January 3, 2007

A Play A Day #265

The Coincident

Old Woman
Man - non-speaking

Setting: A park. A bench.

(Lights up on Woman kissing Man, kiss breaks off, Man turns and walks off stage, Woman watches after him happily, Old Woman approaches from behind, carry two large canvas bags filled with random junk. Old Woman looks horrible: dirty, bedraggled, clothes torn. She is obviously homeless and used to it.)

Old Woman: He's so handsome.

Woman: (dreamily) Yes. (surprised to be answering a random voice, turns quickly) I mean... I meant thank you. (not liking what she sees, she says a bit coldly) Hello.

OW: Do you know him?

W: Him? Uhh... yes... he's my... uhh, friend.

OW: (loud barking laugh) Wish my "friends" gave me big tasty smackers like that!

W: (moving to sit on bench, picking up her book) Well...that... he's my... boyfriend.

OW: What a coincidence!

W: (trying to hide behind the book, but curious) Hmmm?

OW: Yeah! What a crazy-amazy coincidence!

W: What? What coincidence?

OW: Your boyfriend!

W: My boyfriend?

OW: Yeah, him! He's my boyfriend too!

W: (her suspicions about the old woman confirmed, she begins reading) Oh.

OW: You don't believe me.

W: No.

OW: He is, or maybe was, my boyfriend. I don't know which to say.

W: It has to be was, if it ever was, which I doubt.

OW: I dated him for almost ten years... so much promise.

W: He's only twenty-seven.

OW: I know.

W: He could not have dated you for almost ten years; I've been dating him for two years already, and he...

OW: I was thirty-five when he finally came clean.

W: Wait... how...

OW: Three weeks before the wedding.

W: Wedding?! No.

OW: For ten years, he and I planned to marry, but he always put it off. School - med school, then the rotations, then the Boards, then residency, the Boards again, then his own practice.

W: How did you...?

OW: Then Rose! Damn her! I could never even stand the flower after it happened.

W: Rose?

OW: The first physician's assistant he hired at his practice... I don't know how long it went on, maybe he knew her from before, or maybe it was just those three months after he hired her.

W: But not...

OW: He told me one night. No wedding... no marriage... no more.

W: Yes, but... I'm sorry, but this is my...

OW: Then, no apartment... no career... I had been waiting for him. Waiting on him. His wife, his children. That's all I wanted. I worshipped that man.

W: Most med school students don't do that sort of... I'm sorry that your boyfriend was so...

OW: I tried for a while... A couple crappy jobs... but I was literally devestated, and I never recovered. My life was gone. My Clayton was gone.

W: (freezing) C... Clayton?

OW: Clayton. Clayton James Meyerson.

W: Wait! Stop! Who are you?!

OW: I never got my life back.

W: Who?! Tell me!

OW: When I found myself out in the streets one night. I stayed.

W: How did you know Clayton's name?!

OW: I told you. I dated him, I was engaged to him, I almost married him.

W: No, you didn't... he's twenty-seven!

OW: I told you. You don't want to listen.

W: So you guessed that he was a medical student... and someone told you his name... but why are you...

OW: Now, all I have left is garbage... (reaches into one of the bags, pulls out items) ... a towel... a pan, got to cook sometime... this old necklace, Clayton gave it to me in a park one day.

W: (feeeling her neck, pulling out the identical necklace) What... (pause, her breathing is shallower and rapid)

OW: (noting Woman's necklace) Well, look at that... what a coincidence. You know, if you ever find yourself alone, in dangerous circumstances, don't brag about your beautiful gold necklace to desperate companions.

W: I... I... but... you... can't be...

OW: Some people'd sooner stab you for the face value of the jewelry than listen to your sad story. Obviously, it's not the first time I trusted a man and ended up hurt. Really hurt.

W: (terrified whisper) What are you saying?

OW: I guess, when you're lying bleeding under a spruce tree in Greer Park... that's up near Lincoln and Trundell, over by the old Lancester Arms Hotel.

W: I know where it is.

OW: Yeah, well, I guess when you're dying that slowly, your life can flash before your eyes for quite a while.

W: You can't...

OW: And, you see a time, a memory, where you can stop, and maybe change your future, so you do it.

W: (stands, one last attempt to deny this odd event) But Clayton is not like that! He's kind, and... selfless, and generous, and has a wonderful sense of humor.

OW: (overlapping Woman's words exactly) Selfless, and generous, and has a wonderful sense of humor. (pause) You might believe those words. And you might end up stabbed to death, 55. Looking like 85. It's your choice. (pause) I have to go. (turns to leave)

W: Holly?

OW: (stops, but doesn't look back) Hmm... what a coincidence. (she leaves)

(Woman collapses on the bench, lights fade, she fingers her necklace, she is in shock)

(lights out)


1 comment:

Brendon Etter said...

This play actually started as an absurdist comedy. It changed very quickly - before I finished the first line.