up on Debra and John folding clothes from a line. An offstage fan
blows the clothes.)
(out to audience) Just
J: (out) Friends
D: (out) He watches my gauze dress blowing on the line
(out) We fold my laundry on Sundays and it's funny
(out) Because I hate folding laundry, but it's a time for us to
talk, for her to tell me her latest dating
(out ) Horror
(out) And for me to remind her, once again, (to D) there is no such
thing as "Prince Charming"
I tell him
(to J) I'm not looking for a prince
fold a sheet from the line, D eventually rolling herself into the
sheet so that it becomes the "towel" from the next scene. J rolls
himself to the opposite side. D is looking at a dress, J is putting
on a tie.)
today's role dangles from
a metal hanger
out. Change over. Laughter starts. Lights up.)
There's more! I ask him why he chose this restaurant and he says
"My ex-wife works here and she usually gives me a discount!"
Nothin' wrong with being thrifty
Or a moron.
No, I can top that, I think I can top that. My last date
This was in 1985, right?
You guys watched the latest Duran Duran video, played a little Pong
on the Atari?
All right. (beat) No, so I take this girl out, and she brings this
huge purse with her, you know? I mean, this is the biggest purse
you've ever seen, I mean, we're talking carry-on here.
Uh oh. I'm glad I brought this relatively modest little handbag
Yeah, so she keeps asking me to carry it, right? And I swear to
God the thing gets heavier each time.
So finally, she goes to the bathroom, so I take the opportunity
to look in this bag of hers and she's been stealing stuff all night
long! Silverware, ashtrays, even a coaster from my apartment! Couldn't
believe it. (general laughter) Yeah, I get all the good ones. (suddenly
serious) Well, some of them.
of them get drinks and stand against the garden rail, facing in
to each other)
So, seriously, I'm having a really nice time.
(still not quite serious) Well, as long as we're being "serious"
here, I guess I'll just go ahead and tell you that this is the best
time I have had in a long time, and you, my dear, are a 9.5 on a
scale of ten.
Ten being the highest?
Ten being the highest.
So what's the deduction for?
J: That bit of lettuce in your teeth. (she goes to check) Just kidding.
But anyway, I just kind of feel compelled right now to tell you
you're an incredible person.
Oh, come on.
No, no really, I'm being "serious." I mean, ever since I met you,
I've just noticed this kind of glowgod, that sounds like the stupidest
thing in the world, but it's trueyou just bring this kind of light
to everything that you do. To me especially. I mean, I'm just so
grateful to for once be around someone who's, well, who's really
alive (noticing that he is talking right into a plant, laughing)
What IS this thing?
(laughing) I don't know. Let's just hope it's not poisonous.
(out) With wine glasses
D: (out) We stand and talk
Both: (out) Into the rhododendrons
hook a frame onto the rail around the flowers, and roll the cart
back. They hand two other paintings on the panels on either side
of the stage.)
(looking at the first one) Okay, so just look at the painting for
a minute and try not to focus your eyes.
What, is a 3-D dinosaur going to appear or something?
Come on. (beat) Okay, so what did you notice?
She's totally naked.
Look at how all the lines of the painting converge on the little
toy in the background! See the emphasis? The artist is showing us
that even with this naked nasty whore there's still a little bit
But I was right about the naked thing, right?
All right, smarty. It's your turn.
Okay, okay, so let's look at this one. (they go to the other one)
Notice the interplay of darks and lights, how the figure is elongated
seemingly reaching okay, I'm totally making this up.
I know. But it's kind of cute. And really, you're doing fine.
Thanks. (they look for a silent moment) This is so neat.
What, the painting?
Well, sure, why not, but I was really thinking of this moment.
It's really nice to see you when you care about something. I mean,
a lot of people go through life without caring about anything, but
well, you're just passionate, you know? I'm not always good at getting
art, but it doesn't matter, because I get you.
Well thank you. No, really, I mean that. It means a lot.
walk to the flower "painting")
So what about this.
Just look at it for a while.
in a moment he'll ask me
what I'm thinking.
out. They come up on D waiting on a couch, not particularly impatiently,
but perhaps a little sadly. J enters in winter wear, hurriedly.)
Sorry. I'm late, I'm late, I know. Meeting went over. And the roads
are just terrible with all this snow coming down. (he sits) Are
Oh, it's just been a bit of a day, you know? This new client has
just been impossible to work with, and then Mr. Boldman yelled at
me about last week's crisis with the Gurga account. At lunch, I
couldn't get a cab, and then we ended up having to wait so long
that all I got to eat was some soup crackers and a piece of bread.
