Scene: a cave by the sea

(HE is there again, or never left, he's always there.  & SHE's always there, or there again, not left.  They are both covered with salt.)

HE: This is the message that I was trying to send.

(HE is holding a dead white bird with a string and a note tied to its neck.)

HE: I think I'd like it very much if you could read it while we're both looking at each other.

(Except, oh, this is such a sad scene, except she can't look at him, not in the eye, her eyes are clear and have no color here, she sees somewhere else, and except also except, she can't speak, her throat has a string around it, connected to a bell.)

(The MERMAIDS come singing.)

MERMAID: You don't know, you never ever know, it's strange the things you never ever know, there are lovers and brothers and twins and sisters, and there is only the light of the moon, it lights things by half, the other half you never know, the story that you never know, the shadow of the story lit by the moon, that's your story, that's the one you live in, and you never know your story, because you can never know.

HE: Uh, so there's this.  Also.  The rest is in the note, the first part, the important part.  But this.  There are towers, uh, one tower, in my dream, the thing I see in the dark, there's a tower, and that's where I climb up, that's where I visit you, there, not here, and it's the same as here, I'm glad to see you, I'm so very glad to see you, movies about the one person you need to see, to say things to, to hear them say things, everyone has one person, in towers or in caves, everyone has one, and most of us don't get to meet them in our skin, but that's who we're looking for only most of us don't know it, but, uh, you and I, we know it, but that doesn't mean we can do anything about it.  But it's in every song, and I think that means something important.

(It gets a lot darker, even for a cave, it's like there's no moon, or just a crescent, just a small crescent, more hidden than revealed, but the light that's fading shows that she is more covered in salt than he suspected, she is covered in salt, like someone turning into a pillar.)

HE: I wish you wouldn't do that, because when you're a statue I don't know what to do, except pray to you, like a statue, and wish that you could come to life, like a white bird, like coming back to life, that would be an answer, but it takes a lot to happen before things come back to life.

(But HE is also turning into a statue, a statue made of salt, and they want to wash the salt away from each other with their mouths, like that would do something important, and it probably could, there's no reason to think that it wouldn't, because that's how these old stories go, the oldest stories in the world go like that.)

HE: Everywhere I go, in every city, in every room in every city, I keep hearing stories about a necklace, something that was a gift, a very important necklace, so I wear the necklace, because it seems important, here, by the sea, where my skin is soaking in salt, and I'm remembering things from long before I met you, the songs I heard before I met you, and I'm remembering things from after I met you, and the songs changed in the world after I met you, because now they ring, and it doesn't stop ringing, and I don't ever stop raining.  Like if I rain over you long enough, it will be enough to melt through the salt, and you could start to move like you like to move.

(And the shifting moon plays funny tricks, and it lights up effigies of them, their bodies on the ground, covered with salt, and their mouths open and filled with salt, as though salt were the only thing in the way of hearing what they would say.  What they would say might be true, but it's already been said by them before, but it might be truer now because they've been saying it to themselves for so long, in their prayers that are like children's prayers in the storm.  This is a storm.)

HE: My lips are getting stuck together, and if I had only one thing I could say, it might be that I think we have a thread, and we have to let go of the thread at the same time, or I think we have to place it in our mouths at the same time, and agree to find each other, especially if we're lost, and I know where I am because there's sea all around me, and I know where you are because there's mountains all around you, so I don't know why these nights go by and I can't hear you, I can't hear anything but the sound of a bell, and I don't know what it's saying any more.  But I think it means we have to do something important.

(And he's frozen, like a bell, like a bird, like a statue covered with salt.)

(A thread, covered with spit, is spun from the looms of mermaids, spinning the world into motion, spinning songs by the edges of the sea, the place we he remembers, the place where he has his heart opened and put back together by the things that live in the sea, and if the chambers could speak, they would speak her name, and if they could not speak, they would still hold her name.)

MERMAIDS: You never know, you can never know, if a kiss is hello or a kiss is goodbye, and that's why the most important things in your life, the things that touch you the deepest, you remember every kiss, and you never, ever know what they were for, what they say, what they want, and they become spirits, like children set loose in the world, and children, like kisses, never, ever stop wanting.

(SHE unwraps the bird and the note and it rings, it rings like a bell, it rings like a very dark bell, hiding more than it sings, ringing out her favorite songs, like a statue trying to answer a prayer, but there are no words.)


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