Scene #5: “What Can I Do?” written by Jacky Saldana

WHILE YOU WERE AWAY – A play by the Fall 2015 Documentary Theatre Class (RCHUM 334)

Scene #5: “What Can I Do?” written by Jacky Saldana

This isn’t the first time. (sigh) I don’t know how to help him. I just don’t know anymore. When I came
to this country, I hoped for a better life for my children. I wanted them to be doctors and lawyers. I
wanted them to be so, so happy.
Life in my country was hard. I started working as a young girl. I didn’t make it far in school, and I
dropped out in elementary school. I would get up early and join my father in his shop. We made
bricks. We would stay in the shop for hours, working and working, dreaming of the day I could leave
and move on to something better.
I never wanted this for my children. I wanted an education, a future. I wanted them to have a chance
to better themselves the way I never could. I wanted to give them opportunities.
And here he is. [Beat] Being carted off again.
I go outside to watch the cars drive off. All sense of urgency is gone. The first time was hard. I ran
after the car, tears running down my face. My son reaching out and crying for me. I tried to stop
them, I really did. I thought it was the end of his life. I thought it was my greatest failure.
But I now realize I was wrong. As hard as I try to help him, I don’t know how. I can only do what I
think is best, but he’s the one that will determine where he ends up. (shrugs) I used to beat myself
up about his issues, but what good has that done me? I’m turning gray and running out of time.
What can I do?