More or Less Genderless ‘Love’ Stories- Tracks

Act 1, Scene 1

A hadn’t slept through the night in a month. Something as simple as sleep, one of those natural reflexes humans are born with, like blinking and breathing, seemed completely impossible. However, at around two o’clock every night, and after a tremendous battle involving a marathon of “fall asleep” podcasts, meditation exercises and videos of ocean sounds, A’s body submit. Or, to be more specific, A’s body went into a brief retreat of passive aggressive strategies, including nightmares, only to retaliate after a couple of hours, when A would violently awaken, sweating and shaking. Needless to say, it was not a soothing nights sleep. After waking A, having given up on the concept of sleep, usually proceeded to take a shower, annoying the flatmates immensely. In these early morning hours A would typically sketch remembered fragments of the dreams on paper with a dark lead pencil and pin the finished drawings around the room. This would give any visitor, and if A had had any, the impression that this was the room of a serial killer, or at least the room of an intense lover of fantasy. The movement of pen on paper had a calming effect on A and usually worked very well as a substitute for sleep. 

On this night, with the full moon lighting up the entire room, and a series of screeching ambulances wailing down the street with their lights on, this strategy also appeared doomed. So A slid into a dingy pair of sneakers, pulled on an old hoodie and walked into the autumn night. Although A may have looked rather unkempt, A’s motto was that it was only reasonable to buy new shoes when the old ones were broken. Even then, buying used sneakers is more environmentally friendly and eased A’s conscience. Leaves rustled and a slight wind blew down the street as A strolled through the darkness. Aimlessly A walked up and down streets, through parks, and eventually ended up in an unfamiliar place. The faint smell of raindrops hitting concrete became noticeable, and before long a small storm had broken out. A headed towards what appeared to be a train station, climbed over some barrier tape, and was forced to negotiate the way across thin boards over the construction site before reaching an indoor hall, filled with unfinished rails and two platforms opposite one another. Empty signs were hung up all over the station, but A could not determine the name of the unfinished building. Maps were hung in glass showcases at the sides of the platforms detailing the direction the trains would one day go. A sat down on the side of the platform, legs dangling, and inspected the large hall. Eventually A pulled out some tobacco and with an elegant technique rolled a thin cigarette. 

Scene 2

B was stressed about the way things had been going for weeks. Everything was overwhelming, but at the same time nothing was really happening. However, the amount of stress this was causing B was B’s own creation. Life-changing decisions had to be made and B was unsure of the right path. B had been walking up and down the long hallway of the apartment where B had lived for the past months. It was beautiful, and spacious and looked over a little lake in a peaceful part of town. B’s walking eventually evolved into an uneasy pacing reminiscent of a caged zoo-animal. On this particular night the light of the moon flooded the room with such force and with an almost tangible quality. One could almost hear sounds of waves crashing ashore as it lit up the apartment. Although B barely noticed this, B seemed to incorporate the beat of the waves like a little dance. Eventually the doorbell rang. It was the downstairs neighbor ranting about how inconsiderate B was being and that ‘the walking had to stop… it was an old house and every step… in fact, almost every breath could be heard in the apartment below, and this behavior should stop immediately.’ B nodded understandingly, closed the door, lit a cigarette, and settled down on a black velour chair, the kind that had been used in old cinemas. B had saved it when a historic movie theater downtown was closed. B was funny that way. Parts of B always wanted to hold onto older times when everyone had a bigger heart, musicians wrote their own music, when it got cold in the winter and love could be found in cafes (and not over tinder). Other parts wanted to flee from thepast. B was haunted by the feeling that everything that had happened was too imperfect and too unjust. This put pressure on B to make decisions about the future, which B couldn’t do, which ultimately forced B into the confused present. Automatically, B started tapping both feet against the floor in a syncopated rhythm. But the movement didn’t quite ease B’s mind. After a short while B stood up again and resumed the cage escaping exercise up and down the hallway floor, as if B were in a trance. Again, the apartment bell rang again and shook B from the disconcerting thoughts. B hated confrontations, and watching the neighbor’s upset face the first time had already produced a negative effect on B’s mood. So instead of opening the door, B slid into a pair of brand-new white sneakers, put on one of the many jackets that hung on the coat rack, and opened the bedroom window that led to a large tree branch. B gracefully balanced on the branch and dropped into the night. B began to walk, which turned into a power-step, which turned into a jog. B went faster and faster and faster and faster until B accelerated in a fanatic sprint. B ran till complete exhaustion overtook every inch of B’s body, and B halted in front of an unfinished railway station. Rain drops were slowly falling to the ground, curious to find out what was inside, B hopped over the barrier tape and rushed up the stairs at the top of which B came to a platform. There were lots of signs, but none of these indicated the name of the station. There were only maps showing where the line was meant to go. Exhausted by the obsessive exercising, B settled down on the side of the platform, legs dangling. 

