This is the final product of the playwriting unit. Next up on the agenda is the NaNoWriMo for those in the class that want to participate. Don't expect a 50 000-word novel to be posted here. It won't be. Actually, none of it will be posted. Sorry, kids!
Inspired to Exercise #1, exploring your characters through writing, and jump-off points.
Scene 1: Destination
(CELIA is standing in the living room wearing a coat and fidgeting unconsciously. EDWARD walks in from off-stage. He grabs a coat off the chair and walks towards CELIA.)
EDWARD: Are you ready? I made the appointment for 11, thinking we'd have enough time to get there, but now I'm not so sure I shouldn't just call and move us to 11:30 or 12...
CELIA: ... sure.
EDWARD: I mean, the staff there's really nice and I'm sure they wouldn't mind moving us back if you want more time to get ready or if you just want to take the long way around to enjoy the drive...
CELIA: I... thanks.
EDWARD: (smiles and hugs her with one arm) I know you think the hum of the engine is calming and I don't have anything to do today other than take care of you. You know I love you, don't you?
CELIA: ... yeah.
EDWARD: Are you feeling ok? You look pale.
CELIA: I'm fine; I just don't think we should do this...
EDWARD: You sure you're alright? Maybe we should go anyway, just make sure it's not something with the baby. I don't want to lose either of you.
CELIA: I'm sure. I just... we shouldn't go to this meeting.
EDWARD: What is it?
CELIA: (turns away) There - there is no baby.
EDWARD: Oh god... The doctor said miscarriages were most likely to happen in the first trimester... Celia, are you sure you're fine? We should go - the doctors at the clinic can help you. (CELIA is silent.) We can try again. It isn't the end of the world. A friend of mine had a miscarriage and now she has two beautiful children. We can try again, honey.
CELIA: ... no.
CELIA: It wasn't a miscarriage...
EDWARD: What happened? If it's not a miscarriage... no.
CELIA: I - I'm sorry - I - I had an abortion.
EDWARD: No. No, you didn't. We're going to go outside, get in the car, and go to the clinic. You need your ten-week check-up and I need to make sure you stay healthy, for yourself, for the baby. And we're going to look for names. I got books and we're going to name our child!
CELIA: (sobbing) No, we're not. We're not going to name our child because there isn't a baby anymore.
EDWARD: You should still - still go. In case something happened... What am I talking about? Of course something happened! You had a baby cut out of you, for godsakes! Why? Why did you do it, Celia? Why is our baby dead?!
CELIA: (still sobbing) I have my whole life ahead of me - what choices do I have with a baby to think about? I can't finish college or get a career - I have to be a mom! (quietly) What was I supposed to do?
EDWARD: Anything - anything but what you did! Why couldn't you have talked to me?
CELIA: It seemed like all you were worried about was the baby! I tried to talk to you. And every time I started, you changed the subject.
EDWARD: I just - I wanted... I was trying to be a good father. You think having a baby doesn't freak me out, too? It does. But I wanted to work through it, not cut myself off from you for nine months! You could have at least had the courtesy to tell me what you were planning!
CELIA: I - I panicked. I can't go through with this anymore, Edward. I'm sorry.
EDWARD: I'm sorry, too. I - I don't know if I'll be back. Goodbye, Celia.
(EDWARD turns and walks out of the door. CELIA stares after him. The door opens and ANDREW walks in.)
ANDREW: Sorry. I didn't think anyone was home.
CELIA: It's alright. What are you doing here? I haven't seen you since... since the funeral.
ANDREW: I know. I - it's just hard to see you. There's so much of Kylie in your face, the little things you do.
CELIA: I never thought of it like that... How have you been holding up?
ANDREW: Worse off than everyone seems to think I should be. They all say, "Be strong. It'll get better with time," but I can't see that far into the future to know when everything will be ok again.
CELIA: There's nothing I can say to make it better, Andrew; I know that. But, if you want to talk... I'll be here. Call any time you need me.
ANDREW: Thanks. I'll... keep that in mind.
CELIA: Did you, um, come over for any particular reason or just a friendly visit?
ANDREW: I - I don't know. I wasn't thinking, just driving. And I ended up here...
CELIA: Do you want a minute alone? I could leave if you want or we could talk or...
ANDREW: No; it's fine. I'll just go... I have some stuff at the Laundromat that I need to pick up, anyway.
CELIA: ... alright.
