Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Breaking: A Play in 3 Acts

Act III
Setting: the living room.
Characters: Michael, Danielle
Danielle is sitting in an armchair, looking out the window. Michael is making coffee in the kitchen nearby.

M: You're quiet.

D [distant]: It's quiet outside. I was just following suite.

M: Mm.

D: May I have a cup?

M [Michael brings the french press over to her and pours her a cup of coffee]: Here you go.

D: Thank you. [Pausing] I'm sorry if I was short earlier, in the car. The snow always...I don't know. It is so light, and empty, and deceptive.

M: What do you mean?

D [solemnly]: It melts.

M: Yes?

D: I am a unique snowflake...absorbed in a seamless blanket...I liquefy above freezing, and evaporate when the sun comes out. Three states of being...and not one to lay claim to. I'm nothing, Michael.

M: [silence]

D: So much white. What an aberration.

M: Hon, you're not nothing.

D [putting down her cup]: Ah, but I am. I melt. I evaporate. On the ground, each snowflake has unique company. This sea of white, like drops in the ocean. Is it one thing? Is it a million separate things? Oh, I am a part of this human family. You. Me. Your mother. Papa. Isabelle. That bag boy at the Acme. The whole lot of us. One seamless blanket. We form separately in the sky, and fall to earth, and become One. We don't even see each other anymore. We are so close!

M [putting his arm around her]: That is what family is. A blanket, as you say. That's a good thing, Danielle. To be close.

[Danielle stares out the window and brings her finger to her lip, and says nothing. She lifts the window slightly, and pinches off a few flakes of snow from the ledge, and places them on the radiator.]

D: And here we are.

M: Close that window, please. It's cold.

D: No, Michael, look! Two snowflakes...you and I. Clumped together with our friends, our family. The rest of pristine humanity freshly fallen on the asphalt outside. Watch with me, please.

[Slowly, the small clump of snow begins to melt. Water dribbles down the side of the radiator. Danielle stares intently at a few drops remaining on the top. After a few moments, these shrink, and disappear. Danielle gets up suddenly, knocking the porcelain cup against the saucer.]

D [panicky]: Where am I? Where am I!?

M: Jesus, Danielle, calm down. You're right here.

D: No, no I'm not. Don't you see! I was there. My white gown. My flesh. Boiled to blood. Dried to ash. Blown away!

M: Come on.

D: Michael, you tell me I am something, I am a unique snowflake, and I will walk out this door and never look at you again.

M: Jesus!

D: Where is it...I...you saw it! Disappear. In the span of seconds. How much more, my life? Our life! Like they say at funerals, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust..." What does dust become? Will it burn?

M: D, I have no idea what you are talking about.

D [pacing, talking to self while biting fingernail]: I was here, and now I'm not. You are here...now...

M: Honey, sit down. You're here.

[Danielle suddenly rushes over to Michael and embraces him, kissing him with force, as if to consume him, then pulls back.]

D: I am a snowflake, Michael, and God is rubbing me between his fingers. In a split second, his heat consumes me. I lose my composition. Nothing stays the same. Reincarnating! No. One life. Yes...this...is it. If you put a snowflake under a microscope...and watch it melt...does it change shape? You know, molecules and what not? God is rubbing me between his fingers, Michael, I know it. I feel so close to annihilation. I can feel the fire behind the door. Remember, the Dark Knight? "In their last moments, people show you who they really are." I am a broken link, Michael, a coward. And I am being consumed...

[Michael pulls her close, and strokes her hair. He thinks she is crying, but her eyes are dry, and unblinking. She looks out the window at the snow falling gently outside.]

M: Listen. You're not a coward. You're the bravest woman I know. And you're here. I'm here. This is real! We aren't snowflakes...we're human beings. Flesh and bones! That doesn't melt so easily. Will we die? Maybe some day. But not today. No! We're here.

D: Here. I have no idea, Michael...where that is.

[CURTAIN]

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