(Mid afternoon. Jane and Charlie are driving to a cottage near the beach for a romantic weekend together. They are sitting in chairs and there is a makeshift steering wheel, which Charlie is turning. A projected, black and white moving image of a country road plays over the top of Jane and Charlie while they’re talking, kind of like in old movies. They have been married for six years. Jane is pretty and neurotic while Charlie is handsome and stubborn. A light is shining down on them both, Jane is relaxing in the “sunlight” while Charlie drives and taps his thumb along to the “radio.” “Wouldn’t it be Nice” by the Beach Boys is playing.)
Jane: We missed our turn.
(Charlie is distracted by the music and doesn’t hear her, or just chooses not to.)
Jane: Charlie! We missed our turn!
Charlie: Sorry honey?
(He turns the “radio” off.)
What did you say?
Jane: I said we missed our turn. The turn off for Penny Lane was just after that old farmhouse, about 500 metres back.
Charlie: Uh…no sweetie. Penny Lane is just up on the corner here. (Points)
Jane: No honey, that’s the turn off to get access to the beach. We used to walk down there all last summer, remember?
Charlie: No, wait-
Jane: I’m sure we’re meant to turn around Charlie.
Charlie: No I know where we are. The turn off is just on the corner here.
Jane: Wait…that’s not right. Where are we?
Charlie: Highway 101. We’ve been driving on this road for a couple of hours now. You’ve got yourself a nice tan!
Jane: I know which highway we’re on, but I’m sure we should have turned off by now.
Charlie: It’s ok sweetie. (Pats her head.) You just go back to snoozing. I know where we are.
Jane: (Playfully) Hey you! I wasn’t snoozing at all!
Charlie: (Teasing) Well then why were you snoring huh? (Laughs)
Jane: (Laughs) Oh stop it you!
(She looks around.)
Charlie where are we? I’m sure we’re lost.
Charlie: It’s okay I know exactly where we are.
Jane: We’re lost.
Charlie: We’re not los-
Jane: Didn’t we just pass that playground?
Charlie: I know where we/
Jane: We’re lost.
Charlie: We’re no-
Jane: Charlie, sweetie, we’re lost. I’m telling you. Can we just pull over please?
Charlie: (sighs) Okay…sure thing.
Jane: (Gets out a “map” from the “glove-box.”) See? We should have turned back at that old farmhouse. I told you.
Charlie: No…I’m sure the turn is just up the road. We came here last summer, remember?
Jane: Yes I remember. But I could of sworn-
Charlie: Okay look…we’re here right? (Points at map.) And Penny Lane is just up this road on the right.
Jane: (pause) No…no sweetie that’s not Penny Lane. It’s an unmarked lane, right?
Charlie: Well…yes. But last year we turned up at the corner.
Jane: That was when you broke your ankle trying to jump over that fence?
Charlie: (Laughs) You’ll never let me forget that will you?
Jane: (Laughs) Of course not! You made a real fool of yourself. But that was the cottage in the next village over, the one we’re going to we’ve never been before.
(Charlie – not really listening. Just staring at Jane.)
Jane: What? What are you smirking at?
Charlie: (Kisses her forehead.) You just look so gosh darn pretty today Janey.
Jane: Oh Charlie stop! (Hits him playfully.)
Come on now, where are we?
Charlie: Well…we’re just right here. (Points) Highway 101 just past Bateman Drive.
Jane: No no we’re on Highway 101 just past…wait…
Charlie: (Looks at the “map”.) Uh…I think you’re reading it wrong honey. We’re here. (Points.) See?
Jane: Oh I don’t know how to read this stupid thing! (Throws the “map” down.)
Charlie: Well don’t get ups-
Jane: I am not upset! I know where we are and I say we need to turn around!
Charlie: Janey, you obviously don’t know where we are. We’ll be at the cottage by midnight at this rate.
Charlie: It’s just over by the corner okay?
Jane: Charlie, we need to turn around.
Jane: You never listen to me.
Charlie: Sweetie…I listen to you all…the…time.
Jane: You do not! You always tell me I’m wrong and that you’re right. My opinions never matter!
Charlie: Now wait a mi-
Charlie: See what? I’m just defending myself!
Jane: But you’re not listening to me! You always ignore what I have to say.
Charlie: I could never ignore you Janey.
Jane: Then why don’t we turn back?
Charlie: Because we’re not lost and I know where we are.
Jane: Why can’t we just turn around and double check?
Charlie: Because that’s pointless!
Jane: It won’t take more than a minute sweetie.
Charlie: But it’s illogical. I know where we are and there’s no point going back.
