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Soulmates

Lights up. HE and SHE are sitting at small, wooden table in the middle of their apartment, HE on Stage Left and SHE on Stage Right. HE has a newspaper at his setting; SHE has a book at hers. She puts down her book, having just completed it. Their apartment window on Stage Left is open and there are dull, yet audible, jubilant screams coming into the room. HE and SHE ignore the noises, though they continue for the duration of the play.

SHE sighs. HE doesn’t notice.

After a short pause, SHE opens her book again and then closes it loudly. HE doesn’t notice.

After a longer pause, SHE picks her book up and raises it a few inches, and then lets it drop on the table. HE looks up slightly, confused about what’s going on.


SHE
I finished.

HE
What book is that again?

SHE
Rebecca.

HE
You’ve been reading it very intently these past few days.

SHE
Two days. It was just two days.

HE
Ok...

SHE
It makes a difference.

HE
Alright. Did you enjoy it?

SHE
More or less.


HE
Did you like it more than the first time you read it?

SHE
No. I’m jealous of the people who get to read it for the first time.

HE
But what’s wrong with reading it for the second time?

SHE
It just doesn’t have the same effect on me now as it did the first time I read it.

HE
Why not?

SHE (Looking at him)
Because the first time, I didn’t know what was coming.

HE
So?

SHE
So I didn’t know how it would end.

HE
What’s wrong with knowing?

SHE
Because now there’s no chance the ending will change. Every time I read it, the book keeps repeating itself exactly, over and over again.

HE (Chuckling)
Well, yes that’s how books generally go.

SHE (Turning away from him, upset)
Whatever.

SHE gets up and walks to the door on Stage Right.

HE
What?

SHE
I shouldn’t have told you that.

HE
Why not?

SHE
Because you think I’m ridiculous!

HE
No I don’t!

SHE
Yes you do.

HE
I don’t!!!

SHE


HE


SHE (Quietly)
You know, in the book, the second Mrs. de Winter felt invisible compared to Rebecca.

HE (Uninterested)
Yeah.

SHE
I mean, you never even find out Mrs. de Winter’s name! But every other page you see the name “Rebecca.” Rebecca, Rebecca, Rebecca.

HE (Confused)
Ok.

SHE
And then sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t have a name. Would you even notice I’m here? Or would I just be an invisible little blot on your subconscious.

HE
...What?

SHE
I’m surprised we don’t have a housekeeper who keeps reminding me every five seconds that I don’t matter to you.

HE
What are you talking about?

SHE
I’m talking about the fact that Mrs. de Winter needed a confirmation from her husband that she knew she would never get.

HE
Oh.

SHE comes back to the table and puts her hands on it. SHE now becomes very animated while speaking.

SHE
I mean, how could Mrs. de Winter’s husband expect her to live up to Rebecca? He married her first -- he wanted her first -- and he would have still been with her under different circumstances.

HE
Don’t get crazy about it. It’s just a book.

SHE
But it’s real life too. Hasn’t someone ever made you feel just utterly...invisible? (By the end of this line, SHE has crossed to the other side of the table)

HE
...No?

SHE (Standing up)
Sometimes I feel invisible...compared to her.

HE
To who?

SHE
To Elena.

HE
Oh.

SHE (Looking at him)
Do you still love her?

HE
Of course not.

SHE
Ok.

Streamers fly by the window as if propelled by a confetti-shooter. A few streamers go through the window. SHE picks up some of the streamers from the play and plays with them in her hands. While SHE is doing this, HE gets up, walks to the window, picks up the streamers that she didn’t touch, throws them out the window, and slams the window shut. The sounds outside are still audible, but they now also include occasional boisterous laughter. HE walks by her, gently and lovingly brushing her shoulder with his hand and kisses her cheek before he returns to his seat. SHE smiles and relaxes for a few seconds. Then her face slowly changes from bliss to concern, and she begins to speak.

