MEREDITH is a waitress.

DANIELLE is about to be on a date.

SEAN is too.

[DANIELLE is waiting at a restaurant table. 

MEREDITH is serving her.]

MEREDITH

Are you waiting for someone?

DANIELLE

Yes, he should be here any minute.

MEREDITH

Don’t you think you’re overdressed?

DANIELLE

No, I –

MEREDITH

Do you think he’ll be dressed as nicely as you are?

[SEAN enters, dressed very poorly]

DANIELLE

We’re not off to a very good start here, are we?

MEREDITH

No.

DANIELLE

Can we start over?

MEREDITH

Sure.  [SEAN exits.  Beat.]  Can I get you anything while you’re waiting?

DANIELLE

Waiting to start over?

MEREDITH

No, we started over.

DANIELLE

I’m sorry, I’m really nervous. 

MEREDITH

Why?

DANIELLE

Because there’s a very small chance that the person I’m meeting will think I’m a beautiful person.

MEREDITH

Let’s start over.

DANIELLE

Yes.  OK. 

MEREDITH

Wait, no.  I don’t want to start over yet.

DANIELLE

Why?

MEREDITH

Because I disagree with you.  I think –  Fine, let’s start over.

DANIELLE

OK.  [beat]  I’m just waiting for someone.

MEREDITH

Aren’t you worried that you’ll be too beautiful?

DANIELLE

No, I – do you worry about that?

MEREDITH

Of course not  [SEAN enters, nattily dressed.]  I’ll be back to take your order in just a minute.

SEAN

Hi, are you …?

DANIELLE

Yes, you must be ….

SEAN

I am! 

DANIELLE

It’s so nice to –

SEAN

I don’t mean to be rude, but can we skip this part?  It really makes me nervous.

DANIELLE

Yes!  Maybe we can start with dessert?

SEAN

I was thinking we could even skip – I don’t mean to be – I was thinking we could skip to the kiss?

DANIELLE

No.

SEAN

I didn’t mean that there’d be a kiss.  I meant, can we skip to the point where we know whether there will be a kiss?

DANIELLE

I don’t know how to do that.

SEAN

It’s just that…

MEREDITH

If you don’t want to kiss him, he can relax and really get to know you.

SEAN

Yes!

MEREDITH

So can I interest you in starting over?

SEAN

No, I was so nervous outside.  I can’t do that again.

MEREDITH

Why don’t you skip to a story?

DANIELLE

That sounds good!

SEAN

OK great.

MEREDITH

So far you’ve found out that you both like pear and gorgonzola salads, and you’ve ordered the calamari too. 

SEAN

Thank you so much.

MEREDITH

This doesn’t have to be hard.  [MEREDITH starts to exit.]

SEAN

Waitress?  [MEREDITH returns.]  Who’s story is it?

DANIELLE

I’ll try!  But I want to start in the middle of the story.

SEAN

That’s not cheating?

MEREDITH

It is, but, I mean… even a fair die is loaded.

SEAN

What?

DANIELLE

Start over.

SEAN

Great, so what’s the story?

DANIELLE

She locked herself in the bathroom.

SEAN

Everyone locks themselves in the bathroom.

DANIELLE

But she wouldn’t come out!

SEAN

So she’s still in there?

DANIELLE

No, she…

SEAN

She came out?

DANIELLE

When she was ready.

SEAN

That’s when everyone comes out of the bathroom.

MEREDITH

Is there anything else you need?  [SEAN nods to MEREDITH]  Right.  OK.  [MEREDITH exits.]

DANIELLE

What?

SEAN

Oh, nothing, I – [MEREDITH returns with a piece of cake, with a lit candle in it.]

MEREDITH

Happy birthday to you…

DANIELLE

It’s not my birthday!

MEREDITH

Happy birthday to you…

SEAN

I wanted to find a way to make you feel special…

MEREDITH

Happy birth-day dear person whose not having a birthday today but who we want to make feel special…

DANIELLE

What should I do with it?

MEREDITH

Happy birthday to you.

SEAN

Try blowing on it.  [DANIELLE blows out the candle.]

DANIELLE

[Pause.  Smiles all around.]  That was nice.  That was really nice.  Thank you so –  [Offstage, there is a massive explosion.  THEY react.  As the scene continues, THEY slowly bury THEMSELVES in debris.]

MEREDITH

Just keep going, pretend it’s normal.

DANIELLE

Are we hurt?

SEAN

Not yet.

MEREDITH

Don’t jump to any conclusions.

DANIELLE

Should we run towards it?

CHRISTOPER

Should we run away from it?

DANIELLE

We don’t have a framework to respond to this.

