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ACT TWO
 

 

Scene One
 
It is night a week later. The lights rise in Wan's room. He is alone, staring out of the window at the garden below.
WAN

Where is her candle?
She is late tonight.
I do not see her candle.
Will she come at all?
Oh, how do I live through the day?
How do I live through the day?
Never have I so hated the sun
And longed for the moon,
The moon
Within the willows by the western gate.
But are there really willows by the western gate?
And has it been Meilan
I have held in my arms
These past seven nights?
Or have I merely dreamed it?
I do not see her candle.
Will she come at all?
No, it has been a dream.
Life is not as sweet as this.
It has been a dream.

(We see a candle flicker within the Cheng house. Then the door opens and MEILAN enters the garden. Looking up toward Wan's room, SHE makes a circular motion with the taper, then moves upstage and disappears through the willows.)
WAN
At last!
Oh, foolish Wan,
She has not forsaken you.
Nor has it been a dream.
She is there
Within the willows
By the western gate. (HE dashes through the door as the lights fade in his room. Once again the willow trees separate as HE reappears in the garden hurrying upstage. HE and MEILAN fall into each other's arms.)

 

WAN

You were late tonight.
I cannot bear
The waiting
And the watching.
 

MEILAN
Forgive me, my darling.
I could not leave
Until I was certain
Mother was asleep.
WAN
Your mother knows nothing of our meetings?
 
MEILAN
I do not think so.
But if she does,
I do not care.
I do not care!
For loving you
Is as natural
As awakening in the morning,
Sleeping when the night falls,
Wading in the stream
Or breathing in
The fragrance of the peach blossoms.
I am not ashamed, Wan.
I have never loved before
And I know I shall never love again.
 
WAN
And I have never loved before
Nor shall I love again.
 
TOGETHER
I have never loved before
Nor shall I love again.
 
WAN
This is not like the vows
Of other lovers I have seen.
This vow will last!
 
MEILAN
This vow will last!
 
WAN
For we are not like other lovers.
You are Meilan
And I am Wan,
And when we speak of vows,
The vow will last!
 
MEILAN
The vow will last!
I have not loved before
Nor shall I love again.
 
WAN
I have been told
That loves needs time,
Time to grow beyond passion.
But I have had time before
And love has not come to me.
It was not time I needed,
It was Meilan.
 
MEILAN
I have only known of love
From books that I have read.
I never dared to hope for it for myself.
I only dreamed,
And in my dreams,
I loved.
I do not need those dreams now.
I have my Wan!
 
WAN
Oh, Meilan,
I cannot think of you
Without seeing patterns of spring,
Without hearing the quiet song of white clouds,
Without tasting the freshness of the brook.
I cannot think of you
Without recalling every single thing of beauty
I have ever seen
Or heard
Or felt
Or tasted.
 
MEILAN
And, Wan,
I do not think of you
In words or thoughts.
I think of you
In colors of autumn,
In soft silk threads,
In a burst of starlight,
In the strength of the wind
And the warmth of the sun.
I think of you
And tears well
Within my soul.
 
TOGETHER
I have not loved before
Nor shall I love again.
This vow will last,
This vow will last.
 
WAN
Meilan, I love you. (A long and passionate embrace. MEILAN glances at the candle that she has placed on the ground.)
MEILAN
The candle flickers.
 
WAN
                                                            (blowing it out)
The candle no longer flickers.

 

 

THE STAGE DARKENS