SHE
Do you think you can ever fall out of love with someone?

SHE the streamers from her hands.

HE
Well, yeah. I fell out of love with her.

SHE
But don’t you think the teeniest bit of your heart has some feelings for her?

HE (Standing up)
Please, stop talking about this. (Walks over to her) She cheated on me. I divorced her. I don’t love her. But I love you. End of story.

HE tries to kiss her, but they are interrupted by sudden barking outside. After the barking subsides, HE leads her over to his chair. HE sits down and SHE sits in his lap.

SHE
How do you know you love me?

HE
Because whenever I think about you, I’m happy.

SHE
Why else?

HE
What do you mean?

SHE
Aren’t there other ways you can tell you love me?

HE
Well I think about you all the time
SHE
Even when we’re apart?

HE
Especially when we’re apart.

SHE
Why especially?

HE
Because I really miss you whenever I’m not with you. I miss the way your hair smells like Burt’s Bees shampoo, the way you play with your fingernails when you get nervous, the way you look when you look at me. I miss having someone right next to me who I know loves me, who I know will always be there for me. I just really miss you.

They go in for a kiss, but SHE stops him and begins speaking.

SHE
Do you miss me more than you used to miss her?

HE
Why do you keep asking about her?

SHE
Because I want to know how your feelings for me compare to your old feelings for her.

HE gets up, forcing her to stand up as well.

HE
Our relationships are so different. She wanted me to constantly pursue her, and it was like she didn’t want to admit she was my wife or something. She kept playing hard to get, even when I had already gotten her. And not a minute went by when she wasn’t picking a fight with me. God, that woman...she was a piece of work. But you, you’re not like that at all. I know you want to be mine and I know I have you forever, you know? And it feels like I’m in charge, for once.

HE kisses her, and she accepts the kiss for a few seconds, then gently pulls away, collects herself for a few moments, smiles, and walks back to her side of the table.

HE
Are you mad at me?

SHE
No.

HE
Why not?

SHE
Because you’re my soulmate.

HE (Confused)
Says who?

SHE
Said you, when you proposed to me.

HE (Unconcerned)
Oh.

SHE
Don’t you remember?

HE
Kind of.

SHE
You don’t remember when you proposed to me?

HE starts to walk offstage Stage Left to get a coffee from the kitchen (HE shouts his lines from offstage).

HE
I remember, don’t worry. I just don’t remember exactly what I said. I made everything I said up off the top of my head. It’s not like it’s imprinted in my memory or something.

SHE
You made it up?

HE
Yeah. It wouldn’t have seemed as heartfelt if I’d written it out before.

SHE
You made it up.

HE comes back onstage.

HE
Yes.

SHE
As in you made up your feelings for me.

HE (Annoyed)
Jesus, of course I didn’t mean it like that.

SHE
Are you sure?

HE
Yes I’m sure!!

SHE
Okay.

HE
God, I hate when you do that.

SHE
What?

HE
You just assumed something that wasn’t true and started to get mad at me!

SHE
I wasn’t mad.

HE
You seemed pretty mad.

SHE
I could never be mad at you.

Trumpets start playing outside. SHE runs to the window, and looks through it, trying to see the trumpets outside. When SHE realizes she can’t see them, she sits down.

SHE
I just wish we could go outside.

HE
But it’s cold outside.

HE starts moving towards the window.

SHE
But don’t you want to see the parade?

HE
I don’t really care that much.

HE and SHE are now standing by the window, facing slightly towards the window

SHE
Oh. I care though.

HE
Then why don’t you go?

SHE
Because I wanted to go with you.

HE
Oh sorry.
(HE kisses her on the cheek and sits down)
Maybe next time.

SHE
But what if there isn’t a next time? What if this parade never ever comes back again? What if this is our one chance to see it and we’re missing it?

HE
Come on. Be rational. Obviously this parade will be back next year.

SHE
But what if it’s not? Why can’t we just go now?

