|09:58 pm - It is the complete opposite of true, yet I felt inspired by the notion...|
"Prairie City was a good-hearted place, not so much in the sense that moral aberrations never occurred, but more in that when something did go wrong--a paleontology professor got caught downloading child pornography from the Web, an elected official was discovered freebasing coke in the public restroom behind the band shell--community head shaking took the form of bemusement rather than scorn. Everyone understood that everyone screwed up once in a while. What mattered was that you showed some class about it. What mattered was that you still helped your neighbor build his back deck. You still sat on the symphony board or at least volunteered to pick up trash off the median of Highway 36 once a year. You accepted both your co-worker's gender reassignment surgery and the possibility that, during any given summer, golf-ball--sized hail could give your dog a concussion."
A woman storms into an otherwise calm room, disturbing the peaceful silence with slams and thumps that seem to rattle, though not break, the soothing aura of the room. A man is sitting there, quietly reading in a comfortable chair. He takes a moment to finish reading his sentence before looking up at his visitor with curious eyes devoid of any negative reaction to her violent appearance. His face is unperturbed, as if the calm nature of the atmosphere were a product of his mood, generating outwards from his serene inner core. A genuine smile crosses his lips, even as he observes this absurd behavior. He is happy to see this woman.
Man: (Pleasantly, velvetly) Hey sweetie!
Woman: (The woman screams her retort, unaware of the disturbance her behavior is causing) Don't you 'Hey sweetie' ME!!! What are you doing up?? Waiting for me?!? Spying on me???
Man: (Still quite calm, still pleasant and loving) No. (He holds up the book in his hand, shaking it slightly; she barely notices as she tries to storm out of the room. He rises to follow her, arms slightly outstretched, reaching for her, as if for a loving embrace.) How was the game? (She continues to retreat, and he continues to pursue, oblivious) Did you win?
Woman: Did I win?!? What, are you checking the facts to make sure that's what I was really doing??? Yes of course I won some hands, and lost others!! I told you I was going to play cards with the gang, you knew where I was! What I was doing!!! (Her arms flail wildly out of control as she screams this with fury, the display nearly knocking her off balance. This gives him a chance to catch her, his hands gently grabbing around her waist. Another smile crosses his face, a bigger one, mixed with amusement, patience, and adoration)
Man: You're right. I knew you would win. (He bows his head in as if for a kiss, but she pressed hard off his chest and whirls out of the embrace. He follows, confusion finally touching his face as he listens to her rant.)
Woman: Nothing HAPPENED, alright!!?! We played a few hands, had a few drinks, and then I drove Tommy home. Practically kicked him out of the car while it was still moving, you have to believe me!!!" (She stops for a minute, whirling suddenly so that it catches him off-guard, to study his expression. His eyebrows are pinched, but immediately they smooth out into another easy grin. He reaches for her again, sweetly, as he responds)
Man: Of course I believe you--
Woman: Oh my God, how can you not TRUST me!?!?! (She throws up her arms, twirls, and begins stomping away again, this time towards the door. For the first time an expression of confusion begins to overcome his face)
Man: Of course I trust you baby--
Woman: I mean, if you can't trust me at all, Eric, then what's the point of us even continuing this relationship!?! (The man's mouth drops open, too shocked to repond in time. Meanwhile the woman has thrown on her coat and struggles to secure her scarf as she storms back out the door, slamming it in his stunned fact so hard that a few decorations rattle dangerously as the screen fades to black.)
The beep of an answering machine, or voicemail, precludes a strained female voice that raspes not without emotion, but without energy. The pain--both physical and emotional--and the dark-circles under her eyes are audible in the way her voice wavers as she leaves the disjointed message.
Elizabeth: Hi, it's me...(her voice cracks) Umm, (deep breath in) I lied to you, before. Last night, when I said that nothing happened between Tom and I. When we got to his place, I stopped, and we kissed. I can't remember if he started it or not, but I wanted him to. The moment I knew it was happening, I knew I wanted him to do it. (She takes another sharp breath in that converts to a sob. The following dialogue continues through tears that she's obviously fighting to hold back, and not succeeding). I'm so sorry Eric but I just, I couldn't tell you last night, I was so mad at myself for letting it happen and I just--(Another sharp intake followed by a deep, calming breath outwards, followed by an audible swallow) I couldn't keep it from you any longer. I'm sorry but I think I'm in love with him and--(Another sob, her voice begins to crackle again with impending tears)--I know that's not fair to you so I think it would be best--(a west sniffle)--if we didn't see each other anymore. (The voice cries for a few seconds, softly, but audibly, followed by some garbled whispers through trembling lips) I'm so sorry! I...wa--(The call ends with a definitive click, followed by monotonous dial tone).
Meanwhile: the screen fades in to focus on a close-up of the answering machine, or the cell phone, then slowly pans out to show Eric, sitting still but erect, clearly stiff with tension, as he listens to the message. As the voice starts to break down his body collapses into a profound hunch, and he covers his own eyes with his thumb and index finger, clearly in pain yet unable to cry. When the message ends, he remains still for the first 2-3 seconds of dial tone. Then he reaches to hit the button or sequence of buttons that allow the message to begin replaying again.)
Current Location: My apartment, at the kitchen table
Current Mood: creative
Current Music: The hum of two computers running...