Three Rows

from Dear Chuck (full-length version) by Jonathan Dorf

Genre: Drama

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A Teen after a funeral.  An actor of either gender could perform this.

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They didn't have the funeral 'til a week after, so you'd think it wouldn't be that bad, 'cause people have time to get over it a little, and the casket was closed, so it's not like you see him lying there. He probably wouldn't look horrible—I don't know, maybe his neck would be a little funky-looking from the rope, but it's not like he stuck a gun in his mouth. Not like his face is missing.

And almost our entire grade is there, and some of the kids that knew him from other grades, and all the teachers and some of the parents are there. My mom says she's not sure when to pick me up, so she's just gonna' stay and sit in the back of the church until it's over. I look back, and she's three rows behind me. And she sees me looking, and she kinda' gives me this little smile. It only lasts a second, but—you ever just sit in front of the window in the morning when the sun is coming in, like in a really comfortable chair? It's like that.

The school select choir starts singing "Amazing Grace," and one of the kids can't make it through. And the director stops conducting and sits her down, but the choir keeps going. They start to rush the song, and I look back at my mom again, only this time she's watching the girl from the choir and not looking at me.

And when "Amazing Grace" finishes and the captain of the soccer team gets up to recite Evan's stats and ask why somebody that just set the league scoring record could hang himself in a garage, I look back again. And she's watching the captain of the soccer team cry and not watching me. And in that second I miss her again I want to—(Beat.) When I was little I used to ride the bus. And I talked to everybody. The person next to me—that was always my best friend, Ellen—the kids in the seat across from us, and in the row behind us and the row in front of us, and in the row behind them and the row ahead of them. No seat on the bus is too far to talk to. Three rows is nothing. But when you need your mom to be a nice warm seat in the morning sun, three rows in a church is infinity.