Jane: So I can’t possibly be right?
Charlie: Well…right now…no!
Jane: And you don’t think I’m smart enough.
Charlie: What? Smart enough for what!? Where on earth did that come from!?
Jane: Oh…I’m sorry sweetie. I don’t know. I guess I’m just tired. I didn’t sleep well at all last night.
Charlie: No? (Rubs her shoulder affectionately.)
Jane: No…not at all. I’m sorry. Anyway I’m still sure we should turn around.
Charlie: Darling…I know where we are. We’re wasting time here, can’t we just drive on?
Jane: But I’m sure it’s back that way! (points behind)
Charlie: Sweetie…we’ve been here before remember? The turn off is just on that corner over there near the big oak tree. I’m sure we’ve had this argument before…(chuckles)
Jane: You always undermine me.
Charlie: Janey…I don’t undermine you. I respect you.
Jane: That’s all just words. When was the last time you actually listened to what I had to say?
Charlie: I listen to you all the time!
Jane: Tell me: when was the last time you really listened to me?
Charlie: Can’t you answer that?
Jane: See what I mean? You can’t even remember!
Charlie: I shouldn’t have to sit here and list examples on my fingers. I just want to lie dow-
Jane: Stop putting up a goddamn wall and just listen to me for once in your life!
Charlie: Well what!? What do you have to say? I’m listening Jane…
Jane: (mutters) This is just like what happened with Bear.
Charlie: (groans) Jane…
Jane: Why did you have to get rid of him?
Charlie: We’ve been through this a thousand times! I don’t like dogs. End of discussion.
Jane: “End of discussion?” I don’t think so. I really loved that dog!
Charlie: He was tearing up our entire apartment! We couldn’t leave him alone for a second without him peeing on something or slobbering on something else!
Jane: Well what do you expect? He was just a pup!
Charlie: And I’ve told you, you can’t train a dog in the city. It won’t work. Why are we even talking about this?
Jane: Because you wouldn’t let me get a word in edge-ways last time. And we got rid of him and I really loved him! You just put up a wall and do things without thinking about me.
Charlie: I was thinking about us. He was a burden on our lives.
Jane: Well why did you decide to get him in the first place?!
Charlie: It was your idea!
Jane: And you said it was a good idea! Then just two weeks later/
Charlie: It wasn’t just two weeks and you know it! We had him for about six weeks Jane. He drove me crazy.
Jane: You’re just sour because he peed on your “lucky” pullover.
Charlie: Hey! That was my favourite tee shirt from college! I wore that all the time…
Jane: (mutters) I certainly remember that.
Charlie: (pause) …do you think my things are stupid?
Jane: Did I say that?
(Pause. They stare at each other.)
Jane: I just want to get along this weekend.
Charlie: So do I.
Jane: I know how hard work has been on you lately. It’s not fair for me to pick on you.
Charlie: It’s okay…
Jane: I know you must feel that you hate me sometimes.
Jane: But I don’t blame you. It was so nice to come down here together. So nice of you to organise it all.
Jane: I know you’d probably rather be working on your paper…
(Pause. No one says anything.)
Charlie: I didn’t say anything.
Jane: Oh…wouldn’t you rath/
Charlie: Stop trying to put words into my mouth.
Jane: I’m not!
Charlie: You do this all the time! Of course I’m happy to be here with you – why do you have to hear me say it?
Jane: Well I’m not a mind reader Charlie.
Charlie: I shouldn’t have to repeat over and over how happy I am right now. You can’t just take my word?
Jane: I can-
Charlie: I don’t hate you ever Janey. Do you feel better now?
Jane: Don’t tal-
Charlie: What can I possibly do to make you happy?
Jane: I am-
Charlie: Are you really?
It’s like you need continual reassurance that I love you.
Jane: I don’t need that.
Charlie: Yes you do. I love you. Do you know that?
Jane: Of course I do…
Charlie: But you don’t believe me?
Jane: Charlie, please.
Jane: Can’t we just drop it?
Charlie: Well…no. That’s how I feel sometimes!
Jane: What about how I feel? Do you think I like you working late? I never get to see you anymore.
Charlie: Jane…you know how important my work is to me. I’ve been working on this paper for a while now.
Charlie: Look…why are we fighting? We’re going away this weekend to get away from all that.
Jane: All what?
Charlie: You know…work…the stress of it all. I want to just relax.
Jane: You can’t relax around me?
Charlie: Oh Jesus…
Jane: You can’t relax anyhow! You’re always doing something fidgety.
Jane: With your hands!
Charlie: With my…what are you talking about?
