The Puppeteer: An Original Monologue by Amanda Barillas (This piece defines me <3 )
I bet your mothers told you about the day you were born. About how it was a sunny February afternoon in San Francisco, how the car wouldn’t start so she had to birth you in the backseat of her beat-up Corvette with no one to help her but God’s good graces. How she screamed with all her might, and before she knew it, she was holding you in her arms. How she looked down at you and saw all the greatness in the world.
I was born in a workshop in Switzerland. My mother was not present, but my father was. He gave me only the best glass-blown eyes from Italy, dark wood from the Alps for strong arms, legs, and torso, and he carved my face so it was that of an angel. I knew, but couldn’t say, that he thought I was the most beautiful creature on Earth, which was why it hurt all the more when he sent me away.
Months of my life, spent in that antique souvenir shop in Los Angeles, watching Meghan Fox in her short skirts and Brad Pitt with his boyish charms…days of a shelf, waiting for someone to see the goodness in me…until you showed up to claim me.
I didn’t know you, but I quickly fell in love with your humor. You lived alone and settled me into a little glass case, until our very first performance.
Five years ago that was, and now every night I think about the performance I have ahead of me. How I should speak, sit, or move…what a futile thing to do.
Before the show, I settle into this little box where I have nothing left to do but think about what I have ahead of me. Another night, like any other night, and no matter what, I can’t shake the nerves until you help me out of this darkness. And the light hits me, and I see your face. You, in this beautiful red dress, and me, in my suit and tie, the same suit and tie that I’ve worn since you found me and thought we’d be great together.
I sit on the stool beside you on stage. I’m so nervous about whether or not I’m going to make a fool out of myself, or even worse, you. Nothing seems okay until I feel your hand on my back as I sit there next to you, and I silently pray that your hand were there out of want instead of necessity. I forget the whole world is watching me, I forget the lights are shining so brightly, making it so hot that I can’t seem to breathe… and I simply pretend that this show is simply a conversation between the two of us. I speak at a rhythm and a pace that they can’t tell you’ve got me in a vise other than the one the world is aware of.
You spent countless hours every day trying to figure out the words that you’re going to say, what I’m going to say, and we rehearse over and over… and tonight, well, tonight was the night: our debut in New York City. Your palms are slick with sweat, but I don’t care: to me, you’re the most beautiful woman in the world.
A-a-and we begin our routine. You ask me how I am, and I want to tell you how ecstatic I am to be by your side, but you answer for me. The audience laughs, and I’m let down…but I see your glowing face and know that this is what you needed. The show continues, and your brilliant dialogue, which is essentially between you and yourself, gets funnier and funnier…
Until the heckler. He says he sees your mouth moving. He says he thinks your comedy sucks. You bite your lip, and see that others have begun to do the same…you stumble, attempt to continue, but at this point the audience’s jeers have become too much…and you storm off stage.
We arrive at our 3-star hotel room, where your agent calls to tell you that you will not be paid for that performance. I watch as you pace back and forth, frustrated with yourself. “Why could I have been so stupid? And here I was thinking that I had talent. Just like my mother thought would happen, I can’t function in this industry, I can’t work with this job…” And you ramble and I feel your heart breaking, and mine crumbles as well. My smiling face does nothing to show you how distraught I feel for you, and I almost cry out as I feel you grab me by the arms and toss me into the fireplace.
I twist in the embers, angry at the world, at you, but most of all at me. I can’t have anymore of you pulling my strings. You can’t put any more words in my mouth, and as I depart from this world, I shout all the feelings I Had for you. I shout that I love you, that a man made of wood, that you bought in a store, held more love, passion, admiration, adoration than any fan of your little ventriloquist act. I promised you that one day you’d regret getting rid of me, the one man that ever loved you. I made you aware that one day I’d be back in the form I so wanted to be, that I would return as a human, where you would no longer tell me what to say because everything I wanted to say would be from MY heart. You would fall in love with me because I’d be handsome, kind, and selfless.
You never thanked me for the fame I gave you. You never gave me credit for your success. And now that I twist in these fires, I know for a fact that I spent a lifetime loving someone who didn’t love me back. And on the day where you feel you’ll be with me forever, when you profess your love for me, like I tried so many times to do for you, I’ll emit those three sweet, vengeful words that you deserve… I would have given you everything, and you tossed it all the way, and all you’ll have left are the ashes and these three simple words, words you’ll never forget from the wooden man that saw perfection in your imperfections…
So he didn’t want me. So maybe the next guy won’t either. Or the next one. Just maybe, the guy who wants me doesn’t even know me. Doesn’t know I exist, doesn’t know who he’s waiting for, either. But today, damn it, today I feel stronger than I have in a long time, with or without someone on my arm, with or without that someone to hold me, with or without that constant “i love you”. And Lord, does it feel so good. Two strong women today asked me why I haven’t followed my passion. And right now, I don’t see myself ever pursuing it in the way they think I should. Call me a rebel, but I’m going to follow what I love, in my own way. I will make it happen. I got this. If I have to do it on my own, I will do it. If I have to walk by myself, I will do it. If I have to bare stares from skeptical eyes, I will do it, but damn it, I’m going to make this happen.
He didn’t want me. But that doesn’t make me unwanted by the rest of the world. And I can breathe knowing that. And now that that’s established, I know he’ll come find me when I least expect him. So while I’m still awaiting his presence, it’s going to be about me. It’s going to be about me doing what I love, for me. Going to the gym, getting fit, improving my body, ignoring the bad self esteem within me: FOR ME. Standing tall, FOR ME. I will do this. It’s going to happen.
I’m not pretty like everyone else. Nor am I tall or thin. But I am impressionable. I’m strong minded. And for the first time in a long time I can say that I am strong.
All I can ask is that you let me believe this. Please.