Sweet and Dandy

Apartment. Day.

Jasmine: Why do you keep torturing yourself?
Milo: I don’t know.
Jasmine: Come on, stop being so depressed.
Milo: I’m not. I’m fine. Just let me be.
Jasmine: I hate when you get like this.
Milo: Yeah, well, that’s life.
Jasmine: If this isn’t what you want, then do something else.
Milo: Maybe you’re right.
Jasmine: Is it worth all the stress and aggravation?
Milo: Some days, I don’t even know. I must be out of my mind. I must be.
Jasmine: I don’t think you’re out of your mind. I just think that lately, you seem to get down so much and it makes me wonder if any of this is making you happy.
Milo: Success sucks.
Jasmine: Does it?
Milo: Look at this place. All my dreams…right here. I have everything I ever wanted but it means nothing.
Jasmine: I don’t think that’s it.
Milo: It is, it is. Fancy place in the city, we can go anywhere and do anything. Who cares? It gets played out.
Jasmine: So what is it then?
Milo: I feel empty.
Jasmine: Empty?
Milo: YEAH, empty. All this stuff means nothing to me.
Jasmine: Do you feel that way about me?
Milo: No baby, I–it’s not you, okay?

Jasmine nods.

I missed out.
Jasmine: How?
Milo: I missed out on an important part of me. I held onto it for so long, thought I could freeze time, keep it safe, do all this other shit first, get situated and then go back to it but it’s different. I’ve painted myself into a corner and I don’t know how to jump over it without smudging the paint.
Jasmine: You want me to pour you a glass of wine?
Milo: That’s another thing. I don’t want to drink wine whenever I feel down cause it’s becoming a habit. I can’t think clearly. Too much weed, wine…all it does is delay what matters.
Jasmine: If you aren’t happy then what is it that you want to do?
Milo: I want to write!
Jasmine: So write!
Milo: I can’t! You won’t let me.
Jasmine: That’s not true. If you want to write I won’t stop you. It’s you. You get in your own way. Don’t blame me.
Milo: I can’t write because if I write I will lose everything else.
Jasmine: That’s such bullshit. You’re just making up excuses.
Milo: I’m not. If I give my writing the attention it needs, the time it demands from me to come alive, I will lose everything else.
Jasmine: Why can’t you schedule things out? Make slow progress everyday.
Milo: I can’t. I need to go inside, I need to go into the worlds I wish to build. Don’t you understand? I go in an hour or two a day and it won’t be the same. I can’t go deep that way. It’s just surface level bullshit.
Jasmine: That’s not true.
Milo: How would you know?
Jasmine: Because I’ve seen you. You can do it. You can put in an hour or two a day. I see you waste time with that stupid computer game you play, that stupid war game. Stop playing it and put more time into your writing. You don’t need to be so dramatic. Just do it and stop making up excuses.
Milo: If you say I’m making up excuses—
Jasmine: You are! You always do this. Whenever you bring up writing, you do this. If you want it that bad then do something about it, Milo. You’re gonna make us both crazy.
Milo: You’re up my ass.
Jasmine: I’m not up your ass.
Milo: You hound me. Like ah, ah, hover over me like a spirit waiting to descend and torment me.
Jasmine: I can’t even take you seriously when you talk that way. You sound so stupid.
Milo: Yeah, well, always in my biz.
Jasmine: I’m in your biz cause you’d go completely insane without me. Just admit it.
Milo: Yeah, well I’m insane enough as it is so what difference does it make?
Jasmine: I keep you out of the institution.
Milo: Maybe you do…you do, actually.
Jasmine: Yeah, yeah….what if you took a holiday for like a month somewhere?
Milo: I’ve thought about it.
Jasmine: Want me to book your flight?
Milo: See? Up my ass we go.
Jasmine: Alright, calm down.
Milo: That’s what I’m talking about with you. Let me breathe.
Jasmine: You don’t have to take me but maybe Australia? Want to go to Australia?
Milo: Australia’s nice. What do you think?
Jasmine: I like it.
Milo: Yeah, no shit you like it. Of course you like it. Why wouldn’t you like it?
Jasmine: I’m just saying.
Milo: And if you came what would you do?
Jasmine: I wouldn’t bother you, I’d just hang out on the beach all day.
Milo: I can’t have no distractions or else what’s the point.
Jasmine: You won’t even see me.
Milo: But then I’ll be worried about you, if I don’t see you.
Jasmine: You are such a neurotic.
Milo: Yeah, well, you might keep me sane but without me you’d be dead.
Jasmine: Yeah, right. I’ve traveled half the world before I met you.
Milo: That is a mystery no one can ever solve, let me just tell you that. I have no idea how you survived. Freaking miracle.
Jasmine: I’m not stupid you know.
Milo: I know you’re not stupid. I never said you were stupid. I’m saying that you are the type that doesn’t think. You will swim directly into a shark’s mouth or climb a mountain with no safety gear or skydive without a parachute. You don’t think.
Jasmine: What about you?
Milo: There is no what about me?
Jasmine: You made us run through crocodile infested water in Costa Rica.
Milo: Yeah, well, that was an accident.
Jasmine: And what about the time you were on that jet ski and went off the boat ramp and almost killed yourself?
Milo: That was adventure, that’s something different.
Jasmine: Oh yeah? Remember that time you—
Milo: OKAY! Okay! You win! You win! I’m dumb, you’re smart.