Jane: You! You can’t relax it’s like you’re incapable of being still! How much work did you bring with you huh?
Charlie: My work relaxes me.
Jane: That makes no sense. How can work relax you? At all?
Charlie: (sighs) Janey…it just does okay? Can we just drop-
Jane: Why can’t you just lie down on a beach somewhere – like this weekend for example – and read a book or sunbathe or-
Charlie: Because I’m not like you!
Charlie: You and I aren’t the same person, Janey.
Jane: Well…I know that.
Charlie: Clearly you don’t. We like different things.
Jane: We’re supposed to be a team.
Charlie: And we are! We don’t have to be joined to the hip…
Jane: So why bother organising this trip then? You obviously don’t want to be here…
Charlie: That’s not what I said.
Jane: You’d rather be at home working on your paper. Just admit it.
Charlie: …okay fine! I admit it! I like me job okay?
Jane: I bet! I think you’re a workaholic.
Charlie: (Sighs) I’m not a workaholic I just so happen to enjoy my job.
Jane: Are you implying I don’t like my job?
Charlie: Well you certainly complain about it everyday.
Jane: Working in a library is not how I saw my life panning out.
Charlie: Well I’m sorry your life didn’t work out the way you planned it. Some things just don’t okay?
(Pause. They look at each other.)
Charlie: I’m gonna step outside for a cigarette.
(He steps out of the “car” and lights a cigarette. Jane takes this moment to talk to the audience.)
Jane: Excuse him. He gets into crummy moods sometimes. Although more often than not these days. We met about seven years ago at a bar downtown. He was so cocky back then. Walked right up to me and practically demanded for my phone number! Of course I gave him a fake number and told him where to stick it! (laughs) He soon tracked me down though. We had one date and that was it. What can I say? I was…charmed. The moment you fall for someone is hard to explain. You don’t notice yourself falling until his smile suddenly starts your day. It’s easy now for me to say that I was young and impressionable, but that would be a lie. And I have no reason to lie to you. (Pause) Couldn’t keep our eyes or hands off each other! You should have seen the way he used to talk back then, with so much passion and excitement! He was completing his PhD and always wanted to tell me every detail of it. (She smiles) A year later we married and found an apartment in the city. It wasn’t long before the doubt set in. I don’t know who it happened to first – me or him. If I’m being honest – the thought of being alone truly terrifies me.
(Charlie turns towards the car and looks at Jane.)
We were a real team back then.
Charlie and Jane together: I don’t know what happened. Somewhere along the way we just got…lost.
(Jane takes out a mirror and starts putting on lipstick, with precision and care.)
(Charlie talking to the audience.)
Jane was a real fire-cracker back in the day. We met about six or seven years ago at a bar downtown. I saw her across the room, she was the only woman sitting at the bar reading a science-fiction novel! (chuckles) She was beautiful…I was so nervous when I talked to her I practically begged her to give me her phone number. She just kinda raised her eyebrow and scribbled down some fake number. Told me to buzz off! I still found her though. We went out, and that was that. She had just finished her degree majoring in Ancient History, she was kinda lost. Didn’t really know what to do. I like to think I helped her become the person she is today, and I don’t know if that’s something I should be ashamed of. We were fools in love – but then again who isn’t? That moment when you fall for someone is easy to explain – your stomach drops slightly, your chest warms and you wake up with a buzzing feeling of comfort and delirium. We married about a year later and found an apartment in the city. It’s easy to say we were young and naïve – but we truly loved each other dearly. After…I dunno…some time, a thin layer of doubt started to cloud my vision. That’s a lot harder to explain. Maybe we lost the delirium? I don’t know.
I think we were happier back then.
(Charlie gets back into the car.)
Jane: Well you stink of cigarettes.
Charlie: I’m sorry. Kiss?
Jane: So…where do we go from here?
Charlie: I don’t know. Let’s just drive for a while.
Jane: I don’t like fighting with you.
Charlie. I don’t like fighting with you either.
Jane: Can we start being nice to each other now?
Charlie: Of course.
Jane: We’re gonna have fun this weekend, aren’t we?
Charlie: (smiles) Sure we are.
Jane: I don’t mind if you want to keep working on your paper.
Charlie: That’s okay honey. I won’t be at the desk all weekend.
(pause. Jane smiles.)
Jane: So…can we turn around?
Charlie: Sure honey. Whatever you say.
Jane: I love you Charlie.
Charlie: I know you do Janey.
(He smiles and kisses her on the lips.)
Jane: I’m fine, let’s go.
(“Wouldn’t it be Nice” by the Beach Boys fades in while Charlie “reverses” the “car.”)