Thursday, January 14, 2016

Burn

* First short piece for 2016 *

Hard and crisp.
Skin peeled back.
It was not a kiss.
It was not a kiss.

Tear the flesh.
The weeping raw.
It was not a kiss.
No - it was not a kiss.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Aftermath pt. III

* The final chapter to the Aftermath series *


[Noon - Rocky’s Apartment]

(A week has passed since their last confrontation. ALICE stands uncomfortably in the lounge room, while ROCKY lingers against a window that leads to the balcony outside. A wine bottle is clasped in his hand)

ROCKY: (Quietly talking more to himself, rather than ALICE) When was the last time you thought back on one of our happier times?
(Beat, his hand shaking slightly)
And saw me for that?
(Beat)
You feel pain and anger at memories and feelings that you can’t get rid of. You can’t change that. (Pause) That’s okay. It’s. . .okay. (Talking to himself, more quickly) But do I deserve being viewed for what I did wrong over what I did right?
(Beat, looking at the wine bottle)
Who knows?  
(Beat)
I remember the good and the bad. (Turning and facing ALICE, rising up a gear) Even though the bad has hurt me more than anything else in my life. (Pause) As condescending as it sounds, I forgive you. I still think you’re the most amazing person I’ve ever laid eyes upon - the most beautiful, the most ambitious. (Pause) The purest.
(Beat)
But what am I to you?
ALICE: You really do sound condescending.
(Beat)
When you say you forgive me, I have to ask myself: ‘For what, exactly?
ROCKY: (The corners of his mouth turning up) For turning me from what I was into what I have become now. (Rising up a gear, clenching the wine bottle tightly) For leaving me with a burning chest pain that will continue to be here tomorrow. For ruining my ability to trust people - mostly you, and yet me trying to do so anyway. For hurting me far more than any other human being was capable of.
(Beat, composing himself)
Less sleepless nights would be nice.
ALICE: (Putting her hand up to stop him) Don’t.
(Beat, quietly trembling)
Nothing will change the fact that I received this abuse from you. This is how you feel? Now imagine what it was like for me. I will accept the fact that I have upset and hurt you - but you cannot disregard the fact that I was always true to you.
ROCKY: (Staring into nothing) ‘No matter what
(Beat)
(Regaining awareness, avoiding eye contact) But we learn from it, I suppose.
ALICE: No - no. That is different.

(ALICE begins to pace around the room)
ALICE: Why did you ask me to come over this afternoon? I thought Tom was supposed to collect the last of my things from here this evening. There’s nothing here.
ROCKY: (Talking quietly) I told him I wouldn’t be in this evening, so it’s already been taken care of.
ALICE: You’re always home on a Friday night, though.
ROCKY: I know.
(Beat, looking at ALICE)
I just wanted to see you.
ALICE: (With disbelief) What?
ROCKY: I wanted to see you.
ALICE: Why?
ROCKY: (His voice cracking, talking slowly) Because I have never felt so. . . unstable as I have during the past few weeks.
(Beat, drinking straight from the bottle)
I can’t take it anymore, Alice.
(Beat, his voice shaking)
I will not lie. (Pause) I need you - and. . .if I have to continue to go through this, then I refuse to live through it. (Pause) So I just wanted to talk.
(Beat)
I need that.

(ALICE sighs and takes a seat on the sofa. She rubs her temples and waits for ROCKY to continue. ROCKY remains by the window, watching her intently)
ROCKY: (With some confidence) I want to get back together.
ALICE: (Incredulously) You’re joking, right? (Seeing the look on ROCKY’s face) You cannot be serious.
(Beat)
I don’t know how many times we have to go over this, Rocky - I am with Daniel now. Don’t you think you should respect the fact that I’m seeing someone else now?
ROCKY: (Frowning) I suppose so.
(Beat)
But - But why can’t it be us, hm? We were just as good.
ALICE: Were, Rocky. (Pause, speaking quietly) And now. . .
(Beat)
Now I am with someone else. Feelings change.
ROCKY: (Speaking quickly) No - no. That’s not the way the world works.
(Beat)
It was you and me. Sure, we had issues but we could have worked through them. Heck, I think we’re through them now.
ALICE: (Scoffing) There is no way we are through them. We certainly won’t be for a long time.
(Beat)
Don’t you see that?
ROCKY: We were just as good as you and Daniel - better even. You have the exact same feelings for him as you did with me.
ALICE: No, the way I feel for Daniel is different to how I felt for you.
ROCKY: So, what? (Shifting up a gear) Am I now just meant to sit idly and pretend that absolutely none of that matters? (Pause) That it’s all gone, just like that?
(Beat)
How can the only part of my life that I care about be suddenly gone? Why do I have to deal with that? (Angry) We could still be just as good - and we should be!