Yeah. (with growing sadness, nearly the verge of tears) And then
this afternoon my Powerpoint wouldn't work for the presentation
(she leans in onto his chest, he strokes her hair) and my shoe ripped,
and well, I just had a horrible day and I just really, really missed
you (she's now crying, head on his coat).
I know, I know. I'm so sorry. There's just nothing good about bad
days. But they do make us appreciate the good ones. Sorry, I'm just
really bad at helping with these things.
(through tears, with a sort of laugh) No, no, you're doing fine.
I'm the one who should sorry.
J: Now don't say that. Look at me. Anything that you feel is never
wrong, and you shouldn't ever have to apologize for it. I'm just
glad that you feel like you can tell me these things. I mean, that's
a good sign for us, don't you think?
And besides, you're really cute when you cry. (he kisses her gently)
Thanks. (now smiling) And that comforting, paternal thing you do
is sexy, too, in a highly disturbing kind of way. (she kisses him)
Well, I do try. So what do you say I get cleaned up a little, we
put on some music, I cook you a little dinner, and you tell me all
about it. And if you're really good, I could maybe see my way fit
to give you a little bit of my world-famous massage technique.
I think I could probably be persuaded. Sounds like a plan.
Great. (he stands, and takes off his coat leaving it on the couch)
I'll be right back. I'm just going to "slip into something more
I'll be waiting.
exits. She goes to the window and glances out.)
Against his coat
I brush my lips
the silence of snowflakes.
picks up the coat and goes to hang it up. As she does, her hand
brushes a letter stuck in the inside pocket. She takes it out and
begins to read it, becoming more and more visibly upset. She sits
on the couch and finishes.)
left to the wind
all the lilies
and all his lies
reenters, oblivious to anything.)
So what do you feel like eating? Because chances are I can't make
it and we'll end up having frozen waffles, but it's worth a shot.
(Silence. He goes over to give her a back rub.) Look, everything's
going to be okay, all right? (He sees the letter in her lap.) Oh
(angry, hurt, waving letter) So why Sharon Norton, I guess that's
what I want to know. Because if it were someone pretty, I could
Oh God. Oh god. Debra, I never meant for
For me to find out? Sorry, but I guess it's too late for that one.
You're right, though, it was better not knowing. At least before
I had some doubt that you were just playing around.
No, listen, listen. I swear, it's really not like that. Debra, I
love you. Okay? This was just an accident, just some sort of
An accident? Jesus, that's one hell of an accident. Sorry, I accidentally
slept with someone else, repeatedly, apparently, snuck around hiding
all the evidence from you for months, pretending like nothing was
wrongdid your clothes just sort of accidentally fall off, and then
you accidentally fell into bed together? Repeatedly? Jesus, how
could you do this?
I really don't think you want excuses.
Well, I think we're a pretty long way from what I want right now.
I kind of wanted for you to keep your pants on, you know? But seriously,
I really want to know how the hell you can justify this one. How
on earth did this happen?
Okay, fine. Since you're asking for this. You really are just a
glutton for punishment, you know? You know the thing about Sharon,
Debra? She's available.
I'll say. She's been available all around town for as long as we've
She's emotionally available, Debra. There's someone at home up there.
I mean, this, right now, is the first I've really heard about your
feelings since, oh, I don't know, the Bush administration. We used
to talk, you know? What the hell happened?
I don't know, John, maybe it was just a little bit harder to talk
to you while you were doing someone else, you know?
Now that's fighting fair.
I don't think you have any room to talk about fair.
grabs his coat, and begins putting it on.)
What are you doing?
I'm leaving. I thought that was pretty clear. I'm pretty sure that
there's not going to be any fruitful discussion tonight.
D: So you're just walking away from this, from this mess you've
I'm not walking away. Okay, so I'm walking away for now. You're
angry. Be angry. And then later be ready to talk. (he goes to the
door) I'm sorry, I really am. That's all I can really say. I'm sorry.
I can't believe this.
I'm sorry. (he exits)
picks up a vase and, grunting, throws it at the door and it shatters.
Then she sinks to the floor, crying. Beat. She pulls herself to
her feet and walks off, returning with a broom. Still gently sobbing,
she begins sweeping the shards of the vase into a dustpan. Beat.)
