janet burroway

 

Division of Property


 
  A moment. JEANNE DUNLAP crosses outside the window. The key. SHE enters, great energy, takes in the room with a possessive glance. SHE is 38, slender, sinewy, and wired. Her blonde hair is afroed and SHE is wearing a peasanty dress of white gauze, probably too young for her—but she looks good. Juggling a paper bag and a huge pot of some blooming floral exotica, she crosses to the kitchen, deposits the bag on the sink, crosses back and makes a production of nestling the flowers among the greenery in the buggy. Goes to the desk stage right and dials the phone. Pause. A portentous breath.
 

 
JEANNE

Maureen? I'm free. (Laugh.) It was nothing, absolutely nothing. Well, I had a bad case of the weeps when I got up this morning, because goddam Bonnie Prince Charlie was getting married on the TV all the time I was brushing my teeth. But Mary picked me up and went along to testify that I was a bona fide resident in long standing, and when we got there Zuckerman laid out the agreement, and the fuddled old judge said, "What makes you think your marriage is irretrievably dissolved?" And I said, "My husband left me for another woman and even if he wanted me back which he doesn't I wouldn't want him back because what we had is gone," and he gave me a divorce and Mary and I went to brunch. Actually not. Actually, first the judge wanted to talk about Charles and Di. He said, "Wonder how long that one will last." Can you imagine what his life must be, divorce court day-in, day-out? (Pause.) Yes, I really am, I'm absolutely fine. But I have to run because Jerry's coming over to pick up the last of his stuff—I've spent three days mucking out the basement. (Pause.) I think we are pretty wonderful, as a matter of fact. Superior specimens of civilization. Listen, he should be here any minute. I'll call you later, okay? Thanks. Bye.

  SHE crosses back to kitchen, fills an ice bucket, takes a bottle of champagne from the paper bag, sets it in the ice, carries this to the dining table. SHE picks up a vase of semi-wilted flowers there, dumps the flowers in a wastebasket, takes the vase into the bathroom. Re-enters with empty vase, turns on her heel, disappears again into bathroom for just as long as it would take to yank a handle, re-enters with some annoyed expression or epithet. Sets vase somewhere. Surveys the room, checks watch, window, goes back to telephone. Hesitates, dials. Portentous breath.
 
Elizabeth? I'm free. (Laugh.) It was absolutely nothing. Well, I was pretty weepy this morning because goddam Charles and Di were getting married on the TV while I dressed. But then Mary picked me up, she went along to testify I was a resident, and Zucherman laid out our agreement and the judge said, "What makes you think your marriage is irretrievably dissolved?" And I said, "My husband left me for another woman and even if he wanted me back which he doesn't I wouldn't want him back because what we had is gone," and he gave me a divorce and chatted about Bonnie Prince Charlie and then Mary and I went to brunch. (Pause.) I don't think it's scary, I think divorce should be that easy when two people are as sure about it as Jerry and I are. Y'know, I don't think it ever really suited him to be married. Or a father. (Pause.) Well, why not say it? I think it's a kind of suburban masquerade he's been putting himself through all these years. I haven't seen the loft, but I can picture him over there splashing away at the canvas, his sink clogged up and six weeks worth of laundry piled on the stove or something. Even the idea of his little girlfriend whizzing in and out, cute and useless (Annoyed.) What do you mean, hyper? I'm absolutely functioning fine. But listen, I can't talk now, he's due over any second to pick up his stuff. I'll call you later, okay? Right. Bye.
 
  SHE hangs up, stands for a moment. Glances at the window, her watch. Smiles with a little effort. Hesitates. Dials. Pause. Portentous breath.
 
Pam? I'm free. (Laugh. Quizzical.) Jeanne. Dunlap. I said, I'm free. I got divorced this morning, remember? It was nothing, absolutely nothing. Well, I had a bad casec'mon, lighten up, I feel terrific about it. It's a whole new start. Yes for both of us! (Pause. Upset.) Sure I've met her, have you? Oh. Yeah, Jerry loves that place—the oysters FlorentineWhat d'you mean off her feed? (Beat.) She probably had the flu.
 
  JERRY DUNLAP crosses the window.
 
All kinds of people get flu in the summertime! (Calms her voice.) Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know it went fine. (Doorbell.) I've got to go. Jerry's here to pick up his loot. I'll call you later, okay? (Exasperated pause.) I won't need to call you, I'll call you because you're my friend, okay? Okay, bye.
 
  SHE hangs up angry. Disconcerted. Pulls herself together, crosses to open the door.

 
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© Janet Burroway (jburroway@fsu.edu). All Rights Reserved.