Delia Has Dinner at Roger's and Nobody Misses Her
(February 1976)

(Roger has just gotten into a nasty run-in and is standing at a nurses station at the hospital when Delia steps off the elevator, looks around, then sees Roger and smiles. She goes up to him and taps him on the shoulder.)

ROGER: (turning around) Hey!

DELIA: (smiles) Hi.

ROGER: (surprised) Hi there. (smiles)

DELIA: Whoa, you're in a bad mood.

ROGER: Well, I feel like I was just used as a punching bag, that's all.

DELIA: How do you like that? Me too, I feel the same way - by Frank, of course.

ROGER: It isn't very much fun, is it?

DELIA: No, it's not fun and it seems like it's very unfair, and the last thing in the world that I want to be is here in the hospital for Mary.

ROGER: Oh, why did you come?

DELIA: Well, when Mary's in the hospital, you gotta come and see Mary. So uh, I wonder who would rush over and come and see me if I was in the hospital.

ROGER: (laughs, then points his finger) Now, you stay out of the hospital!

DELIA: (smiles) Would you come and visit me?

ROGER: In a minute.

DELIA: I'd visit you.

ROGER: Now listen, we don't need to get sick and go into the hospital to visit with each other. We still have our cooking lessons.

DELIA: (grins) Our secret cooking lessons.

ROGER: You don't have to make them sound so evil.

DELIA: Well, I like having secrets when I'm being pushed around for no reason.

ROGER: Alright. What happened?

DELIA: Nothing. Nothing. That's just it. I mean Frank finds one little thing - one picky little thing - and he just drives me crazy. I wrote two checks out on the wrong account. I mean, can you believe that? Two checks, and he made a whole big scene about it.

ROGER: Yeah, I know. Well, it sounds like a perfect excuse for another Chinese cooking lesson.

DELIA: (smiles) Okay.

ROGER: Honestly?

DELIA: (grins) Honestly. I haven't had so much fun since, uh, the last time we had dinner.

ROGER: Well, look, I uh have a little problem. You see I don't think it would be quite appropriate if we dined out together.

DELIA: (calculating) Ah, no, no, I don't think we can.

ROGER: And my Dad's home tonight. Now I don't want to make any suggestions that might make you think that I was being out of place.

DELIA: (shrugs) Like what?

ROGER: Well, the only place that we could cook and eat and talk and not be punching bags for anybody is my place.

DELIA: (turns away) Your apartment. Uh, I'm not so sure.

ROGER: Listen, it's rather modest and it's not exactly what you would call a lair or anything like that. And it is on the ground floor of the family brownstone. So you're within shouting distance of help if an unlikely event should arise.

DELIA: (laughs) Ah, I don't think that's the problem. See, it's just the opposite. Suppose somebody comes downstairs? What would they think?

ROGER: Well I can assure you that that won't happen. You see, no one in my family pays any attention to me. I'm the non-person on the ground floor, who's in complete disgrace. (Delia laughs.) So if that should happen, I'll lock the doors and I won't answer the bell. (She smiles.) How's that?

DELIA: (grins) Hmmm...let me think about that.

ROGER: Well don't take too long, because I'll have to stock up on the right supplies.

DELIA: Well it depends whether I can get out of the house.

ROGER: Will you try?

DELIA: Maybe, but it's not gonna be easy. (pause) But I'll find a way.

(In the next scene, Delia and Roger are both lying on their beds, talking on the phone to each other.)

DELIA: So, it looks like I can get away for dinner, if you still want me to.

ROGER: I've been looking forward to it all day.

DELIA: (laughs) Yeah, me too.

ROGER: Listen, when you get here, ring the doorbell three times so I know it's you. Otherwise, I won't answer it.

DELIA: Three times. Kind of sounds like a secret code.

(Frank comes into the room.)

ROGER: Just think of it as being discreet.

DELIA: (as Frank is taking off his tie and listening) Yeah, it sounds wonderful, Sheila, I'll do exactly that.

ROGER: Uh, you have company?

DELIA: You're so clever, Sheila. Now, put the wok on a low flame and I'll be over in about...uh...fifteen minutes.

ROGER: Great. Uh, did I tell you about how much I've been looking forward to it?

