DAUGHTER

Did she fling your underwear, Mother?

MOTHER

Now that you mention it, I think she did.

DAUGHTER

And did you fling hers?

MOTHER

She doesn’t wear panties or a bra.

DAUGHTER

And what else did this woman do besides fling your underwear?

MOTHER

Oh, you know, just the usual.

DAUGHTER

That’s disgusting. How long has this been going on?

MOTHER

Since that meditation retreat.

DAUGHTER

The meditation retreat! You went there because you were so depressed after Daddy ran off with… (SNORTS)… that receptionist…

MOTHER

Stop calling her… (SNORT)…“that receptionist.” Her name is Inez, and she’s a very nice woman.

DAUGHTER

…And you came back so happy. I thought the retreat really worked!

MOTHER

And I did meditate that first day. But then, you see, I was just walking with my head down… You know, you’re not supposed to even look at another person on these retreats…

DAUGHTER

I thought it was the Buddhism…

MOTHER

And suddenly I just felt this compulsion to look up! And she was looking at me, which of course she shouldn’t have been. And she winked! (MOTHER WINKS) Like that! And I had this feeling in my stomach, or maybe it was further down, I’d never felt that before! I couldn’t describe it if I tried!

DAUGHTER

Don’t try. Please.

MOTHER

And that was it for meditation! Oh, we were so bad. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We should have just left, but we kept telling each other we were going to stop and go back to meditating. Every day we made a vow. You know in Buddhism you make vows?

DAUGHTER

Oh, you know all about Buddhism now, don’t you?

MOTHER

But I think that made it better, you know, the secrecy, you know, sometimes in her room, sometimes in mine, once behind the hedgerow…

DAUGHTER

You went there to find enlightenment!

MOTHER

I had my very first orgasm. That’s got to count for something!

DAUGHTER

Too much information! T.M.I!

MOTHER

And I was sure, when I got home from the retreat, Lorraine would fade to a pleasant memory.

DAUGHTER

Well?

MOTHER

I was wrong.

DAUGHTER

And she’s been flinging your underwear ever since?

MOTHER

Basically.

DAUGHTER

But you’re not a lesbian!

MOTHER

Of course not! I’m just going through a phase!

DAUGHTER

At your age?

MOTHER

Would you stop saying “at your age, at your age.” Yes, at my age.

DAUGHTER

How can you have time to be my mother and be a lesbian?

MOTHER

Sweetie, even though I’m not a lesbian, and it’s just a phase, I think I have time to be both. Especially since Daddy left.

DAUGHTER

You’re happy he left! Admit it!

MOTHER

Let’s just say you never know when you’re having good luck.

DAUGHTER

He probably only took up with that… (SNORT)… receptionist…

MOTHER

Her name is Inez.

DAUGHTER

… Because he knew you couldn’t stand him. You hate men, don’t you?

MOTHER

I don’t hate men. I do hate Daddy.

DAUGHTER

What you really wanted all along was a librarian without underwear!

MOTHER

Now, don’t say “librarian” like it’s a swear word. Where would we be without librarians?

DAUGHTER

You mean, where would you be!

MOTHER

And let’s keep the chronology straight. Daddy left me first.

DAUGHTER

Oh, Mommy, how could you?

MOTHER

I could and I did. Would you like to meet her? (MOTHER GOES TO DOOR)

DAUGHTER

No! Please! Not now! Not ever!

MOTHER

Okay, okay. (TALKING TO OFFSTAGE) No, Lorraine. Not now. She doesn’t want to. No, you’d better not. (VERY PLAYFUL) You’re being very naughty. You might be a very good librarian, but you’re a very naughty girl!

DAUGHTER

(TO SELF) I’m going to throw up.

MOTHER

(TALKING TO OFFSTAGE) All right, Pookie. If you promise to be good, I promise to treat you like the naughtiest librarian in the world!

DAUGHTER

(TO SELF) I was wrong. I’m not going to throw up. I’m going to kill myself.

MOTHER

(TO DAUGHTER) Crisis averted. Lorraine will stay in the bedroom.

DAUGHTER

You mean Pookie?

MOTHER

I call her Pookie and she calls me White Fang.

DAUGHTER

(INARTICULATE SOUNDS OF INCOMPREHENSION)

MOTHER

It’s too complicated to explain.

DAUGHTER

Pookie… White Fang… I’m going to throw up and then I’m going to kill myself!

MOTHER

Aren’t you just a tiny bit happy for me?

DAUGHTER

You know I’m uncomfortable around lesbians.

MOTHER

I’m not a lesbian. I told you. I never understood what you have against lesbians. You’re so open-minded toward everyone else.

DAUGHTER

There’s something about lesbians that just… they give me the creeps.

MOTHER

And Lorraine isn’t a lesbian either! Admittedly, it’s a very long phase for her. But we’re not lesbians. We’re… Phasians! Sometimes a phase lasts so long that you die while it’s still going on. That can happen.

DAUGHTER

Why the fuck doesn’t she at least wear underpants?

MOTHER

There’s no need for language like that.

DAUGHTER

Why the fucking hell goddam it to shit doesn’t she wear underpants?

MOTHER

She’s just … kind of wild, in so many ways.

DAUGHTER

(STAGGERS TO CHAIR) You really never had an orgasm with Daddy?

MOTHER

Oh, that’s ancient history.

DAUGHTER

Ancient history! Isn’t there a chance that you and Daddy might get back together someday?

MOTHER

I don’t think so.

DAUGHTER

So you’re not sure! It is a possibility.

MOTHER

Listen, sweetie, I’m having the time of my life! I’m in love! Have you ever been in love?

DAUGHTER

I don’t know.

MOTHER

Well, if you don’t know, then you haven’t. How does that song go? “Girls just want to have fun.”

DAUGHTER

You’re not a girl. You’re a mature woman.

MOTHER

I’m mature. I’m not dead. Rachel, don’t you think you need to start packing, so you can leave for graduate school on Friday, like you were planning?

DAUGHTER

I guess a woman called White Fang by her new lover doesn’t really need her DAUGHTER around to comfort her.

MOTHER

It is so precious to me that you were willing to give up graduate school for me.

DAUGHTER

Maybe you could come visit me there.

MOTHER

Of course! I bet you’re going to meet someone there and fall in love.

DAUGHTER

Oh Mother, I’ll be too busy in the lab for that.

MOTHER

Nobody knows the future!

DAUGHTER

MOTHER, I picked this graduate school because they take women scientists seriously and I intend to focus on my work. No romance for me! Besides, there are hardly any boys around. I’m going to Smith College!

MOTHER

I see.

DAUGHTER

I guess you want me to leave now, so you can get back to Pookie. (MOTHER IS SILENT) Okay, White Fang.

MOTHER

(VERY SEXY) Grrrr … Grrrrrr …

DAUGHTER

(SHUDDERING WITH REVULSION) Don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t. (SHE GRABS HER KNAPSACK AND FLEES.)

MOTHER

(EXITING TOWARD BEDROOM) Grrrrr… Grrrrr…

END OF SCENE

Terry Joan Baum is a pioneer lesbian playwright. She has written 11 plays, four of which have been published and produced all over the world. Her work has been translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and Swedish. She founded Lilith, the Women’s Theater Collective, in 1974. As a solo performer of her own work, she has toured the U.S., Canada, Europe and Israel. Baum is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

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