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“Janine? Where’s the Vanilla? I was mixing that sugar cookie dough the kids like so much and I can’t find it.”
“Oh Lord don’t tell me we are out of that too. I swear to you going to the grocery store has now become my life’s ambition. Suz would you run out and bring in those last two bags I am beat.”
“Sure, sis.”
“Oh, by the way I ran into someone you used to know today at the store. I couldn’t place him for the longest time. I just kept circling the produce section waiting for his name to come to me or to at least remember where I’ve seen him. He was the one who finally said something. John Carver.”
“What?! John? Oh, my God. Today? He lives in California or somewhere I thought.”
“Hmmm… John now tell me wasn’t he the one you were dating in college, in fact, weren’t you two engaged at one time?’’
“Ya ya miss nosey body we were engaged my senior year. Uh, let’s see eight years ago now. Last I knew from his mom, he was out working on one of those oilrigs in the middle of the ocean, which doesn’t surprise me. He always wanted to do something out of the ordinary, always looking for grand adventures.”
“Didn’t his mom pass away a few years ago now?? His sister and her husband Jack got the house right?”
“Ya I donna know maybe he’s home visiting or something.”
“Nope. He’s home for good. Got a house built up on some property in the Kayak hills area. Asked about you.”
“What you tell him?”
“Oh, I said you had a place down in Summerset and that you were teaching third grade at the elementary but that if he wanted to get in touch with you he should call out here since you are here so much so I uh, gave him your home phone and this one.”
“Christ, Janine you can’t help yourself can you? I know you love me but there were reasons we broke it off ya know.”
“Really, what were they, do you even remember? You always say that there is that one guy that you date that you end up comparing all your other dates to and always find something lacking... Well, isn’t this that guy? Honey, I do love you. You’re thirty this year. I want you to be happy. I know you love your job and you like to grow things, flowers and vegetables and you love your cat but this doesn’t take the place of husband and kids and I know that’s what you want. I see it in your eyes whenever you’re here with the kids. Am I wrong?”
“Oh shut up Janine, ok? I was having a good day and now I’m depressed as hell. I need a Tylenol. Not all of us are destined to have what you and Ted have. How many times do I have to tell you that? Crap there goes the phone.”
“Answer it maybe it’s him.”

“Uh, yes, is Susan there?”
“This is.”
“This is John Carver…do you remember me at all?”
“Ya I remember a lot.”
“Ha well I see it isn’t going to be easy so I’ll just plunge forward. I talked to your sister today. I’ve moved back to the area and I’d like to get together, maybe go out to dinner and talk to you. What do you think?”
“Uhmm... Ok I guess. It will have to be Friday or Saturday cause I work all week.”
“Great. Friday at say 6:00? I don’t care where we eat. You choose. Will you be at your sisters or your apartment?”
“Oh, my apartment I guess. I assume Janine gave you that address already?”
“”Yep. I’ll see you on Friday then.”
“I could kill you for this Janine!”
“Me? Hey all I did was give him the number. You’re the one who said yes.”

“John dinner was good and I really enjoyed the drive up here. Your house is great. When did you finish building it?”
“Just got it done last October. I was worried though with winter coming on, thought I’d have to shack up with Cheryl and Jack down in the flats til spring.”
“Are you sure she’d take you in? You two never could get along for very long.”
“Ha! True enough. I forget sometimes how much you know about me. I know you don’t like flattery but could I just tell you that you look great. Older but I don’t know it’s like you're more settled in to your looks, more comfortable with who you are.”
“Ya well we are eight years older. Not so naïve. Guess we all learn along the way. You look good too. Your forehead is getting bigger though. You look more like your Dad now.”
“Is that your way of telling me I am going bald?”
“Well, I see your hobbies are the same as they used to be. Scuba equipment, boat, skies, snow shoes what no jet ski?”
“Uh, actually yes, it’s out in the pole barn. What is wrong please with having things you like to do?”
“Nothing John. It just shows me how little you have really changed. You work at a dangerous job where you travel and you are gone away from home a lot. When you are here-you’re not really here. Always rushing about doing things. Do you ever sit still?”
“Sure, I’m home sometimes, I like to make a fire in the fireplace and read a book at night and listen to wind blowing through the pines outside my windows but I can’t do those things all the time. You have things you like to do, what are they?”

