Thanksgiving in Three Voices
Wendy Brown-Baez

Michael:                          In November we traveled:
                                       Las Cruces, Silver City, Rome.
                                       My birthday fell on
                                       Thanksgiving or the day before or the day
                                       after, so we left, split the  
                                       scene. Sometimes
                                       I didn’t know where we
                                       were headed
                                       until we drove out
                                       of the parking lot
Wendy:                           He said he didn’t want presents
                                       but you knew he would be hurt it if
                                       you forgot. One year I had an espresso
                                       machine shipped to him, I figured he was Italian,
                                       why not? I was visiting in Minneapolis then,
                                       before grand-children or grief.

Michael:                         I told her I wanted to send it back,
                                       I didn’t want it. When she got home, I made
                                       her a cup----

Wendy:                           He couldn’t live without it----

Michael:                          My lament was
                                       send it back, I don’t want it:
                                       my downward spirals,
                                       the jobs that didn’t exist,
                                       ordinary reality,
                                       the road to aging ahead,
                                       her domesticity,
                                       this life, especially this life, I thought it was mine
                                       to take it or leave it and all I wanted
                                       was to go.

Michael & Alejandro:      Send her back

Alejandro:                       to me. Remember
                                       we slept with our souls intertwined
                                       and I became her husband then.
to Michael:                      What does that mean
                                       for better or for worse….

Wendy:                           I changed from widow to wife
                                       in such a short time. But I took him on
                                       that night,   some nameless border town
                                       hotel when I realized what he intended

Alejandro:                       I mixed the blue pills with the white,
                                       I had bought a bottle of tequila,
                                       I was thirsty and ready
                                       to go, I asked her to let
                                       me swim out to sea…

Wendy:                           We hadn’t eaten all day, peeing in the
                                       scrub by the side of the
                                       highway. I had nothing
                                       in my stomach but the
                                       shot of tequila,  
                                       not even a lime. We found a
                                       cheap hotel, nameless.
                                       I unpacked his boxers like a pajama
(to Alejandro)                 You can’t go, you can’t do this
                                       to me, I have been here before
(Alejandro & Wendy face each other)

Alejandro:                      The pills were gripped in my left hand
                                       Not the hand gripping yours

Alejandro & Wendy:       We were lost in a dark wood, we didn’t
                                       know where we were, there were no signs, only the
                                       ribbon of road, hundreds of miles in the darkness,  
                                       a night of betrayal:
                                       we were running for home

Wendy:                           And do you dare ask that I let
                                       you swim out to sea? I have been
                                       here before. Every Thanksgiving
                                       we faced that temptation. He would say
                                       let me go

Wendy & Michael:          send me back

Michael:                         When I turn 50 it will change.
                                       When we get to Mexico it will change
                                       When we get to Rome, it will change
                                       Send me back, it will change

Wendy:                           In Italy we drank grappa by the
                                       sea in a village tavern.
                                       I was catching a cold, my period had
                                       come, I had lost patience, I was fed up
                                       with his family.
                                       We had Thanksgiving at the air force
                                       base, it was turkey and gravy,
                                       it was sweet potatoes
                                       with marshmallows,
                                       it was America.
                                       I wanted pasta and amor, I wanted to
                                       be alone in a velvet room, I wanted kisses
                                       and promises.

Michael:                          I had the diamond ring
                                       in a box. My father bought it
                                       before he died. My mother said
                                       give it to her if that
                                       is what you want.
                                       When I showed it to her, I said,
                                       it doesn’t mean we’re engaged.

Wendy:                           I didn’t know whether to
                                       laugh or cry We slept together
                                       eight years, I call myself his widow.
(to Alejandro:)                You call me your wife
                                       and we slept together once, the pills
                                       under our pillow. I wrapped
                                       myself around you, I conquered
                                       your blackness, I said no
                                       you can’t and it is time to sleep. In the
                                       morning I wanted pan dulce
                                       y café con leche. We left that hotel,
                                       we left that town, we got back in the car,
                                       we were looking for home.

Michael:                          I never said I would stay
                                       I never said I could make it
                                       I never intended that you would be hurt

Alejandro:                       I exist without making promises,
                                       we set back out on the road,
                                       the sun was
                                       blinding, we were
                                       running for home.

Michael & Alejandro:      For richer or for poorer,
                                       In sickness and in health

Wendy:                           The diamond went to my
                                       daughter-in-law. She didn’t know
                                       it had cut my heart into pieces.
(to Alejandro)                 Did we marry like it was a game?
                                       Did you bring all of your lovers to the
                                       ceremony, all the boys, the men, the girls,
                                       your youthful folly, your adult yearning,
                                       you hated to admit you needed me.
                                       The judge asked me to say, “Til death do us part”
                                       I repeated those words. You will not
                                       make me a widow twice. I have been here
                                       I took off my wedding ring the day
                                       we quarreled, he sent it back in a
                                       green box. A simple circle,
                                       paper signed, vows made in the
                                       afternoon. He didn’t believe it but I knew
                                       we were running for home

Michael & Alejandro:      For better or for worse
                                       Til death do us part

Wendy:                           This Thanksgiving, I want to drink grappa
                                       with the monks, make a
                                       pilgrimage to the monastery.

                                       A & W together:
Alejandro:                       I stayed behind

Wendy:                           He stayed behind in Mexico

Alejandro :                      she took the plane

Wendy:                           I took the plane back to Albuquerque.

Alejandro & Wendy:        We cried when we said
                                       good-bye, we were torn asunder, we
                                       had fused into one person.
Wendy:                           This Thanksgiving I will feast
                                       on prayers and chants. I count myself
                                       lucky. This year I kept someone alive.
(to Alejandro)                 When will I see you? This time
                                       this life
                                       I am wearing your
                                       ring, the one you sent
                                       back to me after we

Alejandro & Wendy:       Til death do us part
                                       we are running for home