The In-Between – Shelter Island High School (2010)
By Lisa Kaasik, Shelter Island High School
Click here to watch a video of this performance
Peyton is walking in a park around nighttime, alone. Trinity is standing and Peyton walks right past her. Peyton seems tired and distant, like there’s something more on her mind. Trinity is trying too hard to be happy. It’s kind of awkward between them.
Trinity: Boo! [excited]
Peyton: [turns around scared, scared] Oh gosh, Trinity. Hi.
Peyton: [angry] You scared me.
Peyton: Where’ve you been?
Trinity: Oh just around.
Peyton: Oh. [awkward silence]
Trinity: Guess who I saw today!
Peyton: Who? Ben?
Trinity: No [she laughs] Charlie…
Trinity: Yeah and get this, he was with that Katherine girl. Wow he moves on fast.
Peyton: Oh damn. Can’t say I’m surprised… [Trinity crosses to Peyton’s other side without her noticing] Trinity?
Trinity: Over here.
Peyton: Oh. But I’m sorry.
Trinity: [brushes it off] Don’t be, I never really liked him anyway.
Peyton: Well it’s about time you realized it. What’d I tell you? He was pretty awful.
Trinity: He was. And it’s not like he was even nice!
Peyton: Yeah right? [they laugh and Trinity goes to a street light and Peyton goes on confused.] Oh so they gave your locker to a dorky freshman, and I demanded they move him.
Trinity: Yeah, I was there. [laughs. Pause as she returns to Peyton] Oh and they retired my basketball jersey? Our poor ass school isn’t going to be able pay for the replacement! They’ll take it down within the next 10 years when nobody remembers me anymore. [Pause] I laughed when the dumb ass principle mispronounced my last name. I mean really? Westward! It’s not that hard to say. West and Ward. Not “West Werf” He is so pathetic. That’s not even close!
Peyton: I know right? I think he just needs new glasses. [Trinity again crosses behind Peyton, Peyton gets worried looking for her.] Trin? [She sees her, now relief and mad] Don’t do that! [pause] Were you really there?
Trinity: Yeah, you didn’t wave.
Peyton: Oh I didn’t see you. Where were you?
Trinity: Oh, hah, I was by the exit watching Mr. Norman text his wife.
Peyton: Figures. That man pisses me off.
Trinity: [smiling again] Oh and was that eyeliner I saw on Grace? She’s only 11! I swear I’m gone for a few months and I miss everything!
Peyton: Yeah. [sighs, and laughs pathetically. saddened] Well, I haven’t exactly been the best role model these last few months. She’s growing up so fast.
Trinity: Yeah her and Michelle, they’re gonna completely rule that class.
Peyton: Oh God, they’re gonna be a fascinating pair when they get into high school.
[Peyton waits a second for Trinity to respond and when she doesn’t she looks up at her to find her staring into a streetlight.]
Peyton: [she goes to him, slowly, confused] Trin? Are you okay? What is it? Trinity?
Trinity: What? Yeah, relax… I’m fine… [stops to calm down] That’s the problem.
Peyton: What’d ya mean?
Trinity: Nothing, forget I mentioned it.
Peyton: No Trin, tell me.
Trinity: [sighs] Well look at me. [she does] No, I mean really look at me.
Peyton: You look the same.
Trinity: Exactly! It’s been 4 months and I’ve looked exactly the same, every day! I’m wearing the same clothes, I still have that dumb glitter eyeliner on… just everything about me is the same, except the bloodstains, those went away. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.
Peyton: Well, I’ve noticed but what…
Trinity: [cutting her off, angrier] But? But what? But the fact that I see you every day and you’re wearing a different outfit, different make-up, and your face just looks different? You’re getting older Peyton. It’s not that obvious now, but soon enough you’ll notice.
Peyton: Yeah, well…
Trinity: I’m not.
Peyton: [slowly] Well, you’re not really supposed to.
Trinity: [upset and loud] Then why am I still here?! Isn’t that why people are put on this earth? To age, and live, and grow? I’m not living. This isn’t life, what is this?
Peyton: [Taken aback] I, I don’t know.
Trinity:[Looking back into the light] It’s just, I keep staring into these damn lights, thinking, “Is this it? Am I going now? Is that the damn light I’m looking for?” and just when I’m about to yell [to Jesus] “Jesus, wait! I’m coming!”, [back to Peyton] I realize I’m staring into a fucking light bulb and the disappointment is fresh, all over again.
