Pat Defends Delia to Maeve
(Frank and Pat have just clashed over Delia in the Ryan living room, with Maeve trying to keep the peace. Frank has run out, leaving Maeve and Pat alone.)
MAEVE: Pat, I don't like what's happening between you and your brother! Tell me what is making you so angry!
PAT: (frustrated) That poor kid never had a chance!
MAEVE: Delia? I don't know what you're talking about.
PAT: (indignant) All she wants is a little approval! (Maeve sighs.) Can't he spare any? It's funny, when we used to go out, I used to love that more than anything: If you told her something nice about herself, she'd just light up like a Christmas tree. She still does it. The other day, I noticed her hairdo and she just broke into smiles, like a little kid - and it made me feel good. And it's so easy to do!
MAEVE: I don't think she's done much to...get much praise lately.
PAT: No, not in the past couple of weeks, maybe. But before that, she fought for approval more than any human being could possibly be expected to!
MAEVE: Oh, Pat...
PAT: She did! As long as I can remember, she's been trying to live up to who we - and especially Frank - expected her to be! And the worst thing is, she's beat before she starts. No matter how hard she tries, she'll never live up to what he wants her to be! She'll never be Mary and she'll never be you and she'll never be Jill. She can't win.
MAEVE: Darling, I never knew how much this upset you all, this whole situation.
PAT: Well, I try and keep my mouth shut.
MAEVE: Well, it's a good idea. You know, Frank has tried to change too.
PAT: Has he? Really? It seems to me he figures he's just fine, outside of a few minor adjustments.
MAEVE: (whispers) Pat...
PAT: Delia, on the other hand, needs a complete overhaul!
MAEVE: Oh, come now, Pat! Please!
PAT: Look, what if Jack wanted to make Mary over into the perfect Italian bride?
MAEVE: (puts her hand on her head in frustration) Oh...
PAT: How would you react to that?
MAEVE: I would say it was totally unreasonable and entirely unrealistic.
PAT: Right, and that's exactly what Frank's been. Have you ever seen Delia campaigning for him? (Maeve sighs again.) She's shy and she's scared to death, but she still tries, no matter how awkward she feels, no matter how much she thinks people are laughing at her. And what does Frank do? He comes over, he gives her a little kiss on the cheek or a pat on the head, and he tells her she's improving.
PAT: (furious) I'm sorry, Ma, if he wanted a Jill, he should have married a Jill!
MAEVE: Oh, Jill is another entirely different subject, Pat. I don't condone their relationship, but it was a symptom of a troubled marriage; it was not the cause.
PAT: Right, a symptom, therefore Frank wasn't to blame!
MAEVE: I didn't say that!
PAT: No, but nobody ever threatened to throw him out of the house because of it!
MAEVE: (under her breath) Oh, thrown out of the house, what nonsense!
PAT: Well, somehow, an affair of Frank's is understandable; an affair of Delia's is a disgrace to the family. Why is that?
MAEVE: Pat, I know you mean well, and it's because you're fond of Dee. I mean, ever since the two of you were children, you've been more on her wavelength than the rest of us, but darling you don't understand the marriage and only the two people that are involved can! You simply have to accept that fact, step back, and let them solve their own problems.
PAT: (pause) You're right, and I know it, it's just...so painful not to be able to help her.
MAEVE: I know, dear, and it's just cause you're one of the kindest people in the world, that's all. (He laughs that off.) I'll tell you, I do think you're right about something: Frank does constantly compare Jill to Dee, and that's most unfair. In another world, I'm sure those two would have made a glorious couple, but, unfortunately, we live in this world, and that includes Jill.
(She stares off, very troubled.)
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