Beat.

Jasmine: Do you want to go on this trip alone then?
Milo: I didn’t even decide if I’m even going to do this? I can’t even think for a second with you.
Jasmine: Well, figure it out and let me know. I’ll look up deals in the meantime to see what I find.
Milo: (sighs) Let me figure out what I’m gonna do, please.  Am I speaking in a foreign tongue?
Jasmine: Oh, honey.
Milo: What?
Jasmine: I feel bad. I only want what’s best for you. I really don’t need to go on any trip but I think you should. You can write your novel and be happy and send me post cards in the mail. No one will bother you. You will have peace and creativity and no distractions.
Milo: Yeah. That’s what I want.
Jasmine: So do that then.
Milo: You make me feel bad.
Jasmine: Why?
Milo: You just do. Of course I want you to come but this is serious now. I need to make a decision. I have to carve out my time, see if this is even possible…I feel like this is all so stupid.
Jasmine: No. You shouldn’t think that way.
Milo: I do. I feel like one of those people who just fantasizes about doing something and it’s like a cliche to go away and do it, like some dumb writer who writes nothing but fluff and farts because I think I have the perfect weather conditions and everything’s just sweet and dandy and it’s all bullshit, isn’t it?  I don’t want to be like that.
Jasmine: So, don’t be like that.
Milo: I can’t. There’s no perfect way to write.
Jasmine: See? You just answered your own problem. You can write anywhere, can’t you?
Milo: Yeah, cause if I go away it feels too much like a set up and then it makes me self-aware and blah, blah, blah.
Jasmine: I don’t know about you.
Milo: What?
Jasmine: Maybe I can’t keep you sane.
Milo: You do. I just need to let it out sometimes. Then I can focus.
Jasmine: Well, you better focus soon and write your novel already because I’m getting tired of hearing you talk about it.
Milo: So am I.
Jasmine: We know you want to write. Stop trying to make life perfect first because like will never make itself perfect for you, Milo. Just shut up and do your work and whatever happens, happens. Got it?
Milo: Yeah.
Jasmine: I’m going to the gym.
Milo: Okay.
Jasmine: Do some writing now and stay off that game. Try.
Milo: You’re right. Okay.
Jasmine: When I get back, if you wrote something, I’ll give you a treat.
Milo: Yeah?
Jasmine: But only if you write something and it has to be good or else you get disqualified.
Milo: How are you supposed to know if it’s any good or not?

Milo laughs.

Jasmine: Not funny. No treat. Sorry.
Milo: Okay, okay, okay…
Jasmine: We’ll see.

Joseph Arnone

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