Peyton: [getting flustered] Maybe it’s not a light you’re looking for?
Trinity: Then what am I looking for? I’ve been wandering around these same streets, thinking about the same questions, and you’re the only one that can see me. [waits for Peyton to say something] This can’t be “it”, can it? Why am I alone?
Peyton: What do you mean alone?
Trinity: I’ve been looking for my Nana and she’s not anywhere. I’ve been looking for anybody really, anyone that can see me. Someone dead, someone alive, just someone. But I can’t find anyone… everyone here’s the same, alive and unable to see me.
Peyton: Maybe you have something here to finish? Maybe you just have to…
Trinity: [interrupting her] Peyton this isn’t a movie. [Pause, she calms down and sits on the bench.] Yesterday, I went to see Michelle and my mom just to see how they were doing. She sent Michelle to get some groceries and she went without asking. And my mom, she sat at the kitchen table and cried. She never cried, ever! I just wish everyone would forget me.
Peyton: No one’s gonna forget you…
Trinity: Well, how would you know? [pause, Peyton looks defeated. Slow realization for Trinity.] Is this hell?
Peyton: [really confused] What?
Trinity: [unsure at first but as she goes on, more sure, stands up] Think about it. This sure isn’t Heaven. I’m stuck here, half alive and I’m the only one. Is hell just staying here and haunting one person? Watching all the people you love move on around you? Seeing all the pain and suffering you caused, and even worse watching them all forget about you? [stops and thinks.] Maybe I should have talked to my dad more. Maybe I should have tried to help him when he drank too much. Been more understanding, visit him in rehab? Maybe I should have….
Peyton: [cuts her off, kind of hysterical] Shut up! Don’t even say that. Absolutely not. Trin, there’s no way you ended up in Hell. No way. You’re the best person I’ve ever known. My best friend. You’ll figure it out Trin, I promise. This isn’t it.
Trinity: [also angry] But what if I don’t? What then? Do I just stick around here forever and stay the 17 year old idiot I am right now? [calms down and sits back down] This is worse than being alive.
Peyton: [Yelling at her from behind the bench] Stop. Just stop. Okay? You think this is easy for me? If you’re in hell, then I’m right there with you. You’re my best friend. Everyone knows your dead and somehow, I can see you? Every morning I wake up and think this is just a bad dream. I hope that either today is before the accident or after, and that you aren’t there. And guess what? Every day, I’m wrong and my hopes are crushed. Every day. Am I crazy? Am I just seeing things? Is this all my imagination? [getting more worked up by the end of it]
Trinity: [back up] And you think I have those answers? I haven’t exactly been dead before. You think that I want to be here? You think that I don’t want you to move on and be happy? You think I like staying here? Look, I know I’m dead. It’s not like I’m in denial. [starts to calm down]
[They stop both of them not knowing what to say.]
Peyton: I’m sorry. [pause as she goes to Trinity.] I really wish you were still alive. [Retreats her hand without touching her, hoping she didn’t notice]
Trinity: [angry again] See? You won’t even touch me!
Peyton: [desperate] But I have clammy hands so it doesn’t matter anyway, right?
Trinity: [shakes her head] See this? This is exactly what I’m talking about. I’m not alive and you can’t waste your time pretending I still am. [pause, takes a breath and calms herself]
Peyton: [hurt and angry] I’m not pretending; I know. What do you expect me to do? Ignore you?
Trinity: No. [long pause as she has another realization] You need to move on. [sighs, Peyton calms down but still looks hurt. She puts her arms on her shoulders.] For a while, I kind of thought this was sort of a second chance, but it’s not. Not for you at least. I can’t stay here anymore. This is life… your life, mine’s over. I just want what’s best for it.
Peyton: But how am I supposed to move on, if you can’t?
Trinity: [just making suggestions] Make new friends, enjoy family nights. I don’t know. You don’t have to waste all your time missing me.
Peyton: [takes a moment to accept it, but she doesn’t completely] Why didn’t you tell me any of this? You can tell me anything. You know that. We always did before.
Trinity: But this isn’t before. This is after. After the accident. Everything is different.
Peyton: [helpless] But we’re still friends, Trin. An accident doesn’t change everything.
Trinity: Pey you don’t get it. Maybe not a normal accident, but this one does. At least it changes everything for us. I died in that accident Peyton. Why I’m still here, I don’t really know, but it’s finally starting to make sense.
