It’s never about the toothpaste.

by Noelia Espinal

Characters:
Elizabeth (Lizzy) Drake , the wife. She’s in her mid 20’s. A kind, sensitive woman, but also extremely stubborn and passionate. The love she has for others makes her strong and beautiful, but it also brings her pain.
Jesse Drake , the husband. He’s in his late 20’s. Looks like that average businessman, but he’s also smart, witty, doesn’t take things too seriously.

Scene 1
The Drake’s live in a one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. They have a small kitchen with an island that they use as their dining table, and an even smaller living room where they have a 40 inch flat screen t.v. mounted on the wall and a loveseat sofa sitting 5 feet across from the t.v.
At the rise of the curtain, the audience sees Jesse and Lizzy Drake’s bedroom. They have an average-sized bedroom. A full-sized bed is in the middle of the room, a dark wood nightstand on each side of the bed. There is a large window on the left bedroom wall, the curtains are open and natural light of the early morning is shining through the windows, illuminating the room. On the right wall are the bathroom and closet doors, and a full length mirror stands in the wall space between both doors. Jesse is in the bedroom, getting dressed. Lizzy is in the bathroom, and the audience hears the running water of the sink. The audience can also hear the soft whiz of cars driving outside. The water stops running and Lizzy quickly walks into the bedroom and immediately starts making the bed in a forceful manner.

LIZZY: You used up all the toothpaste.
JESSE: Sorry, babe. I’ll buy a new tube after I get off from work.
LIZZY: You couldn’t leave me with at least one little bit of toothpaste, you seriously had to use it all.
Lizzy fluffs the pillows, but it looks more like she’s punching them instead.
JESSE: I need good hygiene.
Jesse shrugs as he finishes buttoning up his shirt and wraps his tie around his neck.
LIZZY: What about my hygiene? Did you stop to think about that whilst you were taking all the toothpaste?
JESSE: It’s just toothpaste Liz.
LIZZY: No it’s not just fucking toothpaste. You're so selfish Jess.

JESSE: Calm down, Liz.
Jesse gives Liz a weird look through the mirror.
LIZZY: I’m not going to calm down. How can I calm down when you're ruining your life?
Jesse stops tying his tie and turns towards Liz.
JESSE: That’s what this is about?
LIZZY: What else would this be about?
JESSE: Um.. toothpaste.
Jesse smiles softly, but his face becomes serious again when he see the pain and fear evident on Lizzy’s face.
JESSE: Lizzy, everything is going to be okay.
LIZZY: How can you just say that? You have cancer Jess.
Lizzy’s voice softens to almost a whisper and she stops making the bed, which is even more of a mess than it was when she first started making it. Jesse walks over to the other side of the bed and picks up both corners of the blanket on his side. Lizzy grabs the other two corners and they begin making the bed together.
JESSE: I know I’m sick, Liz, trust me. I know.
LIZZY: It doesn't seem like you care.
JESSE: Of course I care.
LIZZY: So why are you refusing treatment?
Their hands meet as they connect the corners of the blanket and Jesse grabs rest of the blanket, finishing folding it. He places it at the edge of the bed, and then grabs the corners of the bed sheet. Jesse and Liz folded the sheet the same way they folded the blanket.
JESSE: Because I don’t want to surrender my life to an illness by taking on treatment that may or may not work.
LIZZY: I’m not asking you to surrender your life, I’m trying to make it longer.
JESSE: But I don’t want to live the rest of my life in a hospital every day, and I don’t want to feel weak and sad when I could be happy with you, like I am now.
LIZZY: And, what? My happiness means nothing?
JESSE: The reason I made this decision is for the sake of both our happiness.

Jesse puts the folded bed sheet on top of the blanket.
LIZZY: It doesn’t feel that way.
JESSE: You're being stubborn, Lizzy.
Jesse lets out a deep breath, getting slightly annoyed with Lizzy.
JESSE: I love you, and I don’t want you to think of cancer when you think about our marriage. LIZZY: And I don’t want to spend my marriage knowing that you could die and you didn’t even try.

JESSE: My cousin died of cancer. She suffered through chemo for years, only to have her cancer keep coming back until she couldn’t fight anymore.
LIZZY: But that might not happen to you.
JESSE: Chemo isn’t my only option. It may seem like it to you, but I want to try other methods. LIZZY: And what method is that? Sit and wait?

JESSE: Growing up, I would always listen to my mom talk to my family about natural remedies for cancer and the people she knew who were cured. I want to be one of those people.
LIZZY: How do you know those will work?
JESSE: I don’t, the same way I don’t know if chemo will work. This is a trying game.

LIZZY: I wish we didn’t have to play the game at all.
JESSE: I know.
Jesse and Lizzy take each side of the comforter and pull it up and place it nicely on the bed. They take the pillows and organize them.
JESSE: Did you try cutting open the tube?
LIZZY: What?
Lizzy furrows her eyebrows in confusion.
JESSE: The toothpaste. Did you try cutting it open?
Jesse smiles at Lizzy’s puzzled expression.
LIZZY: Oh, no, I didn’t think to try that.
Jesse walks into the bathroom and comes out a few seconds later with the tube of toothpaste and Lizzy’s eyebrow scissors.
JESSE: This was the only pair of scissors I could find.

Jesse cuts the tube in half with the scissor, and when he opens the tube there is a lot of extra toothpaste in the tube. He hands both halves of the tube to Lizzy.
JESSE: There you go. Problem solved.
Lizzy smiles and hugs Jesse. She walks into the bathroom and turns the water on. Jesse walks to the mirror and finishes tying his tie.

(Curtains close)


NOELIA ESPINAL: My name is Noelia Espinal and I am a freshman at UAlbany. I have a major in Business Administration and a minor in Creative Writing. I love reading fiction novels, preferably fantasy, and my favorite books are the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Over the years, my love for books helped me grow a love for writing. I like writing poems and short stories, and I hope that one day I can have a book with my name on the cover in bookstores everywhere.