Hello or Goodbye: Part Three

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Photo: The Eternal Solitude of a Restless Mind

Part One / Part Two

ROY

 So, you want to uh…hear my note?

 KATHLEEN

 You’re what?

ROY

 My note. My suicide note.

KATHLEEN

 You have one?

ROY

Just in case.

KATHLEEN

I want to hear it.

Roy digs into his pockets and pulls out a piece of paper. Kathleen sits on the couch.

 ROY

“I am tired of pretending to be happy. I have lived my life at odds with disappointment, constantly embracing regret. I am never truly happy, or smiling. I just act that way so people don’t ask me questions. I have found that it’s just easier. The truth is, I am a miserable human being. I am too much of a realist to truly be happy. Looking back, I think the last time I was one hundred percent happy was when I went to Greece, and was on the boat to Poros. That was a beautiful time and the feeling I felt was completely foreign to me and has been a stranger, a memory ever since. But I even let that happiness get ruined. I am hopeless in terms of being happy. I don’t control my actions. I don’t know why I drink. Why I do this, say that. I have realized that I am a puppet for those who don’t really care. I love my parents. I love my sister. I love my gram and I love my dogs. But the rest of the world, I am just not sure what to make of it. It confuses me. Instead of wondering why the Red Sox can’t win, I wonder what’s the point, or what’s my dog thinking. I wish I was born a dog, or an eskimo who lived his whole life cold and in an igloo, knowing nothing else. The worst thing that has happened to me are my past experiences. I have learned from them, but also learned to acknowledge when they come around again. My best friend is the agitated ball in my stomach that bounces around recklessly with my easily changing moods. It is all my fault. Every situation that has killed me is of my own doing. I am my own worst enemy. I am an eskimo in warm climates. I am nothing pretending to be something. No one cares about me, I am just there. Well, now I am nowhere and probably still won’t be happy. I love my parents. I love my sister. I love my gram and I love my dogs. I am confused and overtaken.”

Roy looks at Kathleen and folds the paper back up, putting it back into his pocket.

 KATHLEEN

You’re an eskimo in warm climates?

Roy shrugs his shoulders.

KATHLEEN

Interesting.

ROY

What do you think?

KATHLEEN

I think you have a…pension for the dramatic. Now I can see that you most certainly don’t have the stomach for violence, killing yourself. I can also see that you’re doing this all for show.

ROY

You didn’t like it?

KATHLEEN

You’re asking me like it’s a book you lent me or a poem you wrote.

ROY

Well I am. How come a suicide note can’t be read as a work of art?

Kathleen looks at him and sighs. She’s turns away from him and stares off into space. There is silence for a few moments.

ROY

So…who…who you waiting for anyway?

KATHLEEN

A friend.

ROY
(quickly)

Boyfriend?

KATHLEEN

A friend.

ROY

When are they supposed to be here?

KATHLEEN

Soon. (looks around) Within minutes probably.

ROY

Oh. (pause) Then what are you doing?

KATHLEEN

Going.

ROY

Going where?

KATHLEEN

Going out.

Pause.

ROY
(hesitantly)

Can I come?

KATHLEEN

Probably not.

ROY

Why not?

KATHLEEN

Because I’m looking forward to spending time with my friend, and frankly I’m getting a little sick of you.

ROY

Thanks for being blunt.

KATHLEEN

It’s the only way to be as far as I’m concerned.

ROY
(looks around and forces a cough)

So…where are you going?

KATHLEEN

Out, Roy! We’re going out. What part of out don’t you understand? The O, the U or the T?

ROY

Shut up.

KATHLEEN
(laughing)

My sixth grade teacher used to use that one. She used “no” though. What part of “no” don’t you understand?

ROY

I hated middle school.

KATHLEEN

Obviously.

ROY

It such a bad, bad time to be in school. The whole puberty thing. You know…the voice, the face, the feet? They all get funky. Do you know that my feet grew from a size eight to a size eleven from the start of seventh grade until the end of seventh grade? It was terrible! I went through four pairs of sneakers that year. And at that age, you are self-conscious about EVERYTHING. That’s even including how many shoes you go through. You don’t want people to think that you’re rich. Because that ain’t cool. The key to middle school…is normality.

KATHLEEN

Any embarrassing moments you’d care to share with the group?

