Scene Fifteen

(We are at a University dorm. Romaine is lying in bed, asleep.

Just then, her phone - an actual smartphone - bursts to life and her alarm begins to ring.

Romaine sits up hastily and silences the alarm, then groggily gets out of bed. She looks around her, and begins to fumble around the room. She goes off to a bathroom to brush her teeth, then shrugs on a sweater and her backpack, then leaves.

As she walks across campus, "Young and Beautiful" by Postmodern Jukebox plays in the background. She humans and quietly sings along, as per usual, without any rhyme or reason. She enters a classroom and sits next down to an older Filipina girl.)

Keiy: Hey.

Romaine: (Smiling brightly) Morning. Did you get the crater counting paper in?

Keiy: Oh, yeah. What did you get on the quiz?

Romaine: (Yawning) Oh...not that great. 12 out of 15. (There is a pause, then she starts laughing) So I have, what 83% now? Oh well. I'm just taking this class so I don't have to do hard math.

(The door opens and the teacher finally enters.)

Astronomy Teacher: Good morning, guys! Hey, so, crazy buuut...did you guys know, the Moon is the only reason we're not covered in the polar ice caps seasonally...

(This continues for a while. Romaine takes careful notes, then after the end of class, leaves with Keiy.)

Romaine: So what other classes do you have after this?

Keiy: Oh, science...the usual.

Romaine: Cool. Well, I'm headed to meet up with someone and then after I got Drama 101.

Keiy: (Hopeful) Hey, do you want to go get dinner together?

Romaine: (Laughing lightly) Hm, maybe not dinner. Gotta be home by five if I wanna get to bed at ten o' clock, you know? How does breakfast sound?

Keiy: Sounds great.

Romaine: Cool. Seeya, Keiy.

Keiy: See you.

(Keiy waves, but Romaine has already turned around and is walking away, humming cheerfully. She turns on her phone and calls a number.)

Romaine: Yo, Jacques. You and Hien still up for lunch tomorrow? Cool, cool, see you at eleven o' clock tomorrow. (She sighs) Shut up, you know I'm just taking that class for the credit! Okay, okay. Shut up. Well maybe you SHOULD have gone to London School of Economics or Sorbonne. Oh, wait! They didn't let you in! They wanted ME! ...Yeah, yeah, whatever, shut up. Yes, of course I'm going on the Christian Association retreat. (She smiles and hangs up, then reaches into her jacket and pulls out the rosary around her neck. Its beads gleam in the light, slightly worn but as close to her heart as ever.

Just then her phone begins ringing and she quickly answers the call.)

Romaine: Hello? ...Okay, I'm coming.

(She walks for a while more, until she arrives at a solitary bench. Right at the bench is a twenty-something young man, holding a bag and tucking his phone back into his pocket. He has the same dark hair and eyes as Romaine.)

Daniel Germaine: Hey, Ro.

Romaine: Hey, 'bro.

(There is a pause, then Daniel gets up and walks over. They hug.)

Daniel: So, how you finding college, huh?

Romaine: (Shrugging) Well, I guess it's not as prestigious as Berkeley-

Daniel: Oh, please.

Romaine: (Smirking) It's pretty cool, I guess. (Quietly) I'm happy to live by myself. At first it sounded like one of the scariest things in the world, but it's actually kinda nice. The cafeteria serves the best salad and sandwiches I've ever eaten, I have three roommates, so I won't go crazy from loneliness, and I have agency when it comes to choosing my classes. I'm happy for that. (Daniel smiles)

Daniel: That's good. Hey, Mom wanted to say she's proud of you and give you this-

(Romaine laughs awkwardly and takes the bag from him, looking into it quickly. She then smiles politely at him, though a shakily.)

Romaine: Ah. Thank you. (Pause) So, it wasn't too much of a bother for you to come here?

Daniel: (Shrugging) Well, I did want to visit my baby sister and see how she's handling college at sixteen, plus I'm here on a work trip so-

Romaine: Aw, shaddup. (She smacks him in the arm. Daniel laughs then exclaims in pain slightly, but keeps on laughing.) Love you.

Daniel: Love you too. (He takes a deep breath) Well, sorry I can't stay much longer-

Romaine: S'okay, I'm also kinda pressed for time-

Daniel: But take care, okay?

Romaine: Okay.

(They hug one last time before he turns around and leaves, waving to her. Romaine waves back, for a while, then takes a deep breath and looks into the bag. She sighs heavily and collapses onto the bench, then begins to fish out various items. A pack of garbage bags. Contact lens fluid. A copy of "China Rich Girlfriend" by Kevin Kwan. Boxes of cheese crackers, Rice Krispy Treats, her devastation, Mars Bars. Romaine's face clouds over and she stares at the boxes of Mars Bars. A peace offering, or disguised malicious intent? Whatever it is, she doesn't want it. For a second, she looks over at the trash and as if she might throw it away, but she takes a hold of herself and takes a few breaths. Guiltily, she finds her hand reaching in and pulling out one chocolate bar that looks broken.

Sighing, she turns around and clears her throat.)

Romaine: Hear ye, hear ye! Who would like a free Mars Bar? Get 'em while you can!

(Heads turn. A small group of students walks over to Romaine, who graciously and generously hands out the box full of Mars Bars.)

Romaine: Yes, problem, you're welcome, hey no problem take all you want buddy, yeah...okay, that's it folks!

(The students disband, chattering excitedly and snacking on their treats. Romaine is left with the broken candy bar. For a second she looks like she might give into temptation, then she rolls her eyes and unwraps it. She takes one tiny chunk of chocolate, then chucks the rest of it in the trash. Exhaling heavily, she then puts the rest of the items in the bag and shrugs it onto her shoulder. She takes out her phone and dials a number that goes to voicemail. She then takes a deep breath and leaves her message.)

Romaine: Hey, mom? Thanks for the food, but I don't need anymore. I think the cafeteria should be enough. Thanks, bye.

(Yawning, she then sets off towards the theater building. But before she does so, she quickly plugs in her earphones and presses play.

With every step, Hall and Oates' bouncy beats accompany her. Romaine smiles and looks over her shoulder briefly. If anything, this is a dream come true.)