by R. Hoffman
A one-act play about love and loneliness.
|TILL CHINA AND AFRICA MEET
a play by Richard J. Hoffman
MAN: An adult male. Inquisitive, perceptive, witty. Asks odd questions, but keeps himself emotionally distant. Fears opening up.
WOMAN: An adult female. Friendly, a homebody, perhaps a little “normal”. More wiling to open up than the MAN.
OWNER: The woman who owns the laundromat. Snappy, rude, perhaps even smarmy (but not in a Captain Jack-kind of way)
CUSTOMER: A man who is partaking in the laundry-related services of the OWNER and is severely displeased with them.
YOUNG CHILD: A young child - age 11 or 12. The gender is unimportant. The child’s mother recently died in a car crash. He or she prays for God to bring her back to life.
BOY: The GIRL’s boyfriend. Age 17 to 20. Stubborn (though not as much as the GIRL), clever, but compassionate and loving.
GIRL: The BOY’s girlfriend. Age 17 to 19. Very stubborn, passionate, and argumentative.
SCENE 1 (Distance)
(At a laundromat, a middle-aged woman, the OWNER, sits on a high chair with her legs crossed, listening to an iPod. She clearly isn’t concerned with the operation of her laundromat. She files her nails. A furious man walks up to her, holding a very ugly shirt that has been torn badly.
CUSTOMER: May I speak to the purveyor of this so-called establishment?
OWNER (inattentively): This is her.
CUSTOMER: Your devil-machine has eaten my shirt. (the OWNER doesn’t respond) Excuse me! I said, my shirt has been massacred!
(The OWNER unwillingly takes out her earbuds.)
OWNER: I’m sorry? Your shirt...?
(The CUSTOMER gestures ridiculously to his shirt.)
CUSTOMER: This was not like this when I came in here.
OWNER: What, was it blue?
CUSTOMER: Your washing machine, after gobbling up my hard-earned quarters, saw it necessary to rip my best shirt!
OWNER: (sarcastically) That’s your best shirt?
CUSTOMER: I’ll have you know that I paid $139.95 for this shirt at Eddie Bauer.
OWNER: Did a drunk clown puke on it on your way out of the store?
CUSTOMER: Look. I’m a paying customer here. I’ve been coming here for years -
OWNER (interrupting): This is the first time I’ve seen you.
CUSTOMER: This is the first time you’ve stopped listening to your iPod or filing your nails or reading People Magazine or chatting on the phone with your boyfriend! Who is, by the way, very obviously cheating on you, a fact that I only know because of when you loudly told your friend that he was going on a trip to the Bahamas with a business associate. Nobody goes to the Bahamas with a business associate.
OWNER (offended): Look, you don’t know what you’re talking about... besides, who cares what you think? Look at your fashion sense, that shirt looks like Mister Rodgers started a clothes brand at Walmart that got discontinued because even Walmart has standards.
CUSTOMER: Look, give me my money back or I will take my business elsewhere.
OWNER: I value you, your 1970s sitcom dad fashion, and your $0.75 so much, sir, that I’m tearing up at the idea of you leaving me forever.
CUSTOMER: (shouting) I’ll have you know - (he catches himself and begins to whisper angrily) I’ll have you know that I have friends in very high places.
OWNER: What, are you friends with some ski instructors?
CUSTOMER (smugly): Councilman Josiah Bartlett. Maybe you’ve heard of him?
OWNER: Isn’t he the one who got in trouble for those text messages he sent?
CUSTOMER (quickly and flustered): Those allegations - they’re completely unfounded - they have yet to been proven in a court of law!
OWNER (condescendingly): Well, I’ll be glad to have old Bartlett around the place for a nice chat. Though, if he uses the same vocabulary with me that he did in those texts with his 19-year old secretary, I’m afraid I’ll have to show him the door.
CUSTOMER (furious): Good day!
OWNER (getting the last blow in): It’s 9 o’clock at night.
(The CUSTOMER gives a frustrated yell before storming out, leaving his tattered shirt on the floor. The OWNER victoriously puts her iPod earbuds back in. A man and a woman walk in to the laundromat - though they’re not together. They get their detergent and laundry baskets prepared and sit next to eat each other, with two chairs in between. Awkward. The MAN decides to muster up some courage.)