HE
Listen, either you go by yourself now, or you just wait till next year to go with me. Your choice.

SHE
I don’t get why you can’t just come with me. For 10 minutes even! It’s right outside!

HE
Just let me read.

SHE (Sarcastically)
Okay, sorry, Maxim.

HE (Exasperated)
What the hell are you talking about?

SHE
I’m referencing a man who didn’t realize that his poor Mrs. de Winter was waiting for him to show that he loved her, and no one else. She was dying inside and he never even noticed.

HE
Oh Rebecca again.

SHE
...What would you do if I walked out the door right now?

HE
I’d tell you to get back inside.

SHE walks to the door.

SHE
Because you care about me? Or because you don’t want to be alone.

HE
I’m trying to read.

SHE
How important am I to you?

HE doesn’t respond.

SHE
Does it matter to you that I’m in your life?

HE
Just let me read. Stop asking silly questions.

SHE
What should I ask then?

HE
Why do you have to ask anything at all?

SHE
Because I want answers.

HE
Answers to what?

SHE
If I tell you, you’ll just get annoyed at me again!

HE
How do you know?

SHE
Have you not been listening to the past minute of our conversation??

HE
Stop screaming! I just want to read my newspaper.

SHE goes to him and grabs his newspaper.

SHE
Enough with the newspaper!

HE
God, what’s gotten into you tonight?

SHE
What are you talking about?

HE gets up.

HE
Everything! What do you want from me??

SHE
I want you to admit that you saw Elena two days ago.

HE
Wait, what??

SHE
I know it happened.

HE
No, you really don’t.

SHE
So what’s your excuse?

HE
I don’t need to have an excuse! You can just trust me!

SHE
I saw you with her though. You can’t dispute that.

HE
Yes, I was with her, but you can’t just assume I was cheating on you!

SHE
I saw you with your hand on her shoulder. I did the math.

HE
God, you really aren’t right.

SHE
And by that you mean...?

HE
Elena’s father died. I saw her through a Starbucks window on my way home and she was crying so I went in and asked what was wrong. I was helping her. Just because I have a wife doesn’t mean I can’t be a good person.

SHE
Why didn't you tell me though?

HE
I didn't think it mattered!

SHE
But it does...

HE walks towards her.

HE
Listen, I'm sorry, okay?

SHE crosses to the window while speaking.

SHE
You can't just say sorry and assume it will all be ok...

HE
Why not?

SHE
Because this kind of thing doesn't affect you like it affects me. You're Maxim de Winter and I'm just your second wife living in the shadow of your first. I'll love you no matter what, but I'm never quite sure if my feelings are reciprocated. My whole life, I've been trying to find some kind of rule book to live by. I just wanted to do everything right, you know? It's just funny that instead of a rule book, I found an exact description of everything that could go wrong.

HE
Now listen, I think you’re being a little overdramatic.

SHE
Of course you do.

HE
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with your life. We live in a nice house, we have each other, we get to hear parades right outside--

SHE suddenly turns towards the window and opens it up.

HE
What are you doing?

SHE
I’m going.

HE
Going where?

SHE
Out the window. Don’t worry. There’s a fire escape.

HE
I know that. I meant where are you going after you are outside the window.

SHE
I’m going to the parade.

HE
Without me?

SHE
You said you didn’t want to come.

SHE picks up a few of the streamers that she had dropped on the ground and brings them to him.

SHE
Here’s a souvenir.

SHE puts the streamers in his hand and then walks back to the window.

HE
Come on. Are you really going by yourself? I thought you wanted me to come with you.

SHE walks back to him and kisses him on the cheek.

SHE
Maybe next time.

SHE walks back to the window and climbs, walking away with a huge smile on her face. HE stares at the window for a few seconds, then crumples up the streamers SHE brought him, walks to the window, and sits down on the ledge. HE looks outside for a few seconds, then gets up, closes the window, and sits back down at the table. Blackout.



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