(Trying out different poses.) Nonchalant? Coy? Sultry? This is silly. There was a time something like this wasn't a problem. I didn't have to deal with it.... so it wasn't a problem. (Now to the audience.) I could be myself... natural, you know? Now I'm not even sure who I am anymore. It didn’t always use to be this way. (A light airy piece of music plays under this.) There was a time...a time I was sure. Sure of who I was---Sure of what I wanted---Sure of where I was going. Seems like such a long time ago. There was a time with Mike and me... a time when I was so very sure.
We met in college...It's the same old story. You've probably heard it a thousand times before. We had the same friends---had some laughs and things just sort of developed. Funny how that happens, isn't it? You don't really think about it as its happening and one day you wake up and...its there---this thing. This very funny, strange, crazy and very real thing. And this person you feel you've known since the beginning of time. It wasn't like the movies at all. No boy meets girl, boy loses girl and somehow wins her back again. No drama like that with a neat little ending for us. It was more than that. It was much more. It was... seamless. This was real life. When we were together, it felt as if no matter what happened, things would be O.K.. And it would always be O.K. because we would always be together.
There were times I felt we were almost the same person. Or at least different facets of the same person. I don't know if that was good or bad. I only knew it was. It was a little scary but it also felt completely natural at the same time. I felt good around him. I felt important. I felt complete. I felt safe. Safe. What a wonderful feeling that was. That was important to me---feeling safe. Feeling safe...safe and sure....sure and safe. Its funny.... safe had nothing to do with the other time. You see, there was another time... another time I thought I was sure. (The light airy piece comes to an abrupt halt.)
I was contemplating a graduate degree and considering going back for night classes. Mike was very supportive about the whole thing. So, supportive in fact that I decided...I would do it. What more could a gal want? (Pause.) Well on the first night of class... he walked in. (A Tango begins. Pepper and Eric take a Tango-snap-look at each other. Eric and Pepper begin to sway to the tango playing...but not touching as they sway) Look just because I was with Mike...didn't I mean I was dead. It didn't mean I couldn't be attracted to someone else. It didn’t mean I couldn’t spin silly fantasies like a giddy headed school girl. I mean... we all do that, don't we? That's why we buy romance novels, isn't it?
But this was different. There was something dangerous about him. Something unpredictable and it stirred something inside me---something I had forgotten was there.(They now connect and tango.)
This class was going to be a project based class where we would have to work together---in groups. I should have got out when I heard that... but I didn't. I thought I could handle it. The voice inside told me to get out....save it for another semester.... and I ignored it. It was all very innocent at first---group discussions---the casual coffee after class. Harmless flirtations I hoped were just that---harmless flirtations. But I was wrong. As much as I tried to keep him at arms length a secret part of me wanted to let go. It kept building and building all semester long with an intensity that was putting my entire being into a spin that nearly drove me insane.
Then the night of the last class meeting came. There was going to be a party after the final. I did not want to go---but I did. I had made up my mind. Tonight was it. After tonight there would be no more class.... no more group discussions.. no more him. I would be safe again. Safe with Mike. Safe to be sure.
The party went well--- as well as could be expected. All evening there was a slow burn between us but I kept thinking that soon, it would be time to go. Home to Mike...home to where I was safe. And when it was time to go, we all shook hands...like nice civilized people. He decided to walk me to my car. He shouldn't have. I shouldn't have let him...but I did.
It was quiet all the way there. There was nothing to say. And as I was about to get into the car... ever so lightly on my shoulder. (Eric kisses her shoulder.) It happened. I wish he didn't and was glad he did. I didn't want him to continue yet I didn't want him to stop. I kept telling myself... This only happens in a romance novel or in the movies. Not in real life. But something broke inside me. Suddenly everything made sense and didn't all at the same time. This was exciting. This was different. This was no longer harmless. This was no longer civilized. This was no longer safe...and I loved every moment of it! And in that glorious instant I was sure. I was so damn sure! But it didn't make any sense because I was so sure before.(Tango stops.) And since then...I have never been quite sure again. (Pause. They seperate back to their own tables.)
There was a time I knew. A time when I was sure. But when you've been sure twice in a lifetime ... and they've been so different...(Looks over to Eric.)...can you ever be sure again?
excerpt from "Lunkheads On Parade" copyright 1993 Marcel Nunis