Things My Father Left Me (the coffee cup monologue)

Soooo another audition, another play….

I got stuck at auditions and didn’t know that I had to have a monologue. Should have figured that, but there you go… I have a bad habit of forgetting that I need a  monologue, but a weird talent for BSing my way through auditions by improving a monologue on the spot. I don’t recommend this technique.

I had just gotten coffee from the gas station, and they were out of those little cardboard thingies to not burn your hands, so I grabbed an extra cup. Out of having two cups and having my name called before I could remember my Durang piece, this monologue was born.

—————————————-

I had my first cup of coffee when I was nine. My father used to say that all situations could be solved over a cup of coffee–so every Sunday, we would head to this tiny diner on the other side of town. We didn’t go to church, so this was my holy ritual. We would get in the car, turn on classic radio, roll the widows down–even in winter–and drive faster than we were supposed to–to make it exciting. We’d get to the restaurant, sit in our usual booth on opposite sides, and Tiffany, our waitress, would deliver our usual–two cups of coffee, one black and one with two creamers and two sugars. We’d drink them slowly, sometimes ordering pancakes, sometimes just relishing the terrible coffee and each others company.

We’d discuss everything–politics, religion, law, history—and he’d always listen to me. Tiffany would come by once, to refill his glass and give me a cookie, and my dad would tip her thirty percent.

We’d drive back home and I’d run around the house for hours, hopped up on caffeine. My mother was furious–thought it would stunt my growth. I didn’t find out until I was 15 that I’d been drinking decaf.

My dad left when I was 18. I don’t know why. He just…left. For the next three Sundays, I walked to the diner on my own, would sit in our usual booth, order our usual coffees, one black, and one with two creams and two sugars, and wait. Tiffany had long stopped bringing me cookies, claiming that I was too old for cookies, but for those three Sundays, she brought them anyway. And so I sat, waiting.

He never came back. Sometimes, when I’m out at some restaurant or whatever, I’ll order two cups—just in case.

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7 Comments

  1. The first time I used this monologue was a year or two ago for an audition. I didn’t get the role, but was extremely proud of the audition. This monologue was able to strike something in me, and still does every time I read it. I’d like to use it again for a fundraiser through the Langley Arts Council and Langley Chamber of Commerce, for Bard In The Valley’s production of Julius Caesar (2014).

    Beautiful piece ❤

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