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Arthur is sitting at the table, Anna is across from him. They are sipping champagne. After a few moments, Anna slams her glass down on the table, turns to Arthur, and in a panic screams:
ANNA. Where in the holy hell am I? (Arthur reaches out a hand to comfort her.) ARTHUR. Anna, my love, we are in a restaurant. Chez Memoire. We had our first date here, remember? ANNA. But how did I get here? ARTHUR. We drove. ANNA. I don’t remember that. ARTHUR. Remember, my love, the fall you had? ANNA. No. Of course not. Am I going to be ok? ARTHUR. My love, you’ll be fine. Why don’t you run to the ladies room to freshen up? ANNA. Oh. That’s a good idea. I do need to wash my hands. I will be back. (The waitress, Justine, walks in as she leaves.) JUSTINE. Sir, I heard a commotion. Is anything the matter? ARTHUR. Oh I am sorry about that. It’s my wife. She has these… fits. I apologize. I hope it’s not disturbing the other guests. JUSTINE. No, you’re fine. I just wanted to make sure that everything was ok. ARTHUR. I’m here a lot, I’ve never seen you before. JUSTINE. Tonight’s my first night. ARTHUR. Nervous? JUSTINE. A little. ARTHUR. You’re doing great. JUSTINE. Thank you sir. Can I get you two more glasses of that champagne? ARTHUR. Yes. That would be fabulous. Wait… before you go, can I ask you to do me a favor?
JUSTINE. Of course. (Arthur brings out a ring from his pocket.) ARTHUR. This needs to be placed in her glass, if you would. JUSTINE. You’re proposing to her? ARTHUR. Yes. JUSTINE. Oh my god, congratulations! (We hear a yell from offstage.) ANNA. (offstage.) Where in the holy hell am I? ARTHUR. Oh dear… I should find her. Excuse me… (He runs off. Justine stays, confused. She slips the ring in her pocket as Anna and Arthur return.) ANNA. I’m sorry… I’m just so confused. ARTHUR. It’s quite alright dear. ANNA. Explain it to me again. I never seem to remember. ARTHUR. My love, you were in a car accident not too long ago. You have a little tiny bump on your noggin, but because of that, you are unable to create new memories, leading you to forget everything in about 30 seconds or so. ANNA. And that’s why I’m so confused? ARTHUR. Yes. ANNA. Oh yes… I remember now. JUSTINE. Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry! I had no idea. ARTHUR. We just don’t like to tell a lot of people about that. JUSTINE. I’ll go get you folks some more champagne. ARTHUR. Thank you. (Justine exits. Arthur takes Anna’s hands.) ANNA. You must love me very much. ARTHUR. I do. I have for six years now. ANNA. I knew you before the accident, didn’t I? ARTHUR. That’s why you know who I am. ANNA. I feel so… connected to you, somehow. I mean, I know we’ve known each other for a long time, but I just can’t remember most of it. ARTHUR. That’s normal with someone of your condition… (Anna stops, and looks around.)
ANNA. Oh my god! WHERE IN THE HOLY HELL AM I? ARTHUR. Anna, Anna… hey, look at me. You’re at our favorite restaurant. Chez Memoire. It’s where we had our first date. You love their duck l’orange. ANNA. I’ve eaten duck? ARTHUR. Yes. Yes you have. ANNA. Why can’t I remember? ARTHUR. My love, you were in a car accident not too long ago. You have a little tiny bump on your noggin, but because of that, you are unable to create new memories, leading you to forget everything in about 30 seconds or so. ANNA. I see. I remember you. ARTHUR. We did meet before the accident. ANNA. I’m so sorry. I must be such a burden on you. ARTHUR. Not at all. ANNA. You’re in love with me, aren’t you? ARTHUR. I am, yes. ANNA. And I’m in love with you? ARTHUR. I hope so. ANNA. Why don’t I remember? I would think that if I were in love with someone, I would remember the feeling. ARTHUR. What do you feel now? ANNA. I feel… comfortable. ARTHUR. You feel comfortable? ANNA. I don’t know how else to describe it. You don’t scare me, so I feel comfortable. We are old friends, after all. ARTHUR. Yes, yes we are. (A slight pause, Arthur takes Anna’s hands in his, but she shifts, and begins to panic again.) ANNA. WHERE IN THE HOLY HELL AM I? ARTHUR. Anna, calm down. It’s Arthur. ANNA. Arthur? Where am I?
