Scene : NURUL enters the living room with a bandaged/neck support. She sits down on the sofa, looks gloomy and distracted. Her phone rings. She almost jumps. She slowly looks at her phone. CASEY comes in. NURUL holds it up to her, gesturing, she gives the phone to her.
CASEY : Hello, auntie. Yes, we’re back… Yes, she’s here. She’s doing better. Doctor said… no, the virus shouldn’t be anymore fatal. But… the infection… her vocal cords had been paralyzed… No, I’m sorry… she can’t… Yes, they… it was much too late… it was so sudden. We didn’t even know. We thought it was just a normal flu… I’m… really sorry. I’m glad you’re coming soon… Sure, hold on a sec. She wants to talk to you.
(NURUL took the phone and starts to listen, eyes brimming with tears, she hands the phone back to CASEY who seems to be teary too. She scribbles something on a notepad and shows it to her.)
Yes, auntie… Of course, I will… Auntie, hold on a sec… Nurul wrote saying… she loves you… wants others to know she looks forward in getting get well gifts from everyone. (Laughs lightly.) Okay, I’ll see you soon… Bye…
(Suddenly the phone rings again.)
It’s Mikail. You want me to talk to him.
(She shakes her head hard, ‘no’)
But, you can’t just leave it like that. You have to let him know what happened.
(She scribbles something, ‘doesn’t have to know. wouldn’t make things any better’)
Why wouldn’t it make things any better?
(She scribbles something, ‘doesn’t change fact. can’t talk to him’)
Even if it doesn’t change the fact that you can’t speak, at least he’s there to offer comfort.
(She scribbles something, ‘like what?’)
I don’t know, he can make silly jokes to cheer you up.
(She scribbles something, ‘ha ha ha’)
Why are you being so pessimistic?
(She scribbles something, ‘why you so unrealistic?’)
What do you mean I’m being unrealistic?
(She scribbles something, ‘blind. mute. can’t read. can’t talk. How to communicate?’)
Well… you have me.
(She scribbles something, ‘wanna be C3PO?)
What the heck is a C3PO?
(She scribbles something, ‘sacrifice time echo my thoughts. no time for you’)
It’s not like you’ll be seeing him 24/7.
(She scribbles something, ‘not the point. don’t wanna be selfish anymore. better off thinking don’t need him. than knowing I do but impossible’)
Simpler way of saying it, please?
(She scribbles something, ‘can’t go back the way we were, gone, I’ve accepted’)
(She scribbles something, ‘can’t reach him anymore. What got us together is gone.’)
You mean your voice? (She nods.)
I think I get what you mean. He was there when you first sang in that open-stage. He couldn’t see you but you saw him, and your voice reached him. Your music brought the two of you together, it brought me and Joe to each other. And now that it’s gone, you don’t know how you’re going to get through to him.
(She nods and scribbles something, ‘Mikail taught me to be happy thankful with what I am. what I have. need your favor’)
Of course, I’ll help.
(She scribbles something, ‘can’t see him knowing how bad I feel.’)
I think I get what you mean. You don’t want him to know because you don’t want him to feel helpless. You don’t want to burden him with being powerless over this. (She nods.)
We won’t tell him.
(She mouths the word, ‘Thank you.’)
I can only guess what you must be feeling. Don’t lose hope, Nurul. We’ll sign you up for medical experiments or speech therapy or find dozens of other ways to talk to him. Pretty soon, he couldn’t even tell the difference.
(She scribbles something, ‘learn telepathy’)
That’s the spirit! Oh Nurul, are you going to be alright?
(She smiles softly, thoughtful.)
I can’t believe that something this horrible could happen. You had such a lovely voice. How easily it was taken away from you, no warning whatsoever. We didn’t even have the time to get your songs recorded. Now, it’s all gone, all gone.
(She scribbles something, ‘no it’s not. all in here’)
Where? (NURUL gestures to her head then to her heart.) You got your heart back?
(She gathers her hands to form a butterfly and draws them to the spot over her heart.)
Completely healed? (She nods. The sound of the doorbell escalates. CASEY ran off-stage.)
MIKAIL : May I speak to Nurul?
CASEY : Mikail, I… I have to check. Could you please wait here for a while?
MIKAIL : I don’t mind. (CASEY returns.)
CASEY : Nurul, he’s here, Mikail is here. What are we going to do? I know, I’ll tell him that you don’t have anything to say to him. But, if he wants he can just speak his mind. I’ll just let him in, he won’t ever know about your voice. Is that okay? (She nods. CASEY runs back off-stage and returns with MIKAIL.)
MIKAIL : I know she doesn’t want to talk to me, but she doesn’t have to say anything if she doesn’t want to, she could just listen while I do the talking.
CASEY : Suit yourself. (CASEY lingers.)
MIKAIL : Do you mind leaving us alone, Casey?
CASEY : (She looks pleadingly at NURUL, who gestures her to leave.) Alright. (She leaves reluctantly.)
MIKAIL : How have you been? … So, you’re really determined not to talk to me, are you? … Very well. I should start by telling you… how sorry I am… I didn’t know that I had taken you for granted, by not making it clear that… I’m with somebody else…
Remember we talked about fears. I thought I could overcome every fear in life, but I know now that I’m still scared of the things which are beyond my control. The truth is, I was selfish and afraid. I thought that if I didn’t say anything, it wouldn’t matter because it wasn’t important. What’s important was that we make the most out of the time we share together. I didn’t stop to think that you might not have the same ideas as I did…
I wanted us to always have that wonderful companionship. I thought being with someone else doesn’t mean that we can’t have that special bond that we had. But I was afraid that you might give it up, you might give me up if you knew and stop wanting to have anything to do with me. I was afraid that you won’t believe in what we have, you won’t believe that it was possible to feel that unconditional bond… I was selfish because I thought only of what I might lose, and that was you…
When you told me how you felt, I know exactly what you meant. We connect. If I had been more open to you, about my life, I think you wouldn’t have felt so betrayed, as if I purposely played you on… I care so much about you, Nurul. I love you… I know now that this love that I have for you is real for the fact that more than anything in the world, I want you to be happy… more than anything else, I want to be there with you happy…
But, I can’t offer you anything more than this. I’m sorry that I can’t give you what you really want… but if you would accept me as I am, if you would forgive me, I’ll know that we will always have that special bond that we had. So, if you still have any love for me, please tell me that you forgive me. Please say you won’t let go of what we share.
Nurul, talk to me.
Tell me that you forgive me.
Tell me that you will still have me as I am.
Tell me that unconditional love is real, that it isn’t just for lovers.
Talk to me. (NURUL cries helplessly.)
So is this the end?
Goodbye, then. (MIKAIL leaves. NURUL collapses as CASEY comes in.)
CASEY : (Tears in her eyes, she wraps her arms around NURUL.) There, there. There was nothing you could do. There was nothing you could do.