MAN: You know, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in this situation. Two strangers brought together by circumstances. Who knows how many potential soul mates I’ve ignored because I’m bad at small talk? I’m Tim, by the way.
WOMAN (surprised): Hi, Tim. I’m Jane. Is that icebreaker rehearsed, or was it actually spontaneous?
MAN: I’ve been thinking it up in my head ever since I walked in here, if that’s what you mean.
WOMAN: More or less... so, do you think I’m your soulmate?
MAN: I don’t know. I don’t have any evidence to suggest that you aren’t.
WOMAN: Nor any to suggest that I am.
MAN: I prefer to view the cup of washing detergent as half-full, not half-empty. So, what’s your purpose in life?
WOMAN: Excuse me? My purpose?
MAN: Yeah. I suppose I could ask you what you do for a job, or what your hobbies are, or whatever, but ultimately isn’t that all just beating around the bush? What is your essence?
WOMAN: I’ve never been asked that before.
MAN: That’s terrible. Let me rephrase... how about, what is important to you?
WOMAN (playing along): Well, let me think. Family. Music. My dog.
MAN: Your dog? That was the third thing you listed. That’s pretty impressive for a dog.
WOMAN: Yeah. Theodore. He’s a beagle. I’ve had him for 13 years. Took him to college, and I had to get an apartment instead of a dorm freshman year because dorms wouldn’t allow pets.
MAN: And why do you like him?
WOMAN: ...he’s my dog.
MAN: No, I know that. But why do you like him? Why is he the third most important thing in your life?
WOMAN: He’s... he’s always there when I come home. He’s always excited to see me. He cuddles with me at night, and he sleeps on my lap when I’m watching TV. He knows when I’m not feeling well or when I’ve had a rough day... he has this amazing empathy. (exasperated with herself) I sound like a lunatic right now.
MAN: No, you don’t.
MAN: You don’t. You sound like a lunatic who loves her dog.
WOMAN: (laughs) I suppose so... now, what is your essence, Tim, the man who asks so many hard-hitting questions? What makes you tick? What’s your Theodore?
MAN: I’m not sure that I have one.
WOMAN: No? It seems awfully strange that you ask so many questions and don’t have any answers yourself.
MAN: I’m interested in other people. They fascinate me.
WOMAN: I figured that out by now. But why?
MAN: ...I guess I’ve always been surprised at how cruel people can be to each other. Or how disconnected everyone seems sometimes.
WOMAN: And that interests you?
MAN: In a way, I guess.
WOMAN: So your way of counteracting this disconnect is by striking up conversations with random women at laundromats?
MAN: ...in a way, I guess. In way, maybe I’m just as disconnected as everyone else.
WOMAN: I take it that you don’t have a special someone in your life.
MAN: (seriously and quietly, after a pause) No, not for a while.
WOMAN: (doesn’t pick up on his change in tone) So, how do you spend your time?
MAN: (unsure how to answer) I write.
WOMAN: Write what?
MAN: Poetry, mostly.
WOMAN: Poetry! Who’s your favorite poet?
WOMAN: Auden... I’ve never heard. Recite some for me.
MAN: (taken aback, almost unwillingly) Oh. Sure... there’s always been one that’s stuck with me. I can’t seem to forget it.
“As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.
And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
"Love has no ending.
"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street”
(a machine buzzes, interrupting him)
MAN: That’s mine.
(He gets up and collects his laundry.)
WOMAN: The poem, how does it end?
MAN: It ends like everything ends.
WOMAN: Which is?
MAN: (pauses) Time ends it. A clock admonishes the lovers for their silliness. The last two stanzas are,
“ ‘O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'
It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.”
WOMAN: And you can’t forget that?
MAN: No. I did try. It just wasn’t possible.
MAN: I should get going.
WOMAN: Do you want to get some coffee or some caramels or something? I’d love to talk about this more.
MAN: (hesitates) I’m really busy, sorry.
WOMAN: Well, how are you getting back home? I have a car, I could drive you.
MAN: No, thanks. I’m walking, I don’t live too far away. Sorry.
WOMAN: (quickly) Oh, no, don’t worry about it.
WOMAN: Well, nice meeting you, Tim.
MAN: Yeah... yeah.
WOMAN: Well, goodbye.
(The MAN nods his head faintly, gathers his things and exits. She looks down at the floor, then back up to where he left. Pauses, and then gathers her laundry.)
