There is a table and two chairs center stage, and a bench off to one side. A rotary telephone sits on the table. Dim lights except for a spotlight on each person. A man (Thomas) dressed in a military uniform from the 40’s. A woman (Audrey) stands stage left, wearing a bright red dress, 40’s style as well. Her hair is well styled, and she is elegantly posing, with a cigarette + holder poised in her hand.
Thomas: I love her.
Audrey: He loves me.
Thomas: She loves me.
Audrey: He loves me not.
Thomas: I love her.
Audrey: He loves me not.
Thomas: (forcefully) I love her.
Audrey: He loves me not.
Thomas: (yelling) I love her!
Audrey: (yelling) He loves me! (pause, quieter) I love him.
Thomas: I love you.
Audrey: I’ll never leave you.
Both: Until the day I die, I’m yours.
Thomas: I’ll treasure you always.
Audrey: I’ll never give up on you.
Thomas: I’ll never take you for granted.
Audrey: We say these things to those we love.
Thomas: (quickly, turning to face her.) Because we love them.
Audrey: But are they really true?
Audrey: Are you sure?
Audrey: Prove it to me.
Thomas: I love you.
Audrey: Yes, but how much? Do you love me enough to stay?
(They begin their monologues at the same time, pausing when indicated to give the other enough time to say an important line)
Thomas: Yours is the only voice I want to hear before I fall asleep / and the only face I want to see every morning, lying beside me. I could spend the rest of eternity mapping every inch of your skin and I still wouldn’t know you well enough to satisfy me. I can’t sleep knowing that I’ll never know every thought, every wish, every memory you’ve created. (beat for Audrey’s part) You are the reason I need to believe in eternity because the thought of a single moment going by without you in the world is so unimaginable I can’t comprehend it. (beat for A) I love you. I will give my life to keep you safe because I couldn’t live if anything happened to you, knowing I did nothing to stop it from happening. (Beat for A) When, yes, when, our children climb into my lap and I hold them in my arms, I need to know that I did everything I could, everything I possibly could, to make sure that they were safe. (Beat for A) That they lived a life without fear, without worry, where they were children in every sense of the word; fearless, loving, free. (beat for A) I need to go. Because I love you. I love you, and I know you well enough to know that you won’t stop me from doing what I have to do. You won’t stop me from leaving because you love me too.
Audrey: I think he actually believes what he’s saying, which is more than I can say. Although confidence in relationships was never really my strong suit. (beat) I want to help him. I want to follow him, blindly, and drag him kicking and screaming back to me, to home, to us. He’s a romantic, and he doesn’t realize where he’s going. I know where he’s going. I know there’s no chance for him to come back. And if he does he won’t be the same. (beat for Thomas’ part, then speak over him) Young men think they’re invincible! They’re on top of the world! Untouchable. (beat for T) But one day they’re going to remember to look down, and when they do, they’ll see nothing but air below them, the ground hundreds of thousands of miles away. And then they’ll fall. When the first one falls, the others will hear his screams. They’ll look down too. They’ll fall, just like he did, their screams just as piercing. (beat for T) Suddenly it’s not a game anymore. This is serious. This is a battle. Keep your head up, soldier! (beat for T) Don’t look down now! Don’t watch out for others! Worry about yourself, and the enemy. Yourself, and the enemy…(beat, T is finished his monologue. She circles him predatorily) Who is the enemy? You can’t see them, but they’re there. It plays on your mind every hour, second, minute. Fight as hard as you can, until your dying breath, and then fight some more. (He tries to look down, and she pushes his chin upwards) Don’t look down. Don’t back down. Don’t turn back. (beat) I wanted to save you from that. (He turns and begins marching offstage) But you willingly condemned yourself. (She looks down, and walks offstage.)
Thomas re-enters. Accompanying him is his friend, Albert, who is dressed accordingly. They carry duffel bags, and are on their way to the docks to depart for Britain. A black umbrella should be placed downstage center before the scene.
Thomas: With you and me on the job, those Germans aren’t gonna know what him ‘em!
(He swings his free arm around Albert’s shoulder)
Albert: Yes, yes, alright, Thomas.
Thomas: Let me hear you say it!
A: Say what?
T: That we will defeat the bloody Germans, that’s what!
(Thomas releases Albert, and stops him from walking by pivoting in front of him. Albert attempts to get around)
A: Thomas you’re going to make us late! The boat leaves at noon, with or without us!
T: Say it.
A: This is childish.
T: I’m not moving until you say it.
A: (reluctantly) We will defeat the bloody Germans.
T: Yeah we will! They won’t even see us coming!
A: Yeah, yeah, alright, now let’s get going!
T: At least try to sound a little more enthusiastic will you, Albert? (He continues walking, Albert trailing behind.)
A: (ignoring him) Now, I know I was conscripted but remind me again why you volunteered?
T: I couldn’t very well let you go alone, now could I? (mockingly) I simply could not live with myself if something were to happen to you and I wasn’t there to protect you. I would cease to exist! (beat) Did you hear that, Albert? You are the sole reason for my existence!
A: Oh, come off it. You don’t care about me that much.
