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[lights come up on stage left; NELL walks into her bedroom, stops to fluff her pillow, then climbs into bed, pulls out a volume of an encyclopedia from her bedside table drawer, and begins to read]
NELL: “Monachopsis,” noun, meaning the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.
[she lays the book on her chest and looks around her room, which is neat and tidy; she smoothes the comforter over her legs; she picks the book back up]
NELL: “Monacco,” officially the Principality of Monaco, is a sovereign city-state and microstate, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. France borders the country on three sides—
[meanwhile, lights come up on stage right to illuminate REESE in her own bedroom; the lights are dimmer than in NELL’s room because REESE’s husband is asleep and snoring next to her; REESE is typing and re-typing a text message, her anxious face cast in the blue light of the screen; stage left, NELL’s phone chimes; NELL looks as if something very rude has just happened; she puts her book aside and looks at her phone]
REESE: I’m sorry about earlier. I didn’t mean to be late.
[whoosing sound of a sent text message]
REESE: Norah puked all over herself in carpool and it was a fiasco trying to get her to wear something from the lost and found bin at school. She’s so particular these days. Has a mind of her own, that one. Kinda reminds me of you some days.
REESE: [looking up from her phone, clearly not typing this]Which is terrifying half the time.
NELL: [responding] It’s fine. I understand.
NELL: [to herself] Both of which are lies, but are socially required niceties.
REESE: [typing] Thank you. I know it’s hard for you.
REESE: Look, I know mom wants to see you anyway, so can’t we all just put our differences aside for an hour? I mean—
[NELL’s alarm clock goes off; REESE freezes midsentence; NELL places her bookmark between the pages, places it inside the bedside table drawer again, and puts down her phone; only then does she turn off the alarm]
NELL: [turning out her light] Bedtime.
REESE: [resuming typing] It would be nice to have a little cushion since Eliza broke her leg and won’t be getting that soccer scholarship. She asks about you, you know.
REESE: [to the audience] She doesn’t.
[NELL’s phone chimes and lights up; she rolls over; REESE stares at her phone screen, waiting for a response, as the curtain closes]