Jemma, a woman in her early to mid-twenties stand before the audience on the ledge of an apartment building that she grew up in. It was the one place as a child that she felt safe. After her mother finally leaves her abusive father leaving Jemma behind, she must figure out how to maneuver her life alone. Her father was not a nice man, but Jemma was his princess and he always treated her better than he did her mother. But as the bills pile up and he loses his grip on reality he tells her that she is no longer his princess but his wife. As the abuse ensues and the stack of bills becomes a mountain, he believes the only thing of value that he has, is his daughter. At age eight he drives her to a location, pushes her out of the car with tears in his eyes selling her to a man who traffics women and children never to be seen again. Jemma then lives a life of drugs, abuse, and unspeakable realities for many years until in a matter of seconds she sees a moment to take her freedom back, and she does. She slips out of an unlocked door and runs, runs, runs back home. She climbs to the roof of the building and for the first time in many years she takes a breath. A free and clear breath. She remembers her mother telling her that if she loos over the edge, she can see the wings of angles floating up to Heaven. Will she be able to hitch a ride on them, or will her captivity keep her balancing on the ledge for the rest of her life.
Female- My Life On the Ledge
(Jemma, a young woman in her early to mid-twenties stands shaking as she peers over the ledge of the building she is standing on the edge of. She takes a long look; a deep breath then looks up to the audience. She should seem confused by what she sees.)
Momma? Momma is that you? (She wipes her eyes, blinks hard and stares again.) You told me that if I was a good girl good things would happen to me…Momma you lied. Good things are not happening to me, good things haven’t happened to me in a long time. So, you lied to me and Momma’s aren’t supposed to lie to their kids. I never lied to mine and you should have never lied to me. (She peers over the ledge again and hears something piercing to her ears.)No, no, no! (A break happens. In the midst of the following lines as she transforms in and out of the voice of a child until she finally makes a full transformation into herself at age eight.)You don’t get to be mean and you still want to be my friend? That’s not how friends work. Friends support each other. Friends (Offering her hand)are there to pick you up when the people you trust the most tear you down to nothing. (Beat)Nothing, do you hear that Momma? I look at myself and I see nothing. My doctor calls it- self (struggling with the next word)…self lo- loath- self-loathing. I can’t say it, but I know what it means. It means that I…I hate myself. (Beat)Hate myself because of stuff that other people did that hurt me. And…and I do…hate myself. (She looks over the edge again but this time she has no fear. She slides her foot a little closer to the edge and smiles.)