Read Constellations Online

Authors: Nick Payne

Constellations (3 page)

Roland
   This is really sexy by the way.

Marianne
   The point being –

Roland
   I had a really amazing time tonight and I'd really like to spend the night.

Marianne
   But –

Roland
   With you. I'd really like to spend the night –

Marianne
   But now we've got string theory. Or, to be a bit more specific, we've got lots of different string theories –

Roland
   If you'd rather I didn't stay you just have to say.

Marianne
   And the exciting thing about string theory is that it potentially bridges the gap between relativity and –

Roland
   You haven't answered either of my questions.

Marianne kisses Roland.

Marianne
   A by-product of every single one of these theories – almost entirely by accident – is the possibility that we're part of a multiverse.

Roland kisses Marianne.

Despite our best efforts, there are certain microscopic observations that just cannot be predicted absolutely. Now, potentially, one way of explaining this is to draw the conclusion that, at any given moment, several outcomes can co-exist simultaneously.

Roland
   This is genuinely turning me on, you do realise that?

Marianne
   In the quantum multiverse, every choice, every decision you've ever and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes.

Roland
   Everything?

Marianne
   Everything.

Roland
   Everything I've ever done?

Marianne
   Everything you've ever and never done. We should try and keep our voices down, my housemate –

Roland
   But if everything I'm ever gonna do already exists, then what's the point in me –

Marianne
   Well –

Roland
   What's the point in me even –

Marianne
   Well –

Roland
   D'you see what I'm saying?

Marianne
   No, totally, but – Let's say that ours really is the only universe that exists. There's only one unique me and one unique you. If that were true, then there could only ever really be one choice. But if every possible future exists, then the decisions we do and don't make will determine which of these futures we actually end up experiencing. Imagine rolling a dice six thousand times.

*   *   *

Still drunk.

Roland
   Everything?

Marianne
   Everything.

Roland
   Everything I've ever done?

Marianne
   Everything you've ever and never done. We should try and keep our voices down, my housemate –

Roland
   But if everything I'm ever gonna do already exists, then what's the point in me –

Marianne
   There isn't.

Roland
   What?

Marianne
   In none of our equations do we see any sign whatsoever of any evidence of free will.

Roland
   In your e—

Marianne
   We're just particles.

Roland
   Speak for y'self.

Marianne
   You, me, everyone, we might think that we have some say in – We might
think
that the choices we make will have some say in the –

Roland
   Right, no, sure –

Marianne
   We're just particles –

Roland
   No, sure, but –

Marianne
   We're just particles governed by a series of very particular laws being knocked the fuck around all over the place.

Roland
   You make it sound so glamorous.

*   *   *

Marianne and Roland are sober.

Marianne
   Most of my time is spent sitting in front of a computer typing in numbers. It's not really very interesting.

Roland
   Okay.

Marianne
   Look. I, I've had a really enjoyable evening.

Roland
   No, yeah, me –

Marianne
   I haven't really made up my mind, though, whether or not I'd like you to stay. I just – I've got quite a bit on at the moment and we were having a really lovely time and I thought it would be really nice to invite you back. But I just want to be clear that I'm not massively interested in sleeping with you.

Roland
   It's all right, you don't have to –

Marianne
   I'd just sort of rather get into bed and go to sleep. But I'm completely happy to go and get you a sleeping bag and a couple of towels.

Roland
   Okay.

Marianne
   But – I mean, just to be clear, I'm not being coy. I'm not sort of saying no to sex but yes to all the other stuff. We're going to go to sleep, separately, and then we're going to wake up and then we're going to have some toast. Or, I mean, whatever. You don't have to have toast.

Roland
   Floor's fine. Honestly.

*   *   *

Marianne
   
I'm so tired. I'm so tired, Roland. Before people had face

Before they had
          
face

Face
          
before they

FUCK.

Roland
   
Okay.

Marianne
   
God.

Roland
   
God?

Marianne
   
People's lives were their own. Before
          
it became skin

Skin, it became

Skin

Roland
   
Skin?

Marianne
   
Mum wasn't scared of dying, she was scared of being kept alive. You know?

Roland
   
Yes.

Marianne
   
That wasn't what scared her.

Roland
   
I understand.

Marianne
   
It's not just the speaking.

Roland
   
Okay now
I don't understand?