SCENE 2 (Prayer)
(a young child kneels against his bed, praying)
YOUNG CHILD: Dear God... please bring Mom back to life. I think it’s very selfish that you took her to Heaven, because I need her here, and you already have so many people up in Heaven. And because I don’t really know how to pack my lunch for school. And Dad seems really sad now too. He doesn’t talk much anymore. He mostly sits on the couch and watches TV until really late at night, or sits at his computer and just stares at the screen. He never leaves the house for very long. When I asked Dad if you would bring Mom back to life, he just looked at me kind of funny. Not like I asked a dumb question, different than that. He didn’t saying anything and just sat on the couch. I know that he misses her very much. He won’t even sleep on his old bed, where Mom used to sleep. I think it’s because he misses her so much.
YOUNG CHILD: And he gets angry now, too. When he’s not quiet, he’s usually just angry. He never used to get angry much, except when the car wouldn’t start, or something like that. But it’s not really a yelling kind of angry. It’s more like, I’ll ask him a question and he’ll be kind of mean to me. Or he just won’t talk to me, for days. I don’t think he’s handling Mom being dead well at all. So if you could please bring her back to life, I think that everything would be all right.
YOUNG CHILD: And I miss her a lot, too. I never got to say goodbye to her, before that car hit her and you took her to Heaven. I don’t think that’s right, and I know that God believes in what’s right, because my Mom always told me that. So I think that you should give her back to us, so that I can talk to her again. I love her. Because it’s been two years, and I still miss her really badly. So please bring her back to life. Amen.
SCENE 3 (Decibels)
(a boyfriend and a girlfriend argue with each other, lying around doing nothing)
GIRL: I can’t believe that you don’t like The Big Lebowski.
BOY: It just wasn’t my thing, okay?
GIRL: But... John Goodman! Jeff Bridges!
BOY: I know who was in it.
GIRL: Steve Buscemi!
BOY: Yes, Steve Buscemi. I get it, it’s the Coen Brothers. They have the same three actors in every movie. And all three of them are Steve Buscemi.
GIRL: What didn’t you like about it?
BOY: It just wasn’t funny, okay? I didn’t really get what it was about.
GIRL: What’s not to get? Jeff Lebowski is a bowler who calls himself “The Dude” who gets hired by a millionaire also named Jeff Lebowski to deliver the ransom for his kidnapped trophy wife, but then the Dude’s friend, who’s the Dad in Roseanne, wants the ransom money for himself. Shenanigans occur.
BOY: I thought it was vulgar.
GIRL: So The Big Lebowski is vulgar, but Kanye West’s new album is high art?
BOY: Look, there are nuances in it that you’re just not willing to see because you can’t get past the misogyny.
GIRL: Oh, excuse me for not being able to get past woman-hating! Thank you for putting me in my place. Would you like me to forfeit my right to vote and cover up my ankles while I’m at it?
BOY: Yes, yes I would. Also, you’re 17. You can’t vote.
GIRL: That’s besides the point.
BOY: No, I don’t really think it is.
GIRL: ...fine. What’s your favorite Beatles album?
BOY: See, now you’re just asking questions that you know are going to result in bickering.
GIRL: We’re not bickering. We’re having a discussion.
BOY: A heated discussion. That involves shouting. And anger.
GIRL: You just won’t admit that I’m right.
BOY: That may have more to do with the fact that you’re not right than anything else.
BOY: I love you.
GIRL: Of course you do.
GIRL: Prove it.
BOY: How do you expect me to prove it?
GIRL: If you can’t come up with a way to do it, it’s not helping your cause.
BOY: (pause) Give me a starting point.
GIRL: Fine. How about you shout it?
BOY: Shout it?
GIRL: Yes, please.
BOY: (after a pause) (loud, but wimpily) I LOVE YOU.
GIRL: That was disappointing.
BOY: This is emasculating.
GIRL: Love is emasculating. Louder!
BOY: (louder) I LOVE YOU.
GIRL: How many decibels do you love me?
BOY: (loudest) I LOVE YOU!
(a short pause, then laughter. The GIRL steps close to the BOY and embraces him.)
GIRL: I love you too, darling. (She kisses him on the cheek.)
BOY: I also hate you. But just a little bit.
GIRL: That’s perfectly understandable.
GIRL: But really, we need to watch The Big Lebowski again...
SCENE 4 (Loneliness)
(The WOMAN sits on a chair, with a book on her lap and a phone between her ear and shoulder.)
