Read Constellations Online

Authors: Nick Payne

Constellations (8 page)

Marianne
   
When she said she didn't want any more food.

Roland
   
Yeah.

Marianne
   
Do you remember?

Roland
   
I'm not sure we ever really talked about it?

Marianne
   
I thought we did?

Roland
   
Bits and pieces maybe.

Marianne
   
Well she said she wanted them to stop the IV, did we talk about that?

Roland
   
I think maybe we did yeah.

Marianne
   
They asked me to leave. I went back the next day and she was starting to look like a ghost. It takes an enormous amount of strength. When you're like that. To keep going. I'm not sure I have it.

Roland
   
You don't know. You don't know that.

Marianne
   
Sinking feeling.

Roland
   
Mary listen to me –

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
   
Have they told you that?

Marianne
   
They're great.

Roland
   
You've told them then?

Marianne
   
Not yet.

Roland
   
But you're going to.

Marianne
   
I think so.

Roland
   
But you haven't said any of this to them?

Marianne
   
They've said whatever I want.

Roland
   
So what about part-time?

Marianne
   
I don't know the point.

Roland
   
You mean the point of going part-time?

Marianne
   
Either I'm walking or I'm

Either I'm
          
walker

I either do it or I don't. Scares me.

Roland
   
Work?

Marianne
   
Stopping.

Roland
   
Stopping work scares you?

Marianne
   
What will I do?

Roland
   
We'll go away. We can do whatever we want.

Marianne
   
I don't –

Roland
   
I'm being serious.

Marianne
   
I don't –

Roland
   
I mean it.

Marianne
   
I
          
I don't

We can't. I have to
          
have to
          
make a

I have to have a choice.

Control.

*   *   *

Roland
   Taxi's booked for nine.

Marianne
   I know.

Roland
   Gives us an extra half an hour.

Marianne
   It does.

Roland
   Are you tired?

Marianne
   A bit.

Roland
   Would you like to go to sleep?

Marianne
   What time is it?

Roland
   Are you cold?

Marianne
   No.

Roland
   I could turn the air conditioning off?

Marianne
   I'm fine.

*   *   *

Roland
   Taxi's booked for nine.

Marianne
   I know.

Roland
   Gives us an extra half an hour.

Marianne
   It does.

Roland
   Are you tired?

Marianne
   A bit.

Roland
   Would you like to go to sleep?

Marianne
   What time is it?

Roland
   Are you cold?

Marianne
   No.

Roland
   I could turn the air conditioning off?

Marianne
   I'm fine.

*   *   *

Roland
   Taxi's booked for nine.

Marianne
   I know.

Roland
   Gives us an extra half an hour.

Marianne
   It does.

Roland
   Are you tired?

Marianne
   A bit.

Roland
   Would you like to go to sleep?

Marianne
   What time is it?

Roland
   Are you cold?

Marianne
   No.

Roland
   I could turn the air conditioning off?

Marianne
   I'm fine.

Roland
   Do you want to put the telly on?

Marianne
   No thank you.

Roland
   Are you hungry?

Marianne
   Full.

Roland
   I've. I've had a really wonderful day.

Marianne
   Same.

Roland
   Really?

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   Can I be honest with you?

Marianne
   No.

She's joking. They perhaps smile a little.

Roland
   There are, there are times when I look at you and I absolutely understand why you're doing this. But there are times when I absolutely don't. And I'm not, I'm not saying you shouldn't be calling it a day. But I s'pose I am starting to wonder if now is the right time. Because if it were me and I were you I think that I would want as much time as possible. And if you think you've got another couple of months in you, God I would love to give that a go.

Marianne
   Yes.

Roland
   What?

Marianne
   (
beat
) Yes. Let's go home.

*   *   *

Roland
   Because if it were me and I were you I think that I would want as much time as possible. And if you think you've got another couple of weeks in you, God I would love to give that a go.

Marianne
   What
          
what do you mean by time?

Roland
   Time, I mean time, I'd want more time. With you.

Marianne
   I'm not
          
s
ure
          
that

You and I, we might, we think that

But that, that

There's an arrow
          
from p-past to present.

Roland
   Mary –

Marianne
   But that's really all we can say. Asymmetrical.

Roland
   Mary –

Marianne
   But nobody knows why.

Roland
   Okay.

Marianne
   L-listen to me, please.

Roland
   Let's not talk about this now.

Marianne
   Please.

Roland
   I shouldn't have brought it up.

Marianne
   L-listen to me, please. The basic laws of physics – The b-b-basic laws of physics don't have a past and a present. Time is irrelevant at the level of a-atoms and molecules. It's symmetrical.

We have all the time we've always had.

You'll still have all our time.

Once I

Once

Once

There's not going to be any more or less of it.

Once I'm gone.

*   *   *

Roland
   Hello, Marianne.

Marianne
   Roland. Wow, hi – Hello. How are you?

Roland
   Yeah, I'm fine, thanks.

Marianne
   Oh good. Good, that's really good.

Roland
   How about y'self?

Marianne
   I bought some of your honey.

Roland
   Oh really.

Marianne
   From the Budgens in Crouch End.

Roland
   Yeah, right. They're really great.

Marianne
   I said to the girl on the till, I said I used to know the man who made this honey.

Roland
   What did she say?

Marianne
   She just stared at me.

Roland
   I read one of your papers.

Marianne
   You did not?

Roland
   I did. I downloaded it.

Marianne
   That's really amazing, Roland.

Roland
   What did you think of the honey?

Marianne
   Delicious. It was completely delicious. Are you, are you here for the ballroom class?

Roland
   Yeah, no, yeah, I am, yeah.

Marianne
   Really.

Roland
   Heather's getting married in a couple of months, so.

Marianne
   The PE teacher?

Roland
   That's right, yeah. Good memory. I've been ordered to sort out my two left feet or else. How about you?

Marianne
   Similar, really. Wedding.

Roland
   Your own or –

Marianne
   No, God, can you imagine. I'm being a very diligent bridesmaid. We're having some kind of mass Viennese waltz. I'm not sure I fully understand it as yet.

Roland
   So is this your first? Lesson.

Marianne
   No, second. You?

Roland
   First, yeah.

Marianne
   Well done on the comfortable trouser front. I came straight from work. Last week. Crotch was like a fucking hothouse by the time I got home.

Beat.

Roland
   We should – Afterwards – If you – If we're not both completely exhausted. There's a nice place not that far. We could – We could try going for a drink? But if we get there, if we're there, if we're there and you, you change your mind, if you change your mind and you wanna call it a day, then we'll just call it a day. We'll just call it a day and you'll never have to see me again.

 

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