Saturday, March 19, 2016

I Want..., Katy Comber

The Heaviness of Time
by Katy Comber

Lights up. Tiny studio apartment. All owned furnishings are sparse, neatly laid out, and visible. Two 30 somethings walk around in the loft as if in a routine synchronized and perfected over many years. The man stops abruptly, and turns around to face the woman. 

Julien
I want--

Rita
No. 

Julien
I want-- 

Rita
Julien stop. You don’t- 

Julien
I want--

Rita
Don’t cut me off! You know how I feel about that. 

Julien
But, I-- 

Rita
You don’t know what you want, Jules. That’s the problem. 

Julien
Oh, oh right. I get it. You know what I need to say. You’re trying to stop me from saying it. From saying how much I want--

Rita
You’re right. I’m not ready. I’m stalling. 

Julien
Really? 


Rita
Yeah. I can’t do it.

Julien
Okay.

Rita
Okay. 

Long pause. The two look at each other and begin to laugh. 

Julien
Steak for dinner. 

Rita
What? 

Julien
Steak for dinner is what I want. I just had to get it out there. 

Rita
That’s not what you were going to say. 

Julien
How do you know? You kept cutting me off. 

Rita
That’s not what your face was saying. Your face was not saying Steak Dinner

Julien
You can read my face so well. 

Rita
I can. 

Julien
Because you know me. Well. I know you. Well. We have been friends for decades. We’ve been in love for years. You can tell my steak dinner face from my I yearn for something that terrifies Rita face. By the way, may I ask? Why are you so afraid? 

Rita
Dinner is about all I handle at the moment. 

Julien
Just tonight. Just now. Not a lifetime of dinners. But one dinner at a time. Perpetually, we will have dinner, but we must not speak of it as a continuous occurrence as it has been for five years now. We must not think about the amount of time accrued, passing, and yet to come. One. Day. At. A. Time. Right? Yes? That is what you need. That is what I give you. But, see, I have a need too. I have a need to tell you that this is it for me. I need you to know that I’m here without any intentions of-- 

Rita
Stop. 

Julien
--going--

Rita
Stop. 

Julien
--leaving-- 

Rita
Stop. 

Julien
--abandoning. 

Rita
Stop!

Julien
I am here. 

Rita
And I am here. Asking you to stop. I don’t care about what you need to say. I realize that is harsh. It’s truth. I. Don’t. Care. That was a beautiful speech. So eloquent and loving. It was the perfect thing to say--to someone else. To someone who can listen to your heart and accept it. I am not that person. I can’t be that person. Time is too heavy. Too overwhelming. If I feel that the word, Life, is too precious of a gift for someone like me to receive, what about the actuality of that word? If I can’t bear to hear it, why would you assume I could bear to receive it? 
Do you really need me to know that you will give me this gift of time? This commitment? Oh, don’t look so shocked. I can say the word. Commitment. Is it that you want me to know it, or that you need to know it from me? You need the promise more than you need me to hear it. That’s what you really want. Selfish. 
I told you after Sam. I told you that I could never-- Now, you stand there. Joking about a lifetime of steak dinners. How could you? Do you know what you have done? I believe you do. I believe you knew that once you said those words, I would run. You want me to release you from this--unknowing. But, guess what? 
Even if we vowed words and said the things everyone wants and expects us to say, everything would remain unknown anyway. It is all farce. It has to be. For a world in which my brother Sam, my favorite person in the whole world, can dive out of a 30th story window because he saw a swimming pool instead of 45th street... For that kind of world to exist and for you to stand there with your need of a future? I’m sorry. This promising of growing old together. Promising of lifetimes. Don’t you see? What hubris to believe that we can promise our futures. Now. That is all we have. Here. Now. Nothing more than that. You can not ask me for more, because I wouldn’t dare presume to ask you… This. This is all I can give you. 

Julien
You are a prisoner in a 24 hour chamber, and the memory of Poor Dead Sam is your warden.   

Rita
Yes. 

Julien
I love you. 

Rita
I know. 

Julien
You love me? 

Rita
I do. 

Julien
I want more. 

Rita
I want you to have more. 

Julien
But not with you? 

Rita
No. 

Julien
Okay. 

Rita
Okay. 

Julien
Steak for dinner? Pause. Last meal. 

Rita
Okay, then.

Julien
Champagne too. 

Rita
I’ll run to the store. 

Julien
Come back? 

Rita
Probably. 

Julien
Right. 


Rita leaves for the store. Julien pulls out a suitcase from the front hall closet. Tosses a few things inside and takes a ring box from his pocket. He places the box next to the clock set on a side table by the door. Julien looks around the loft for the last time and leaves. Lights out. 

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