Sebastian’s Monologue from “Two Ladies of Vermont” by Leanna Keyes

JULIA (they/he)
Are you there, God? It’s me, Julia.

So I tried. I have really, truly, tried. Trying to make this thing go away has lost me the people that I love. I’ve been low, God. And something’s gotta give.

I had a lot of time after Proteus left. I decided to go back to the book, back to your word, to see if I had missed something. Cover to cover. Maybe it’s a little silly to quote you to yourself, but, uh, here we go.

1 Samuel 16:7 – “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Okay so: If I feel something inside, then you’re looking at my heart. So if I’m feeling something so true that I can’t shut it down, maybe the problem isn’t that inside feeling. Maybe the problem is the outward appearance.

And here, in Isaiah 56:4-6: “To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, To Them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.”

That had me shook, God! Why’d you bury that one so deep in Isaiah? That seems like a bigger deal to me than the stuff about the shellfish. I like the idea of having an everlasting name better than that of son or daughter. I talked with my mom, to see what my name was going to be if I’d been born a boy.

Sebastian.
(shivering)

Oooh, I got chills just there, did you see that? Sebastian.

I’ve been trying to make this part of myself small for you. I thought that’s how I would hold fast to the covenant. But everything’s been going wrong the more I try to do it. Now to my understanding you have mixed feelings about sending signs, but uh. When I listen hard, I think I hear you. Trust the heart, not the outward appearance.

So I’m going to give Sebastian a try, God. I have some mistakes to atone for. I understand that you’re pretty big on atonement. Proteus… he was so patient with me. I owe him so much. It’s a miracle I’ve made it this far, and I think you might have been working through him to make that happen.

SEBASTIAN
We’ll talk again soon, God. Sebastian out.

Context: This play is a queer and trans adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona” set in modern-day Boston. In this monologue, Sebastian discusses their gender with God; they were raised heavily religious and finally have come to realize that they are non-binary or transmasculine. Their former boyfriend, Proteus, broke up with them because Sebastian was so clearly uncomfortable trying to be Julia, the proper Christian girlfriend. For comparison, the original Shakespeare scene is Act 2 Scene 7 in “Two Gents.”

Website: www.leannakeyes.com

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