melagee

work in progress

Application Exercise

Posted by melagee on June 1, 2005

(from my Creative Writing class)

Time to try an application exercise. I shall give you the opening dialogue line which is Martha asking her boyfriend,

‘Are you jealous, Ben?’

Go from there. Does Ben answer directly at all? Maybe not. Maybe so. Is he lying? How does he reveal his feelings? Can the body lie? And how does Martha respond? Keep thinking to yourself, ‘what is really going on between these two, and how can I show it?’

~

“Are you jealous, Ben”

His eyebrows lifted. “Jealous? Of what? Of her? Hardly. She should be jealous of me.”

“Yeah, but I think we both know she’s probably not.” Martha smiled and sat down next to him. A flop of brown hair was sitting slightly askew on the back of his head, and she reached over to smooth it down. “It’s like your hair is possessed or something.”

“It’s just not what I thought it was going to be.” He ignored her and dropped the magazine he was reading. “She’s so fucking annoying.”

“She’s not.” Martha reproached. “She’s just exuberant. She’s got a lot of confidence.”

“She’s loud and obnoxious, that’s what she is. I don’t know what you see in her.”

Martha sighed. “Listen, Ben, you know who I was when you got into this.”

Ben picked up the fallen magazine and placed it on the coffee table. “I know,” he said. “I mean, I thought I knew.”

“I’m only one woman; there’s only so much I can do with a day.”

“I know.” He turned his head to look out the window. “I know that.”

“Ben, look at me.” When he didn’t turn his head to face her, Martha got up and moved over to the window, blocking his vision. “Please talk to me.”

“Marth. . .” He stopped and turned to avoid looking at her.

Martha’s shoulders fell. She stood where she was for a moment, chewing on her lip, and then spoke: “Look, if you want me to leave, just tell me and I will.”

“I don’t want you to leave.” He turned to look at her again. “I want Her to leave.”

She shook her head. “Not going to happen.”

“Why? What the fuck is so great about her?” He stood up and walked over to the window where she was standing. The curtains were open and the bright afternoon sun was pouring into the room. It was a beautiful afternoon, and by all rights they should have been enjoying it in the park, but plans had once again been altered. “What does she have that I don’t?”

“Do I really need to answer that?” Her voice rose a notch, in anger. “You’re two completely different people, Ben. She has a lot of things you don’t have, and you have a lot of things she doesn’t have!”

“It can’t always be like this, Marth. You can’t keep stringing us both along like this.”

“She doesn’t seem to mind! She’s perfectly happy with the arrangement!”

“Of course she is, she gets to live with you!” He yelled the words out so loudly Martha had to take a step back. “What do I get? Afternoons? The occasional weekend? Whatever moments you can spare between work and your girlfriend? That’s not enough anymore!”

“What do you want me to do?” Her voice was quiet now.

“Choose. Me or her. Right now.” He looked down as he said this, not daring to be swayed by the emotion on her face.

“Ben, don’t. Don’t make me choose. I love you both.”

“That’s not good enough anymore, Marth. You can’t have us both.” She didn’t say anything. Her fingers were interlocking and fiddling in nervousness. He risked a look at her and saw that her face was red. “Well?”

“I can’t. Please, Ben.” she begged.

He stepped closer to her and put his arms around her. She sank into him and started crying, sniffling loudly. He kissed the top of her head and pulled back to hold her at arms length.

“If you can’t choose, I’ll choose for you.” Letting go of her shoulders he stepped aside, and walked to the door. He opened the door and turned to look at her. She was still crying, only louder. He opened his mouth to say something, and then stopped. He walked out, closing the door behind him.

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