The Apology

by Brian Wittenbrook

MAN    I love you. (pause) I can’t believe that just a little while ago we were ready to kill each other.
WOMAN Let agree to never fight again.
MAN Only if we can pretend to fight then make up.
WOMAN I think I can live with that.
They start to move together, but the man pulls away, turning his head down ashamed.
MAN I’m sorry.
WOMAN No, no, we were both . . .
MAN No, there’s something I’ve never told you. I have to tell you now . . . but I’m not sure what you’re going to think.
WOMAN It’s okay. I’ll understand no matter what it is.
MAN I’m not sure you will. Remember when you and Diana were really close, and I used to say that you two were spending too much time together?
MAN The truth is that I was jealous of your friendship. Sometimes I felt that you two were closer than we were.
WOMAN It’s all right. I’m sorry if I made you feel jealous.
MAN I was mean to Diane. I used to say mean things. It my fault that you two are no longer such good friends.
WOMAN No, it wasn’t you. It was a lot of things. She got really heavily involved with that guy. You remember. What was his name?
MAN It was Peter Cobb. He’s a guy I knew from work.
WOMAN I didn’t know you knew him.
MAN Yes, you see–I paid him to take out Diane. I secretly set up their meeting. They got along well, and the two of you started spending less time together. . . . I was all my fault. Can you forgive me?
WOMAN It’s OK. That’s not so bad. I’ve done some things that were even worse. I guess I have to tell you. I’m so ashamed. Remember that fight we got into last March? I’m not sure what it was about. I think it was about the dishes. Anyway, after the fight I went out for a drive. I was so angry that I wanted to break something,
something of yours. So, I wrecked your car.
MAN My car was wrecked in an accident, and I was there.
WOMAN It was no accident. I planned it that night. I wrecked it a week later. You remember, we were going to Bob and Lisa’s house out of town? I was driving, it was dark, the street lamp was out. We turned a blind corner and that car was coming at us. I swerved to miss it and I drove off the road and hit a tree. I hired a person to drive the other car. I rented a car with a fake ID and we practiced the crash all week. I even shot out the street lamp to make the accident seem less like my fault. I’m sorry honey.
MAN It’s OK. We’re both just too strong willed.
WOMAN Do you think we can change?
MAN I don’t know. But there is something else I must tell you. Remember that job you interviewed for? That great job.
WOMAN V.P. of marketing at Simon and Nichols?
MAN Yeah, that was the one. I didn’t want you to get that job. I should have been supportive, but I was jealous. I didn’t want you to make more money than me. I didn’t want you to have the prestige.
WOMAN But I remember, you were very supportive.
MAN I was just pretending. You see, by that I knew you wouldn’t get the job. I sabotaged the interview.
WOMAN Sabotaged? How?
MAN Remember the day of your interview with Nichols? You probably don’t remember how crowded it was in the building. There are six elevators in the Simon and Nichols building. I hired people to fill the elevators so that you could only get on the furthest elevator on the left side. I made a deal with building security to let me control that elevator. When you got on it, you thought you were going to the fourteenth floor. In fact, you got off on an unused floor, where I had built an exact replica of the fourteenth floor. I hired an actor to play Mr. Nichols. It wasn’t too difficult as you had never met Nichols in person. While you were meeting with the fake Mr. Nichols, I had an actress pretend to be you to meet with the real Mr. Nichols. She blew the interview, of course. She’s actually quite a good actress. I’ve used her on several occasions and each time she’s done a masterful job.
WOMAN Really?
MAN I have the whole meeting audio-tape. It’s a riot. Funniest thing you’ve ever heard. Of course, it might make you angry. I’m very ashamed of the whole thing now. I guess at heart I’m kinda of a manipulative person. I’m sorry, dear, I just let my envy get the better of me.
WOMAN That’s all right. I’ve let my passion get the better of me, too. Like that time I broke both of your legs.
MAN That was you? I thought that was an accident.
WOMAN It’s funny. Freud said that there’s really no such thing as a true accident. He was referring to something else, of course, but still it kind of applies to us. I was angry at you, because we had gone to a party and you had flirted with some woman for about an hour. So I came up with this plan. I suggested one weekend that we go to Bennett’s lake where people like to dive off the cliff into the water, but of course you know this part.What you don’t know is that I had studied video tapes of your diving, especially of your double somersault. I hired a team of physicists to compute the exact trajectory, velocity and orientation of your fall. We left nothing to chance, we had to be sure we would break you legs without killing you. There’s a path up the cliff that jumpers take. We made a second path for you to take so that you would jump from the exact point we wanted you to. We hid powerful wind machines in the trees so that if you were slightly off course we could blow you back on. At just the right moment I had a topless model walk into view at the edge of the lake so that you would look up right when we needed you to. I had a man under water position the rock.It all sounds so cruel now. At the time, I’d convinced myself that I was justified in getting you back. It did turn out to be a master work of modern physics. One of my team, in fact, wrote it up as his master’s thesis.
MAN Really?
WOMAN But it wasn’t worth it. I can see that now. I was blinded by rage. I guess the old cliché is true. You always hurt the one you love.
MAN Why do we keep doing this to each other?
WOMAN I think we have to admit, as much as we love each other, as a couple we’re kind of dysfunctional.
MAN I hate this. I wish there was something we could do. Some way that we could stop hurting each other. Maybe counseling.
WOMAN I had an idea. It’s a little extreme, but . . . (pause) let’s have a baby.
MAN A baby, that’s a great idea.
WOMAN Yes, a baby. We must have a baby.
MAN Everything will be better if we have a baby.
WOMAN I can’t wait.
MAN Honey, I love you so much.
WOMAN I love you, too.

Copyright 1994 – Brian Wittenbrook

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