The Suppressed

(Curtains rise on OPHELIA, who is sipping tea at a café. YOEL walks by. They both make eye contact.)

OPHELIA – (Under her breathe) Ugh. Here it comes…

YOEL – Ophelia!

OPHELIA – Hi, Joel. (Starts to exit)

YOEL – Hey, wait. Come back. I just want to talk. Please. Sit. (He gestures and sits)

OPHELIA – I’m not a dog, Yoel.

YOEL – Jeez, Ophelia, I never implied that you were. Can we talk?

OPHELIA – About what? (Sits)

YOEL – About us, obviously.

OPHELIA – There is no “us,” alright? There, we talked. Are we done with this?

YOEL – How can you just sit there and say that?

OPHELIA – It wasn’t difficult.

YOEL – How can you just sit there and, and, and be so cold hearted? I thought we had something.

OPHELIA – “Something”? You call “something” a drunken fling after Brett’s party? That’s not called something. That’s called a mistake.

YOEL – I tried calling you. I texted.

OPHELIA – I blocked you.

YOEL – Why? (Starts to soften) I didn’t want just, uh, a drunken fling. I’m looking for something real.

OPHELIA – Look elsewhere. Look, I had to block you because you couldn’t just stop with the mushy nonsense.

YOEL – (To self) Nonsense?

OPHELIA – Call me what you will, but I don’t fall in love with anyone I get with.

YOEL – I just don’t get with anyone either. With you, it just… felt different. It was making love, not sex. It stayed with me.

OPHELIA – Clearly.

YOEL – Would you stop lashing out at me?

OPHELIA – Then take a hint.

YOEL – Why couldn’t you just communicate that?

OPHELIA – I’m pretty sure I just did.

YOEL – Then why not weeks ago? Huh? What did I do to deserve this, this, venom, Ophelia?

OPHELIA – (Sighs) I think that after the twentieth-something ignored message, you would have learned something. Brett warned me about you. He said you were clingy. He said you did that with every girl. Lo and behold, he was right.

YOEL – Was I so bad to you?

OPHELIA – …No…not really. You were what I wanted at the moment, drunk as I may have been, but eventually, I sobered up. Whatever mess this (gestures to him) was, it wasn’t what I wanted after the fact.

YOEL – You could have told me that. That isn’t hard. Would it have killed you to respond?  I mean, you could have lied and just said you were seeing someone else!

OPHELIA – I don’t like to lie.

YOEL – And you think ignoring my existence is any better?

OPHELIA – (Beat) It’s my reflex, I guess. You think you are the first person to come on to me? Or pursue me?

YOEL – No, but—

OPHELIA – Girls have their way of handling guys. This is what we do. Just like guys can’t stop chasing us with their stupid cat calls, thinking it works. Girls just learn by blocking guys out.

YOEL – I’m not a cat caller!

OPHELIA – But this, this is just as bad. If anything, this is creepier, Yoel.

YOEL – (Bangs table) Really, Ophelia?! This is messed up and you know it!

OPHELIA – We are in public. Sit down.

YOEL – (Glances around) I did nothing to hurt you and you will not stop throwing stones.

OPHELIA – You won’t leave me alone about this.

YOEL – Am I asking you out now? No.

OPHELIA – Good.

YOEL – I’m just trying to talk. I just want…clarity.

(WAITER enters)

WAITER – Everything okay here, folks?

OPHELIA – (Brightens) We’re fine, thank you. He was just leaving, weren’t you, friend?

WAITER – Just let me know if you folks need anything.

(YOEL stays calmly seated)

OPHELIA – I thought you were leaving.

YOEL – I never said that. I never ever said that.

OPHELIA – This is me “communicating.” You need to leave.

YOEL – I don’t want to.

OPHELIA – Both the waiter and manager are staring at us. You need to leave.

YOEL – Can I call you later?

OPHELIA – No.

YOEL – Text. Anything?

OPHELIA – No and no.

YOEL – Ok.

OPHELIA – (Rises) It was nice seeing you, Yoel.

YOEL – (Rises) You broke my heart. I wish you the worst. (Exits)

OPHELIA – (Sits and exhales slowly)

[ F I N ]

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author bio:

Michael Verderber is a Texas playwright who specializes in plays and disjointed poetry.  He has been published in several magazines and three books: “[nonspace]: theatre off the stage,” “Twas the FLOP Before Xmas,” and “Still Standing Still” and his plays have been produced Off Broadway. Contact him at zero_untitled_films@yahoo.com