Monday, May 17, 2010

★22 The Push

Lights up on SUMMER sorting through a pile of her belongings. She picks up a name tag and stares at it, lost in thought. DEAN enters, pauses to look at SUMMER, then sneaks up behind her.

DEAN. (Right next to her ear.) Almost done?

SUMMER. (Startled.) Dean!

DEAN. Summer!

SUMMER. (She takes a moment to calm down.) My heart’s going a mile a minute now. Thanks.

DEAN. I do tend to have that effect on you.

SUMMER. (She smiles.) Maybe, but you need to work on your methods. Scaring me half to death is not the best way to get my heart racing.

DEAN. (He laughs.) Noted. (Pause.) Don’t forget to turn the name tag in on your way out.

SUMMER. I won’t. Even though I sort of wish I could keep it.

DEAN. Why? It’s a piece of plastic.

SUMMER. I don’t know. Memories, I guess.

DEAN. You don’t need it for that. (Takes name tag from her and holds it in his hand with his own.) I need to give mine to the manager too. I’ll wait for you.

SUMMER. (She nods.) Did everyone else leave?

DEAN. Yeah, just now. We’re the last ones. They’re waiting for us at the bar. You’re coming, right?

SUMMER. Oh, I thought… Why are you still here? You could have left with all the others.

DEAN. (Jokingly.) I have to turn in my name tag. (Beat.) Are you almost done?

SUMMER. Yeah. (Pause.) It seems weird that we won’t be working here anymore, doesn’t it? It was only a temporary job for the holidays but I got so used to everyone. Funny how things just come and go so suddenly. Begin. End. Like life. It seems like forever when you’re in it, but then it’s over and you’re left disoriented and scared, like gasping for air after a dive.

DEAN. Don’t get all pessimistic on me. Things change, sure, but the end of one thing doesn’t have to equal the end of everything. Come out with us tonight.

SUMMER. I probably shouldn’t.

DEAN. And why not?

SUMMER. I just can’t.

DEAN. That’s not a reason, unfortunately.

SUMMER. I just don’t think it’s a good idea.

DEAN. Still not a reason. Try again.

SUMMER. I really can’t, okay? Drop it.

DEAN. No, I’m not going to. Tell me why.

SUMMER. I’m sorry, Dean. I just can’t go out.

DEAN. There was a ‘with you’ at the end there, wasn't there?

SUMMER. Ok, fine. I can’t go out with you. With any of you. Not under the circumstances.

DEAN. What circumstances?

SUMMER. These. It’s our last day of work. It’s over. That point where our lives intersect is going to be behind us after today. We’ll never see each other after this.

DEAN. Not with your attitude.


DEAN. You’re scared.

SUMMER. I’m only being reasonable.

DEAN. I find that the most reasonable people do the stupidest things. Come on, Summer. Don’t you want to see where this could go?

SUMMER. No. It’s better not to want.

DEAN. Bullshit! You’re full of excuses. You’re terrified. That’s why you’re saying no. Today’s it, the fork in the road, and you’re avoiding the path.

SUMMER. We should get going. I’m surprised someone hasn’t come looking for us. Did you clock out already?

DEAN. Oh no. We’re not done here yet. It’s finally getting good.

SUMMER. Dean, honestly. I’m not going to play around. Let’s just go. You have a bar you need to go to.

DEAN. So do you.

SUMMER. Look, I told you-

DEAN. I don’t care. You’re coming.

SUMMER. Oh so now you’re forcing me?

DEAN. If I have to.

SUMMER. Because that’s the way to a girl’s heart.

DEAN. We’re not leaving the staff room until you’ve agreed to come with me.

SUMMER. You can’t be serious.

DEAN. Cross my heart, hope to die.

SUMMER. Stick a needle in my eye. (Tries to push past him.) I’m not doing this. Let go.

DEAN. Someone has to make you do it.

SUMMER. Dean, I’m warning you…

DEAN. So what? What are you going to do about it?

SUMMER. (She kisses him quickly on the lips.) There. Satisfied? That’s ultimately what you wanted so now let me go.

DEAN. You think I’m looking to get laid?! Wow, you just keep ‘em coming.

SUMMER. Aren’t you? This is a fling, so what else can you want? You’ll go back to life at Columbia and I’ll go back to my life and that’s that.

DEAN. You go to NYU! It’s not like we’re a thousand miles apart. We can make this work.

SUMMER. That’s not the issue. Why can’t you see what’s going on here? This is circumstantial. You like me because there’s no one else around. You’ll go back to school, realize that there’s so much more out there, and then leave me behind. It's how these things go.

DEAN. So you’re leaving me behind first. I get it.

SUMMER. Think of it however you like. I need to go. (She tries to get past him.)

DEAN. Not so fast. I’m not the one who runs away. That’s you. Didn’t you say you wanted to leave after graduation? Where did you want to move again? California? Because God forbid you stay in one place long enough to develop any kind of lasting attachments. You’re always telling me how you keep moving on to the next thing; always searching for something: the right person, the right place… Well maybe you don’t give yourself enough time to find what you’re looking for. Stop looking ahead and look at what’s in front of you for once.

SUMMER. And what if I stop and find it and it’s still not enough? Or worse, if I stop and nothing happens. I don’t want to find that maybe what I’m looking for isn’t out there; that there’s no place for me and no right person... Because, then what?

DEAN. Then things would be pretty much the same as they are now. Don't you see that? You're the one getting in your own way!

SUMMER. (Beat.) I don’t think I’d be very good at this. You’ll find someone better.

DEAN. I don't want to find someone better. Stop thinking you’re not good enough to stick around for.

SUMMER. You say that now but later...

DEAN. (He holds her face in his hands.) Why worry now about later?

SUMMER. You’ll hurt me.

DEAN. Maybe. I won’t lie and make promises I can’t keep. But I want this. (Pause.) And so do you.

SUMMER. I’ll try to run again.

DEAN. I know.

SUMMER. And don’t think you need to save me or something.

DEAN. I don’t.

SUMMER. I don’t even like bars.

DEAN. (He smiles.) I’ll buy you a drink.

DEAN. Give me your hand.

DEAN reaches out. SUMMER looks at the hand and after some deliberation finally takes it.

DEAN. Shall we?



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