(ANDREW hesitates for a second, then walks out the door. CELIA sits in the chair after he's gone.)
(stage goes black)
Scene 2: Tickets Bought
(CELIA is sitting in a chair. On a table nearby is a journal. She looks at the journal and reaches towards it hesitantly. Just as she's about to reach it, she withdraws her hand. After a few moments, she reaches over and grabs it, holding the book to her chest for a second, then sighing and opening to the first page.)
CELIA (reading aloud): Dearest Celia, none of this was your fault. You did everything you could and I know that. You had problems, too. It's alright. Know that I love you and will love you forever, Kylie. (She turns the page; the journal entry stops and the rest of the page is blank. Added onto the bottom is a note scrawled in a different color.) You were the best sister anyone could want. Don't blame yourself, Sis. Kylie.
(The journal drops from CELIA's hands into her lap. There is a knock at the door. As she stands, the journal falls to the ground unnoticed. When she opens the door, EDWARD is on the other side. They look at each other awkwardly.)
CELIA: So... um, what brings you here?
(The unspoken, "I thought you had left for good," hangs in the air between them.)
EDWARD: I thought... well, I thought that it might be good for us to, you know, try to work this out. (CELIA remains silent.) It's just... I don't know, seems like - like such an abrupt end and - I don't want to be angry at you. I love you. And I don't want me walking out the door being the last memory you have of us. That's not what I want either of us to take from this relationship. So - can we talk?
CELIA: (quietly) I'm leaving.
EDWARD: What? Did you just decide this now or had you planning to leave, with or without me?
CELIA: It's not like that. It was more spur of the moment than something I'd planned... I don't actually know where I'm going yet. I have tickets and... I'm just going to leave. The train leaves today at 3.
EDWARD: You don't know where you're going? Doesn't that kinda defeat the point?
CELIA: Maybe. A little. Would - would you come with me?
EDWARD: I don't think so. I need some time to think about everything. You should have told me before you had the abortion. I may have been scared, but I was finally starting to look forward to being a dad.
CELIA: I just thought -
EDWARD: You know, they don't let you return baby books at Barnes & Noble.
CELIA: Yeah. I guess they don't. I'm sorry.
EDWARD: (ruefully) I don't see how it makes a difference. (walks out the door)
(CELIA stares at the door before putting her head in her hands.)
(stage goes black)
Scene 3: Departure Time
(CELIA is pacing the living room. There are bags scattered throughout. She looks anxious and keeps glancing at the clock on the wall. As the time nears 3, she gives up and starts to gather her things together. Someone knocks, the sound seeming to reverberate through the quiet room. A mixture of emotions cross CELIA's face, ending on hope. She flings open the door, only to be intensely disappointed: it's the CAB DRIVER.)
CABBIE: (starts to pick up bags) Is this all?
CELIA: I think so - oh! No, sorry; I have one more thing upstairs.
(She exits the stage and comes back a moment later carrying a picture frame and a hand-written note. She looks with longing at the picture before placing it and the note on the table.)
(stage goes black)
Scene 4: Luggage
(ANDREW walks into the living room from earlier. He goes off into another part of the stage, a bedroom. The door leading into the bathroom is cracked open and dark red, bleached-out stains are visible on the floor. ANDREW moves forward and sits down on the bed next to a journal. He picks it up and flips to the end.)
ANDREW (reading aloud): Andrew seems so distant lately. It's like whenever we're together he's only half-there and not really paying attention to us. When we first got together, he promised me the moon and the stars. And he would bring them down whenever we had a minute together. He still does, I just feel like he's not thinking solely of me when he moves Heaven and Earth. I know that I've been lucky to have him, but sometimes... I just don't know if he ever means it when he says, "I love you." Sure, he says the words, but anyone can say words. When we first met, he promised to help me deal with losing my mom. Now I feel like I'm a burden on him, holding him back from getting where he wants, needs, to go. (He turns the page.) Andrew, I know you're going to read this. I know you and you'll want closure. I just... I need you to know that this journal is meant for you. It always has been. These are all the things I wanted to say to you over the two years we've been dating, but never got the courage to say. Read my words and know that I forgive you. Don't cry for me, Andrew; I'm going to see my mom again and we can both finally be happy. Forever Yours, Kylie.
(ANDREW turns the page, but there is nothing else. He drops the journal and lets his head fall into his hands.)