Scene 3

From the birds-eye-view, we now have our two characters A and B sitting opposite each other each on their own platform, separated by a barrier of unfinished tracks. While the art of narration does not allow for things to happen simultaneously and it is important to understand that A and B arrived in this very position at the same instance. Just as they had reached a point of frustration at the same time and just as they had left their respective houses at the same time. They are now facing each other, but a fog prevents them from seeing one other…Suddenly the fog wall lifts and the two stare right at each other, rather confused. 

Now I, as the narrator, do not have the omniscient quality of seeing deeply into A and B’s mind. Thus I suggest we watch how this scenario unfolds. Maybe after this we can draw our own conclusions? Here we go:

Act 2, Scene 1

B (waves): Oh, hi. 

A (shyly): Hi. 

B: I’m B, what what’s your name?

A: A. 

B (nods and smiles): Nice to meet you. 

A: Um… yeah… nice to meet you too. 

B: So, what brings you here on this fine evening?

A: I’m not really sure… I just kind of ended up here, what about you?

B:  Same. Just wandering around, you know?

A: Ah. 


B: Hm…So what kind of things do you like?

A: What do you mean?

B: Like movies, TV series or something?

A: I like Game of Thrones

B (excited): Yesss me too (goes into a monologue on the series best moments)

A (nods)

(Awkward silence) 

B: We also don’t have to talk, if you don’t want to. 

A: Oh…um…I don’t really mind. 

B: Silence always tends to make me a bit uncomfortable, you know? I like always having some sort of noise around me, in the background, or whatever. I mean I would never get any work done without music, so being around people quietly also always makes me feel a bit weird. I think its because I like conversations and entertaining, so when it’s quiet I feel like I’m not doing my job, which makes me slightly uncomfortable, you know?

A (looks up in a slightly amused disbelief): I see. 

B: Oh… that was a bit too much information, wasn’t it?

A: Oh… it’s fine, really. 

B: You don’t like talking? Conversations?

A: I…I…um I just… I like them. I’m just not the best at keeping them up… and then I feel awkward… and then I start overthinking. 

B: Soooo, basically the opposite of me. 

A (laughs): Yes, kind of. 

B (nods): Hey I’ve got an idea, maybe we can do a little experiment to get out of our comfort zones, if you’re up for it?

A: Uhhhh, okay. 

B (hyped) : Okay! I’ll go first. I’m gonna sit here in complete silence, until you feel like talking. 

A (slowly): You’re serious?

B (doesn’t answer, smiles thus keeping the promise and waits, silently looking at A with an encouraging calmness) 

(We now see the two stare at each other in complete silence, the rain falling on the roof of the station also dies away to accommodate the experiment of the two. They stay this way for a while.)

A (feeling visible awkward): Soooo, what kind of things are you thinking about?

B:  Oh you know, life. 

A (shakes head and and chuckles): Didn’t you say you were good at talking?

B (smiles): Yeahh, but I don’t want to bore you. 

A (confidently): But I asked. 

B: Well…I’m just not sure exactly what I want to do in life, you know? What’s right for me, what I’m passionate about? Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me for not having a clear vision… or whether I maybe do have one, but just can’t admit it to myself.