ARTHUR. You’re at our favorite restaurant. Chez Memoire. It’s where we had our first date. My love, you were in a car accident not too long ago. You have a little tiny bump on your noggin, but because of that, you are unable to create new memories, leading you to forget everything in about 30 seconds or so. ANNA. Do you tell me that every time? ARTHUR. What? ANNA. That little speech you just said. Do you tell that to me every time I can’t remember where I am? ARTHUR. Yes, in fact I do. ANNA. That’s why it sounded so rehearsed. ARTHUR. It’s the easiest explanation. ANNA. How did it happen? ARTHUR. What? ANNA. The car accident. What happened? ARTHUR. I’ve told you before… ANNA. Do you think I’m an idiot? I don’t remember. (She smiles.) Tell me. ARTHUR. I don’t have the strength. ANNA. Please? How long ago was it? ARTHUR. Seven years. ANNA. I bet that’s almost as long as I’ve known you, am I right? ARTHUR. Just about. It was winter, like tonight. Cold, not like tonight. There was snow on the ground, a nice powdery new sheet had just fallen, and it was a bit slick. We were going to go out, to celebrate. ANNA. What were we celebrating? ARTHUR. Our six month anniversary. ANNA. Oh yes. I remember that. You were nervous. ARTHUR. I was very nervous. ANNA. You wore a purple tie and your dark navy suit. And I was in a cream teacut dress with tights and a grey cardigan.
ARTHUR. That’s right. It was snowy, and… we were driving here, and around one of the turns, I lost control, and we slammed into an embankment… an embankment that was hiding a large oak. ANNA. Were we wearing our seatbelts? ARTHUR. We were, but unfortunately you still hit your head upon impact… on the dash, and you were knocked out. When you woke up, your short term memory was gone. ANNA. And you stayed with me all this time? ARTHUR. Yes. ANNA. You’re so... (She panics.) WHERE IN THE HOLY HELL AM I? ARTHUR. Anna, please… you’re fine. You’re our Chez Memoire, where we had our first date. Where we were going for our sixth month anniversary. ANNA. I don’t remember that… ARTHUR. My love, you were in a car accident not too long ago. You have a little tiny bump on your noggin, but because of that, you are unable to create new memories, leading you to forget everything in about 30 seconds or so. ANNA. Oh god… that sounds horrible. ARTHUR. Don’t worry. You won’t remember in about 30 seconds. ANNA. And you’re Arthur. I remember you. You’re very kind. ARTHUR. Thank you, my love. (Justine reenters with the glasses.) JUSTINE. More champagne for the table. ANNA. Oh goody! I love champagne. JUSTINE. Are you folks ready to order? ARTHUR. Give us a few moments, will you? JUSTINE. Yes, of course. (Justine exits. Arthur raises his glass.) ANNA. Are we toasting? ARTHUR . Of course. ANNA. What are we toasting to? ARTHUR. To us. To seven glorious years together, and a lifetime to go. (Arthur takes a sip. Anna doesn’t, she puts the glass back down.)
