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(Erin’s house. Erin is sitting in the armchair. He looks sad, old, and tired. Josh enters.)
Josh: I’m home!
(Josh walks forward a few steps, looking for Erin. He sees Erin in the chair)
Josh: Hi! (beat) What’s the matter?
Erin: (lying) I’m fine
Josh: You look horrible. Is something wrong?
Erin: (lying) No.
Josh: What’ve you been doing?
Erin: Oh, you know, just thinking.
Josh: Is this about that book?
Erin: (lying) No. What makes you think that?
Josh: You were acting strange this morning.
Erin: Was I? I didn’t think so.
Josh: Yes, you were. It was when I was telling you about that book.
Erin: Don’t talk about that book!
Josh: (Startled) Why? What’s wrong with it?
(Erin glares at Josh until Josh backs down)
Josh: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do anything wrong. I just wish you would tell me more, that’s all. Maybe I could help.
Erin: There’s no way you could help me. It’s all in the past.
Josh: What’s all in the past?
Josh: It must be something, otherwise you wouldn’t try to hide it from me!
(Pause. Erin doesn’t know how to respond)
Josh: (quietly) What is it? Please tell me.
Erin: You don’t want to hear it. It would only make it worse for you.
Josh: I’m worried about you. You don’t usually act this way. You’re usually much more talkative, less brooding.
Erin: I don’t mean to-
Josh: You aren’t yourself. What’s going on?
Erin: (sighing, reluctantly) I knew Alex Williams.
Josh: Really? So that’s how you knew his name! Where did you meet him? When did you know him? Did you hate him? Is that why you were so opposed to his book?
Erin: Slow down. (takes a deep breath) No, I didn’t hate him. We were friends.
Josh: So why don’t you like hearing about his book?
Erin: It’s complicated.
(Josh starts to pace.)
Josh: This still doesn’t quite fit together.
(Josh attempts to figure out why this would affect Erin so much. He gives up, decides he needs more information, and turns to face Erin.)
Josh: Where did you meet him?
Erin: We were friends in high school.
Josh: Really? So you knew him before all this stuff happened.
Erin: (quietly) no.
Josh: What do you mean?
Erin: I- I knew Jessie.
Josh: Jessie? The one who. . .
Erin: Yes. That Jessie.
Josh: Is that why you . . . did you know . . . how . . . (trails off)
(Pause. Erin and Josh are afraid to look at each other.)
Josh: It’s amazing how much I never knew.
(Awkward silence. Josh is hoping Erin will say more about Alex and Jessie, Erin is hoping Josh will say something about anything but Alex and Jessie. Both half know what the other wants them to say, but don’t want to say it.)
(The doorbell rings)
Josh: I’ll get it!
(Josh opens the door. Alex is standing there.)
(Erin sees Alex and his eyes close tightly, as if Alex is a ghost of some sort and will disappear if Erin ignores him.)
Josh: Hello. Can I help you?
(Alex sees Erin inside, with eyes tight shut. Alex knows Erin knows he is there.)
Alex: (politely) Yes, is this the Davis residence?
Alex: Does Erin Davis live here?
Josh: Yes. Do you need something?
Alex: I was wondering if I could speak to him.
Josh: About what? Who are you? Do you know each other?
Alex: Yes, we’re old friends.
Josh: (suspiciously) I’ve never seen you before.
Alex: Go tell Erin that I’m Alex Williams, his friend from school. Erin knows me.
(Josh doesn’t move. His eyes widen in shock.)
Josh: Alex Williams!
Alex: Yes. That’s me. I want to speak to Erin.
Josh: You wrote that book!
Alex: What? You know my book?
Josh: Yes, I read (trails off) it. . .
Alex: Has Erin?
Josh: Did you want him to?
Alex: Did he want to?
Josh: Did you expect him to?
Alex: Did he hear about it?
Josh: Will you tell me more?
Alex: Did Erin tell you anything?
Josh: Why are you here?
Alex: Can I please come in?
Josh: Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll tell Erin you’re here.
Alex: Erin knows.
Josh: (awkwardly) Well, I’ll just go tell him anyway
(Josh walks toward Erin)
Erin: (Eyes still closed) No.
Josh: It’s Alex. Williams. He wants to talk to you.
Erin: I don’t want to talk to him.
Josh: (Shocked) You can’t say that! Alex-
Alex: I should have known this would happen. It’s fine. Let me talk. You can go.
(Reluctantly, Josh takes a few steps towards the door)
Erin: I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to hear. I don’t want to get involved!
Alex: Erin, please.
(Erin’s eyes finally open. Erin looks at Alex. Alex looks pointedly at Josh. Josh takes a few more reluctant steps towards the door to the kitchen.)
Erin: Let him stay.
Alex: It’s not to do with him
Erin: He’ll only end up eavesdropping anyway.
(Josh starts to protest)
Erin: Besides, he’s read the book. He knows already.
Josh: Well, I don’t really know-
Alex: (To Erin, ignoring Josh) Do you know?
Erin: What do you mean?
Alex: When was the last time you thought about all this?
Josh: All what?
Erin: Thought about it? Why would I want to think about it? It was awful! How could anyone think about it?
Josh: Think about what?
Alex: Have you talked to anyone?
Josh: Will someone please explain?
Erin: I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to force it on anyone, least of all myself.
Josh: What are you talking about?
Alex: But keeping it all bottled up can’t be good for you.
Josh: Is this about Jessie?
(Pause. Everyone looks at Josh)
Josh: And- and the book? About what happened?
(Silence. They keep staring at Josh. Alex gives a slight, slow nod)
Josh: What happened?
Alex: You read the book. It was the three of us, me, Erin, and Jes-
Erin: (Shouts) Don’t! (beat)
Alex: We were best friends back in high school
(Erin grabs a pillow and uses it to block out Alex’s voice)
(Alex glances at Erin and sighs.)
Alex: You read the book. You know what happened. It’s all true. I’ll tell you more in detail later, if you want. (Josh nods) But Erin won’t admit that it happened. He tried so hard to forget it. He wanted to block it out of his head.
(Alex pulls the pillow off Erin’s head)
Alex: It’s all right. I’ve stopped talking.
(Erin stands up)
Erin: (Yelling) Look what you’ve done! Look what you’ve brought back! I don’t want these memories, but they are flooding back! It’s your fault!
(Erin falls back into a chair, head in hands)
Erin: Why did this have to happen to me? What is wrong with the universe?