A play


Guy Farrish


Simon leans on the rail of a balcony, drink in hand. there is a table on the balcony. Behind him are windows along the wall of a building. They are curtained and the room within is lit. Muffled music plays inside. there is a door onto the balcony.

the door opens and a woman walks onto the balcony. she too carries a glass

CHARLOTTE:           Room for one more?

Simon stands and shields his eyes as he looks into the light behind the woman. the door shuts    

SIMON:                      Who’s…? Oh, Charlotte, is that you?

CHARLOTTE:           Just thought I’d see where the star of the show had got to.

SIMON:                      Cooling down a bit. Needed a breath of fresh air.

CHARLOTTE:           Still an outdoors type then?

SIMON:                      Yes, but some schmoozing has to be done indoors.

CHARLOTTE:           Not just your skill and boyish charm that got you here I take it?

SIMON:                      Regrettably no. But I like the boyish charm bit.

CHARLOTTE:           Poetic licence.

SIMON:                      Thanks.

they both take a drink and put the glasses on the table.

Simon nods at the room they came from

SIMON:                      Disco! We’re too old for this.

CHARLOTTE:           Speak for yourself.

SIMON:                      You’re older than me.

CHARLOTTE:           You always were tactless.

Charlotte turns away from him and leans on the balcony rail staring into the night

SIMON:                      Sorry.

Simon turns and leans alongside her

SIMON:                      It’s hard to believe it’s so long ago.

CHARLOTTE:           Not that long.

SIMON:                      Long enough.

CHARLOTTE:           Too long.

A silence

SIMON:                      How’s your brother?

CHARLOTTE:           Steve?

SIMON:                      Yes (beat) I’d forgotten you had two.

CHARLOTTE:           He’s okay. Settled now. Why do you ask?

SIMON:                      We were friends. I haven’t seen him in a long time.

CHARLOTTE:           All you have to do is pick up a phone.

SIMON:                      I know. Sorry.

CHARLOTTE:           Tell him not me.

SIMON:                      I know, I should.

CHARLOTTE:           He still talks about you. About what you did for him after his accident.

SIMON:                      He could always call me.

CHARLOTTE:           And get her? Please Simon, you know what she thinks of him and how he doesn’t fit into her view of your life. (pause) How is she?

SIMON:                      Christine you mean?

CHARLOTTE:           Who else?

SIMON:                      She’s well thanks. Very well.

CHARLOTTE:           Still organising your life?

SIMON:                      She’s done a better job of it than I ever did.

CHARLOTTE:           Depends on what you were aiming for.

SIMON:                      Success.

CHARLOTTE:           And that’s what tonight is about?

SIMON:                      I suppose.

CHARLOTTE:           Do you think the man I used to watch play down there would approve?

She nods over the balcony

SIMON:                      I don’t think he knew it was a possibility.

CHARLOTTE:           And if he had?

SIMON:                      I don’t know Charlotte. It’s not like I was some kind of saint you know.

CHARLOTTE:           I think the boy tearing round down there wanted to be someone and make the world a better place.

SIMON:                      I was playing rugby Charlie. You’re thinking of Miss World.

CHARLOTTE:           Miss World! God! You’re right, you are too old.

SIMON:                      Told you.

CHARLOTTE:           You know what I mean. You were different. You didn’t just want to get pissed and make money. You wanted to do something. To help. To make a difference.

SIMON:                      I thought I had.

CHARLOTTE:           With all this?

SIMON:                      With what I can do with it after.

CHARLOTTE:           Be serious. (beat) Do you remember why you quit Wilson’s in the first place?

SIMON:                      You know why.

CHARLOTTE:        I do. Do you remember? Because it was killing your soul you said.

SIMON:                      This is crazy. Like you said, it’s a long time ago.

CHARLOTTE:           You said that, not me.

SIMON:                      You said it was too long.

CHARLOTTE:           Only if you want it to be Simon. It’s never too late if you don’t want it to be.

SIMON:                      Bit late to give back orders on tonight with all the bigwigs here.

CHARLOTTE:           Depends how much you think you owe them.

SIMON:                      I don’t owe them anything.

CHARLOTTE:           That sounds more like the free spirit I knew.

