Bringing the Bible to life in the imaginations of our students requires flexing every creative muscle we have. This script does just that. This monologue, first performed at Youth 19, shows us the story of the prodigal son through the eyes of his little sister.
These two! All everyone talks about is my family— actually not my family— just my brothers. Your brother this, your brother that! I’m tired of it. Do you have older brothers? Then you know how it goes. No one cares about a girl child. As the youngest in the family, I still sleep in my mother’s bed every night. I wake up, and have breakfast of bread or a piece for fruit. I love the smell of my mother making the bread in in the morning. After breakfast, I clear the plates and it’s time for Hebrew School to start. Well, not for me, I don’t go, but I make sure my brothers are ready so they aren’t late. When I was younger, I would cry to go with them. Momma would scoop me up and remind me we girls do different things our their day. I don’t care, I still wanna go! I would even run after them down the road, but my little legs can’t keep up. But I know now, the crying doesn’t matter, I’ll never be able to go with them. Girls don’t go to Hebrew School. The boys think they are so smart because they can read and write the Torah. Well, being smart doesn’t make Yahweh give you more blessings— so there!
When times were better, we used to cultivate the hills and this would feed me and my family everyday. Now, there is very little to eat. So we spend less time working the soil. In the morning when I walk an hour to get water for the family, sometimes I dream what it would be like to have someone else’s life. If we were a rich Greek girl, I could go to school. I even dream what it would be like to be a boy!
I have to follow ALL the rules, “Good Jewish girls do this, if you want to marry a good man you must do this”. When my mother tires of me, she says under her breath, “Will you relish being a poor man’s wife? Unable to provide for your life?” Meanwhile, it seems my brothers can just do whatever they want! Good Jewish boys are suppose to take care of their family, but I don’t see my younger brother following that rule! My life would be so much better if I could just switch places with one of my brothers. Then, I would go to Hebrew School and they would have to stay home and help mom. It’s hot this afternoon, and I can hear Momma yelling for me to get off the stump and stop day dreaming, we have work to do in town.
Today I meet the other women and girls when I go to the well with Momma. As they see us walking up, they stop whispering. I can’t hear them, but I can tell for sure they are talking about us. You know what I talking about, you walk in and everyone goes silent. My face gets redder and my palms begin to sweat. It’s like this everyday since my brother left. My feet get really heavy and I start dragging my sandals in the dirt. Momma says, “Come on, they’ll just talk more if we don’t go”. She simply says out of their ear shot, “We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable”. As Momma takes a deep breath, at the same time, she quickens our pace, and greets everyone with “Shalom”, and kisses their cheeks. I do still want to go to the well. If I get all my work done early, Momma lets me run and play with the other village girls. After we are done with our work, we talk about our life and what we would do if girls ran the world. But of course, once again all the talk turns to my brothers. Ever since my brother left, that’s what the whole village talks about. I can hear the women getting louder. They are grilling Momma now.
My Auntie just opened the door of questioning, by asking “have you heard from him”? I can hear in her voice she is really concerned for my brother. She knows he doesn’t always think things through. Her son, my cousin, is the same age as my younger brother. I know she doesn’t want him getting any ideas from my family. He has an older brother too, so he won’t get any family inheritance, it will all go to his older brother— that’s how it’s always been until my brother decide to change the all the rules! Now Joseph, my cousin, started complaining to his parents, why can’t he have a part of the family inheritance, he has work side by side every day with his dad, just as much as his brother. Guess what? He has an older sister, who knows better than to ask for any of the family money. Her father will pay her dowery for a man to marry her, and that is the only money she’ll get. After my Auntie’s question, the women don’t stop.
Where is he living?
Has he ran through all the money?
Has he settled down with a Gentile girl?
What was your husband thinking?
I tune them out and jump harder and harder until the pounding of my feet to the ground is so loud it becomes a ringing in my ears. I don’t want to hear the questions. Honestly, I don’t want to hear the questions because I have some of the same questions myself. There is so much that is unknown. I don’t know if he has died somewhere. It makes me feel a little scared.
I felt so much safer when both my brothers where living at home. Now that my father is getting older, and people know there is only one younger man in our home, I am worried we are vulnerable. I’m worried my brother won’t be able to protect our whole family by himself. I look over at Momma. She catches my eye, gives me a knowing smile, and with a nod of her head, I know it is time to go. I kiss my friends goodbye until we gather again.