A (stands up and walks along the edge of the platform looking down at the concrete floor, being careful not to fall): Hm… Yeah that’s  weird. For as long as I can remember people have insisted that everyone has to find the thing that fulfills them. I guess you’re just supposed to know what that is. It’s like people just assume that this one thing will always make you happy in the exact same way, forever. I think that’s unrealistic. 

(Silence, B watches A balance) 

A (continues): Because you grow and you meet new people and see new things and learn new things and that changes you and your views. It seems like you should be able to adjust to these experiences instead of dogmatically sticking with something you decided a long time ago. So I just look for what I’m passionate about right now. Because even though it may not be the right thing forever, it is now. I just think that we can only find things we love when we’re truly happy. 

(A looks up at B and stops balancing neither of them saying anything) 

A (continues nervously): Umm…. I also think that when you pressure or force yourself  to do something you will only end up doing things that upset you. Even if you’re unsure of what you’re doing right now, if it’s something related to things you enjoy deep down, you are already forming a path towards the place you want to go. In that sense there isn’t really a right or wrong as long as you’re doing what makes you happy.  

B (eyes full of fear): But what if I don’t find that? What if I don’t know what makes me happy? What if I always stay this clueless and don’t get it together and end up full of pity and hate. 

A (confidently): You won’t. 

B (unsure): How do you know?

A: What’s important is that you do something that makes you happy, because if you‘re acting from a worried place you’ll always sabotage yourself. 

B (eyebrows raised): Sooo, I could sabotage myself. 

A (persistently): But you won’t. 

B (sighs): I just don’t want to regret anything. 

A: What do you think you’ll regret?

B (thoughtful): Um…I don’t know. I just… I was at this concert once, and the artist was standing there all confident, until they played this song they had written about someone they lost. Then all of a sudden they seemed so small. They forgot the lyrics and just stood there, staring at the crowd, completely in pain, shaking, listening to their lyrics being sung back at them, and feeling all the loss flow through them. And there was nothing they could do about it. 

B: Why?

A: They were missing somebody. That’s different. Regrets are different than the pain of loss. Missing people is different than making a bad decision. People don’t come back. 


B (looks thoughtful and sad): What about you?

A: What about me?

B: Emotions that bother you. 

A: Love, I think. 

A: Because it goes. It dies. 

B (frowns): Hmm…but I mean…nothing ever leaves, it just transforms. I mean it doesn’t vanish. 

A (whispering): Its just this idea of…

B: …losing?

A: Uh-huh. It’s not only that though, I also think I don’t want to feel attached to someone because it leads to all other kinds of horrible emotions. 

B: Like ones that don’t fade with time?

A: What?

B: I mean, think about it. Does time ever really heal wounds, or does it just make room for more, newer, more pressing ones? 

A: Wow. That is a very pessimistic viewpoint. 

B (considering): Hm.  

A: Time does heal…But maybe only if you let it and if you forgive others and yourself first, but then I am certain it does.


B (staring into space):  I just feel so lost lately. 

A (quietly): Same….


B: Why are you here tonight?

A (after a short pause): I haven’t been sleeping well. 

B (concerned): How come?

A: Nightmares.

B (curious): About?

A: I don’t really want to talk about this. 

B: I see….


A: We could talk about other things though?

B: So what kind of things do you like to do?

A: Ummm…Oh… Well…..I like programming and designing websites a lot. 

B: Aha, cool. Why do you like that? 

A: Well, I like that there’s a finished product at the end and umm… I like to see that I am getting better at something. It’s also like I can create my own world just the way that I like. What about you?

B: What? Hobbies?

A: Yeah. 

B: I sing. 

A (determined): Show me. 

B (grins): I didn’t say I sing well. 

A (smiles reassuringly): I don’t mind.

B (laughs, gets up, the right hand becomes a fist that functions as a microphone substitute and all of a sudden B begins to sing fearlessly and incredibly well)

A (applauds) 

B (incredulously): Do you really think it’s good?

A: It doesn’t matter what I think, but yeah you’re really good. 

B (stares at A for a long time and smiles): Thank you. 


B: You know what’s weird?

A: This. 

B: Very. 


B: I know this is very strange, but when I talk to you I feel like I… 

A: …get you?