Peyton: [still hurt] I don’t know what to say.
Trinity: You have your whole life to think of what to say. I don’t know where I’m gonna be but I promise you that wherever I am, I’ll always be there for you.
[pause, Peyton looks like she’s falling apart.]
Peyton: This isn’t fair. This all my fault. Trin, you don’t deserve this.
Trinity: [cuts her off] Don’t be stupid Peyton, that’s so dumb. Don’t even think that.
Peyton: You don’t understand. Do you not remember the night? You called me and asked if I wanted to go to the party, and I said no because I didn’t want to be the only sober one and just be the cabby for everyone at the end. If I’d have just said yes and gone. [pause, calmer and more pained] You’d still be here.
Trinity: So you think this is your fault?
Peyton: I don’t know. Yes? Was it my fault? I was so selfish, if I wasn’t so damn lazy I would have been there!
Trinity: Cut the crap Peyton. Anything could have happened; this isn’t your fault.
Peyton: Then who’s is it? [angry]
[Trinity sits and looks hurt and in pieces]
Trinity: [slow, Peyton kneels next to her and comforts her] You know, the minute I was above the car and watching everything play out, I started to blame people. I blamed Chris, who by the way I have not seen, then I blamed Charlie. Then for a while I blamed my dad. My mom. The car manufacturer. The alcohol. Then for a long time I blamed myself. I made the dumb ass decision to go to the party, and get drunk. I got into the car with Chris who couldn’t even walk straight! It was my fault.
Peyton: But I could have stopped you.
Trinity: But how could you have possibly known? Of course I know now that you would have done anything to prevent it, but you just didn’t know.
Peyton: But it’s not your fault either.
Trinity: And I’m finally starting to believe it. Shit happens. Sometimes it’s bad, like this, and sometimes good, like knowing you. But it happens, and it’s stupid and waste of time to linger on anything that won’t change for too long. Everything happens for a reason, right?
Peyton: Then what’s the reason for this?
Trinity: Fuck if I know, but what I do know, is that it happened. I’ve wasted four months of your time. It’s enough. Peyton, it’s time to move on. [gets up and starts to walk away.]
Peyton: What? No, Trin, don’t go. [she stops and returns to her]
Trinity: Pey, this isn’t normal. I’m finally at peace. I get it now.
Peyton: [interrupts, angry and confused] Get what?
Trinity: I don’t really know how to explain it, it just feels like these last few months I’ve been carrying around this weight of hurt, fear, and blame. I didn’t think I was, but I’ve been starting to accept it, and I’ve been trying to move on. Now it all makes sense. I couldn’t accept the fact that I’m gone, and the world is moving on without me. But I finally get it, just because I’m gone doesn’t mean that I’m forgotten or that there isn’t something better after. I can’t explain it but I for the first time in a long time I feel just genuinely happy, and free and I think I’m ready.
Peyton: What? Ready? That doesn’t even make sense. I don’t want you to go.
Trinity: [sarcastic] Yes you do. You said so yourself. [smiles and notices that Peyton is still upset.] Come on, you gotta get back out there. You’ve got a whole life to live and I want you to enjoy every minute of it and I promise you that when it ends I’ll be right there waiting for you.
Peyton: I don’t know.
Trinity: I do.
Peyton: [still unsure] Because you know everything.
Trinity: [kidding] That’s right. [Peyton’s quiet] Peyton, girl, laugh with me. Remember how things used to be? When we used to watch movies and you’d yell at the T.V like they could hear you? Or when I tripped you near that fountain so Ben would notice you? [Peyton finally starts to smile.]
Peyton: Yeah. [she laughs, remembering] To this day he still thinks I’m some spastic klutz. [pause] Bitch.
Trinity: [she laughs] Slut.
Peyton: I guess you’re right, something’s never change. [they hug, during it] Man I’m gonna miss you.
Trinity: I’ll miss you too.
Peyton: [they release, talking about everything] Thanks Trin.
Trinity: [walks away and stares into a light that Peyton can’t see] It’s beautiful Peyton. Really, beautiful.
Peyton: [pause] Good bye Trinity.
Trinity: This isn’t goodbye.
Peyton: [pause] I love you.
Trinity: [she smiles] I love you too.
[Lights fade on first Trinity, then Peyton.]