”Oh, I don’t know nothing exciting really. I like to grow stuff. I enjoy doing stuff with my nieces and nephews. I have a few close girlfriends that I have lunch with or go out to the movies with sometimes. I have my work that I enjoy and my little apartment. I like peace and quiet.”
“Still the same huh? Still what was it your Dad called you? Suzie Home-maker.
“Ya, I miss him. Do you miss your mom?”
“Everyday of my life. I wonder a lot lately what she’d have to say about my life. She was always the one who would really say what she thought even when you didn’t like it. Everyone should have a person like that in their life.”
“For me I guess its Janine. We get on each other’s nerves once in awhile but we don’t pull our punches either. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be here now except for her butting into my life.”
“Well, I’ll be sure to thank her later then.”
“Ha. This is only one date John. One date does not make a forever.”
“Nope it makes a good start though. My God I have missed you. My beautiful opinionated funny girl.
“Stop it. I was your girl a long time ago. You don’t remember do you? All those opinions you profess to love about me drove you crazy. You used to get fed up with me everytime my ideas were not the same as yours. Ya, and you’d get frustrated every time you wanted to go do something and I couldn’t cause I had homework or classes or student teaching and you wanted to take the afternoon off to go water-skiing or something that I did not even want to do. We fought over whether or not we should keep going out with our friends or just with each other. We fought over where we would move to after graduation. I wanted to stay here close to our folks in case grandbabies came along. You wanted high adventure out on the coast somewhere.”
“Ha. Ya I do remember that now. But we were just kids back then. We weren’t really sure how to have a relationship plus we were just beginning our careers. I mean come on we both know it’s ok now to still have your friends even after you get married. Janine and Ted have their own friends and how long they been married now ten years?”
“Twelve. But it’s different with them. They still like to do things together. Whenever Ted is away on business he always says his heart doesn’t start beating again til he turns down McCarthy Street and sees their house. He doesn’t go hang out and drink beers with the guys at the bar either. His friends are all married and they go to a ball game or we all have a barbeque together. Last summer they went camping. He doesn’t do stuff that makes Janine angry.”
“That’s cause they’ve been married for twelve years and he’s learned what he can get away with.”
“No, it isn’t like that. Like ok here’s an example. Janine stopped going to the beauty parlor to have her hair done and decided to grow it out when the kids came along cause it was just one expense she thought she could give up. Well, she does this with clothing too. I am always trying to get her to buy even one new thing but she always says it isn’t necessary or that Ted needs work clothes or the kids need school clothes more. We saw this beautiful yellow dress a while ago that she looked great in but she just would not buy it so I mentioned to Ted later on and he went out and bought it for her. He said so what if she only wears it once a year she can wear it every July 23rd and it could be her anniversary dress. She laughed at him then she cried. Its not like he’s perfect or brings her flowers every day or anything like that. It’s more like the way they look at each other when they think no one notices or the way they sit on the swing together in the back yard. You just know that they are perfect for each other that they fit-ya know?”
“And we never had that is that what your saying? I can remember a lot of hand holding and kissing and talking on the phone till the wee hours of the morning. We went on a lot of walks together. Told each other all our dreams for the future. Geez Suz there was no body I wanted to talk to more then you. I didn’t care anymore about school and I was a 4 pointer. I couldn’t wait to get out of class just to be able to meet you for lunch. Then when my Dad got sick and had that first heart attack. God all I wanted was to be near you and somehow I knew that I’d be ok. You went to the hospital with me. Met my folks and Cheryl and Jack. I think we had that and we were too young and stupid to realize it. Look it’s been eight years and you and are still single-why is that?”
“John just because we’re single does not mean that we belong together. I mean ya don’t just tell your self well she was the best of the bunch or the best I have done so far so I guess I’ll take her. That would be like me saying that now that I’m thirty I’d better hurry up and grab someone cause I’m tired of looking around and I want to have babies. Just because you think you’re ready for marriage doesn’t mean prince charming is going to show up and say ribbit.”

” Ok. Kiss me then or let me kiss you and then tell me we have no chance of a future together. Tell me there are no sparks between us.”
“Alright, back off there big boy. Sparks were never the problem. No I don’t want to kiss you if I do that I won’t want to go home and it’s getting late. John I really mean it. Hoping into bed together is not the answer to everything. This is complicated and I really do not think I want this many complications in my life right now.”
“What complications? I’m saying I want you in my life maybe on a permanent basis and this is a complication for you? Christ, Suz I’m not asking you to move to the ocean. I hop a plane whenever I have to go back to work. I know we have family here, why do you think I moved back? I’m not asking you to give up your job or anything else I just want to be around you again.”