B: Yes, but at the same time like I don’t understand you…

A:…at all?

B: And I feel safe with you but also…

A: …terrified?

B: Yup. So what now?

Act 3, Scene 1

So we have watched this curious incident unfold, two people who fortuitously found themselves at the same place at the same time and have enough in common to connect, but also differ enough that they find each other intriguing. They continue talking for a long time, in fact time has literally stood for them alone. All around them the sun has risen and set, rain has come and gone, clouds have formed and vanished and the station has been built around them. Upon large white signs with green linings it is now written “Crossroad station”. Still, these two people sit on the platforms alternating between silence and conversation, but not letting each other out of sight. They were waiting, although they were not quite sure what they were waiting for. Even when they stop talking, saltily looking at one another, they are having one long uninterrupted conversation, teaching them how to live in each others minds. Yet, in spite of this learned familiarity they often find themselves getting lost. 

There are now passengers surrounding them, waiting for the first train to arrive into the station. Suddenly, the two trains, coming from opposite directions can be seen from a distance, and in the blink of an eye their little safe haven had disappeared. 

Since they realize that it won’t be long before the trains will block their sights and they won’t be able to see each other A and B realize they have to make some choices. 

Scene 2, Option A/ A’s Choice

For instance, A is aware that the nightmares and sleeplessness cannot carry on forever. A feels connected to B in a way that seemed unattainable before and appears to be special. Yet, A believes that it is unfair to engage in anything, as long as A’s personal issues have not disappeared. A is also concerned with the fact that B seems to be preoccupied with B’s issues first so much so that A wondered whether B properly noticed and appreciated A, or if B just needed some help and barely noticed that A was in the picture as an individual. So…when the first train arrives A decides to get up and take it.

 A takes in the bustling train station, gets up to leave but quickly realizes something is wrong. A’s legs don’t seem to cooperate as well anymore after all this time. Of course, since B is watching A adopts an heir of confidence, whilst preparing to board the train. When the trains arrive and A looses sight of B, A realizes that pretending won’t make it easier to walk. Every step away from this situation is painful, but A boards the train.

Months or even years pass until the two happen to see each other again at the train, A still on A’s platform and B still on B’s B’s platform, so once again they are on opposite sides of the tracks. Although they pretend not to notice, each is secretly watching the other. As they enter their respective trains, pretending that pain doesn’t exist. A acts as if the decision to stay away from B was the only sensible decision and that it was in no way bothersome. However, small voices of doubt creep up in A’s mind ‘how will you ever know or ever grow if you don’t change platforms and patterns and see things from a new perspective?’, ’ Was keeping away from B simply the safe choice?’ Still A does not approach B. Maybe one day A thinks, as the trains drive in opposite directions once again. 

Scene 3, Option B/B’s Choice

B also has choices. B feels invincible even though simultaneously feeling just as confused as before, maybe even more. The only difference is A. B admires A, but in a sensible, not a blinding way. B feels safe with A. B realizes A’s strength and enjoys the calm but confident demeanor. 

B (decides to speak): Maybe we could meet in the middle?

A: Um… there’s trains coming now, so if we do, we both die.

B: Okay, fair enough. What if one of us walks over to the other side but then we take the direction the other one wants to go? Like a compromise?

A (considers this and thinks): But then wouldn’t one of us be doing all the compromising?

B: Who cares? I mean, it’s our life, our train station, so why don’t we make the rules?

A (looks confused)

B:  I can do all the comprising this time. I can take the risk and come to your side, okay?

A (seems overwhelmed and stares in silence) 

B: Or do you not want to see me anymore? Because I really want to spend more time with you. 

(Long pause)

A: Um…Okay?

B: Okay

B (hops onto the tracks without further thought and races across the rails. A helps B up to the platform and the two stare at each other, still holding hands and board the train that has just arrived.) 

Scene 4

Either, or both of these endings could have happened. Maybe simultaneously maybe one after the other. Time is funny that way.

Author: Helen Waeder

Copy Right belongs to: Helen Waeder

Date published: 29/9/2020

Published by helenwae

I’m a 21 year old writer based in Berlin :)

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