by Jeff Goode
copyright © 2008

(SCENE: A room in a house, somewhere in Australia. A large window looks out on an Australian landscape, a single tree in the backyard, and a troop of kangaroos hopping by in the distance. The room is empty, except for a box of old love letters.)

(Enter JD.)
JD. This is exactly how I picture it.
A little cottage on the outback, where you live.
A flock of kangaroos hopping by.
Eucalyptus tree growing in the yard.
Little white picket fence
To keep the koalas out.
Otherwise they'd get at the eucalyptus.

Maybe you don't even have koalas where you live
But that's how I like to imagine it.
A quaint little starter home for two
Just like the one we might have had, if you had stayed
Or I had followed.
A little bungalow on the billabong
With a two car garage, and a koala problem.
And a hell of a view.

(The window is behind him, but JD looks out over the audience.)
Big picture windows looking out across the outback
And off into the setting sun
And beyond that, the sea
And beyond that, me
That's gotta hurt.
Staring into the sun and seeing me there. Looking back.
Waste of a perfectly good sunset.
(disoriented) Except I'm east of you. Which makes that the rising sun.
I guess that's hopeful.

I see you standing here, watching the dawn turn to day
And knowing I'm on the other side of it
Watching the promise of another day sink into the ocean.
Takes all the fun out of your big windows.
Probably makes you want to brick them over sometimes.
But you can't, 'cause you like the view. You always did.

Every trip we ever took, the hotel room had to have a balcony.
Oceanview. Mountainview. Riverview.
Everything cost twice as much
But it was worth it just to watch you watching that.
Gazing off into the future
Because you never could be happy with what's right in front of you.
I couldn't do it.
I always knew too much about the future to want to look it straight in the eye. Like a rabid animal. "Don't make eye contact, it'll see you as a threat."

(JD surveys his surroundings.)
I don't even know what a eucalyptus tree looks like.
It's probably not even a tree in this upside down country.
Koala's not a bear. Why should eucalyptus be a tree?
It's a marsupial. The koala. And eucalyptus sounds like a skin condition.
"You got a nasty case of eucalyptus, but there's a lotion for that."
Or a cough drop.

I know that's probably not how it is. But that's how I like to imagine it.
I guess I could google up a better image. But I'm getting used to this one.
That's the funny thing about imagination
Once you start to like thinking something, it's hard to get it unthunk.

So now this is Australia to me. This room.
This is all that's left of our relationship
And you're not even in it.
But I do like the view.
Not a lot of furniture, though. I guess I haven't put that much thought into it.
Just a box of letters
Probably from me. You know your mom never writes.
She'll never forgive you
For taking your ovaries overseas
And hijacking all her potential grandchildren off to another continent.
Your kids'll all be Aussies, you know.

(JD picks up the box of letters and leafs through it.)
I like to think you saved every one.
In no particular order, apparently.
I guess that was always my job
Putting things back in order.
You would come home from work and explode all over the place:
Hat, coat, bag on the floor, purse on the shelf, scarf on the couch
Jacket, skirt, shoes, blouse... emotions.
And then I'd have to pick up the pieces.
I guess that's what you needed after a hard day's work
And I needed to feel useful after a long day's unemployment.
I've got a job now.
Still not enough for a plane ticket. But maybe someday. If you're good.

(looking around) Not a lot of explosion going on here.
Maybe you're happy, for once
That's what I like to think.
After everything we've been through, and the oceans you've put between us
And everything I wish I hadn't wished upon you
I guess I still want to see it.
Well, not to see it.
I don't think I could handle seeing you that way. Happy.
And me not here to take credit for it.
Maybe that's why you're not in the room.
Sounds like me, doesn't it?
"If you're going to be happy. Do it outside. So I don't have to watch."
But subconsciously, I like to think it. That you are.
Happy, I mean.

(perplexed) Still, I would think there would be more of a mess.
This place is immaculate.
Still got that new car smell.
Which they spray into the cars, by the way. It comes in a can.
It looks like you've just moved in.
So this is your first day in the new house
And the first thing you brought in was a box of my letters.
Or maybe this is the last day, and you're moving out
And I'm the last thing to go.
Or you already left and left me behind.
That seems like you
Running away from things even in my dreams.

But if you're not here anymore, where does that leave me?
Alone in this place that I built for you
Out of memories and fiction
Sitting in my underwear, an ocean away
Waiting for you to walk through the door.