DELIA: Ah-hah, yeah, same here. Okay, Sheila, I'd better get off now if I'm gonna get going. Bye.

(She hangs up. Frank isn't the least bit suspicious, even though he admits he's never heard Delia mention "Sheila" before, and when Delia "jokingly" suggests that she could be going off to meet some guy, Frank apparently finds the idea so ridiculous that he assumes she's just laying on a guilt trip about Jill. He says he has no idea when he'll be home from his meeting, Delia gets mad and then after he leaves begins putting on perfume. It's clear she wants to make a good impression.)

(In the next scene, Delia has arrived at Roger's and he is taking her coat.)

DELIA: Oh! Oh, this is nice! This is nice.

ROGER: Well, I like to think of it as cozy.

(She begins looking around.)

DELIA: Oh, it's beautiful, just beautiful! And you have a fireplace. Oh, and I love this chair. (laughs)

ROGER: They belonged to my mother. You really have a good eye.

DELIA: Frank says I have expensive taste. You know, I always thought that your family would have furniture like this. It's beautiful. Ah, the kitchen! This is great, this is great. You know, I like this kitchen even better than the one upstairs, cause everything is really handy. I see you chopped everything already?

ROGER: Well I thought that I'd save that for you.

DELIA: Ah, I was wondering if anyone from upstairs can come downstairs, whenever they like?

ROGER: The door to the stairway is outside and I locked it from the inside. So don't worry about anyone rushing down here to borrow a cup of sugar.

DELIA: Okay, well I just don't want anyone to misunderstand. Oh, Roger, I love your plant. You have really beautiful things, really nice. (She looks into the bedroom.) Oh, I love it! I love this! Oh, Roger, this is the most...

(She plops herself down on the bed.)

ROGER: Well, serves its purpose.

DELIA: Oh, I like being up high like this.

ROGER: So I can gather.

DELIA: (heading back to the living room) You know, that would be a great room for a dinner party, cause it's really nice and warm and cozy and very pretty.

ROGER: You really are in a good mood today, aren't you?

DELIA: (laughs) Well I'm...I'm getting there.

ROGER: Well, shall we have a glass of wine before we settle down to cook?

DELIA: (reluctantly) Well actually I was thinking of...

ROGER: Or do you think that Mrs. Lem's recipes require a steady hand and a clear mind?

DELIA: I'll tell you, Roger, I really had an awful day today, so if it wouldn't spoil our very delicate palates, I'd like something stronger than wine. (grins)

ROGER: Well that all depends on what you had in mind.

DELIA: See, I don't want to miss the subtle Chinese flavor. I'm have a Vodka Martini.

(They laugh.)

ROGER: Your wish is my command.

DELIA: Oh, I don't want to lead you astray.

ROGER: Well, what harm could one Martini do? Would a little lemon be alright?

DELIA: Perfect. (lying on the couch) Ooh, you know, I really feel nice here.

ROGER: You really look nice. Oh, and that perfume!

DELIA: You like it?

ROGER: Very much.

DELIA: Oh, that's nice.

ROGER: (pouring the drink) Tell me about your awful day.

DELIA: Oh, it's boring, it's boring, you wouldn't be interested.

ROGER: I'm interested in you. I'd like to hear.

DELIA: (smiles) Really?

ROGER: Really.

DELIA: Well I guess it's no big secret that Frank and I don't exactly have a marriage made in heaven.

ROGER: I thought the business with Jill was all over?

DELIA: Maybe it is, but I don't know. See, because it doesn't matter if he sees her or not, he just doesn't have very much interest in me, that's all.

ROGER: That sounds kind of rough, Dee.

DELIA: Well it's...he finds little picky things, and I guess he does that because then he doesn't have to feel so bad about leaving me alone all the time.

ROGER: What sort of little things?

DELIA: Those things that are so little that you know, you wouldn't even think of it. For instance, I wrote out two checks and I got some things for Little John on the business account. So he got furious about it, and it's all cause I couldn't find my checkbook, and when I told him that, well he started jumping up and down cause he was so mad.

ROGER: (hands her the drink) Well, you really have had a rough day.

DELIA: Oh well, he came home, and he barely said a word to me, and then he went downstairs and he saw his family, and then he got ready for his precious political meeting.

ROGER: While you stayed upstairs and took care of the baby?