“I just don’t think so. John you’re just not the marrying kind. You are stuck in your ways. You like to do your own things when you want to do them. You’d end up getting frustrated and resentful with me. What happens later on when a couple of kids have come along and the time and money for ski trips or weekend boat rides just isn’t there? We would be paying for braces, bicycles or a mini van. You’re saying this would not bother you? Ya, you’d hate it. You’d sit around remembering what it used to be before me and the kids came into your life and how you were better off without us. Besides, John, kids are real messy and you’d go ballistic if things were not all in there proper places and then you’d yell at all of us about it. You wouldn’t be Mr. Adventure anymore you’d be Mr. Grumpy that yells every time somebody forgets to fill up the ice cube tray.”
“Wait a minute here. I need to sit down. Ok, what your saying to me is that you do not want to get into a relationship with me because you have already decided in your mind that you and I will never be happy like Ted and Janine? It is not that we aren’t attracted to each other or that we can’t talk to each other about anything it’s just that you’ve got all my faults mapped out in your brain to such an extent that you won’t give me a chance. You’d rather quit while you’re ahead then take a tumble. You know of course, that you are the love of my life and I stand a pretty damn good chance of being yours?”
“I know that John. I just can’t see us working out. I wish I could but if we couldn’t do it when we are young and in college how can you expect me to take that leap now? I moved out of the house when I was eighteen. That’s let’s see, twelve years of doing things my own way in my own time without having to discuss every issue with someone. You’ve been doing the same thing. We would have horrible arguments and you know it.”
“Bullshit. Get your coat. I’ll take you home.”

“Hi sis. Would you reach behind and make sure that screen door latched? I’ll have to have Ted look at it I guess. How did your date go on Friday? I tried to call you yesterday but you did not answer. “
“Uh, it went ok; it was nice for most of it. Then we ended up getting in a fight and then he took me home.”
“A fight? About what?”
“Oh, I don’t know about the future I guess. I said I didn’t want to get married unless I could have a marriage like yours and that he wasn’t at all like Ted is to you and that I just did not see us working out. I think it was the smart thing to do but it sure was hard to say to him.”
“Let me get this straight sister of mine. God has given you a second chance with the man that it took you years to get over. The man that you constantly talked about in college as the one and only for you. Suz I think you’re being a fool, a real lonesome fool. You can’t compare John to Ted that’s not fair. Ted and I have been married a long time. Do you really think the man you see now is the same man I married? Do you think I’m the same woman? My God no, we had horrible fights when we first got married about everything under the sun. I even packed the baby up oh, the second year and went running back to mom and dad’s. Did you know that I don’t even know what it was about anymore but mom told me that this was marriage and that I belonged with my husband and that I had better go home and figure it out. Suz honey, don’t do that to him. I wish you could have seen us way back in the beginning of our marriage but you were off at school then. You remember that awful blue house with the green shag carpeting we had over on Cornview? Oh, it was small and homely but I loved it cause that was the house we brought our baby home from the hospital to. Ted lost his dad to cancer the year after we moved in and he spent a lot of time trying to get all the paperwork done for his mother. She’d call up crying in the middle of the night. Wake the baby and Ted would go running to see her and I would get so mad at him. Seems like an eternity ago but we got through it. All we knew back then is that we wanted to be together. We had no money and Ted still had a year of college left when Tommy was born. If you’d of asked me then if I thought we would make it this far I don’t know what my answer would have been. It makes you stronger Suz, dealing with the bad stuff together and then there’s all the happy stuff in between- the babies you make together and the home and the life you build together. It’s like those stupid houses the kids make out of Popsicle sticks. Sometimes some of the sticks break but you just hope you got enough glue to hold together. That’s marriage kiddo. Oh, crud there’s the garbage man already and I don’t have the garbage out yet-“