ROY
(hesitant for a moment)

Yeah, sure. I think it was the end of sixth grade at some assembly. A couple of kids tied my shoelaces together. I didn’t stop them because I just thought that they were joking and they wouldn’t tie them too tight. Man, was I wrong. They made themselves a nice little knot and I couldn’t get it out. Finally, after fifteen minutes of trying, I had to walk through the halls with my damn shoes tied together like an idiot. I was so embarrassed. One of my teachers saw me and took pity on me. She cut the knot and I was on my way. It was terrible.

KATHLEEN

What’d you do to the guys that tied your laces?

ROY

Nothing.

KATHLEEN

Nothing? You just let them get away with it?

ROY

Yeah. I’m not a fighter. I’m not one for confrontations. I’m more of a background player…a supporting cast type. I deal with stuff like that on the inside. I just have this feeling that no one really cares about my problems, so I try not to unload them on other people.

KATHLEEN

But you let people unload their problems on you though?

ROY

Yeah. I’m a pretty good…emotional dumping ground.

KATHLEEN

What makes you think that their lives are more important than yours? Their problems are the same problems that you have. If they can dump them out on you, why can’t you dump yours out on them?

ROY

Because mine aren’t important.

KATHLEEN

But theirs are?

ROY

More important than mine.

KATHLEEN

That doesn’t really make sense, Roy.

ROY

I’m sorry.

KATHLEEN

Don’t be sorry! You’re sorry for too much as it is.

ROY

I’m just not an outside emotional person. I prefer to deal with my problems, myself.

KATHLEEN

That’ll kill ya, Roy. I don’t know what method you were planning on using here…but that’s a good one.

ROY

Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.

Long Pause by Both.

KATHLEEN

Who would you most like to meet? Of all the people in this world, the next one or the last one, who would you most like to meet?

ROY

That’s kind of a juvenile question.

KATHLEEN

I know, kind of like Truth or Dare. That was a great game. Key for sleepovers. There was always one camper who had to masturbate or something like that in the kid’s mom’s bathroom.

ROY
(coyly)

I was never much of a fan.

KATHLEEN
(slyly)

Why? (pause) Did you masturbate in some poor mother’s bathroom?

ROY
(quickly)

No!

KATHLEEN
(moving on)

So, who would you like too meet?

ROY

Uh…(thinks for a moment)

KATHLEEN

It’s not that hard of a question Roy. I know that most people make it out to be this big, tough question and they usually say something like their gram, Shakespeare or Nietzsche. So Roy, the question that I pose to you, who would you like to meet?

ROY

Well, I was going to say my grandfather, but…

KATHLEEN

…and that’s a perfect answer!

ROY

But you just said that it wasn’t.

KATHLEEN

Who gives a shit what I said. You stuck with your guns! An unusual trait for you.

ROY

Thanks. And you?

KATHLEEN
(without hesitation)

The music makers. They make life livable.

ROY

I never listened to much music as a kid. My parents didn’t really see any value in listening to music. They preferred the work of the New York Times editor to the work of the Beatles.

KATHLEEN

That’s too bad. I love music. I listen to it all the time.

ROY

What about right now? (he laughs at his really bad joke)

KATHLEEN

Oh I got the tunes flowing in my head. I’m always singing or humming some tune, or making up my own. I like to keep a soundtrack going with my life.

ROY

I would love to have a soundtrack playing with my life. After I left home when I was seventeen to possibly take up a career in the armed forces, the first thing I did was buy a Stevie Wonder album. And I listened to that album nonstop. I used to imagine his beats playing while I was walking down the street. (gets up to demonstrate) I’d go from a normal walk to more of a strut, because that’s what fit with the music.

KATHLEEN
(laughing)

I’m glad to hear you say something like that.

ROY

Why? (sits back down, a little closer to KATHLEEN than before) You didn’t expect me to say it?

KATHLEEN

Pretty much.

ROY

I have many a trick up my sleeve, my lady. Pull them out when it’s least expected.

KATHLEEN

Gotcha.

Another Long Pause by Both.

ROY

I wonder where your friend is? They’re running pretty late aren’t they?

KATHLEEN

They’re not one for promptness.

ROY

Who is?

KATHLEEN

Before today, I couldn’t be early for something to save my life. It’s funny how things like that can change. I got this whole new perspective on life now. It’s great.

ROY

I’m happy for you.