DELIA: Well I had to, because Mary's in the hospital and the only other person is Maeve.

ROGER: But Dee, I thought that every night you went down into Ryan's and just had a ball.

DELIA: Oh did you? Well, who's going to take care of the baby? I mean Maeve will take care of the baby sometimes...

ROGER: That's really awful. Everyone is downstairs having fun and your upstairs by yourself.

DELIA: (smiles) So I'm out tonight, and it really feels good. And it feels good to be with you.

ROGER: Well I hope I can bring a little cheer into your day.

(They toast.)

DELIA: You already have. Mmm! I needed this. It's terrific. Really, it's terrific to talk to someone and feel that they're not bored by every word I'm saying.

ROGER: Yeah, but how can anyone be bored talking with someone who looks as nice as you do?

DELIA: (laughs) I don't know, but Frank manages it.

ROGER: You know, I get the feeling that I could talk to you for a hundred hours and never run out of things to say. There's so many questions that I want to ask you and so many things that I want to tell you. I want you to understand about what happened between me and Frank.

DELIA: (nodding) Yeah, I'd like to know about that.

FRANK: Well, how much time do we have tonight? Do you have to go home early?

DELIA: (ponders) No, I don't think so. See, nobody really cares and as far as I can tell, I can stay here as late as I want.

(She smiles. In the next scene, Roger brings a pitcher of beer in from the kitchen.)

DELIA: If I ordered beer in a gourmet Chinese restaurant, everyone would probably say, "Oh, that Delia, she's so dumb!"

ROGER: (laughs) No, you would just tell them that beer is the only acceptable cold drink to have with Chinese food.

(They toast their mugs.)

DELIA: (slams her hand down on the table) Chinese beer!

ROGER: Well, don't let my mother's crystal pitcher fool you. This beer was brewed in Brooklyn.

DELIA: (in an exaggerated New York accent) Oh, waiter, let me have, uh, one Brooklyn beer! (now in an exaggeratedly proper tone of voice) Of course, it's the only acceptable cold drink to have with gourmet Chinese food.

ROGER: (laughs) That's it.

DELIA: See, but if I told anyone that, they'd say, "Where did you find that out?" and I couldn't tell them.

ROGER: You'd just tell them that it was very simple; you just knew it.

DELIA: Oh. I just know it.

(They laugh.)

ROGER: You know, everybody learns from somebody else. Nobody's born smart.

DELIA: Bet you were.

ROGER: (smiles) Far from it. Nobody knows everything. You know, there are lots of things that I could learn from you.

DELIA: (smiles) Oh, come on, really?

ROGER: Certainly.

DELIA: (grins) Like what?

ROGER: Well...

DELIA: Come on! (laughs)

ROGER: Like how to be free.

DELIA: (laughs) That's me.

ROGER: And open with my feelings. How to take an ordinary room and just change it into a sort of playground.

DELIA: (awkwardly) Uh, why don't I help you clear up the dishes?

ROGER: (hands her her beer) No, no, no, no.

(He picks up a cloth.)

DELIA: What are you doing?

(She laughs as he puts it over all the dishes.)

ROGER: Voila!

DELIA: Oh, that's not clearing, that's covering!

ROGER: That's the way we do it around here.

DELIA: That's baaad, Roger! You're baaad. (laughs)

ROGER: I don't want to waste a minute of such a good time doing housework.

DELIA: (grins) Fine. That's okay. Cause I feel and happy. (laughs)

ROGER: I'm very glad.

DELIA: It's such a relief to be here. It's kind of like I could breathe again. (takes a deep breath)

ROGER: (laughs) It's not always so easy being a Ryan, is it?

DELIA: (laughs) Oh, I'm not a Ryan! (realizing) I never said that before. I'm not a Ryan. The thing that I wanted to be the most in the whole world was a Ryan.

ROGER: (laughs) You know, I think that everyone in this neighborhood wanted to be a Ryan at least once.

DELIA: Oh, ome on, you didn't, cause you were rich.

ROGER: Oh, it didn't matter. It always seemed that the Ryans were doing something.

DELIA: I used to pray for it. Roger, I used to go to church and I used to pray for it! I wanted to be a Ryan so badly.

ROGER: I never quite went that far.

DELIA: (grins) But you wished for it.