SIMON:                      I was an awkward little sod.

CHARLOTTE:           You were your own man.

SIMON:                      Maybe.

CHARLOTTE:           And I don’t think that Simon would have had much truck with all these shenanigans.

Simon shakes his head         

SIMON:                      I don’t know Charlotte. Maybe. (beat) There’s one bit he’d have been happy with.

CHARLOTTE:           What’s that?

SIMON:                      Being on this balcony with you.

CHARLOTTE:           You’re not with me.

Charlotte stands up and walks a little way down the balcony.

She shivers

Simon follows her and reaches out a hand to her back

SIMON:                      Cold?

CHARLOTTE:           A little.

Charlotte glances over her shoulder. simon is very close now.

SIMON:                      I…(beat) I didn’t want to stop seeing you.

CHARLOTTE:           So why did you?

SIMON:                      I seem to remember it wasn’t my decision.

CHARLOTTE:           Funny, I don’t remember it being me.

SIMON:                      Maybe it just happened then.

CHARLOTTE:           You stopped showing up. You were too busy. What happened Simon?

SIMON:                      It all got so mixed up.

CHARLOTTE:           I thought it was all so simple.

SIMON:                      That was the trouble.

CHARLOTTE:           What was?

SIMON:                      Life was all so simple for you and none of it made sense to me.

CHARLOTTE:           Jesus!

SIMON:                      I loved you!

CHARLOTTE:           Me too. You (beat) I mean.

SIMON:                      God, I loved you.

CHARLOTTE:           Why didn’t you say?

a door opens and loud music blares, a man stumbles out, looks around apologises and goes in again, shutting the door behind him

SIMON:                      I was afraid.

CHARLOTTE:           You?

SIMON:                      Yes.     Does that seem so silly?

She takes him by the lapels of his jacket

CHARLOTTE:           Oh Christ! It’s stupid.

Simon put his arms gently around her

SIMON:                      I was nothing. You were going places.

She pushes him back a little and shakes her head

CHARLOTTE:           But look at you. Look at me.

SIMON:                      Now.

CHARLOTTE:           Then.

SIMON:                     Don’t you remember me back then? Doing nothing, going nowhere. Nothing.

CHARLOTTE:           I knew you’d be something.

SIMON:                      I didn’t.

She shakes him a little again and begins to cry

CHARLOTTE:           So you left because I was successful?

SIMON:                      No.(beat) Because I wasn’t. Because I needed to be worth something for you.

CHARLOTTE:           So you married Christine to be prove to me you were okay?

SIMON:                      This is silly.

They let go of each other and simon leans on the rail

CHARLOTTE:           So what happened?

SIMON:                      I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do, what I needed to do to.

CHARLOTTE:           And?

SIMON:                      I thought ‘Get yourself sorted Simon.’

CHARLOTTE:           You couldn’t have said ‘Help me get sorted Charlotte’?

SIMON:                      Apparently not.

CHARLOTTE:           Was I such an ogre?

SIMON:                      God! You know that’s not what I thought of you.

CHARLOTTE:           Do I Simon? I don’t remember knowing very much of what you thought about me then.

Simon turns to face her again

SIMON:                      I thought I was holding you back.

CHARLOTTE:           What?

SIMON:                      It wasn’t just me Charlie.

CHARLOTTE:           Who the hell told you that? It wasn’t me.

SIMON:                      Lots of people.

CHARLOTTE:           Like who?

SIMON:                      You mum. Half the lads in the club and their girlfriends. I had a lot of advice about why I wasn’t worthy of you. About how you deserved better.

CHARLOTTE:           So you abandoned me and married her?

SIMON:                      No. It wasn’t like that.

CHARLOTTE:           So what was it like Simon?

Simon looks at his watch

SIMON:                      Look, I should be in there getting ready to speak.

CHARLOTTE:           I just want to know Simon.

SIMON:                      Honestly?

CHARLOTTE:           Honestly.

SIMON:                      The thing is Charlie; I really don’t know how I got here.

CHARLOTTE:           You mean all this is an accident?

SIMON:                      Basically. Yes.

CHARLOTTE:           Jesus!

SIMON:                      Yeah. (pause) I thought ‘Right if that’s what it takes I’ll sort myself out and then we’ll take it from there’.

