Speechless

By: Shawn Davis

Scene: Early-evening, just after 7pm, in a dimly lit living room in a city apartment. MAN stands at the window looking at the rain and watching the wind carry small debris and branches among those huddled under their umbrellas to stay dry. He answers his ringing cell phone and as he’s engaged in a conversation his girlfriend, WOMAN, walks in and goes straight to the bathroom to change into dry clothes.

Man: Yeah, she said “I love you” but I had no response. I didn’t know what to say back to her.

Phone voice: (inaudible response)

Man: Um, hmm it’s just something that I’m sure she’s going to want to talk about tonight. I don’t want to have the conversation but there’s probably no way to avoid it.

Phone voice: (inaudible response)

Man: (listening intently) Oh, ok yeah I just heard her in the bathroom so I’ll go now.

He disconnects the call and places his phone on the television stand. She meets him in the kitchen where he pours her a glass of white wine and kisses her lips, softly. Their eyes meet and she places her arms around his waist as he wraps her, tightly, in his arms and kisses her forehead. As she snuggles closer to feel the warmth of his body, he looks to the cupboards behind her with a blank, empty stare. The rain falls from the sky at a faster pace and sounds like drums as it comes in contact with the windows. They release one another; she leans against the refrigerator and begins to sip her wine as she stands across from her with his hands buried in his jeans pockets.

Man: You want me to fix you a plate of the chicken parm from last night?

Woman: (Looking to the floor) No. (Softly) I’m not that hungry.

Man: Ok.

Woman: (Placing the empty glass in the sink) I think, I…

Man: Yeah?

Woman: We need to talk.

She walks into the living room leaving him in the kitchen; he reluctantly follows and takes the seat next to her on the couch. Feeling the discomfort in the room, she initiates the conversation.

Woman: (continuing) I told you that I loved you last night and you said nothing. Nothing.

Man: I know. I was there.

Woman: Don’t get smart; there’s no need for that. So I tell you how I feel and I get silence? I deserve better than that. I’ve been going over it all day long and it just confuses me.

Man: I’m sorry you had this on your mind for the entire day. It wasn’t my intent to upset you.

Woman: Well please, tell me something. That’s better than silence, you know; is it that you don’t love me anymore?

Man: Of course that’s not it.

Woman: Well the silence isn’t helping anything. It forces my mind to go over what’s going on with you – what’s going on with us and you know what?

Man: What?

Woman: I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel secure in whatever we are supposed to be.

Man: Have you stopped to think that I might feel the same way?

Woman: Well…when you didn’t tell me that you loved me back, yeah, of course that was one of the things that ran through my damn brain. Why didn’t you say it back to me?

Man: I can’t answer that.

Woman: How about you try to!

Man: (Visibly frustrated) What answer would you like me to give?

Woman: An honest one; that’s all I care to hear from you.

Man: (Rubbing his forehead)…

Woman: More silence? Tell me something.

Man: There’s nothing that I can say that will make things better after I left you without a response last night.

Woman: I don’t really care if it makes me feel better; I would like it to, but I’m being realistic right now. So…

Man: I’ve been thinking about it as well and I just felt stuck, in some strange way, when I heard those words.

Woman: It’s not the first time I’ve said it to you or you said it to me. It is the first time I didn’t get a response.

Man: (Looking towards the window) I don’t know what the hell is going on with…us.

She gives him a confused look, gathers her hair into a ponytail and stares in the direction of the kitchen.

Woman: Are you leaving me? Are we breaking up again?

Man: Did I say that?

She turns to face him.

Woman: That is not an answer. You are avoiding everything. Maybe I should have just gone out with friends after I left the office.

Man: It’s still early enough.

Woman: (Looking at him coldly) There you go.

Man: Look at what you said.

Woman: At least I’m talking to you.

Man: Sorry.

Woman: Are we breaking up? I don’t want to go through that one more time.

Man: I know the feeling. Being without you for a year was one of the hardest things I ever had to endure.

Woman: It almost broke me at times, too. Do you think we rushed things; with getting back together and all?

Man: That cannot be it. (He kisses her hand) We had a full year of being apart from one another.

Woman: It has to be something, babe. It has to because you seem to be hesitant with affection.

Man: I know and it is…but I haven’t been able to figure it out. I just don’t know.

Woman: (Pulling her hand away) Are you seeing someone else?

Man: Are you?

Woman: No.

Man: No. You haven’t been as affectionate either. You introduced me as a friend when you dragged me to your work event two weeks ago – an event you begged me to attend.

Woman: That was wrong of me; sorry.

Man: It’s ok.

Woman: Does this have anything to do with that girl?

Man: No it does not, why does she have to come up?

Woman: I just don’t want to be surprised by anything.

Man: You were seeing someone else during our time off as well.

Woman: For just a blip of time and I broke it off. There was no way another man could get anywhere with me. My heart belongs to you. You only.

He looks at her in shock over what he heard and places his head into his hands. She rubs his back slowly until he lifts his head from his palms.

Man: She didn’t mean anything to me either. No one compares to you, what we had then – and what we’re attempting to build once more.

Woman: (Wiping tears from her eyes) Is this where you want to be?

Man: It is. You?

Woman: Why do you think I’m here and not at my apartment? Being there means I’m not with you. A year apart was enough for me.

Man: Maybe we should just pace this thing out so we don’t end up with all the communication problems we had when things were unraveling.

Woman: I was going to say the same thing.

Man: We can fix this, right?

Woman: I want to believe that.

She rises and stands directly in front him. He hugs her around the waist and buries his head into her stomach while she softly caresses the back of this head.

Woman: I have some work to do later on so I’m going to sleep for an hour or two. Don’t let me sleep past 10, ok?

Man: You got it.

He kisses her stomach and she walks down the long hallway to their bedroom to take a nap. His phone rings but he presses “ignore” on the screen and tells her to sleep well.

 Man: (continuing) I do love you.

She looks to him and gives him a smile before she closes the bedroom door and gets under the blanket. He goes back to the window, while in the bedroom, her phone rings and she answers.

Woman: He told me he loved me.

Phone voice: (inaudible response)

Woman: (Exhales) I just smiled…I didn’t want to talk anymore. I don’t know…I’m going to sleep.

She turns her phone off and stares at the door. Silent.

Photo: cucoloris.blogspot.com

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