(the sounds and concussion of an explosion are heard. the lights reveal a smoldering wedding altar center-stage. bodies are scattered about. only one moves and sits up. most are clearly dead. their clothes are torn. their faces are bloody.)
(the groom is the first to regain his senses.)
groom- honey? oh my god.
(moans start to build up from the mess, but just as quickly they die out.)
groom- honey where are you?
(a woman sits herself up near the front of the stage.)
woman- where am i?
groom- please sit down, madame. please stay down while i find my wife.
woman- the wedding.
groom- honey where are you?
(he starts to dig near where he thinks she must be.)
woman- the wedding. she was carrying white flowers and she was wearing white.
groom- yes, yes. she was. (moving towards her) can you get up?
woman- what’s that?
groom- can you stand madame? or do you have a phone?
woman- i… i don’t know.
groom- do you have a purse?
woman- (starting to cry) don’t yell at me! i didn’t do anything!
(the groom moves away in frustration. he resumes looking for his wife.)
groom- is anyone else here alive?!
woman- how can this…
(an arm raises out of the rubble. a child’s.)
groom- oh my god. (moving towards the arm. he digs the child out. a girl in a scalded dress. her face is burned.) sweetie are you alright?
(the child is dazed and expressionless.)
groom- are you hurt little one? can you tell me how hurt you are? your face? does your face hurt you badly? can you speak?
(the child just stares at him.)
groom- madame can you take the girl?
woman- what girl?
groom- this girl. she’s badly burned. and apparently in shock. can you take her?
woman- who’s girl is she?
groom- i don’t know. i can’t hardly recognize her. the flower girl maybe. my wife’s niece, i think. i can’t say for sure.
woman- give her here.
groom- alright little one. (handing the girl to the woman, still seated.) there we go!
woman- there we are! let me hold you, sweet girl.
groom- madame, can you manage. i must find my wife. (pause.) and my mother and father. (realizing.) can you manage the girl? i must find them all.
groom- my family.
woman- ah yes. well (she points) who are they?
groom- i see two cousins dead. there are a few there i don’t know, or can’t recognize. do you know anyone here?
woman- i’m not sure.
groom- who did you come with?
woman- i… i’m sorry. i just can’t recall.
groom- try and remember and i will help you find them.
woman- i will try. (turning to the little girl.) won’t we try, sweetie?
groom- ok. do you feel like you want to move?
groom- do you want me to move you in case they come back?
woman- who’s coming back?
groom- listen, can you move? i can move you to the tent over there if you’d like. but i need to look for anyone still living.
woman- i don’t think i should move. i can’t feel my toes.
(both realize what that means.)
groom- well just stay calm, alright.
woman- but i can’t feel anything!
groom- you will. in time. just relax.
woman- i can’t feel my legs!
(the girl senses the badness and starts to cry. he takes her from the cracking woman and holds her against his shoulder.)
groom- sh-sh-shhhhh! little one. it will be ok.
woman- i can’t feel my–
groom- listen! you must. please. i need you to watch her.
groom- madame i can move you, but i must start looking right now.
woman- yes. you must look. and i can do this. even sitting down i can.
groom- thank you. (hands the baby back to the woman.)
woman- come here precious girl.
groom- (turning back to the bodies around the altar) honey! i’m here! please. tell me where you are!
woman- (starting to sing) hush little baby don’t say a word, papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird
groom- (falling to his knees before the altar) honey, please just let me find you. (digging frantically.) i’ll find you. just help me find you.
woman- (singing) and if that mockingbird don’t sing, papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring
groom- oh my god.
woman- and if that diamond ring turns brass, papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass
groom- (he drags the burnt and bloody body of his wife out from under the others.) you’re here! i’ve found you!
woman- you found her!
groom- oh honey, please say something.
woman- is she still…
groom- say something! (starting to shake her.)
woman- oh no.
groom- honey, please tell me what you were saying. say, ‘i do.’ say, ‘i love you.’
woman- i think she’s
groom- i know but i still want her to breathe. i still want to hear her say it!
woman- i know, but she’s
groom- quiet! be quiet! she’s strong. she’ll say it. she loves me and she’ll say it.
(the woman and the little girl look at each other knowingly.)
groom- say it, honey. you have to today. (he laughs.) it’s our wedding day.