Crowded Room

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Light rises on a couch. Sitting on stage right is Jess; sitting on stage left is Nick; and between them sits Truth, a young woman dressed and styled identically to Jess. We’ve entered into a tense moment. Nick and Jess don’t look at one another, instead occupying themselves with their hands, in their laps. Truth looks between the two, invisible to them.

NICK: It just makes me sad, you know—I can tell that you don’t trust me.

JESS: I told you. It’s not that I don’t trust you.

TRUTH: I don’t trust any of the men that I’m romantically involved with.

NICK: Doesn’t seem like it.

JESS: What do you mean?

NICK: You always get upset. Jealous.

TRUTH: (Exasperated, punctuating her words with her hands) On purpose. That’s me, asking you to give me reassurance.

JESS: (Shrugging) I’m just realistic. All people have the capacity for betrayal, deceit…

TRUTH: You should know.  (She leans into Nick) You did what you did—to her, not to me—but you still did that.

JESS: …I know that even the people whom I love the most can hurt me.

TRUTH: Have hurt me.

JESS: And I love you. So you can hurt me.

TRUTH: You can destroy me.

NICK: I won’t hurt you.

JESS: I’m not saying you will. I’m saying that you can.

TRUTH: You probably will.

JESS: I know that you’re more than your past.

TRUTH: (Speaking into Nick’s ear, prompting him to fidget) But the past is here, whispering in my ear, threatening to be the future.

JESS: People can change—you’ve grown—

TRUTH: (Crossing her legs) There’s that saying: history can repeat itself.

JESS: You’re the best man that I’ve ever been with, that I ever will be with…

TRUTH: (Scoffs, shoots Jess a look) I wonder if she had ever said that to you, before you went off and fu—

JESS: (To Truth) You are. (To Nick) I’m just realistic.

NICK: I don’t want this to keep us from being as close as we possibly can. (He reaches out to Jess, but Truth waves him away. He drops his hand). I feel like you’re holding back from me.

JESS: Holding back?

NICK: (Staring unknowingly at Truth). Like there’s always something on your mind that you’re not telling me.

TRUTH:

JESS: I tell you how I feel.

NICK: I don’t know. (He stands up and paces back and forth.) I wish that there was a way to be able to know that someone is telling the truth. I mean, I know me, so I know when I’m telling the truth, and I can tell you with certainty that you are everything that I want. (He looks at Jess.)You give me the world.

TRUTH: I’ve heard that before.

JESS: You don’t believe me.

TRUTH: (Almost laughing) No one does.

NICK: I’m not saying that. I just, again, I have this feeling that you don’t trust me.

TRUTH: What does it even mean to fully trust someone?

JESS: I…

TRUTH: I can trust that you have good intentions, but what about mistakes? So much hurt comes from mistakes.

JESS: (Looking away) I love you, is all.

TRUTH: That’s what you’d called it: “a mistake.” What if you make another “mistake,” like all the others? Like the man that you used to be? And I have to feel it, all of it, again.

NICK:  (He sinks back down, onto the couch.) I love you, too. I always will, I promise.

JESS: I just don’t want to lose you.

NICK: Hush. Who said you will?

TRUTH: Me.

(Black out and end scene.)

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