Sneak Preview: The Persistence of Memory and Other Plays
Act II, Scene 2 from The Persistence of Memory
Special light rises on ERIC, who stands alone in the restaurant downstage on the house right. It is later that night. The lights also rise on the house left. TASHA enters the restaurant from the center stage entrance and pauses for a moment to look at ERIC, who has yet to notice her. She takes a step or two towards ERIC, who at last acknowledges her presence but does not move to greet her.
ERIC: I don't know why I agreed to meet you. I know you wanted to talk but I'm not much in the mood to talk. This whole situation has drained me. But thanks for coming to the funeral. She would have appreciated it.
TASHA: It was the least I could do but I didn't realize she was so troubled. I guess no one did. I was surprised that Tris wasn't there to be with you.
ERIC: (quiet laugh) There's a great deal that would surprise you. Things that you don't know about Tristan, her, and me. I wasn't surprised he didn't come.
TASHA: I don't understand. What does Tristan have to do with this?
ERIC: (looking directly at TASHA): I'm talking about her and Tristan. We argued that afternoon, the three of us, so I threw him out. I threw him out of the apartment and out of our lives for good. I threw him out for her. And what did she do? She went to him. She told me she was going to her parents or something. I was sitting in the apartment when I heard these noises coming from upstairs in Tristan's apartment. (laughs) I thought Tris had some slut up there with him (slight pause) or you. It was only later when I realized her car was still outside and, then, I knew. I knew. Everything that had happened suddenly became clear to me. I finally understood.
TASHA: (surprised) They were lovers.
ERIC: Yes. I sat there the entire time listening to them make love. I didn't know what to do. It was as if I was frozen in place and had to endure every sound, every movement. Then I heard some mumbling and the door upstairs slammed shut.
TASHA: What happened?
ERIC: (sighs) Near as I could tell, he threw her out. (laughs) He was sending her back to me and I knew it was his way of hurting me, to make things worse than they already were; that the two people I cared about more than anyone could do this to me. It was unreal. A few minutes later, she came back. I told her to get out, that I didn't want to see her again, and she could go back to Tristan's bed. Then I walked out. I went god-knows-where. I just knew I had to keep moving, trying to get away from both of them.
(A moment of silence)
TASHA: (confused) When did they become lovers? This doesn't make any sense to me.
ERIC: I don't know. I'd noticed their attraction to one another from the very beginning but I never thought they would act on it. I knew Tristan was jealous of her but it was something I couldn't understand. I still can't. I don't know. Maybe I could have handled the situation better. Maybe I didn't treat her right or maybe, I didn't tell her 'I love you' enough. You know, I can't remember telling her 'I love you' once. Not once. I know I did but I just can't remember when or where. I sometimes wonder if I ever did really say it to her. I wonder if she knew.
TASHA: I'm sure she did. (hesitantly) Did you find her?
ERIC: (nods his head in the affirmative) It seemed like I was gone for hours but I finally found myself outside the apartment. I entered the building, walked up the stairs, and found the door unlocked. I walked in and found… (long pause) She looked so helpless. She was always so helpless. But I would have taken care of her. I would have… (trails off)
TASHA: (completing his thoughts) Loved her.
ERIC: Yes, I would have.
TASHA: Poor Lara.
ERIC: Poor Lara. Didn't she know I would have taken care of her? That I would have forgiven her? I loved her.
(A moment of silence)
TASHA: And Tris?
ERIC: (angrily) I would have forgiven him too, eventually. I would have forgotten. Now, I don't know. I don't know if I'll ever forget. (tired) I don't know anything.
Lights fade to darkness.
END OF SCENE 2
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Filed under: Short Stories