Jarring

Leslie Barker


CHARACTERS

Hannah - A Dreamer

Joe - A Realist

SETTING

Then and Now

 

HANNAH AND JOE

In this jar lives -

 

JOE

Lightning

 

HANNAH

Dusk

 

JOE

Storms

 

HANNAH

Pieces of the ocean

 

JOE

Your favorite constellations

 

HANNAH

The lonesome moan of a distant train

 

JOE

The time the moon swelled so big -

 

HANNAH AND JOE

We thought it would burst.

 

JOE

Beams of sunlight so bright that you have to squint your eyes

 

HANNAH

But the light is so beautiful that you want to catch every single fleck of it

 

HANNAH AND JOE

In this jar lives

 

HANNAH

The day that we met in the middle of the -

 

JOE

The look your face when you told me-

 

HANNAH

The thumping of my heart as I found it-

 

JOE

The creaking of the screen door when -

 

HANNAH

The slightest brush of your hand as you -

 

JOE

A melody that I can't quite remember-

 

HANNAH

It's just on the -

 

JOE

It's on the tip of my tongue-

 

HANNAH

Just on the -

 

JOE

Tip of my tongue -

 

HANNAH AND JOE

In this jar lives

 

JOE

Wildflowers

 

HANNAH

Snow

 

JOE

Sticky heat and mosquitoes

 

HANNAH

The leaves crunching beneath your feet

 

JOE

The smell of the campfire in your hair

 

 

HANNAH AND JOE

In this jar lives

 

HANNAH

Summer

 

JOE

Fall

 

HANNAH

Winter

 

JOE

Spring

 

HANNAH

I used to keep in the back of the closet, hidden behind winter sweaters and rain boots.

These days, I keep this jar under my pillow, just to take the edge off, in case I can't sleep.

 

JOE

What would you do?

 

HANNAH

Would you open it?

 

JOE

Would hide it?

 

HANNAH

Run from it?

 

JOE

Dive straight in and live in it?

 

HANNAH

So here's the the thing, this jar is full of moments-

 

JOE

Memories-

 

HANNAH

Like actual moments from the past-

 

 

JOE

Her memories.

 

HANNAH

Our memories.

 

JOE

And it works like this -

 

HANNAH

You open it-

 

JOE

Stick your hand in the jar -

 

HANNAH

Sometimes, I close my eyes before I pick.

Sometimes, I keep both eyes wide open. And when I'm feeling really reckless, I just shake the whole thing up and let a couple roll out like dice.

 

JOE

And wherever your fingers land-

 

HANNAH

Whichever one you pick -

 

JOE

Takes you back to a moment -

 

HANNAH

A moment that you hold onto - that you need-

 

(HANNAH CLOSES HER EYES AND CAREFULLY REACHES INTO THE JAR. SHE PULLS OUT A TINY SLIP OF PAPER. IT LOOKS AS IF SHE IS READING A FORTUNE FROM A FORTUNE COOKIE. SHE READS-)

 

HANNAH

Summer.

It was summer. Like the hottest summer ever - even for Mississippi. And you were in that band - that terrible band -

 

HANNAH AND JOE

Mutual Mustaches

 

JOE

And we weren't terrible. We were experimental - ahead of our time really.

 

HANNAH

And you guys only knew that once song

And you played it over and over in that dumpy garage that you called an apartment. It smelled like burnt coffee and patchouli. Do you smell it, Joe?

 

(THEY BOTH INHALE DEEPLY. THE SOUND OF A BELL. HANNAH AND JOE LOOK AT EACH OTHER AS IF IT WERE THE FIRST TIME THEY HAVE EVER MET. HE STICKS OUT HIS HAND.)

 

JOE

I'm Joe.

 

HANNAH

Hannah.

 

JOE

Thanks for coming. You come with Jesse?

 

HANNAH

Yeah. I did...Thanks for having me. You guys are...good.

 

JOE

I don't believe you.

 

HANNAH

No, seriously. I love that...one song you guys played. And I like your jeans, I've never seen a guy wear such...tight jeans.

 

(SHE LAUGHS AND THEY BOTH AWKWARDLY REALIZE THAT THEY ARE STILL SHAKING HANDS. A LOUD SOUND, SOMETHING LIKE A DOOR SLAMMING.)

 

HANNAH

Wait! What's the sound?

 

JOE

You know the rules Hannah. You can only stay until the door shuts.

 

HANNAH

But I wasn't there long enough. We didn't get to the good part - I'm going to pick another one.

