Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Two Named Women Not Talking About a Man

Nancy and Andrea are standing in an open field, surrounded by barrels. It is a beautiful, slightly breezy day. Perhaps it is April. Perhaps it is not.

Nancy has been looking at the sky, the ground, the scrubby trees. Occasionally she wanders over to one of the barrels and has a look inside. She would like to be seen as one who is interested in the world around her. In actual fact, she is simply trying to avoid talking to Andrea.

Andrea has noticed this.

“They’re all empty you know,” she says as she stares at Nancy, who returns her gaze for a split second.

“No,” says Nancy, “I didn’t know that.”

“Yeah, use the past tense okay?” Andrea stretches her meaty arms above her head, turns said head to the side, yawns, spits, and lowers her arms. “I’ve been watching you. I’ve been watching you, and I know for a fact that you have looked in every single one of those barrels. So in the past you didn’t know that. But now, here in the present, you know.”

Nancy adjusts her thick glasses, a move that’s all about the comforting feeling of a bakelite bridge sliding up a greasy nose and not at all about seeing. She glances at Andrea, considers –for a moment– trying to stare her down, and then looks away again.

“You make a very precise point. If an aggressive one.”

“Aggressive?” Andrea takes a few steps towards Nancy. Her big arms are a bad match for her petite frame, giving her the appearance of some sort of gorilla/ballerina chimera. “Are you calling me aggressive?” She steps closer still, sticks her head out like a turtle, her nose nearly touching Nancy’s barely existent chin. “What exactly do you find aggressive about me ?”

“Well,” says Nancy, surprised that in this moment of personal invasion, this moment of undeniable attack, that an unexpected calm is seeping into her “well, I think it might have something to do with the fact that you felt the need to correct me about something that is really none of your business.”

She gives Andrea’s shoulder what would appear to an outsider to be a gentle shove. Andrea falls over, quietly thudding into the ground, landing between two barrels. Nancy looks down at her.

“I’m sorry, was that aggressive?”

Andrea glowers up at her and doesn’t say a word.

This piece was written so that I would have something in my portfolio that passes the Bechdel Test.

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