Marianne
   
Reading. I'm having trouble – Numbers, words, on the page. I don't know how to explain it. Typing. Typing, as well.

Roland
   
In what way?

Marianne
   
I know the word. I know the word I'm trying to type. But I don't know the letters. None of the letters seem right. Rea

Rea

Rea

Roland
   
You don't need to finish.

Marianne
   
I want to.

Roland
   
I think I know what you're trying to say.

Marianne
   
How
          
How can you know what I'm trying to say?
          

Mmm
          
Most of the time I don't even know what I'm trying to say.

Roland
   
You're right I was being polite because I don't want you to wear yourself out.

Marianne
   
Maybe we should get me a notepad to hang around my neck?

Roland
   
What?

Marianne
   
Kidding.

Roland
   
Mary fucking hell.

Marianne
   
Roland, I don't think that I can go back to work.

*   *   *

Roland
   All right?

Marianne
   Where have you been?

Roland
   Pub.

Marianne
   I sent you a text.

Roland
   I know.

Marianne
   Why didn't you text me back?

Roland
   Dunno.

Marianne
   What does that mean?

Roland
   It means I dunno. Means I didn't think it was urgent.

Marianne
   I didn't know where you were.

Roland
   I just told you.

Marianne
   Now, you just told me now, but I wanted to know –

Roland
   I was playing tennis. I was playing tennis with Tony and then we went to the pub. What's wrong? I'm sorry. What is it, what's wrong?

Marianne
   Roland, I'm really sorry.

Roland
   What, what is it?

Marianne
   James and I had sex.

Roland
   James.

Marianne
   From work.

Roland
   The centre parting? You mean the bloke with the centre parting?

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   When?

Marianne
   We've – There's been a few. A few times.

Roland
   How many's a few?

Marianne
   I'd rather we didn't get into who did what to whom.

Roland
   How many's a few, Mary?

Marianne
   Six. Maybe seven.

Roland
   Spread out? Were the six or seven times you had sex spread out over a particular period of time?

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   Are you together, then, d'you wanna be together?

Marianne
   I don't know.

Roland
   Is he moving in?

Marianne
   Of course not. Roland, of course he's not.

Roland
   Do you want me to move out?

Beat.

When do you want me to move out?

Marianne
   There's no rush.

Roland
   That's it then is it?

*   *   *

Marianne
   Where have you been?

Roland
   Pub.

Marianne
   I sent you a text.

Roland
   I know.

Marianne
   Why didn't you text me back?

Roland
   Dunno.

Marianne
   What does that mean?

Roland
   It means I dunno. Means I didn't think it was urgent.

Marianne
   I didn't know where you were.

Roland
   I just told you.

Marianne
   Now, you just told me now, but I wanted to know –

Roland
   I was playing tennis. I was playing tennis with Tony and then we went to the pub. What's wrong? I'm sorry. What is it, what's wrong?

Marianne
   Roland, I'm really sorry.

Roland
   What, what is it?

Marianne
   James and I had sex.

Roland
   James.

Marianne
   From work.

Roland
   Dandruff? You mean the bloke with the dandruff?

Marianne
   He doesn't – Yes.

Roland
   When?

Marianne
   We've – There's been a few. A few times.

Roland
   How many's a few?

Marianne
   I'd rather we didn't get into who did what to whom.

Roland
   How many's a few, Mary?

Marianne
   Six. Maybe seven.

Roland
   Spread out?

Marianne
   What?

Roland
   Were the six or seven times you had sex spread out over a particular period of time?

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   Are you together, then, d'you wanna be together? Mary, do the two of you –

Marianne
   I don't know.

Roland
   Is he moving in?

Beat.

When do you want me to move out?

Marianne
   There's no rush.

Roland
   How old is he?

Marianne
   He's twenty-four.

Roland
   Twenty-four?

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   He's a child.

Marianne
   He's twenty-four, Roland.

Roland
   Where do you have sex?

Marianne
   All sorts of places.

Roland
   Fuck does that mean?

Marianne
   It's means we've had sex in more than one place.

Roland
   Here?

Marianne
   Roland, of course we've not had –

Roland
   His place?

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   Where does he live?

Other books

Dead Girl in Love by Linda Joy Singleton
Traveller by Abigail Drake
Randalls Round by Eleanor Scott
Alpha Me Not by Jianne Carlo