 

(HANNAH REACHES, LESS CAREFULLY THIS TIME, BUT HOPEFUL. SHE PULLS OUT A TINY SLIP OF PAPER AND READS -)

 

HANNAH

Fall.

Someone was burning leaves and the scent wrapped around us like yesterday. And we were walking, because your car broke down -

 

JOE

Again.

 

HANNAH

And you kept singing that Bruce Springsteen song -

 

JOE

"Thunder Road."

 

(HE HUMS A LITTLE OF THE SONG HANNAH CLOSES HER EYES. ABELL RINGS. WHEN SHE OPENS HER EYES, THEY ARE WALKING. EXHAUSTED. SHE REACHES FOR HIS HAND. HE PULLS HIS HAND AWAY AND KEEPS WALKING. HANNAH STOPS. THE DOOR SLAMS.)

 

HANNAH

What are you doing? This is the part where I take your hand.

 

JOE

That's not what happened. We didn't even speak on the entire walk.

 

HANNAH

Because it was so perfect, we didn't need words.

 

JOE

Because we were angry.

 

HANNAH

That's not the way it happened. Why are you ruining this?

 

(SHE SHAKES THE JAR AND URGENTLY PICKS UP ANOTHER SHEET OF PAPER.)

 

HANNAH

Winter.

It was winter. We were at the beach. And even though it was so cold,  the ocean glowed red in the reflection of your sunglasses, because the sunset was so beautiful.

 

(NO BELL.)

 

JOE

I was wearing those sunglasses to hide the fact that my eyes were red with tears.

 

(THE DOOR SLAMS.)

 

HANNAH

Stop it! That's not what happened! I was there!

 

JOE

I was there.

 

(HANNAH PICKS ANOTHER SLIP OF PAPER AND READS FRANTICALLY.)

 

HANNAH

Spring.

Spring was the most beautiful. The entire yard is was covered with honeysuckle. And you put the record player on the back porch.

 

JOE

Spring is when we forgot everything -

 

(THE DOOR SLAMS.)

 

HANNAH

I never forget anything. I put everything in this jar and keep it for later.

 

JOE

We forgot how to see each. We forgot how to hear each other.

We forgot how to be.

 

HANNAH

No. No. No. I'll...I'll show you. Look at all of these memories. Look at this beautiful life we've built -

 

JOE

Hannah, look at me.

 

HANNAH

You pick one. It's your turn. We can go back to whatever moment you want. Hiking in New Mexico - you loved that.

 

JOE

Hannah I'm right here. Right in front of you. I'm not in a jar.

I'm not in between the notes of some nostalgic song that you can't even remember the words to. I'm not pressed between some pages with dried flowers. I'm not some moment to relive when you need to feel better. I'm not some story for you to tell.

 

HANNAH

I know that!

 

JOE

Do you?

 

(JOE TAKES THE JAR FROM HER. SHE REACHES FOR IT,  BUT HE KEEPS IT OUT OF HER REACH.)

 

HANNAH

What are you doing?

 

JOE

We don't need this.

 

HANNAH

Joe. Give it back. Give it back right now.

 

JOE

It's time, Hannah.

 

HANNAH

Time for what? This is not funny. Stop it.

 

(JOE LIFTS THE JAR AND THROWS IT DOWN WITH ALL OF HIS POWER. IT SHATTERS.)

 

(HANNAH GASPS. SHE DROPS TO HER KNEES TO GATHER THE PIECES AND TRY TO PUT THEM BACK TOGETHER.)

 

HANNAH

No. No. No. No.

No. NO! This is not the way the story goes. Now, you say you're sorry and we remember how much we love each other.

 

JOE

You forgot?

 

(HANNAH PICKS UP TINY PAPER AFTER TINY PAPER AND READS THEM. HE COUNTERS EACH ONE.)

 

HANNAH

Pieces of the ocean.

 

JOE

The rogue wave that reached it's dark fingers over our heads.

 

HANNAH

Your favorite constellations.

 

JOE

That went out one by one like broken light bulbs.

 

HANNAH

The time the moon swelled so big

 

JOE

That it burst.

 

HANNAH

(FRANTICALLY) Stop it. Stop it. Stop it!

 

(HE WALKS TO HER SLOWLY AND LIFTS HER CHIN, MAKING HER LOOK AT HIM - EYE TO EYE.)

 

JOE

Yesterday will not fix today. It's not some god or ghost that will swoop in and bail

us out every time we fall.

 

(SILENCE)

 

HANNAH

What do we have now?

 

JOE

We have all that we'veever had.

 

HANNAH

And what is that?

 

JOE

Right now.