ROGER: Yeah, sometimes. I was very, very curious just to find out what it felt like to be a part of all that warmth and fierce loyalty, but you see I always knew that it could never be for me. But it was like joining a club. Boy, I wanted them to ask me just so I could turn them down. (Delia laughs.) But your prayers were answered, though.

DELIA: My names changed, but not me.

ROGER: That's funny. I always thought you were a part of them, I mean, long before you married Frank, you were going with Pat, when we were all growing up.

DELIA: Now you see Roger, Bobby was, and I was always tagging along, and they were just nice to me cause I was Bobby's kid sister. That's it.

ROGER: But not Maeve.

DELIA: See, Maeve felt sorry for me. I overheard her once. She said, "Aww, poor Delia, poor child." That was after the time that Mary and I went out to play ball and I let her Spaulding fall into the sewer, and Mary said, "I'm not playing with you anymore!" And she went back and she told Maeve, and Maeve said, "Oh, you've gotta feel sorry for her cause she doesn't have very much. You have to share with her. She has no father, and her mother works so hard." And Mary says, "Well I don't care, I know Delia did it on purpose!"

ROGER: Did you?

DELIA: No. (starts to grin) Yes. (covers her face with embarassment) Yes! Ooh!

(They laugh.)

ROGER: I promise that I won't tell a soul.

DELIA: And I used to tag along with everyone and I used to behave, and I tried so hard to be a Ryan. I wouldn't ask for a second helping, and I would never fight with Mary because I was afraid at any second they could say, "Delia - she's out."

ROGER: Did you really feel that?

DELIA: I knew it.

ROGER: So you married Frank?

DELIA: Well, that wasn't the reason I married Frank. Aaah, that was part of it. We were really in love, really in love. (nods) I mean you never saw two people so much in love in your life. (laughs) Look at me, I'm telling you the story of my whole life, practically!

ROGER: I want to hear it.

DELIA: It's getting late.

ROGER: You know, I'd like to hear the story of your life right from the beginning up until (shrugs) this very minute.

DELIA: Well at this very minute, things aren't really working out too well.

ROGER: Oh, Delia, I'm hurt!

DELIA: (almost thinking he was serious) No, no, it's not you! It's Frank. It's Frank, and you know that!

ROGER: Yes I do.

DELIA: He doesn't speak to me, and Maeve and Johnny, they just refer to me as, "Oh, that poor child!" And Mary - sad to say this - Mary hates me.

ROGER: I didn't think Mary Ryan could hate anybody.

DELIA: Well, she doesn't like me very much.

ROGER: Well, why don't you buy her a new Spaulding?

DELIA: Yeah, that would be a good joke on her. (throws a cushion at him)

(They laugh.)

ROGER: (throws his hands up) I don't understand people! Here you are, you're like a ray of sunshine shining through the clouds, and how they don't appreciate that is beyond me.

DELIA: Well I'm not always a ray of sunshine!

ROGER: Well, you are every time I see you, and you have been for me tonight.

DELIA: I guess that's cause I like being here. (laughs) I don't know.

ROGER: I like having you here.

DELIA: (smiles) It's getting late.

ROGER: I thought you were gonna tell me the story of your life?

DELIA: (contemplating) Well, it is getting late, and they might miss me at home. Thank you.

ROGER: Oh! What for? You were only having a Chinese cooking lesson this evening.

DELIA: Well it was a pretty late Chinese cooking lesson.

ROGER: It was a very special dish.

DELIA: Mmm...very special, but if anyone asks me how to prepare it, I don't know what the heck I'm gonna say. (laughs)

ROGER: You just tell them.

DELIA: (laughs) I'll just tell them what?

ROGER: I'm sorry that I can't walk you home.

DELIA: It's okay. Well...

(He helps her with her coat.)

ROGER: Good night, Delia, and thank you. Thank you very, very much.

DELIA: Good night, Roger.

(He opens the door, she leaves waving, he closes it and looks like he's regretful because she's gone. In the next scene, Maeve is asleep on the couch when Delia bursts in, waking her up.)

DELIA: Hi! You know, we made seven different kinds of vegetables, including bean sprouts, and I really didn't go, until um...

MAEVE: Hello, darlin'.

DELIA: Oh, uh, did I wake you?