(ROCKY slams his free fist into the wall, making ALICE jump slightly)
ALICE: (Quickly composing herself) Don’t you know that a relationship is doomed when the people in it stop working together to keep it going? (Coldly) Our relationship was over a long time ago, Rocky.
(Beat)
We were just too naive to see it.
ROCKY: (Still angry) What is it you want from me? Just tell me! (Pause) You want it? You got it!
ALICE: (Matching his anger) I want you to stop trying to recreate something that isn’t there anymore! It’s done, Rocky.
(Beat)
It’s too late. It’s over.
ROCKY: (Scrunching his nose up at her) You know what? Screw you, Alice. It’s not like there never was an ‘us’. (Pause) Don’t you think I am entitled to this?
ALICE: Excuse me?
ROCKY: (Speaking passionately with large hand gestures) Don’t you think that considering all the effort I’ve put in to try and make it all work. . .that I even deserve a shot?”
ALICE: No.
(Beat)
You seem to think that I’d just leave Daniel for you. It’s not happening.
ROCKY: You’re right. (Taking a drink from the bottle) It’s not fair for me to expect you to leave your boyfriend. (Pause) But jesus christ, Alice - we had a lot. (Pause) We really did.
(Beat)
You can keep your life. You can keep your body. I don’t want to own you - I just want to be with you. (Pause) You keep labelling me as this bad guy.
(Beat)
(Sarcastically) I’m just the guy who used you, right? Because of course, it’s not like I really cared for you or anything, right?
ALICE: (Muttering to herself) Not when you were only speaking to me to try and get me into bed with you. (Staring hard at ROCKY) Remember that?
ROCKY: (Shifting down a gear, taking a step towards ALICE) Can you consider that in my eyes, I never could have seen coming the things that I see now?
ALICE: (Sitting down again and folding her arms) Really? Not even when I brought it to your attention more than once? (Pause) I told you this before: I voiced my opinion only to have it fall on deaf ears.
(Beat)
ROCKY: (At a loss, his voice shaking again) I have worked so, so hard to try and fix everything.
(Beat)
You agree that at least all of it meant something, don’t you? (Stepping towards ALICE) Then this is deserving of something else - something better. (Composing himself) Who said you get to up and decide that the best part of my life just doesn’t matter anymore because it doesn’t suit your needs now?
(Beat)
A year, Alice. You loved me for a year. (Talking quickly) Now you can focus on all the bad you want, but you loved me for a year and that deserves better than what you give it. (Pause) You will always be upset with me and these are things I cannot fix. Nobody can.
ALICE: It’s perfectly understandable for me to still be upset over what happened. (Her voice dropping) Particularly with Hannah and Stephanie. (Pause) You should know that.
ROCKY: (Practically interrupting, waving his free hand in the air) Hannah was a stupid, fucking idea. Okay? Does that make you happy?
(Beat)
Haven’t you ever done something stupid in your life?
ALICE: (Coldly) Do you want me to answer that honestly?

(ALICE stands up again and stretches. ROCKY takes a step back, hurt by ALICE’s words)
ALICE: (Sighing, pacing around the room slowly) And Stephanie?
ROCKY: (Pointing at ALICE) No - no! I am not taking the blame for that. We have two females in our group - you and her - and I treated her the same as everybody else.
ALICE: (Scoffing) Bullshit.
ROCKY: (Throwing his free hand up in the air, defensively) We can argue this all afternoon. I am not taking the blame for this one.
ALICE: Well don’t expect me to simply put it behind me, then.
ROCKY: Well what would help then, huh? (Rising up a gear) If I lied and said it was all true, would that help?
ALICE: (Her voice low) It was wrong, Rocky. Don’t you see that?
(Beat)
(Gradually raising her voice) I know you’re only human, but what you did with her hurt me more than any other. You can think you’ve done nothing wrong, but when our friends question your faithfulness to me, then there’s an issue!
ROCKY: (At a loss, defensively) Alright, alright. Fine. You win. (Pause) You’ve made me realise that there’s just no point in trying to chase you anymore.
(Beat, drinking generously from the wine bottle again)
(Losing his composure and becoming teary) It makes me feel so empty because there is literally nothing I can say that will make you feel better.
ALICE: Good, because I’m done with this.
(Beat)
ROCKY: What?
ALICE: (Calmly) I’m done with this conversation. (Pause) I’m done with you, Rocky.
ROCKY: Alice!
ALICE: (Heading towards the door) No Rocky, it’s over. (Pause) I’m leaving.
ROCKY: (Quickly losing composure) No! You can’t say that!
(ROCKY stumbles towards ALICE in an attempt to stop her from leaving. He trips over his feet and the wine bottle falls to the ground, smashing into the pieces. ROCKY falls to his knees and desperately tries to crawl towards ALICE)
ROCKY: (At a loss, crying) Alice. (Pause) Alice, please. Please don’t go.
(Beat, begging like a frightened child)
Don’t go.
ALICE: I have to--
ROCKY: (Interrupting her and clutching to her knees) No. . .no. Don’t say that.
(Beat)
Please don’t say that.
(Beat)
Stay with me. (Pause) Please.
ALICE: (Pitying him) At the end of the day, I will always end up fighting with you.
(Beat)
We are never going to resolve this, Rocky. (Pause, quietly) That is the painful truth.
(Beat)
Don’t you see that?
ROCKY: (Shifting down a gear) But - but I need you.
ALICE: No.
(Beat, shaking her head)
You don’t.
(Beat)
I know for a fact that you can live without me.
ROCKY: (Panicking) But I can’t! Don’t you understand? (Watching ALICE free herself from his grasp and head towards the door)
(Beat)
I need you, Alice!
(Beat, ROCKY is frantic as ALICE ignores him)
Alice if you walk out that door right now, you’ll never see me again!
(Beat)
Alice?
(Beat)
ALICE!



Fin.