A New York street on a foggy gloomy morning. RACHAEL, her hair black and straight, enters stage right. SPENCER is walking almost aimlessly, unaware of her presence. She calls out faintly to him.
SPENCER looks up, dull with confusion.
RACHAEL has gotten closer, sure that it is him. She reaches out a hand, but lets it hover.
Slowly, too slowly, SPENCER turns around, struck by some sort of dim recongnition.
RACHAEL touches his hand, gently. Cold.
Spencer: Hey...Been a while, huh? A grin, weak, unreal.
Rachael: "Things were different then. Everything was so...We're not safe out here." She shivers
Spencer: "Not safe anywhere, these days. But how does coffee sound?"
RACHAEL smiles wanly and nods. She has yet to let go of his hand.
Rachael: "So cold..."
SPENCER gives her hand a a comforting, tight squeeze, turning forward so she doesn't have to see the pained look that flashes through his eyes. RACHAEL wraps both of her cold hands around his.
They approach a little place. One of her friends from the bakery days owns it. No one would know it, no one would even wonder at the two of them in there. It was a quiet but unobtrusive cafe.
Spencer: "... I'd ask how things have been but I keep up on the blogs I'm... fuck, I'm sorry, for what it's worth."
Rachael: "I...I am also sorry."
Spencer: "For what?" That casual, faked smile is back, the smile he's spent hours practicing, looking in the mirror.
Rachael: I know that look. You don't need to use it on me." -beat- "I am sorry...that you had to live like this. That you..."
Spencer: I... I don't know what else to do." his voice breaks, and he swallows, looking downwards, trying to avoid eye contact.
Rachael: "I...I don't either. But...I think we are alike enough that we can be honest with each other. No need to act. Just...us."
Spencer: "I... can try...? There's not much there to be honest about anymore. Not... lately."
Rachael: "Perhaps a game then? a question for a question?"
Spencer: "... sure."
Rachael: "What are you feeling, right now?"
A long pause. SPENCER look conflicted, as if he is dragging something up from the deeps.
Spencer: "... Afraid. I... I know. I just know that I don't have a lot of time left. I d-don't...I don't w-want to die."
Rachael: She smiles gently. "I am glad...that you feel fear, I mean. And sometimes I feel the same way. But for now, we are alive."
Spencer: "... I don't know what's worse. That I'm not sure that it's real or...Or that I'm kind of... looking forward to it. To not hurting anymore."
Rachael: "I wish I had a good answer. But I think we all feel like that, when it comes."
Spencer: "How... how about you?"
Spencer looks up, pale amber lost. Empty.
Rachael: "I'm...conflicted. Fragmented. Unsure of a lot of things. Sure of some others. Afraid, excited, unhappy. Lonely."
He smiles at her. Or tries to.
Spencer: "I...I think I understand that. As much as someone like me can."
RACHAEL smiles. A pause looms over the table. She opens her mouth, then closes it again. Shes taut, extremely nervous. She opens and closes her mouth again. SPENCER stops, frowning slightly, reaching over the table to take one of her hands into his own.
Spencer: "It's alright. It's... alright."
Rachael: "I'm afraid...Do you know about Catholic reconciliation?""
Spencer: "Sorry. Cultkid."
Rachael: "The idea is that if you should die, that because you have bared you soul to a priest, that you will have a clean slate for the end. Do you think it is better to do that, or let dark things that could hurt others never be known?"
Spencer: "... whatever makes you feel better in the end. That's all that matters."
Rachael: "Did you read the interviews? The ones with Ben, I mean."
Spencer: "... yeah. I did. You had it worse than me, even-"
Rachael: "But there was a part. There was a person I mentioned, that I said I...I was attracted to. Am attracted to. Should I tell the person, even if I might be dead in a week, and they may never return my affections?"
His gaze softens, and he looks... sadly blank.
Spencer: "I'm not someone... that would understand something like that..."
Rachael: "But what would you do?"
Spencer: "I'd...... you... have to do what's best for you first...?"
Rachael: "I don't know what that is."
She stares at him for a long moment.
Rachael: "Spencer...its you."
Spencer: "It's what? I'm... what?"
RACHAEL smiles. A fake sorrowful smile.
Rachael: "You...are the only one who can answer this question. No one else...could understand the question...the way you can."
Spencer: "I find that a-awfully hard to believe. I'm usually bad at answering questions."
Rachael: "Do you love Elaine?"
Spencer: "... I don't want her to get hurt. Just like I don't want August or Lori or Sam or June... to get hurt." He looks downwards. "If... if one of 'em died, I'd want to die too. Isn't... isn't that enough...?"
RACHAEL nods to herself.
Rachael: "Spencer...I just want you to know, that I would feel the same way...if anything happened. You are a good man. Please, don't ever forget that, just in case..."
RACHAEL starts to ready herself to leave. SPENCER's brow furrows in confusion, but something that's at least similar to resolve seems to set in his eyes as he takes on of her hands into both of his.
Spencer: "Don't go."
RACHAEL stops. She sits down, quiet, waiting. No emotion visible. Just waiting, not hostile.
Spencer: "I...I finally read the play through. The one you gave me? Sorry it took so long, because it... it takes me a while and...It was wonderful. I wish I could write like that. Was like... it was real. Magic."
RACHAEL smiles. Genuine.
Rachael: "It was nothing. Just a relic of a bygone time. I'm glad...that you are the one who owns it now."
Spencer: "I still think that it was too much. It... meant too much. Even I can feel that."
A pause.His voice drops low.
Spencer: "Do you know why the payment has to mean something? Why I don't take money?"
Spencer: "... because if I surround myself with things that mean something to other people, I forget about not having anything that means something for myself. Sort of pathetic, really..."
Rachael: "Then, take the play as my gift to you. And then, it will mean something to you."
Spencer: "... maybe it already does mean something."
They quietly smile at each other.
Spencer: "... you really look good when you smile like that."
A long pause. No one moves.
Spencer: "I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. Sorry for not being able to help you more. Help anyone more. I never did enough. Especially not for you."
Rachael: "You've done so much for me. You...What I told you..."
RACHAEL stops and smiles. She reaches over and kisses him on the cheek.
Rachael: "Whatever happens, this is how I will remember you. Please, remember me kindly.Goodbye, Spencer."
Spencer: "... you're not going to come out of this alive, are you...?"
Something flashes in his eyes. Fear?
Rachael: "I hope not! I have a lot I still want to do. I've never left the country, never climbed a mountain, never...never got married, had a child..."
her voice almost breaks
Rachael: "I have much to do, still."
Spencer: "... I want to see you again, alright?"
His gaze suddenly becomes pointed. Childishly stubborn.
Spencer: "Promise me."
She gently takes his face in both her hands.
Rachael: "Then...you have to promise me, as well. Okay?"
Spencer: "I think I can survive for a little longer at the very least."
He stands, hesitating for a second before hugging her.
Spencer: "... I'm allowed to do this, right?"
Rachael: "of course."
RACHAEL hugs him back, tightly.
Rachael: " Goodbye, Spencer."
RACHAEL lets go. Exit stage left. The stage darkens on SPENCER staring at her coffee cup, rolling it in his hands.