Subject: Teenage issues; contemplating suicide.
Style: Heavy drama. Duration: 4-5 minutes
Steve, a high school senior
Mr. Jamison, his guidance counselor
Fade in: Mr. Jamison, sitting at his desk. Steve enters, tapping on the “door”.
Mr. Jamison, looking up: Hey, how’s one of my favorite students?
Steve: Um . . . OK. Um, Mr. Jamison? Do you have a second?
Mr. Jamison: Sure, Steve. Have a seat.
Steve comes in and sits on a chair to the right of the desk. While Mr. Jamison waits expectantly, Steve looks at the floor. There is a silence for a few moments.
Mr. Jamison: Uh, Steve. Did you want to talk about something? Or did you just want to stare at my floor?
Steve: Yeah. I mean, no, I don’t want to look at your floor. And I do want to talk.
Again, a few moments of silence as Steve gathers his thoughts. He continues to look at the floor throughout the following lines.
Steve: It’s just that everything seems to be so . . . wrong right now. Did you know that Jennifer broke up with me? She said I loved her too much. And I wanted more than she wanted. What does that mean, loving her too much? How can you love someone too much? And my mom and dad are getting a divorce. Dad moved out last weekend. I mean, I knew they were fighting and stuff, but divorce? And everyone’s pressuring me about college. Dad says I should be a doctor. Mom says I should be an engineer. And I don’t even know if I want to go to college at all. And every time I talk to my mom or even my dad they just tell me to get over it. I’ve tried to talk to Jennifer, and she tells me that I have to get over her. And my friends say the same thing: “Get over it.” How do I just “get over” how I feel?
Mr. Jamison: I’m sorry about you and Jennifer. I know you really cared about her. And I’m sorry about your parents. That’s really rough.
Steve: Well, thanks, but I’m not looking for pity, Mr. Jamison. I just want someone to tell me why. (Steve’s voice fills with frustration and confusion). Why is this all happening? And why do I have to get over it? Maybe I don’t want to get over it. Or, maybe I do want to get over it . . . completely.
Mr. Jamison, with concern: What do you mean, Steve? What do you mean by “getting over it completely?”
Steve, almost to himself: I don’t feel like anyone really cares about me. No one seems to even listen to me. And I’m beginning to feel like I don’t matter . . . like no one would even notice if I was just . . . gone.
Mr. Jamison, leaning forward: Steve, tell me exactly what you’re feeling right now. What you’re thinking.
Steve: Did you know that my dad likes to hunt, Mr. Jamison? And that he was always disappointed in me because I didn’t? And that I didn’t like sports like he did. He’s got a pretty nice collection of guns. And even though I never hunted, he did make sure I knew how to use them. It would be really easy to get a gun . . . and take care of all my problems. I mean, no one would miss me ‘cause no one really cares.
Through Steve’s last monolog, Mr. Jamison has become visibly concerned. Before he speaks again, he closes his eyes as if in prayer.
Mr. Jamison: Steve, please look at me. (Steve finally looks directly at Mr. Jamison.) First, let me make sure you understand something: people care about you. Your parents care about you. I care about you.
Steve, with cynical humor: You have to care; that’s what you’re paid for.
Mr. Jamison: No, I’m paid to counsel you; I care about you because I’ve seen you grow from a timid freshman to a brilliant young man with a great future. I know you’re in pain right now, and I know you don’t see it now, but things will get better. (Mr. Jamison pauses.) Steve, you know that I’m a Christian; I’ve never hidden that from anyone.
Steve, sarcastically: Yeah, you’ve got that God thing going. Everything’s great because you’re a Christian.
Mr. Jamison, smiling: No, being a Christian doesn’t mean having a perfect life. Sometime, I’d like to talk to you about what it really means to be a Christian. But for now, the most important thing is to help you understand that you have worth, Steve. You have value. In God’s eyes, in my eyes, and in the eyes of your friends and family.
Steve: Maybe I’ll accept that you care, Mr. Jamison. You’ve always seemed to be interested in me and what I think. But I don’t know about my parents or my friends. Like I said, they just don’t listen to me.
Mr. Jamison: OK, let’s just say that you’re right and those others don’t care about you. But you do know that I care about you, and you know that I’ll listen to you, right?
Mr. Jamison: Then I want you to do me a favor.
Steve, a bit hesitantly: OK, I guess.
Mr. Jamison: It’s really easy. Every time you think that you don’t matter, I want you to say to yourself: “Mr. Jamison thinks I’m important. If one person thinks I’m important, then I must be. My life has worth.”
Steve, to himself: If one person thinks I’m important, then I must be. My life has worth. My life has worth.
Mr. Jamison: That’s it, Steve. Just remember that no matter what happens, no matter how difficult it seems, no matter if no one seems to listen, you have worth. You are important.
Steve, again, to himself: I am important. I have worth. (to Mr. Jamison) I still feel lousy, Mr. Jamison. I’m still sad about Jessica, and mom and dad. And I still don’t know what I’m going to do about college or about my future. But, I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you listened to me. Can I come and talk to you again?
Mr. Jamison: Steve, you can come to me any time, any place. (with emphasis) Because you are important to me.
(c) 2001 Sauni Rinehart, All rights reserved