CHARLOTTE:           And when were you going to mention this plan to me?

SIMON:                      Didn’t think that far.

CHARLOTTE:           So how far did it get?

SIMON:                      Putting myself on the market. Asking if there were any places going.

CHARLOTTE:           And that’s where Andrew came along.

SIMON:                      In one.

CHARLOTTE:           And part of the deal was Christine?

SIMON:                      It wasn’t that obvious. Well not at the start.

CHARLOTTE:           But…

SIMON:                      Well, she sort of came with the job as it turned out.

CHARLOTTE:           And me?

SIMON:                      Come on Charlotte, it wasn’t just me that ended it.

CHARLOTTE:           Really?

SIMON:                      Really. I tried calling remember, after I’d been with Andrew for a few weeks.

CHARLOTTE:           You knew what I thought of her father. What I think of him.

SIMON:                      I thought you’d be glad I’d got a foot on the ladder. I didn’t think Andy Davenport would be a deal breaker.

CHARLOTTE:           So all this is for me?

SIMON:                      It started off that way.

CHARLOTTE:           I wanted the man who didn’t need all that crap. You were you. You were different. You were brave and fun and intelligent and scary.

SIMON:                      Scary? Me?

CHARLOTTE:           Every one else wanted to fit in. Join rotary or the masons, chamber of commerce, be a big fish in a little pond. You ditched it all. You went and did wild things. You cared about things. Things outside of here. In the world. Big things. You were on the road to a very different future.

SIMON:                      I was aimless.

CHARLOTTE:           That’s her talking. Her and her bloody father.

SIMON:                      He’s helped me a lot.

CHARLOTTE:           He’s helped his daughter get what she wanted. They’ve tamed you. They’ve made you like them and that’s what tonight is about. Putting a new collar on you.

SIMON:                      Thanks a lot.

CHARLOTTE:           God. I’m sorry Simon.

He takes her in his arms

SIMON:                      I know. You didn’t mean it.

CHARLOTTE:           I bloody did! I mean every last word. I’m just sorry I didn’t say it sooner.

SIMON:                      So am I. I wish we’d said a lot of things earlier.

CHARLOTTE:           I wanted you so much.

Simon shakes his head

SIMON:                      No. You used to make fun of me, take the piss, all the time. You never took me seriously.

Charlotte leans back in his arms

CHARLOTTE:           You still are infuriatingly simple sometimes aren’t you?

SIMON:                      Careful. I have influence now you know.

CHARLOTTE:           Do you love her?

SIMON:                      You asked me that twelve years ago.

CHARLOTTE:           You didn’t answer me then either.

SIMON:                      And you’re still asking.

CHARLOTTE:           Yes.

SIMON:                      We fit well together.

CHARLOTTE:           Do you love her.

SIMON:                      You’re like a dog with a bone.

CHARLOTTE:           And?

SIMON:                      We’re happy.

CHARLOTTE:           ‘Answer the fucking question.’

SIMON:                      What?

CHARLOTTE:           I’m only quoting you. Edinburgh.

He laughs

SIMON:                      God, I’d forgotten that!

CHARLOTTE:           You’ve forgotten too much

SIMON:                      Love is something young people dream about.

CHARLOTTE:           So, no, then.

SIMON:                      Your answer, not mine.

CHARLOTTE:           I’m not afraid of answers.

Simon picks up a glass from the table and drains it. He nods.

SIMON:                      I am.

CHARLOTTE:           Say it. Just once.

SIMON:                      I’ve told you. I loved you.

CHARLOTTE:           Wrong tense.

Simon glances towards the door and the windows.

SIMON:                      They’re waiting for me.

CHARLOTTE:           Say it.

SIMON:                      She’s waiting for me.

CHARLOTTE:           Like I did?

SIMON:                      No.

CHARLOTTE:           No?

SIMON:                      Not like you. She was never like you.

CHARLOTTE:           So say it.

SIMON:                      I love you

CHARLOTTE:           Louder.

SIMON:                      I love you.

CHARLOTTE:           Louder!

SIMON:                      I LOVE YOU!

They kiss passionately. Simon drops the glass on the floor.


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