There he is.
Decaying George. The middle-aged dopey dude standing in the middle of his living room like a lost puppy. He studies his reflection from multiple angles in the mirror of his cellphone, searching for something that’s not there.
This is just another thing he does that agitates Diane while she tries to patiently fold tinfoil hats on the couch. She wants to say something, but she catches herself. She wants to tell him how he’s forced her to lower her expectations of what her life could be, how she’s only stayed with him for over thirty years because she liked the way he smelled and he doesn’t smell that way anymore, how every night she has to quietly vomit into a bucket next to her bed because he’s complaining about something and her stomach tells her “this isn’t for you anymore”, but she’s learned to cope so this voice goes unheard. She doesn’t try too hard to find the perfect words to address George’s current unwelcome behavior. She’ll make a bit of an effort. To convince herself she’s trying. Something subtle so it won’t cause an argument, but not too subtle where she feels like she’s not communicating.
Diane: You’re so dramatic, George.
George (dumbfounded): I don’t understand. I thought I was healthy.
Diane: Looks can be deceiving.
George: I look healthy. Don’t I?
Diane: What do you want me to say? Yeah?
George’s reflection bounces off the cracked, dirty black surface of his cellphone.
George: I feel healthy. I can touch my toes. Don’t even have to bend my knees.
Diane: I don’t know what to tell you.
George: Why me? Why good ol’ George?
Diane: Yeah. Why you? That’s a good question. Why is everything about you?
George(oblivious): I know. Why is everything about me? There’s other people in the world. Why am I the only one ever affected?
Diane: It’s six months. Big deal. That’s plenty of time. I mean how long do you really need to live anyway?
George: Forever. I need forever, Diane.
Diane: Stop being greedy, George.
George: I’m not ready to say goodbye to all this just yet.
Diane glances around the room.
Diane: All what?
George: You know…this. The house and stuff.
Diane: You don’t want to die because you like our house?
George: What’s wrong with our house?
Diane: It’s nothing to live for. That’s for starters.
George: I like what I like.
Diane: There’s more to life than this house, George.
George: Like what?
Diane: You tell me. Aren’t you supposed to awaken to all the beauty in the world when faced with your own mortality? Suddenly discover the meaning of life? Isn’t that how dying works?
George: I don’t know. (beat) I can call the doctor back.
The sound of the doorbell interrupts the potential bonding that was bound to happen at any moment with this heartfelt conversation. Diane opens the door without first peeking through the curtains. But she figures anything that isn’t named George is welcomed into her house. Unfortunately now she’s trapped by two old ladies convincing her she needs to buy their low-energy portals for the home.
It’s sundown by the time the gritty ladies get around to offering their budget friendly space-saving portal designed for storing one’s bulky dustpan and broom. This thrills Diane. If she can shove a dustpan and broom in there then why not George, she thinks. The look of growing satisfaction in her eyes bothers George on a level he doesn’t understand. This translates into George and Diane arguing over whether they have room for such a space-saving contraption or not. The pipes in the house shift and yawn as they settle in for the night. The persistent ladies put on coffee and wait for the arguing to stop before eventually seeing themselves to the guest room to spend the night, waking up with a new strategic sales approach.
George wakes up.
Remembers he’s dying.
Looks in the mirror.
Diane wakes up.
Remembers George is dying.
Puts on make up.
Imagines a life not in Unthinkable Cramps.
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