The Bells

The Bells

Due to popular demand, I give you – in full – The Bells by Sandy and Becca. Dated February 8, 2002, our assignment was to write a “Pinteresque” one-act play for AP English. Brace yourselves, folks – the brilliance may just knock you out of your seat.

The Bells

Room is small, lights are dim. RAINE sitting in armchair, knees drawn up to chin, staring blankly. CECIL brewing coffee in the kitchen.

RAINE

I’m sorry.

CECIL

(Faintly, from other room) Don’t worry about it.

CECIL walks in, sits down across from her.

RAINE

No really, I mean it.

CECIL

It’s fine. I know you do. You did the first time you apologised.

RAINE

I know.

Pause

But it’s only for a night. By tomorrow, everything will be…sorted out.

CECIL

I don’t mind at all. I’ve already told you, feel free to stay…as long as you wish.

RAINE

No.

Pause

My mother’s coming to pick me up, actually.

CECIL

It’s really–

RAINE

I’ll be gone by midday.

Silence

CECIL

How was your flight?

RAINE

Uneventful.

CECIL

And your trip?

RAINE

Wonderful. I wish I could have stayed longer. Incredible place, very pleasant people.

CECIL

Australia, right?

RAINE

New Zealand.

Pause

CECIL

Did you change your hair?

RAINE

What?

CECIL

Your hair– is it different?

RAINE

No.

CECIL

You seem different. Are you sure?

RAINE

Yes…I did…nothing to my hair.

Pause

CECIL

Has it been a year?

RAINE

I think so.

CECIL

It didn’t feel like it.

RAINE

Hmm?

CECIL

A whole year. Felt nothing like it.

RAINE

A year is a long time.

CECIL

I don’t think so.

RAINE

You don’t?

CECIL

No. Not much happens in just one year. Nothing really changes, right?

RAINE

No…I suppose not.

Silence

CECIL

I remember you…at the gate. It was raining that day. We had an awful time with your luggage, it seems amusing now, but it was frustrating at the time. We dropped one of your bags and it tumbled down a flight of stairs, and one of the zippers snapped and a whole section of the bag burst open; your things went flying everywhere. There weren’t many people in the terminal that day, but a good crowd did stop to watch, and I simply stood there, dumbfounded. You were incredibly upset.

RAINE

I don’t remember that.

CECIL

Well, I do. You were absolutely seething. You were so upset. You couldn’t wait to board the plane and leave “this bloody God-forsaken hell-hole of a country,” as you so colorfully expressed it.

RAINE

(Quietly) I remember that.

CECIL

What?

RAINE

What?

CECIL

You said something, didn’t you?

RAINE

No…nothing.

Silence

CECIL

I missed you.

Pause

RAINE

It’s good to be back.

Silence

CECIL

I think the coffee’s ready.

CECIL stands and goes to the kitchen. Dialogue continues.

I miss…the Garden.

RAINE

Hmm?

CECIL

The Garden. I was thinking about it just the other day.

RAINE

Were you?

CECIL

Yes. I want to go back there.

He comes back to the room and hands RAINE coffee

There you are. Milk and sugar.

RAINE

I don’t take my coffee like that.

CECIL

What? Since when?

RAINE

Always.

Long pause.

CECIL

I want to…see it again.

RAINE

What?

CECIL

The Glasshouse. At the Garden.

RAINE

Oh.

Pause

You know, there were many.

CECIL

Yes, yes. You know what I mean, though.

RAINE

We saw all of them.

CECIL

Yes, but, you know.

Pause

The courtyards were lovely.

RAINE

Yes.

CECIL

They were my favourite. The light was so pleasing, and calm, reflected off the glass. I remember the afternoons we would spend there. I enjoyed just sitting inside and watching the sun come through the windows. It was beautiful.

Pause 

RAINE

I preferred being outdoors.

CECIL

Oh?

RAINE

On the lawns, in fair weather, yes. I loved lying there, in the cool breeze.

Pause

Listening to the bells.

CECIL

What bells?

RAINE

The churchbells.

CECIL

I never heard them.

RAINE

I did.

Pause

CECIL

As I recall, there wasn’t a church anywhere near there.

RAINE

Yes, there was one.

CECIL

Was there?

RAINE

Yes, on Trumpington.

Pause

CECIL

Well, I still don’t remember ever hearing bells.

Pause

It was…lovely there, wasn’t it?

RAINE

Mmmnn.

CECIL

We were younger then.

RAINE

Yes, we were.

Silence

CECIL

I really have missed you.

RAINE

I know.

Long Pause

RAINE

Cecil, I did…

CECIL

I know.

RAINE

Yes.

Pause

A long time ago.

She stands. They freeze, looking at each other. Lights slowly fade to a blackout.

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