WHILE YOU WERE AWAY – A play by the Fall 2015 Documentary Theatre Class (RCHUM 334)
Scene #24: “How Deep the Father’s Love” written by Angelica Okorom
They told me there had been a terrible accident.
[Relaxed and mildly sad] I knew it was likely to be Chris’s mother, because I knew that he wasn’t thinking clearly. Oh, I
remember the situation very well. Like it was yesterday. He was just trying to leave the house and
his mother wouldn’t let him. She was not a believer in cooling off periods. I mean, one of the reasons
why we separated is because she would get mad — screaming, throwing things, cursing, and she
would block the exits. Makes you feel trapped you know? I have been in situations before where I
even thought I would get violent. I truly believe that every human being has a breaking point. It’s one
of those things that he has only talked around and not directly about because of how painful it was.
He still has trouble with that.
[Pause and sigh of frustration] Before the hearing, I wasn’t even able to see him. I had to go to Oakland County Children’s village,
which is a freaking hole in the wall. When we told him that we wanted to go to trial he tried to kill
himself and they said that I couldn’t see him anymore. A nice counselor made an exception and
allowed me to see him the next day after the attempted suicide. But I remember getting a call THAT
night. They told me that my son had tried to kill himself.
[More frustrated tone] Being a father, I wanted to get more information about the situation. So I started to ask questions.
“Can I come see him?” “No. ”
“Well, where is he?” “We can’t tell you.”
“Is he okay?”” We just can’t tell you sir.”
[More angry tone- almost yelling] Imagine my frustration! Why did they wake me up out of sleep? Why did they even call? And it was
because he was a minor. If he wasn’t, then I wouldn’t have been able to know about that situation at
[Deep breath – calmer tone] I have been visiting Chris so long that I know the daily staff by name. I chat with them as they search
me for weapons and I have small talk as they look through my things for anything that could
potentially dangerous. Then I am led into the visit room. It holds about 206 people and there are just
round tables and a few chairs. I always try to get Chris a good meal each time I visit. He orders the
same thing every day but I don’t mind.
[Smiling now and happy] On the bright side though, I get to see my son so often.
[Turns to audience and speaks to them directly] You are a student right? How often do you go home and see your parents? Its hard right? Well I get
to see my son now so much more than I would if he had moved away and went straight into
something else. I love my son so much, so I am incredibly blessed to know that I can visit him so
[Beaming with pride] I know Chris. I love Chris. Nothing could ever make me ashamed of him. Chris is an artist, writer,
and maybe even a chef one day. Chris has made friends, learned to hotwire a car, and has made
wonderful works of art and theatre. Simply put, the boy makes me proud. He has grown so much.
Chris is my prize no matter what society may make you think about him.