MAEVE: No, I was...I kept Little John playing, so I could wear him out so he'd be ready to go to sleep. (laughs) Guess who wore out whom?

DELIA: Did he stay up late?

MAEVE: No, no, just fifteen minutes after his bedtime. Just long enough to let his grandma know who's boss, so I'd keep on spoiling him.

DELIA: You know, I learned so much tonight...

MAEVE: After fifteen rounds of patticake, I could hardly keep my eyes open. (looking at a children's book) Oh, and I wanted to know what happened to Miss Marple. Well, another time. Tell me: How was your cooking class?

DELIA: Oh, Maeve, we learned all about stir-fried vegetables, cooking in a wok, and I found out that the only acceptable cold drink to have with Chinese food is beer. (smiles)

MAEVE: Is that right?

DELIA: Yeah, I really learned a lot.

MAEVE: It sounds like an evening that was full of improvement.

(Maeve accidentally squeezes one of Little John's toys as she is putting it away, causing it to squeak. They laugh.)

DELIA: Well, I'm really gonna learn a lot, Maeve.

MAEVE: I wonder where Frank could be?

DELIA: Well it shouldn't be any mystery: He's anywhere but here, just as late as he can be.

MAEVE: Delia, don't let your imagination go working you all up.

DELIA: I'm not mad or anything like that. I know he loves his city council and he loves his work and he loves his career, and he likes the meetings, especially when they end late, because he knows he'll come back here and I'll be sleeping.

MAEVE: Oh, Delia, you're getting closer together all the time, aren't you?

DELIA: Closer, if you can call close not having a fight in a couple of days, sure. You know why? Because when he comes home, I pretend I'm asleep, and he comes in and he takes his clothes off and I listen to him wash up and then he goes and he looks in on Little John, and he gets into bed. I keep on hoping that he'll touch me or he'll shake the bed a little, anything, just so I can pretend that he woke me up. But he gets in bed and he slides over to his side of the bed as far as he can go, like I have something that he could catch.

MAEVE: (trying to make her feel better) Could it be, dear, that he just doesn't want to wake you up?

DELIA: Maeve, it's a farce! I mean, why should he want to be near me in bed, when he doesn't even want to take my hand over breakfast?

MAEVE: He will. He will dear, you'll see. One of these nights, you'll really be asleep and he'll come in and he'll wake you up.

DELIA: I hope so, because if he doesn't I don't know what I'm gonna do.

MAEVE: You're gonna keep on being strong and you're gonna keep on being loving, because there's a terrible gap between you and Frank right now - and it's not like when you're first in love and you hardly know each other and you leap across the gap cause there's nothing there to stop you. All the space is filled with traps and obstacles and the two of you, well, you'll just have to wend your way back together, carefully and slowly. But, I know you will. Sure you will. (She gets up and kisses Delia's head.) I'd better go down and see how John's doing. Maybe I'll lend him a hand. Okay?

DELIA: Okay, good night, Maeve.

(Alone, Delia goes to the phone and calls Roger.)

ROGER: Well, hello.

DELIA: (in a breathy voice) Hi, it's me.

ROGER: (laughs) Hello!


ROGER: I knew that.

DELIA: You recognized my voice?

ROGER: I could never forget it.

DELIA: Well, I just wanted to tell you I got back safely and nobody missed me.

ROGER: Well, that's good.

DELIA: And I also wanted to tell you I had a great time and thank you for making me feel so important.

ROGER: Well I didn't make you feel important; you are important, Dee, you're very.

DELIA: Not to everybody.

ROGER: Well, then they don't know what they're missing.

DELIA: (laughs) You know, as it turns out, I could have stayed a little later.

ROGER: I wish you could have. You know, I'm feeling kind of lonesome now.

DELIA: (grins) Oh, come on, you can't kid me. You're probably getting ready to go out, night on the town, do something really bad.

ROGER: (laughs) Actually, I was lying here, thinking about your life story.

DELIA: (laughs) You weren't.

ROGER: No, I was, I really was.

DELIA: Well, I guess I'll just have to tell you about it sometime.

ROGER: I'm looking forward to that.

DELIA: Well, good night, Roger.

ROGER: Good night, Delia.

(She hangs up the phone and looks wistful.)

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