T: But of course I do! How could you ever think otherwise? Oh sun, oh stars! What is light, if Albert be not seen? What is joy if Albert be not by?
A: You just never let anybody forget about that one time you actually read Shakespeare.
T: (playing offended) The man’s a genius, Albert. A bloody genius.
A: Stop saying “bloody”, you’re not even British.
A: (in a British accent) Oh, do shut up.
A: Don’t keep me in suspense. Why did you enlist?
T: For my own sake.
A: Now that definitely makes no sense.
T: Maybe not to you, but to me it does.
A: In what way is this for your own sake?
T: How could I call myself a decent husband for Audrey if I don’t try to protect her? If I don’t try to protect my country? I’ll do what I can on my honor as a man.
A: Ah, so this is just for your pride.
T: Not at all. It’s for the protection of my country and for the greater good.
A: Well and for Audrey.
T: Of course, and for Audrey.
A: I just don’t think she’d believe in that. She would most definitely want you here, without the likelihood of injury, or perhaps even death. She would rather you protect her in person than from overseas.
T: She understands. She knows I have to go.
A: She is one heck of a gal then.
T: (proudly) That she is.
A: (Rolls eyes at him) How did you guys meet, anyways? I don’t think you’ve ever told me.
(Albert goes to sit down on the bench. Thomas follows, but does not sit.)
T: That is quite the story. It’s sheer luck we even met at all after the first time.
A: Go ahead.
T: It’s a long story.
A: (with sarcasm) Then make it bloody quick…
(Albert freezes. Audrey enters in her red dress. She carries a dress coat and hat. She helps Thomas put them on, and then places one hand on his shoulder, and with her other one, takes his hand. His other hand goes to her waist, and the start to dance. A Tommy Dorsey song plays quietly in the background.
Audrey: All we could think about was each other.
T: We did crazy things for no reason, got in trouble-
(Thomas spins Audrey into his arms and leans her back.)
Au: And laughed all the while.
(She laughs, and he lifts her back up, and spins her out, letting go. Audrey spins offstage on the opposite side she entered from. T walks upstage, picking up the umbrella)
(beat, The sound of rain can be heard.)
T: We met at the cafe on Birch road. I was just leaving. It had started to rain, heavily. (Thomas leans forward looks up, eyes squinted, as though checking the sky, but quickly leans back, as though raindrops had hit his face. He picks up his umbrella.) She ran like mad to get to the awning I was standing under. (He continues talking while Audrey enters wearing a jacket and hat over her dress and runs quickly towards him, almost knocking him over. The umbrella falls to the floor, but he catches her before she falls, and rights her, quickly removing his hands.) She barreled into me, she did! Almost knocked me over too! I can still remember the smell of her Bourjois perfume… It was so strong it almost instantly blocked out the smell of the rain.
Audrey: Sorry for bumping into you! I was just trying to get out of the rain.
Thomas: It’s no problem, miss. (as he pick up his hat)
Audrey: Came out of nowhere, didn’t it!
Thomas: Sure did.
Audrey: Oh, sorry! Am I keeping you?
Thomas: No, not at all. I’m in no hurry.
Audrey: It’s great to be in no hurry to go anywhere! You can just relax, take your time, and go at your own pace.
T: That’s why my schedule is never busy.
Audrey: (she looks at him skeptically) But at the same time, having something to do is fulfilling, wouldn’t you say?
Audrey: Now don’t go agreeing with everything I have to say. Where’s the fun in that?
T: I’m sorry, miss.
Audrey: Don’t apologize for your opinion, either. You’ll never have the confidence to decide anything for yourself.
T: I’m so- right. Of course. I shall have to work on that, won’t I?
Audrey: That’s the spirit! I’m afraid I must be going now. Though you may not be in a hurry, I certainly am. (She braced herself to run into the rain.)
T: (he stopped her by grabbing her gently by the arm) Wait a moment, I didn’t happen to catch your name.
Audrey: I didn’t happen to give it.
Audrey:(impatiently) If you’re simply going to stand there all wide-eyed and tongue-tied, I shall have to repeat myself: I really must be going. If there’s nothing you need to say, would you mind releasing my arm?
T: (releasing her) Of course, my apologies. I’m Thomas Lindh.
Audrey: Nice to meet you, Thomas Lindh.
T: Care to share your name, now? I’ve gone and told you mine, and it doesn’t seem fair if I don’t know yours.
Audrey: (thoughtfully, bending down as though to tie her shoes, she picks up his umbrella. He doesn’t notice.) It doesn’t, does it? Though things in life aren’t always fair, are they? (She charges offstage, laughing, taking his umbrella with her.)
T: Hey! Wait! Come back! (He goes to look for the umbrella, but sees that it is missing. To himself) She stole my umbrella. (beat) Bloody fantastic. (Removing his jacket, he walks back to the bench where Albert sits)
A: Wait, she stole your umbrella the first time you met?
Thomas: She did indeed.
A: That’s not very romantic.
Thomas: Well I don’t think she meant it to be romantic.
A: Did you ever get your umbrella back?