ANNA. We’ve been together for seven years? ARTHUR. Yes. ANNA. I don’t know why, but it only feels like… sixth months. ARTHUR. It’s been much longer. ANNA. It doesn’t feel like seven years because of my memory loss, right? ARTHUR. Yes. I suppose that’s why. ANNA. What a burden I must be. ARTHUR. You’re not. Don’t ever say that. I love you more than sunlight. I need you more than water. I would die without you. You’re my soulmate, Anna… ANNA. Arthur… ARTHUR. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but you are the reason I wake up every day. ANNA. But I don’t remember… ARTHUR. You don’t need to. ANNA. I can’t let you do this to yourself. I think I love you, but I can’t be sure… (she stops, and panics, but is very quiet.) Where in the holy hell am I? ARTHUR. Chez Memoire… ANNA. Our first date, Arthur? ARTHUR. Yes. You love it. ANNA. Why can’t I remember coming here? ARTHUR. My love, you were in a car accident not too long ago. You have a little tiny bump on your noggin, but because of that, you are unable to create new memories, leading you to forget everything in about 30 seconds or so. ANNA. Oh. Good to know. Champagne. Cheers. (She takes a drink of her champagne, and sees the ring.) Oh. ARTHUR. I almost forgot that was in there… ANNA. Is this meant for me? ARTHUR. Yes. ANNA. Arthur, we’ve only been together for sixth months.
ARTHUR. Anna, it’s been seven years. ANNA. Oh. It doesn’t feel it… ARTHUR. Will you marry me? ANNA. I… ARTHUR. Please say yes… I love you so much. ANNA. You say I forget things. That I don’t have short term memories, that I can’t recall anything after the accident. ARTHUR. Yes. ANNA. How many times have you proposed to me? ARTHUR. Anna… ANNA. Is this the first? Have I ever said yes? ARTHUR. No. ANNA. Do I even love you? ARTHUR. You do, oh god, you do… ANNA. I don’t remember… ARTHUR. I know. ANNA. I’m sorry. I feel like it’s too soon. It may not be too soon… but it feels like it is. Please don’t hate me, Arthur. ARTHUR. I could never hate you. (Justine comes back.) JUSTINE. Have we decided? ANNA. I think I like the duck l’orange. JUSTINE. Excellent choice. Sir? ARTHUR. I’ll have the same. JUSTINE. I’ll be back in a moment. (She leaves.) ANNA. Arthur… ARTHUR. Yes? ANNA. I want to say something to you. Very important. I don’t want you to think that I don’t love you…
ARTHUR. I know you do. ANNA. I must, because I feel such strong feelings. But Arthur… I would have to say… (She smiles.) My answer… and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking… ARTHUR. In the last 30 seconds? ANNA. Yes. My answer for you is… (She shifts.) WHERE IN THE HOLY HELL AM I? (Arthur’s world crumbles.) ARTHUR. You’re in Chez Memoire, my love… (He continues on with the speech, as Justine enters on another side of the stage. Another waiter, Pete, comes in.) PETE. Oh man… that’ll break your heart. He’s back. JUSTINE. What, my table? PETE. Yeah… did Gretchen explain him to you? JUSTINE. No. I talked to them a little bit, but… PETE. So you know about the memory loss thing. JUSTINE. Yeah… I do. PETE. Then you know how tragic it is. JUSTINE. Yeah, memory loss must really be horrible. PETE. Oh it’s not just that. They didn’t tell you the whole story? JUSTINE. No. PETE. This poor guy… driving here on their sixth month anniversary, they get into some horrible accident, she loses her memory on the same night he was going to propose for the first time. JUSTINE. Oh my god. PETE. This poor guy comes in here every month on the same day and proposes to her, and she’s never given him an answer. The 3o second rule, you know. JUSTINE. That’s horrible. PETE. They looked pretty close this time, but that poor guy… must’ve proposed over 80 times now. Seven years. JUSTINE. Wow. PETE. Just so you know, Gretchen always makes sure the champagne is complimentary. You know.
JUSTINE. Yes, of course. (Pete exits. Justine looks at the two of them at the table, they are smiling, and Arthur slides the ring away on the table, and pockets it, unseen by Anna. He leans in and they kiss, but Anna pulls away.) ANNA. Arthur… where am I? (Arthur goes into the speech, inaudible, as the lights dim.) END OF PLAY
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