Lights up on another part of the stage as HELOISE, HUGH & HENRY are seated or standing facing out – they’re part of the performance.
I’ve aged. I know that. But. My face. Aged considerably more than. His beard. So rough. Kisses are now impossible. He wore my youth away with rough kisses. Beard. Moustache. I stopped letting him kiss me on my mouth because I felt he was…sucking the life out of me… so he kissed. Elsewhere. Other parts. Until they, too, disappeared. Maybe it’s not that I didn’t. Maybe he didn’t.
You did dance at one time. You needn’t feel sorry for me. I have a photo. You’re dancing. You’re smiling. You don’t remember that, but I have a photo. It’s on my desk. Some people don’t even have a photo like that of someone they love, laughing, dancing. I have that.
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
Totally new unedited dialogue
You writing a letter?
What’s it about?
I’m in the middle of this… I don’t really want to talk right now.
Life. It’s about life. They’re all about life.
I mean, what else is there? Everything spins around to one simple theme. Life.
Well, I think –
Even death. Even death is about life.
I’m sorry, have we met?
Why’re you sorry?
I’m not actually sorry.
Why’d you say it then?
It’s an expression.
I know. I know that. Lots of things are expressions. Doesn’t mean you have to use them.
Okay. Well. The question was, have we met?
Talking now. Is that the same as meeting? I guess I don’t know. Meeting. Met. Talking.
What I meant to ask was what’s your name?
What’s the name of main character in your book?
Main male. Character. Name.
Nuh-uh. There’s more.
Well, it’s Edmund. Edmund.
That’s me. That’s my name. Edmund.
Like in my book.
He starts walking toward her.
Exactly like in your book.
Novel in process
Miss Ingrid is schooling JeanJeanne. “On another note. There is no such thing as normal. Look at you. Look at me. We’re in the spectrum of normal, we’re also in the spectrum of not normal. We just occupy different positions at different times. It’s a spectrum that moves. It’s a pendulum. I hope you’ll try to get out more, JeanJeanne. You look pale. You need sunshine. You mustn’t spend all of your time, all of your self working on this old house and assisting me.”
JeanJeanne, if he worships at all, worships Miss Ingrid. He would possibly go so far as to genuflect, if she asked it. When he was an infant, his mother put him out in the woods, near the river, to die. She tied him, sling-like onto a tree branch. He swayed, but couldn’t roll out of the wrap. They say you cannot remember being an infant, but JeanJeanne can remember. It was cold. He was hungry. A great bear walked past, shaking the earth, mumbling, “Not today. It will not die today.” A night passed. Maybe two. He was waiting for his mother to return and she did not. His body is shrinking and his eyes are growing wide. Then he feels a song. It comes from out there, and it matches the rhythm of his own heartbeat. It is a young girl, hopping through the paths in the woods, swinging her stick. She’s singing of victory. She’s singing of triumph, of joy. She is singing of joy. JeanJeanne tries to make a sound. He coughs up phlegm into his dry throat. He wiggles his little legs and finally the singing is so near to him he can almost see her standing just below, looking up. “Why hello little one, let’s get you down from up there,” she softly says. “My name is Ingrid.” From that day forward he is hers.
The heart is a muscle that cannot actually break. This is a reassuring fact when tears will not end, breath becomes effort, sleep is impossible, and the body is heavy with sorrow.