Unspoken Agreement

GILDRA rests in bed.

ARNWULDA enters the bedroom and stares at his sister Gildra. He holds an envelope in his hand.

ARNWULDA: Sister…so many years have gone by since the days of us playing in the backyard with mother and father looking on at us. Grandmother and Grandfather…together, we were all together.

I remember us playing under the apple tree with our cousins, when an apple came off its branch and plunked cousin Reign on the head.  You were quick to nurse him. Always caring about everyone else but yourself…even then.

I stand before you a worthless man. I should be the one taken, not you. I’ve lived my life a selfish drunk and am committed to seeing it through to the end.

I thought our roles would have been reversed.  It should not be this way.

GILDRA: Whatever are you going on about Arnulf?

ARNWULDA: Gildra…how are you dear?

GILDRA: I did not wake from your sound but rather from your scent.

They mutually smile.

ARNWULDA: I would imagine you are correct.

GILDRA: Where’s Annora?

ARNWULDA: She’s outside in the garden with the servant.

GILDRA: Good.

ARNWULDA: How are you keeping?

Gildra glares at Arnwulda.

I wanted to bring you flowers but then I remembered…tulips, I know you love tulips.

GILDRA: In another life dear Arnwulda.

ARNWULDA: I’ve met with…well…I’ve received the papers you had drafted for me. I did not sign them.

GILDRA: Why not?

ARWULDA: Gildra, I am not fit for the responsibility you bestow upon me.

GILDRA: What say you?

ARNWULDA: I am not qualified.

GILDRA: Nonsense.

Gildra rages into a coughing fit and subsides.

ARNWULDA: I am a gambling man, a drunkard, a cheat and a fool…need I say more?

GILDRA: You are my brother. I know who you are.

ARWULDA: I cannot manage.

GILDRA: You must. Annora needs you.

ARNWULDA: Surely, there must be a better entity, someone else you know more honorable than I.

GILDRA: Annora will need her family and you are her family.

ARNWULDA: What about any one of our cousins?

GILDRA: No.

ARNWULDA: What about Reznor?

GILDRA: No.

ARNWULDA: Draconia?

GILDRA: No.

ARNWULDA: Reign?

GILDRA: Definitely not.

ARNWULDA: All those men have estates.

GILDRA: Mine is the grandest of all and it is to be your new quarters and you are to care for my daughter. See her through life, protect her. She will need you most and you will need her.

ARNWULDA: …I don’t know if I am strong enough to change my habits…

GILDRA: You are. You are my brother and I know you will do what is expected of you. (beat) Sign, Arnulf…sign and be changed.

Gildra passes out.

Arnwulda sits in a chair beside Gildra after leaning over her and kissing her forehead gently.  He holds her hand, kissing it affectionately and sulks.

Joseph Arnone

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