After an affair
all the rooms.
out. Lights up on D sitting on a chair at a table. J enters, setting
a tray of tea before her. He speaks, while she remains stonily silent
Here, this should take the edge off of the morning for us. Jasmine
Mint Herbal Sunrise. Where do they get these names? (Beat. He sits.
He sips.) It's pretty good, though, I have to admit. Still not the
biggest tea fan, but (Beat. He reaches for the paper.) Huh, let's
see, news, style, sports, arts you want the arts section, hon?
(Beat.) I guess I'll take it. I think the crossword's in here. (Beat.
He turns pages.) Ah, there we go. (Beat. He writes on it.) Huh.
You got a five letter word for "dukes," hon? (Beat.) Okay. Can we
at least talk about this?
begins to speak, sitting still, looking up, beginning with a tone
that's not violent, hurried or loud. As she continues speaking her
focus shifts to particular parts of the room, each moment delivered
to a specific area.)
It's funny how we've gone through this series of silences. (beat)
Like at the beginning, we started out awkward, not used to the sort
of looks we would give each other, not used to the touches that
brushed a little softer. Or the touches that brushed a little harder.
There was an awkward silence. But later we grew comfortable with
those touches, they'd be there and we'd like them, but the silence
that followed was different, too. Right? Comfortable. We'd sit and
look at each other not needing to say anything because it was like
saying everything. And then the silence was what? The silence that
came out of something missing, was it? I wasn't looking at you to
look at you, I was looking at you for answers, for signs. Thinking
that maybe in the quiet some form of your thinking would creep out
by the way you shifted in your chair, the way you'd roll up your
sleeves. And I listened so hard in those silences. I listened so
hard that I think I began making up stuff to hear, anything. Anything
would maybe be better than nothing. But I listen to you now, coming
up to me with a tray of tea, trying to make more of an effort to
talk to me than you ever have in the past couple months. Now you
honestly care about my reading pleasure in the morning? And I kept
thinking anything, anything is better than nothing. But
bring me tea
everything were perfect
now all I really want is that empty silence, the nothing. That would
take the edge off the morning.
gets up, moves down to the "kitchen area" and pours her untouched
tea into the sink. J follows.)
Oh, right. I see. You just want me to cower to you now, right? Give
you the quiet of a scolded puppy, right? I said I was sorry. I explained
everything to you as best as I could, but you'd rather enjoy the
opportunity to have the upper hand than to try and work it out.
I've tried to make this better, I've tried to move it out of the
hole that I brought us in to . . . no, no. I am not the only part
of this. Yes, I screwed up. Yes I broke the rules. But you were
there, too. You were in the same room with me, when those silences
were going on and I cannot take the full blame here, because somewhere
in there, you were silent, too. You were shifting in your chair,
rolling up your sleeves! And I'm trying, to get out of there, damn
it, I am trying to get us out of there.
You're right. Maybe if I wrote you more love letters and stuck them
in your jacket? Yes, absolutely right. Absolutely. Yes! Right! Thank
you so much for the effort to "get us out of there," really,
you're greatbut I already am out of there and I don't think I'm
going to be able to wait for you.
is downstage in a warm amber light, J in the shadows around the
table lit with a little bit of the light that pools over Debra and
washes into the other areas. Light shift to stark white light on
Debra, stark white on John at the table.)
During our argument
J: a pink rose
Both: Tightens its petals.
white light is slowly joined with the amber and fades out.)
(rising, standing next to the table) I'm glad you're out, Debra.
I'm glad you found a way to pull yourself out. But I . . .
You pushed me out, John, it was fairly easy.
I think I'm going to be in it quite a while and I'm not sure if
I I am glad you you should be out. And I'm tired, Debra.
I'm tired of working so hard for a look from you that doesn't say
"fuck you." And I guess it has taken is course and it's
at where I both hoped and feared it would be.
he strokes the
The stage has been cleared of everything. We are now watching Debra
at her kitchen sink, center stage, four months later. Her
movements are methodic, then quickening. There are no props other
that the ones in Debra's hand, the potato and the knife. We watch
as she is slicing the potatoes, each becoming smaller, losing its
uniform shape. During this, downstage from Debra, John stands, leaning
with his back against the wall. Debra does not see him there, simply
because he is not. Watching with estrangement that is not only derived
from the scenes prior but also from the differing intensities of
light between the glow on him and the beams on Debra, he speaks:)
Trying to forget him