Words || Nikita Jones
RACHEL and JOHN sit on the couch in a cheap, but homey apartment. RACHEL reads a magazine with her legs casually draped across JOHN’s lap as he sits with his knees together fidgeting.
JOHN: Rachel? Listen, I’ve been thinking… there’s this new Thai place that’s opened down the road…Would you consider… I mean… if you want to… would you have Thai with me?
RACHEL withdraws her legs, slowly places her magazine on the coffee table and turns to JOHN with a sympathetic face.
JOHN: I know, I know it’s only 3pm but I feel as if lunch was forever ago and I think it’s time to start making plans for the future.
RACHEL: John. I’ve told you how I feel about Thai. It gets messy
JOHN: Rachel, not all Thai restaurants give you food poisoning.
RACHEL: But some do! There was a Sixty Minutes special on take-away food the other night that said one in four restaurants are not up to health and safety compliance codes. Do you really want put the fate of our dinner on that bet?
JOHN: This time will be different, I promise.
RACHEL: It’s not just about the last time, it’s a matter of principle. I read an article, just last week, on the institution of Asian cuisine and how it represents the Western tradition of cultural appropriation –
JOHN: Jesus Rachel, you know you’re being a little ridiculous here.
RACHEL: We’re too different people, John. It just wouldn’t work.
JOHN: What wouldn’t work?
RACHEL: Everything! Like the seating for instance. Whenever we go out you always take the corner booth, whereas I look for a window seat. And then we argue and people start looking at us and then we awkwardly stumble around a compromise which leaves us sitting near the bathroom.
JOHN: Babe, look, we can take the window seat if you want it that much.
RACHEL: But how many sacrifices are you willing to make John? When I want to order an entrée and you don’t will you just sit across from me in empty silence while I eat? Will you drive home because I want to have some wine with my dinner? Will you let me take the doggy bag for lunch tomorrow and make yourself a sandwich in the morning? Don’t you see? It’s not you, it’s me.
JOHN: Oh come on. I’m sure we would be able to work these little things out.
RACHEL: No you’re not. You’re not sure. You can’t be sure of anything. What if we turn up at the restaurant and you decide that what you really wanted was Indian food?
JOHN: I want Thai, Rachel.
RACHEL: What about when we’re halfway through the meal and you look up from your cooling, partially eaten Pad-See-Ew to see somebody walking down the street with Chinese take-out?
JOHN: I’ll still want the Thai.
RACHEL: What if I change my mind?
JOHN: Then we can get some Chinese takeout together on the way home.
RACHEL: I –I think that’s a little… that’s a little too progressive for us, John.
JOHN: We’d make it work.
RACHEL: I don’t know, can we even afford Thai food right now?
JOHN: Don’t worry about it, I’ll pay.
RACHEL: There you go again, making sacrifices when you know it just makes me feel guilty.
JOHN: Then you pay.
RACHEL: This wasn’t even my idea!
JOHN: Oh my God.
RACHEL: What if as soon as we get Thai food we’ll want dessert as well? Do you really think we’re in a position to be eating dessert right now? I just started a new job, I’m not sure that I’m ready to be a dessert-eating kind of person.
JOHN: Then we just won’t get dessert.
RACHEL: So you’re never going to want dessert? Ever?
JOHN: Not never, I just meant that dessert is something we can think about later tonight. When we’ve had our meal. There’s no point in worrying about how much the dessert is going to cost until we’ve properly seen the menu.
RACHEL: I’ll get fat.
RACHEL: You’ll get fat.
JOHN: Rachel. You’re starting to run out of excuses.
RACHEL: I know.
JOHN: Rachel, love, will you have Thai with me?
RACHEL: (an unsteady breath) Yes, John.
JOHN: (smiling softly) I’ll call the restaurant.
JOHN leaves for the kitchen. RACHEL picks up her magazine and folds her legs beneath her.
JOHN: (from the other room) Hey babe…? I was thinking about getting married.
RACHEL: (still reading) Sounds good babe.
JOHN: How about November?
RACHEL: I’ll let my parents know.
If you’re enjoying Grapeshot Online, come meet us irl February 27, at the launch party of our next issue, Daddy! It’s at Ubar at 4:30pm, and there will be drink vouchers, temporary tats, and bangers.