WOMAN: No, Mom, I’m okay. I know that it’s Friday. (laughing) You don’t have to remind me how old I am. I’m reading a book. Work has been going well. It looks like the company might get sold, which means that my shares would be sold back to me. Yeah, it was $75,000 and interest. I know! Who would have thought. It’s all because of that Campell’s commercial, or so C.J. says. She gives me all the credit. No, not really. Um, Disney-Pixar is the biggest prospective buyer right now. I know, right? I could write Toy Story 4! No, I know Toy Story 3 had a pretty conclusive ending. I cried too. No, it was a joke, Mom. No, don’t email Aunt Mandy about it, I’m pretty sure that’s, like, a felony. The Security and Exchange Commission, that’s who would care. The people in charge of the stock market. (a pause) No, Mom, I haven’t met anyone. (a longer pause) I know. I know...
SCENE 5 (Circumstance)
(The BOY is sitting on a chair, reading a book - The Things They Carried, about Vietnam. They’re in college now - a few years have passed. The GIRL walks in nervously.)
GIRL: So I have some bad news...
BOY: (jokingly) It can’t be much worse than the Vietnam War, can it?
GIRL: (quickly) I’m pregnant.
(stunned silence, for a long time)
GIRL: This is not my idea of a twisted joke.
BOY: What are we gonna do?
GIRL: I don’t know... I don’t know.
BOY: We don’t - you’re not considering -
(a pause. The GIRL bursts into tears. The BOY quickly tries to comfort her. He hugs her tightly.)
BOY: I love you. We’re gonna do this.
GIRL: Will we be able to? We’re 19. We have classes, we don’t have any money.
BOY: We’ll work everything out.
GIRL: And my mom... my mom! She’s going to be so pissed.
BOY: She’ll be a grandmother, of course she’ll be pissed. But it’s a baby! We’re going to have a baby.
GIRL: (weakly) We’re going to have a baby.
BOY: We’re going to have a baby.
(they sit down on the couch together, cuddling)
SCENE 6 (Time)
(The YOUNG CHILD, older by a few years now, holds a bouquet of flowers. He clutches them tight to his chest. Silence for a while.)
YOUNG CHILD: I miss you, Mom.
YOUNG CHILD: I brought you these. (he lifts up the flowers as if to show her what he brought.)
YOUNG CHILD: I’ll be here tomorrow, okay?
(desperate silence. He then places the bouquet on the tombstone, grasps it for support for a moment, and then slowly walks away.)
SCENE 7 (Father)
(The MAN sits at a table, typing on his laptop. The YOUNG CHILD walks in from his visit to the graveyard, puts his backpack down on the ground, and pulls up a chair by the table and sits down. The MAN is the YOUNG CHILD’S father - his emotional disconnect and fear of opening up stems from the loss of his wife. There is an awkward, tense silence, before the YOUNG CHILD starts a conversation.)
YOUNG CHILD: I visited Mom today.
YOUNG CHILD: Yeah. I put flowers by her. Everything looks... looks fine. I was worried they wouldn’t cut the grass or there’d be toilet paper everywhere or something, but everything looks fine. (His father doesn’t respond.) What are you working on?
MAN: A novel.
YOUNG CHILD: A new one?
MAN: No, the same one as before. The same one as always.
YOUNG CHILD: Any progress?
MAN: (irritated) What do you think?
YOUNG CHILD: (apologetic) I don’t know. I thought maybe inspiration might have struck. You’re at the computer more than ever.
MAN: I sit here and wait for words to come. For years, I’ve waited for the sentences to trickle out like they used to. It used to be so damn easy - that’s the worst part. It used to be so easy, and now there’s nothing. It’s dry. There’s nothing left.
YOUNG CHILD: Nothing?
MAN: (He is letting out frustration that he’s been silent on for years.) It’s like a dry creek. It’s all dammed up and I’m just so sick and tired of it. I’m so sick and tired of the nothingness... I’m sick of the stasis. I miss the words. I miss the cathartic release. And I miss your mother. (he begins to softly sob) God, I miss her so much.
YOUNG CHILD: But Mom wouldn’t want you to exist like this. Mom would be embarrassed.