“John? It’s Suzie…Don’t yell at me please let me speak or maybe I’ll chicken out. I was really wrong, stupid as Janine says. I don’t know why I said those things to you but you scare the life out of me. You always have. But I want you to know that I have always thought about you and what if we had stayed together. We would have been married eight years by now and maybe we would have children I got so pissed at you back then. I felt left out and neglected anytime you took off with the guys or ran off at the mouth about how great you were gonna be someday. I always felt pushed into the background. I donna knows like someone you bring out for parties to hang on your arm or to sleep with whenever your roommate wasn’t around. Maybe that’s just my own insecurities. Maybe it was because you were done with your degree but I still had a year to go. I felt like you were leaving me behind. Seemed like I was always home studying and you were out having fun with other people. I resented that they got the best of you. We went days without talking back then. I’d hear from my roommates that they saw you at he bar or at the game. Every time you’d call all you ever said was ‘how’s the studying going? Like that was all we had to talk about. I felt like a neglected taken for granted wife already and we weren’t even married yet. No romantic dinners. No flowers or cards. No proud introductions as the love of your life. I hated you for that. Made it a whole lot easier to tell you off. I can’t live like that. I won’t be taken advantage of. I have my own career and my own interests. I don’t ski or snorkel. You don’t do antiques and hate cats. I am not going to be stuck in our house full of kids and laundry as you go off with your buddies to golf every Saturday. I am not the built in maid you know. I have a life and I expect to be treated decently and with respect. I need to go out to dinner once in awhile with someone the genuinely wants to be with me. I don’t expect flowers all the time but a couple times a year would be nice. I want birthday cake and presents on my birthday and two weeks vacation somewhere romantic every year even after the kids come along. You can keep your friends as long as we make some together friends who have families too. You can still do your hobbies but I want time to do mine too. We better figure out how to have two careers and still make time to be together. I can’t spend all my days away from you and then feel emotionally close enough to you to want to jump into the sack every night. We better figure this out because we are not getting any younger and I want at least two kids. One for me and one for you. John… I don’t want my babies to look like someone else and not you.”
“I see. Are you at your sister’s right now? Stay put I’m on my way.”

“Janine. Whose truck is that in our driveway I had to park in the street?”
“Shhh quiet you idiot I can’t hear what they’re saying.”
“What whose saying?”
“John and Suz – in our bedroom.”
“What the devil are they doing in our room for? I thought you said they had a big fight and she told him to get lost or something.”
“She did but then she called him and apologized and he must have driven about ninety to get all the way from Kayak hills so quickly. They’ve been in there about thirty minutes now. “
“Ahh…I see. Come with me my nosey little wife.”
“Ted where are you leading me…no, I don’t want to go out in the yard and swing…Teddy, sweetheart. Love of my life how will I be able to hear them?”
“Precisely, my darling. If they have any news for us they’ll find us out back watching our children at play.”
“Teddy, do you remember that ugly first house we lived in?”
“Ahh, with that blue, horrible carpet….”


The following comments are for "Suz"
by TMB

Interesting tactic...
... to only use dialogue, but occasionally it made the story too jumpy. While reading the dialogue, the picture I got was this: a few actors at a read-through, reading badly from a poorly-written script. It just doesn't sound like the way people would talk, and needs a lot of work.

And I didn't understand why Suz even wanted John all these years, or went back to him so easily (in my opinion, her sister's argument wasn't strong enough). It wasn't even a case of "wanting what you know is bad for you"; seemed to me there wasn't enough there in the first place, during their college relationship, to even warrant those kind of feelings.

( Posted by: Elphaba [Member] On: August 31, 2003 )

Lots of info in here - some novels don't have that much history.

The poster above does have a point. Certain bits of the dialogue seem to move the story along while building a view of the characters. But most of this is a soliloquy from Suz.

After about three lines, the dialogue needs to alternate to the other speaker. And some short, one word, one sentence responses would break up the monotony of one person droning on and on. If you want to stay with the all dialogue play it would increase the length a little, but would probably make it easier to cut unnecessary info.

Some of the things Suz says would be told better outside the dialogue. A lot of it reinforces the basic point - Janine and Ted are happily married, and Suz wants the same thing for herself (too bad she couldn't have married Ted).

We don't get to see John's point of view. And we don't see a transition in Suz from a self centered sister with a chip on her shoulder to the kind of person that understands the sacrifices and compromises that Janine has lived through in making a commitment to stay married. Suz as she is portrayed is a realistic character, but in real life this woman would reamin single.

The last 20% to 25% of this story needs to tell us what is said in that bedroom. The first 75% needs a better balance between the things that Suz hates about John and the things she likes. As it stands right now, her lengthy closing argument pretty much signals to this juror that Suz has made a pretty good case for NOT marrying John. So why does she? The answer is in the bedroom conversation.

Either modify John to make him less problematic as a mate, or make Suz more tolerant of a man who has a non-traditional approach to life.




We need more positive story lines like this.

( Posted by: smokey [Member] On: September 6, 2003 )

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