Scene: Tessa, a small restaurant on the upper westside of Manhattan with an industrial decor, softened with wood flourishes.
Characters: James, a blue collar man in his mid-50’s
William, his older brother, an executive in his very early 60’s
The maitre d’ sits them at a small table for two along a wall. There are tables to either side with couples already enjoying their meals. The brothers make small talk, as the wine steward waits to pour a full glass.
William: Yes, that’s quite good.
The steward pours and exits.
James: You look like a pretentious prick swishing the wine in your mouth like that.
William: I took a two month course after I retired. I’m now a third level sommelier.
James: You’re making my point. You forget we’re only two generations away from sheep shagging in the bogs of County Kerry.
William: My forbears never shagged shee….
James: They shagged the shit out of those sheep. What else did they have to do?
William: You’re particularly prickly today. Aren’t you happy to see me? We don’t see each other much.
James: I’m very glad to see you, Billy, especially since you’re picking up the check.
William: And generally, Jimmy, are you happy? We’ve reached this age. We’re in the third act now. Do you look back with regrets?
James: Oh, we’re having an existential discussion. I wasn’t prepared. I thought we’d just brag about the kids.
William: We talk so little. I thought we might cut through some of the bullshit.
James: Regrets? I’ve had so many, but then again, too many to mention, if you don’t mind me butchering Sinatra.
William: Sinatra just sang it. Paul Anka wrote it.
James: I hate Paul Anka. I preferred the Sid Vicious version anyway. Did you ever see the video? He shoots up the audience at the end. They’re all in suits and evening gowns.
William: No, I can’t say I have. I’ll look for it later.
James: So, yes. I’ve got lots of regrets, but I don’t unpack them. I leave ’em in the past, where they belong and strive to be happy.
(The waiter takes their orders. Grilled octopus for an appetizer. A burger for James and a NY strip for William.)
William: Did your divorce make you happier? Meeting Cassie?
James: Cassie’s been out of the picture for quite awhile and divorces don’t make you happy. They make you angry. What’s with the middle-aged angst, Billy?
William: Ive just been thinking 40 years with the same woman. 40 years between dating and marriage. Sometimes, I think I want a change. Sommelier courses can’t be all there is.
James: Diedre’s great. You can’t be serious.
William: I’m not, but still I feel like I’ve missed out and now it’s too late. You’re dating? Sex with different women?
James: yes, dating here and there. Sometimes a woman takes pity, but it’s not all wine and roses. Or I should say it feels like that’s all it is. But why is too late for you?
William: I’m falling apart suddenly. My endocrinologist says I’m pre-diabetic. My cardiologist has me on statins. My dermatologist is slowly flaying me. I’m balding on top but growing hair everywhere else. I’m losing my hearing. My knees hurt. I need Viagra on the very rare occasion we have sex. It all seems so very pointless.
James: Hmm, I guess I can’t say, at least you’ve got your health.
William: No, you can’t.
James: Well, at least you’ve got your wealth.
William: Yes, it could always be worse.
James: Diedre could have half your money. And you’d still be an old whiner. That’s worse.
(The waiter returns with the grilled octopus.)
James: Tell me, Billy, how are the kids?
#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging
#fiction #play #sidvicious #sexpistols #franksinatra #myway