MEREDITH

I’ll see if we have any old sayings or tropes in the back.  [SHE exits]

DANIELLE

This stretches past what I can understand.

SEAN

We can get back to trying to make a connection.

MEREDITH

[Offstage.]  That’s all anyone ever tries to do.

SEAN

We’ve been refining this mating ritual for thousands of years.  Let’s press on.

DANIELLE

That’s not the most relevant framework right now.

MEREDITH

[Offstage]  We’re all out of “everything happens for a reason.”

DANIELLE

It’s way too soon to understand what’s happening.

MEREDITH

[Offstage]  We don’t have “it’s all in G-d’s plan”

SEAN

(This isn’t going that badly.  She’s really cute!  Don’t screw this up.)

DANIELLE

I can’t even think coherently yet, let alone have a perspective.

SEAN

(After dinner, see if she wants to go for a drink.  That’s what people do on dates.)

MEREDITH

[Entering, covered in dust and debris]  It’s the only framework we’ve got.  We have to keep going.

DANIELLE

OK.  I’ll try.  Do want to know the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard?

SEAN

Yeah.

DANIELLE

I flew home last week to see my family.

SEAN

(That is beautiful.)

DANIELLE

And the flight attendant was doing the safety speech…

SEAN

It’s so unlikely that you’ll need –

DANIELLE

(Are you sure we’re not hurt?)

MEREDITH

It’s all so unlikely.

DANIELLE

And she was talking about the cabin pressure changing, and what if you needed oxygen…

MEREDITH

You do, generally.

DANIELLE

… and the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling.

SEAN

[to himself] Relax.  Breathe.

DANIELLE

And she said “Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”

SEAN

I don’t get it.

MEREDITH

It means that you should adjust your own –

SEAN

Why is that funny?

DANIELLE

It’s not funny!  It’s beautiful!

SEAN

It’s scary.

DANIELLE

Because you need oxygen?

SEAN

Because everyone’s wearing masks?

MEREDITH

Because you’re 30,000 feet above the ground in a metal tube being held up by air.

SEAN

That’s not funny.

DANIELLE

It’s not funny!  It’s beautiful!

SEAN

To fly?

DANIELLE

The safety speech.

MEREDITH

Why?

DANIELLE

It’s beautiful because of what’s not said.

SEAN

Are we about to get hurt?

DANIELLE

It’s beautiful because of what it assumes.

MEREDITH

I don’t know how much longer I can bear this weight.

SEAN

There’s something you’re not telling us.

MEREDITH

There are a lot of things we don’t tell each other. 

DANIELLE

Is anyone understanding anything I’m saying?

MEREDITH

We can’t tell each other every thing at every time. 

DANIELLE

We can try. 

SEAN

I think I understand.  The flight safety speech is funny because –

MEREDITH

Because it’s so scary.

DANIELLE

“Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”

MEREDITH

It’s just practical.

DANIELLE

It’s also practical to see it as beautiful.

SEAN

I see it now!

DANIELLE

Yes!

SEAN

It’s beautiful because it assumes that your first instinct would be to help someone else.

DANIELLE

Yes!!

SEAN

Are you hurt?

MEREDITH

There’s something that I’ve been wanting to tell you guys.

SEAN

What is it?

MEREDITH

I’ve been rooting for you since the moment I saw you.

DANIELLE

“Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”

SEAN

I don’t know that I’m sure about anything right now.

MEREDITH

I thought, that woman is so beautiful.  Maybe they’ll get together.

DANIELLE

I just imagined this plane full of people…

MEREDITH

And if they do, I hope it’s for the best.

SEAN

Do you think I have a shot?

DANIELLE

just… just passed out from lack of oxygen.

MEREDITH

You do.  You were so nervous before you came in. 

DANIELLE

… because they all tried to help each other with the masks.

SEAN

It’s all so unlikely –

DANIELLE

And when they landed, and the cabin pressure was restored…

MEREDITH

I just thought you two were so beautiful, you didn’t need fancy clothes or artifice or, or anything.

SEAN

But here we are.  And I really want to keep going.

DANIELLE

… as soon as the lights came on they all woke up and were laughing and laughing…

MEREDITH

Then I thought, maybe they won’t get together.  And maybe that would be for the best.

SEAN

But I see it now.  I’m proud of us.  We tried.  We are trying.

DANIELLE

… just laughing about how they all passed out, because they just wanted to help each other.

SEAN

We’re going to keep trying.

MEREDITH

… I just thought that whatever happens, I want it to be for the best…

DANIELLE

That’s my favorite type of outcome.

MEREDITH

What?

DANIELLE

The best.

[lights fade]

Advertisement