Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Sidney and Virginia project

Outside of Bacon's Castle. SIDNEY is walking up the driveway, singing....he stands admiring the house, absorbing the atmosphere.

VIRGINIA opens the door and comes outside, carrying a bucket of water. She is thin and unkempt, and it is clear that her dress has seen better days. Suddenly she becomes aware of Sidney and drops her bucket in astonishment.

V: You--! (she runs down the steps and embraces him. She holds him for a minute, then hits him on the arm, without much force) You were supposed to win this war. (She embraces him again) Too thin.

S: Me or you?

V: Yes. Where did you come from?

S: Appomattox. Where else?

V: You walked all that way.

S: I've walked father distances. But this time I was coming home.

V: I thought they let you-all keep your guns. The--the paper said that the soldiers would be allowed to keep their weapons.

S: Do you have need of it?

V: Me? No.

S: Too heavy! I had to pick and choose (he indicates his banjo)

V: Still carrying that.

S: I almost left it a couple times, but the boys in my unit wouldn't let me.

V: (hefting his bag) And your books.

S: They'd want me to sing the old songs, so they could remember home, and I'd strum and think about this place.

V: Sidney.

S: "I am coming home to Virginia." It hasn't changed much. (VIRGINIA give a derisive snort) Where is everyone?

V: The darkies all ran off, once they heard Lincoln was in Richmond.

S: No, I mean, where are the folks?

V: Oh Sid. Let's talk about something happy. Can we? Tell me about your trip.

S: Thought you wanted to hear about something happy?

V: Papa's sick. Mother is tending to him--I can go see if she'll come down, she'll be glad to see you.

S: No--wait--Let me look at you.

V: (after a pause) What?

S: Like you said, something happy. You're here.

V: Well, sure I am.

S: So many times I'd have nightmares. I'd see this place in ruins. I was afraid of coming back.

V: I had nightmares too.

S: I told you not to worry.

V: Matthew Lee came back after Gettysburg, without his left arm. He seemed real quiet, but then one Sunday at church, when Reverend Dalziell was preaching, Matthew suddenly stood up and said "Y'all ought to know what exactly what you get when you pray for dead Yankees." And then he--he told us. [ ] Were you at Gettysburg?

S: Yes.

V: I never prayed for dead Yankees. All I wanted was for this war to be over. And for you to come home. And now...here you are.

S: It's like a miracle, isn't it? The war is over, spring is here. The crops are shooting out of the ground, and for the first time in four years, no one will come by to take them. And I'm a free man!

V: I hardly dared believe it was you when I saw you standing there.

S: Did you think I was a ghost?

V: I did! I was afraid you were your ghost.

S: I'd like that. I was coming back to you, Virginia, even if I had to do it in spirit form.

V: I've been waiting. Oh, how I have been waiting for you.

S: Do you remember what I told you, about that little house in the mountains?

V: Your folks place.

S: Yes, and the little garden there...I put it to bed before I left to go soldiering, it's probably run over with weeds by now, but it's all mine.

V: I've never seen mountains.

S: You will! You'll see the fog in the morning and eagles.

V: We have eagles here, you know.

S: [ ] So where are your sisters? And Thomas?

V: In the fields. Planting.

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