A – a young woman in her early twenties, slightly plump with soft features. She has a patient, tired, wise, responsible manner, but still acts and seems her age.
B – another young woman, also in her twenties, with very long hair at least halfway down her back, not too skinny. B may be wearing pants or a long skirt and an unbuttoned plaid shirt over a short-sleeved V-neck top. She consistently affects a more melancholy, contemplative vibe.
NARRATOR – never seen.
VARIOUS RESTAURANT CUSTOMERS – including two YOUNG CHILDREN around 7 or 8 years old, possibly siblings, wearing shorts and sandals.
WAITER – an enthusiastic young Japanese-American man.
A mid-scale Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar. The polished floors, overhead lights, walls, and lamps above the sushi counter are all shades of white. Brightly lit ambiance in general.
[A and B are in the middle of a meal at a narrow table, sitting across from each other. Assorted plates of half-finished food are strewn about in front of them, covering almost the entire table. The same few phrases of a jazz piece play very faintly over and over again in a continuous loop in the background, giving the warm atmosphere an eerie contrasting quality.]
B [B’s manner decrescendos from playful, unassuming, and familiar to distinctly sober in an instant.]: Maybe you should lay off the raw sushi at some point. Just in case.
A: You’re right…[trails off, zoning out until she snaps suddenly back to attention] You’re right! If this really is.
[A and B sit in subdued silence.]
NARRATOR [offstage, pseudo-ethereally]: Slippery rainbow streams of sashimi and elaborate rolls have barely maintained their mutually constructed parallel distraction, happy but wistful.
[The music stops.]
A or B: Well…
A: It makes sense. I’m late for, like, the first time ever. Very late, I mean. My regularity’s never been that great, but this is beyond anything before.
[B sighs in tentative agony and shifts in her chair, pushing back from the table.]
B: And we did do that. Rare as it is. [Agitated resignation struggles to emerge from her face.]
A: Yeah. Apartment and a rainstorm. Stereotypical. Hmph.
B: I think you mean, ‘cliché’.
B: I was drunk.
A: Yes. I’m so sorry.
B: It’s fine, we both—
A [visibly uncomfortable, cutting her off]: Mm. Ok.
B: We’re fluid-bonded, even before. Guess I got a little cocky.
A [dryly]: Ha.
NARRATOR [offstage]: Pickled ginger and recent memories of hope. It still felt so fundamentally wrong to refer to it as a ‘scare’. B recalled the bizarre ambivalent feeling when A first told her, knowing beyond knowing that she couldn’t deal with the development but desperately wanting it anyway. A kind of relieved gratitude when life forces your slimy little cherished hopes to be tested.
A or B: And the hormones are no guarantee.
A or B [whoever didn’t say previous line]: Nope.
[They sigh simultaneously.]
A: I read about that.
[Around five seconds of silence passes.]
A: I suppose we have to face it. Better now.
B: How did this happen? [No one makes the obvious joke.] I mean, I just—[struggles briefly for words, floundering] I’ve always thought subconsciously that if any pregnancy comes of me that I’d be carrying it, it’d be mine. Of course I know that can’t actually—it’s hard to explain, but that’s how it’s wired…well, there’s the answer, that’s probably how this happened in the first place.
A: I understand. That makes sense, too, sweetie.
[A’s tenderness breaks through the stolid taut air as her hand moves to grasp B’s across the table. They hold hands atop the table.]
B: Please don’t hate me for this: I don’t know how to feel.
[A’s tears flow one, two, then continuously. A erupts with an audible sob. VARIOUS RESTAURANT CUSTOMERS at nearby tables turn their heads. They knock over the domino keeping B’s tears gated, and she also starts crying softly.]
B [sniffling, composes herself, releases A’s hand]: No guarantee, but it’s been a lot of years. It’d probably be my last chance, if.
A: You said you always adored the concept of motherhood.
B: As a concept.
A: You have the breasts for it.
[A looks uncertain, clearly trying to be funny but immediately regretting her attempt. She searches B’s face, trying to assess its impact. B looks briefly startled, then smiles wryly and halfheartedly and stares deliberately off in another direction, pointedly avoiding eye contact with A.]
B: We’re friends, first. We always have been. Before we started. [Mumbles inaudibly.]
A [almost to herself]: We better deal with it.
NARRATOR [offstage]: They better deal with it.
B: I need a cigarette.
A: You don’t smoke. Anyway maybe you should be careful, just in case.
[The YOUNG CHILDREN hover near the sushi bar. B gazes at them and then quickly glances at the menu again. The WAITER arrives.]
WAITER [guiltily looking down, aware that he’s interrupting a very intimate and unresolved conversation]: Anything else for you ladies?
A: Nothing else raw. [glances at B quickly, who looks away] I’ll have the grilled unagi.
[CURTAIN, suddenly and immediately as if by accident.]
(c) 2014 Tamara K. Walker