YOUNG CHILD: Embarrassed. I don’t think she’d recognize you. (The MAN looks as if he’s trying to respond, but is incapable. He still cries quietly.) I think she would ask, “Where’s the man I married? Where’s the passionate writer, where’s the man in love with life?” And she would see you. (His face becomes meaner - years of bitterness boil to the surface.) A sad little man, drowning away his years in whiskey and self-pity. With chronic writer’s block. Who hardly ever even sees the sun. You’d be a stranger to her. Nothing but a pathetic stranger.
(He gets up a walks away - not offstage yet. He huffs and puffs. A long pause. The YOUNG CHILD realizes the inappropriateness of his actions.)
YOUNG CHILD: I’m sorry, I was out -
MAN: (interrupting) No. Don’t apologize. Everything you said was true. It was too true... you’re getting too old, I swear. One day you just grew up on me, and now you’re a man. And I missed it. (pause) No, don’t apologize. I’ll apologize. I’m sorry.
YOUNG CHILD: It’s all right.
MAN: It’s not. But you were right. (He’s lost in thought.) You were right.
YOUNG CHILD: Dad?
MAN: (stirs himself) Sorry. Give me a hug. (they hug, and the MAN kisses the YOUNG CHILD on the top of the head.) Everything will be okay. Or it will be, with time.
SCENE 8 (Birth)
(A knock on the door at The MAN’s house late at night. He gets out of bed in his pajamas and lets in the BOY and the GIRL - the latter of whom is very pregnant, the former of whom is in a state of blank panic.
BOY: (calm but clearly uneven, with heavy breathing) We need to use your phone, please. My girlfriend is about to have a baby.
MAN: (hurried) Yeah, sure, it’s in the - it’s right here, it’s on the hook. (he grabs it and hands it to him)
(The BOY hurriedly dials 911.)
BOY: Yeah, my wifep is about to have a baby and our car died... we’re in someone’s house. (To the MAN) What’s the address?
MAN: 720 South Street.
BOY: (To phone) 720 South Street. (speaking deliberately, irritated) 720 South Street. Okay. Okay. Yeah, okay. No, her breathing is fine... her contractions are - they’re about five minutes apart. Yes, I know. I know. Okay. Please do. (he turns the phone off, frustrated) They’re sending a dispatcher. He should be here in a few minutes.
GIRL: (crabby) A few minutes?
BOY: He said a few minutes.
(Silence for a bit. The GIRL sits down and does breathing exercises. The BOY goes by her and holds her hand. He is clearly supportive.)
MAN: Your car broke down?
BOY: Yeah. It’s a piece of junk... got it off a used car salesman in our neighborhood. And, by that, I mean to say, I got it off of a crook in our neighborhood. Cost me three grand, and I’ve put that if not more into repairs.
MAN: And you didn’t bring a cell phone?
BOY: No. We don’t have cell phones.
MAN: (after a pause) You look like kids. How old are you?
(The GIRL has a contraction - for about ten seconds, she screams intensely and squeezes the hand of the BOY. He comforts her - lines adlibbed. After the contractions, she sighs and breathes heavily. The BOY relaxes a little, but not much.)
GIRL: I’m 19. He’s 20.
MAN: In college?
MAN: And now you’re living on your own, with a crappy car and no phone.
GIRL: You have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s not as bad as you think. Toby works full-time at a factory and makes decent money.
MAN: Working at a factory job?
BOY: It’s not as bad as you think.
MAN: What did you study in college?
MAN: (to the GIRL) And you?
MAN: So you’re a couple of young, former English majors, and one of you works at a factory, and one of you is about to give birth to a child. Forgive me if I think that it’s about as bad as I think.
BOY: Look, guy, can you give me a break? We’re about to have a kid, here.
MAN: You’re just kids yourselves.
BOY: Have you ever had a job at a factory? Ever worked an honest day in your life?
MAN: Actually, yes. I had a job at a factory all through high school and all through college. And then, guess what? I graduated, and then I didn’t have to work at a factory anymore.
GIRL: (angrily) We couldn’t afford tuition. We couldn’t afford baby clothes.
