copyright © 2004 Nancy Ellen Row

Year of the Horse

Scene for one male and one female

by Nancy Ellen Row

Characters: Lizzie and John

Location: Top of the Fremont Bridge in Portland, Ore.

Setting: Bridge Pedal, annual event where bridges are closed to cars and bicyclists take over the city

Time: Summer, present day

Enter, John and Lizzie, pushing their bicycles:

John: So, Lizzie, ready to ride again?

Lizzie: (panting) God, no, can we take a break for a minute? Or 20?

John: I didn’t think you’d want to stop at the top like this.

Lizzie: No, it’s okay. The view of the city is pretty.

John: We don’t have to stop here, we can ride to the other side, if that’s better.

Lizzie: Really, it’s fine, John. I’m fine.

John: If we need to leave, it’s cool. Just tell me. (He props his bike against the railing of the bridge.) Here, give me your bike.

Lizzie: Thanks. Want some water? Cookies? (She kneels down and pulls a package of cookies and a bottle of water from her bag on the bike’s rack.) Fourteen miles is a good ride, huh?

John: Cookie monster! Oreos and Nutter Butters? (He takes a long drink and a handful of cookies.) Yeah, it’s a good ride.

Lizzie: (guzzling water) I am amazingly out of shape.

John: You're doing great.

Lizzie: (walks to the edge of the bridge and peers down) That was the last thing he saw, you know. Before he jumped. It’s really high. It doesn’t seem that high, from a car. I mean, the bridge seems high, but not this goddamn high. Does it to you? Seem high?

John: It’s pretty goddamn high.

Lizzie: (points to the ledge on the side of the railing) He must have stood there. He must have balanced there.

John: Baby, let’s go. (He reaches for her and pulls her back, holding her in his arms.)

Lizzie: (stepping away) No, it's weird. I need to think of it in a different way, from now on. (Steps over to the side and looks down.) I thought he had to balance, on the railing. He would have climbed out on the ledge, he would have had to stop, and think, right? For a second at least.

John: It was 2 a.m., isn’t that what you said? It would have been all blackness.

Lizzie: You know what the cops asked my mom when they called? "Does your husband have suicidal tendencies?" They should have come to the house and told her in person.

John: (nods his head) You would think.

Lizzie: She told them, after they found his body, "If you give the newspapers any information I will firebomb the police station, do you understand?"

John: (laughs) She’s tough, your mom.

Lizzie: She scared them. There wasn't much in the news -- just a small item inside the metro section.

John: (putting his arm around Lizzie again) It would have been all blackness. He would have jumped into blackness.

Lizzie: (wiping her face on John’s T-shirt) It was freedom for him, you know? In a way, it was like he was flying. Free. (She takes another bite from a cookie, then throws it over the railing. It arcs, heading for the water.)

John: What are you doing? Don't throw those cookies away!

Lizzie: My dad loved peanut butter.



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