Thomas: You know, I don’t think I ever did.
A: She didn’t return it to see you again?
Thomas: You would think. I’m very charming.
A: And apparently full of yourself.
T: (ignoring him) We didn’t actually meet again until a dinner party one evening. We both happened to be invited to the house of a mutual friend for her birthday party. I knew her husband - he was an old classmate of mine from university, and she knew the birthday girl herself from God knows where.
(Audrey enters this time wearing a white dress, with a bead of pearls around her neck. She carries her cigarette and holder. Albert freezes, and Thomas walks casually over to her. She has her back turned to him. He sticks his hands into his pockets.)
T: Hello there, beautiful lady.
(she turns around)
Au: And who, pray tell, are you?
T: Why, you don’t remember me? You seem to have a talent for hurting a man’s ego. And I’ve not been talking to you for twenty seconds yet.
Au: Then maybe your ego needed a little hurting. Now I’ll ask you again, who are you?
T: First you tell me I need more confidence, and now I have too much? You really must make up your mind.
Au: Excuse me?
T: I said you are very indecisive.
Au: No, I know what you said, and I do not resemble that remark.
T: I would beg to differ.
Au: Would you now? And how would you have come to know me well enough that you can have an opinion on the matter?
T: I’d like the chance to have an opinion on the matter. Would you like to go out with me to dinner?
Au: What, right now?
Au: But this is Margaret’s party! We can’t just leave!
T: Well why not?
Au: Because she was kind enough to invite us, and we shall have to stay until the end.
T: Are you sure?
T: Are you set on it?
Au: Of course.
T: Without a doubt?
T: An absolute certainty?
T: (Mischievously) So dinner tomorrow night?
Au: My God, Yes!- Wait. Wh-
T: (Laughs) Alright then. Tomorrow night it is. (He begins to walk away. She calls after him as he exits)
Au: I’m Audrey Rayburn, by the way.
(He turns back around)
T: That’s a lovely name.
Au: Thank you.
(He continues walking)
Au: Hey wait a moment! Sir? What’s your name?
T: I don’t recall giving it. (He smiles, beat) Well, tonight, anyways.
Au: Well that’s not fair, now is it? I’ve told you mine, so now you ought to tell me yours.
T: Sometimes life isn’t fair, y’know?
Au: Alright, if that’s how you want to play it… If you won’t tell me your name, I suppose you don’t want me to go to dinner with you.
(She turns around and begins to walk away in the opposite direction)
T: Alright! Alright! (he chases after her, and stops her) My name is Thomas Lindh, if you would remember.
Au: Thomas Lindh…?
T: (laughing) You took my umbrella, remember?
Au: Oh! Yes! Your umbrella… Well at least you gave it up for a good cause. (teasingly) My hair would have been absolutely wretched for the rest of the day if it hadn’t been for you.
T: (teasing) I don’t quite remember giving it up willingly.
Au: Ah, yes… Well I can make it up to you by going out to dinner with you tomorrow night, how about that?
T: That doesn’t get me a new umbrella, but I suppose it will have to do.
Au: Right, Mr. Lindh, I will see you tomorrow night.
(she begins to leave)
T: Wait! Where are you going?
Au: Why, I’m leaving! I daresay this party is rather dull, don’t you think?
T: I thought you said we had to stay until the end? For Margaret?
Au: (Smiling) Well I hardly know the woman. I doubt she’ll miss me if I leave.
T: (sputtering) But you said-!
(She continues to exit)
Au: (she turns around again) What is it now?
T: How do I contact you? We haven’t even decided where it is we are going to have dinner!
Au: Ah, yes. I was rather hoping you would forget that particular detail. Alright, here.
(She opens her purse and pulls out a card and a pen. She writes her phone number on the card and hands it to him)
T: (skeptically) Is this your real telephone number?
(She takes the card back and writes a new number on it, scratching out the old one)
Au: There, now are you satisfied?
T: Very much so, thank you. I’ll give you a ring tomorrow then.
Au: Alright. Goodnight, Mr. Lindh.
T: Goodnight, Audrey.
Au: That’s Miss Rayburn to you.
T: (tipping his hat) Miss Rayburn.
Au: Mr. Lindh.
(She exits, and Thomas goes back to where Albert sits. Albert unfreezes.)
A: Ha! She tried to give you the wrong telephone number! Mischievous one, wasn’t she?
T: She still is. (pause) Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing right by her by just leaving her like this?
A: You just told me she understands why you’re going. Don’t worry about her. She’s a strong girl.
T: She refused to marry me, you know.
T: She refused to marry me until the war broke out.
T: She said she wasn’t the marrying kind.
A: And why not?
T: I still have no idea.
A: (He gets up from the bench, and pats him on the back.) Well she said yes, didn’t she? And when we get back there’ll be people in the streets, streamers and sirens and cheering. (Audrey enters, and as Albert talks, the two do as he describes) She’ll come and meet you down by the docks, embracing you as you exit the boat. You’ll be inseparable. She’ll say-
Au: Oh Thomas! I’m so glad you’re okay! I was so worried something might happen to you! We should get married right now!