MAN: Couldn’t afford... yeah. (he ponders for a bit)
MAN: You know, my wife used to love how spontaneous I could be. One day, for her birthday, I packed everything she needed without her knowing, woke her up in the morning, drove to the airport, and we went to Hawaii. You see, though I’m a lowly English major too, I was blessed with some small success and a wife who knew to major in something more profitable. She was in the passenger’s seat the whole drive, half-asleep and pissed off like no one else. She hated being woken up... you can imagine how she handled our son when he was a baby. Well, maybe you can’t imagine, but I’m sure you’ll be able to soon. Anyway, once she starts coming to and sees the signs and all, she looks at me with this deathly look and says, “The airport, Josh? You idiot, I didn’t even bring a toothbrush.” (he laughs while saying the quote, and the couple laugh with him) That was fifteen years ago. You two were in kindergarten. With milk crates and alphabets. Fifteen years ago...
(a pause as he reminisces)
GIRL: You talk about her like she’s gone.
MAN: She is gone.
GIRL: What happened to her?
MAN: One night, she went grocery shopping. We ran out of milk (remembering, painfully)... milk, and she needed eggs and green beans, and she was going to get ice cream, too. Because it was Thursday, and The Office was on. The Jewels is four blocks from here. Four blocks... it could be a thousand miles away, really. It could could be on another planet. She never got to the grocery store. She never got to the parking lot. She turned left on a dangerous intersection. The light was yellow. So she sped up. A truck was coming from the east. He didn’t have time to brake. He didn’t even have time to honk his horn. (pause) He wasn’t drunk. He wasn’t on drugs. He wasn’t even really at fault - except maybe going for a little too fast, or being not being cautious enough. It was her fault. I don’t have anyone to be pissed at but her. And I’m pissed at her every night. I go to bed furious, that she died and left me here without a goddamn clue how to raise a son. That she didn’t just stop at the intersection. What was she in such a hurry for? We could have waited for dinner. I am not an impatient man. But she went. The police report said she died of internal hemorrhaging and blood loss. It was not on impact. She suffered. (pause) I don’t even remember the last thing I said to her. Isn’t that a bitch? Just a blur. No goodbye kiss. I don’t remember a thing.
(Ambulance sirens near. The mood shifts a little.)
MAN: Well, sorry for unloading on you.
GIRL: No. Don’t be. I think it helped... relax me. Don’t think I’m weird for saying that.
MAN: I won’t.
BOY: We should go.
(the MAN hesitates)
MAN: Hold on a second. (he grabs a piece of paper and a pen) Here’s my number. Call me after everything settles down. And here. (he writes in his checkbook for a bit, then tears it out, folds it, and gives it to the BOY.)
(The boy unfolds and looks at it - and drops it.)
BOY: No way.
MAN: My wife was blessed with a sizable life insurance policy, money which I feel cripplingly guilty spending. She would’ve liked you two. Maybe she would’ve sympathized with the plight of two English major drop-outs. Take it.
(The BOY hesitates for a while.)
GIRL: The ambulance, Toby.
(The BOY takes the check and shakes the man’s hand.)
BOY: We’ll call you.
MAN: I hope so.
(The girl laboriously gets off her chair and hugs the MAN.)
GIRL: Thank you so much. And I’m so sorry.
MAN: (smiling) Thank you. Be safe.
(They begin to exit. He calls out after them.)
MAN: (shouting) Hey! Is it a boy or a girl?
BOY: (shouting) A boy!
(The man walks to a table and leans on it, smiling to himself.)
MAN: A boy...
SCENE 9 (Sacrifice)
(The MAN sits at a desk with a laptop, writing. He speaks what he types as he types it.)
MAN: (slowly) “And somehow, through the dark abyss, melting through this plastic life, he found there to be hope for closeness. Though love is at times chaotic, and at times surprises us with its cruelty, it has a few constants: true love transcends time, and thus outlives it. True love involves some sacrifice and some unhappiness. And true love exists everywhere - in chance encounters, in trivialities that we ignore from day to day. Relieved somewhat of the burden of the weight of isolation and solitude on his back, he walked on into uncertain, frightening, beautiful landscapes.” (he pauses for a moment to reflect on what he wrote. He then seems pleased.)
SCENE 10 (Second Chances)
(The MAN is exiting the laundromat, holding a bin of newly cleaned laundry. The WOMAN is entering from the opposite side of stage. They walk past each other without making note. Once past, the WOMAN looks back to the MAN to see if he noticed, but he keeps walking. She turns around and keeps walking. The MAN does the same - they both look back, but not at the same time. The WOMAN exits the stage as the MAN looks back at her. The MAN sighs, considers himself for a long moment, begins to move, and then then CUT to BLACK.)