Maeve Tries to Talk Jack Out of Annulment
(January 1977)

(Maeve opens Jack's door, to which his back is turned.)

MAEVE: I'd like a word with you, sir!

(Jack's face drops when he recognizes her voice.)

MAEVE: Jack, I'm gonna say some things to you that I would say to Frank or Pat in similar circumstances, and if you don't like it, well then, that's just too bad. You are behaving like a fearful child! You are all wrapped up in your own concerns, with not a thought in your head about what your behavior is doing to other people, especially Mary.

JACK: That's not true.

MAEVE: I think it is.

JACK: Maeve...butt out!

MAEVE: Oh no! I'm not about to butt out, and neither is Mary, and if you would just believe that, Jack, half your troubles would be over.

JACK: I don't want to be analyzed, I'm too old to be scolded, so do me a favor and leave me alone.

MAEVE: I can't leave you alone. I am not in the habit of turning my back on people that I love, and, God help me, I do love you. And I understand how Mary loves you. What I do not understand is how you can one minute tell me how much you love her - how she's in your thoughts and in your heart to such an extent that you can't even be rational about her - and then turn around the next minute and talk about ending your marriage and walking away from her and your child!

JACK: Because I do love her, because the marriage was a mistake for her and for me, and one of us has to have the sense to put an end to it before it turns into a disaster.

MAEVE: You are off your head if you think that walking away from Mary - loving you the way she does, pregnant for the first time - is anything but a disaster!

JACK: I'd get myself out of her life with an annulment. She'd be able to get married again. I suspect she'll get it right the second time.

MAEVE: (sitting down, waves her finger) Jack, you listen to me, and you believe me! Mary is married, and she's married for life - yours or hers! And you can get a divorce or an annulment or whatever you want, but as far as my daughter is concerned, she made a solemn promise to you before God, and that promise is forever. And I'll tell you something else that you may not realize: The real commitment, the solemn thing that she'll honor for all of her days, did not happen to her when the two of you stood up in church last summer. It happened for her the moment she gave herself to you in her act of love. And if you don't understand that, you don't even begin to understand Mary Ryan!

JACK: It's the only way out. I'll hurt her if I go; if I stay it could be worse.

MAEVE: Yes, it could be! None of us have any guarantee at'all against pain or failure or doing terrible harm to the people that love us most. But you can try! You can do the best you can, and the real cowardice - the sin, if you will - comes in giving up before you've tried! You made her your promise, man! You owe it in your effort!

JACK: (softening) Where is she?

MAEVE: Downstairs in the kitchen.

JACK: I don't know what I could say to her, but I'll try.

(Little John starts crying.)

MAEVE: Good. I've got to go see if I can settle the babe.

(She leaves and he starts inching to the door.)

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