(stage goes black)
Scene 5: Arriving at the Train Station
(ANDREW arrives at the train station carrying a sole bag, a picture frame, and the journal. He gets on the train, carefully clutching the photo and journal against himself. He leans against the wall of the carriage and flips through the journal.)
(stage goes black)
Scene 6: Ticket Punched
(CELIA is sitting in a train compartment and fidgeting: crossing and uncrossing her legs, wringing her hands in her lap. Finally, she looks out the window to the platform. People are rushing around, loading bags onto the train and mouthing final goodbyes to loved ones. For several minutes, she stares over their heads. When an indistinct whistle blows, her eyes scan the crows urgently. As the train starts to pull out of the station, her eyes find those of EDWARD, who is standing well behind the crowd. He has no bags and makes no move to stop the train. EDWARD is clutching a crumpled-up note in one hand and a picture frame in the other. As they stare at each other, he slowly shakes his head and turns away. EDWARD walks off-stage as the train pulls out. Even after the station has been left far behind, CELIA continues to stare out the window. As her head falls forward to rest against the glass pane, silent tears stream down her cheeks.)
(stage goes black)
Scene 7: Seating Arrangement/Company
(ANDREW is walking through the train, trying to find a compartment to sit in. He looks into a few compartments, all of which are occupied. He gets to CELIA's compartment. When he glances in, he recognizes her. ANDREW pulls the door open and goes in.)
CELIA: Andrew? Twice in one day after so long apart?
(The two embrace. ANDREW sits in the seat opposite CELIA.)
CELIA: What are you doing here?
ANDREW: I had to get away. That town seemed like it was getting smaller and smaller. I guess I got claustrophobic after - well, you know. So, where's Edward?
CELIA: We had a fight and he's not coming.
ANDREW: Trouble in paradise?
CELIA: You don't know the half of it.
(They are both silent for a moment.)
ANDREW: How's the baby? Kylie told me you were pregnant. I guess congratulations are in order.
CELIA: Actually, that's the reason Edward isn't here. I wasn't ready...
ANDREW: That's horrible... why did you get pregnant in the first place if you weren't ready?
CELIA: I guess it seemed like a good idea... after Kylie died, I was just ready to give up. Edward suggested I go to counseling and talk to people, but... I just couldn't. So I dived into something else. I didn't think about it, it just seemed like the right thing to happen. One person's taken away, one added. I needed balance. Do you know what I mean?
ANDREW: Yeah. That's why I left. Everything was so strange without Kylie... like I was walking around with only half of myself. Everywhere was too empty and nothing seemed to fill the gap...
CELIA: It's been hard. I knew Kylie was messed up from Mom's death, but I didn't think she was that bad...
ANDREW: She's good at hiding her problems. I didn't realize - not until I read her journal, anyway.
CELIA: I tried, but it was too personal, too soon. I just couldn't bring myself to get past the first page. And then Edward came back and Kylie was the last thing on my mind.
ANDREW: She thought I was getting bored of her. I - I just took her for granted until she wasn't there anymore to lean on. I know I was supposed to be helping her cope, but she helped me more than I did anything for her.
CELIA: Being there was what she really needed from you. And you were. Kylie and Mom were much closer than I was with either of them. It must have killed her inside when Mom died. It just took a while for her body to catch up with her soul...
(stage goes black)
Scene 8: Moving Forward
(CELIA and ANDREW are still in the same compartment. A few hours have passed.)
CELIA: D'you know where this train lets off?
ANDREW: Really? You just got on a train and hoped it'd take you somewhere good?
CELIA: When you put it like that...
ANDREW: Actually, I don't really know either. I was in a daze when I bought my ticket. For all I know, I could be headed to San Diego.
(The train slows.)
CELIA: Well, I guess we'll both find out soon enough.
ANDREW: You go ahead; I think I left something back in the hallway.
CELIA: I'll see you around?
(Both CELIA and ANDREW exit the compartment. ANDREW heads further down the train while CELIA steps off onto the platform. Standing at the front of the crowd is EDWARD.)
CELIA: I... I thought you had to think about some stuff.
EDWARD: I did. And I realized that I knew exactly how you felt. Even if I don't agree with what you did, I know where you were coming from. And I think it was just too soon - for both of us.
CELIA: How did you...?
EDWARD: I took the 4:15 flight out. The attendant at the train station was very helpful when I told her I had left my girlfriend on a train and I didn't know where it would end up.
CELIA: ... are we ok?
EDWARD: We are now.
(They walk off-stage, hands clasped together.)