KATHLEEN

I feel like I could go do one of those early morning infomercial ads. Just me on a beach talking about how I changed my life, simply by being on time. I’d make millions, Roy.

ROY

No doubt in my mind.

KATHLEEN

You could be on the infomercial too! You could be one of those guys on the beach we interview and tell us how my revolutionary method changed your life, and now your pulling down thousands a week.

ROY

Sounds good.

KATHLEEN

Of course it does.

ROY

It’d be my fifteen minutes of fame.

KATHLEEN

See, it’s a you scratch my back, I scratch yours type deal.

ROY

That’s what I like to hear. Just let me know when it is, I’ll be there.

KATHLEEN

You know what that means don’t you?

ROY

What?

KATHLEEN

It means that you can’t go and kill yourself today. You’ll have to wait until after the commercial…and the talk shows of course.

ROY

Very funny. I’m glad you can find my suicide attempt comical.

KATHLEEN

I can find anything comical.

ROY

I bet your friends like that.

KATHLEEN

Not really. I think that they find the constant jokes somewhat annoying.

ROY
(thinks for the right thing to say)

To hell with them.

KATHLEEN

Exactly Roy, exactly.

Pause.

 ROY

When’s your friend showing up?

KATHLEEN

Anxious to get rid of me, Roy?

ROY

NO…no, I was just asking. Making conversation.

KATHLEEN

I’m just kidding. I have no idea when my friend’s getting here. I don’t really even know if they’re getting here at all.

ROY

What?

KATHLEEN

These plans were made awhile ago. Things change.

ROY

So…you’ve been waiting here for people that might not even show up? In fact, there’s a damn good chance that they might not show up at all?

KATHLEEN

Appears that way.

ROY

I don’t understand that at all.

KATHLEEN

You don’t need too.

ROY
(a little hurt)

I don’t need to understand your situation?

KATHLEEN

Well, I mean, you don’t have to understand anything I do or say. You don’t even have to understand me. I’m here and you’re there. I’m not really making any attempt to understand you, so I’m not expecting you to try and understand me.

ROY
(confused)

Ok.

KATHLEEN

When do you think that we’re ever going to see each other again, Roy? This meeting today…was a total CHANCE meeting. I’ve gone through twenty-five years so far and this is first time I’ve become aware of your existence. I think the odds are not very good for us to meet again. So going with that theory, I don’t really feel the need to go and get attached to you…someone I’m probably never going to see again. (frankly) It’s kind of a waste of time.

ROY
(sharply)

You’re calling me a waste of time? Thanks.

KATHLEEN

I’m not calling you a waste of time. I’m calling getting to know you a waste of time. It’s two totally different things.

ROY

I’ll have to take your word for it.

KATHLEEN
(looking to move on)

Good.

Long Pause.

Uncomfortable Silence.

ROY
(trying)

Uh…yeah so…uh?

KATHLEEN
(laughing sadly)

There just isn’t an easy way to break one of those is there?

ROY

What? An uncomfortable silence?

KATHLEEN

God, they’re terrible.

ROY

I can’t stand them. I was trying to think of something to say. Didn’t quite happen though.

KATHLEEN

Oh well. You can’t win at everything.

ROY

True.

KATHLEEN

Except for Tee-Ball of course.

ROY
(in complete agreement)

Of course.

KATHLEEN

God bless youth.

ROY

God bless ‘em.

KATHLEEN

I wish I could stay eight years old forever.

ROY

Why eight?

KATHLEEN

Because you’re not a little kid and you’re not a teenager. All you’re there to do is play sports and do stupid things that you get in trouble for. What a great life.

ROY

Sounds decent.

KATHLEEN

What age would you be?

ROY

Fifteen. It was the first time I got laid.

KATHLEEN

Do you base all answers in your life on sexual experiences?

ROY
(out of character)

Yes.

KATHLEEN

Better you than me.

ROY

What are…are you a virgin?

KATHLEEN

Am I a virgin? What makes you think that you know me well enough to ask me such a question?

ROY

Sorry. I was just joking.

KATHLEEN

No, I am not a virgin. I just don’t think that this is a subject that should be “just talked about” to any Tom, Dick or Harry. It’s kind of a personal thing.

ROY
(holding back an immature laugh)

Well, once again. I’m sorry.

KATHLEEN

Thank you.

ROY

No problem.

Long Pause. (again)

To be continued.

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