The Topic At Hand: Seconds

HE:  I don’t know. She’s not going to take it very well. I’ve never…I don’t know.

SHE:  Do you feel guilty?

HE:  Well, yeah. Don’t you?

SHE:  I was brought up religious so I don’t trust my feelings on anything. I can’t believe we’ve known each other since we were-

HE:   Could we have picked a worse possible time to do this?

SHE:  No one got hurt.

HE:  Not yet.

SHE:  Lots of people go outside their relationships.

HE:  I don’t.

SHE:  Oprah had this whole show on-

HE:   I don’t know what I’m going to say.

SHE:  Statistically, it happens a lot when the wife is carrying the second child.

HE:  Great. (beat) Lilly’s always been on my case about this. Saying how I’d go off with someone younger. And I never-in my wildest-EVER thought I’d do something like this.

(beat)

SHE:  See. She was wrong. I’m at least six years older than her. (beat) Just trying to lighten the mood. (beat) Bob became so distant. I couldn’t stand being around him. And it made me so…ugh!…I couldn’t take it. I stopped liking who I became around him, which made me feel so damn lost. What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I make it work? I mean, it was fine. It was…stable. Not just stable. It was normal. And stable. I said it to myself over and over. “It’s normal and stable. It’s normal and stable. It’s normal and stable.” Like some frickin’ rosary. Until I wanted to smash my forehead into the mirror each morning. I was so mad at Bob for doing this. To us. I felt like some homeless freak begging for change from him whenever I saw him and he kept turning his nose up at me.

(beat)

HE:  I like you.

SHE:  I like you too.

HE:  It’s too bad we never made a go of this back then.

SHE:  Life’s not that neat.

HE:  No. You’re right. (beat) Consequences aside, do you feel bad about what we did last night?

SHE:  Not when I feel like I’ve finally found my soul-mate. (beat) Bob wouldn’t suspect anything. He thinks I’m a good girl. Still. But I know deep down he’s doing something. Not that that justifies anything.

HE:  So why don’t we… Look, here’s what I’m going to tell Lilly. I’m just going to be up front with her and tell her what happened and how I think I’m finally with the person I think I was meant to be with. And that it’s terrible, I know, but we-we-we just aren’t, you know, um, that it’s not how it’s turned out to be. Right for us. That it’s turned out to not be right for us. (beat) And she’ll tell me that she’s mad at me and she hates me and how could I do this…but it’s what was supposed to happen. I’m convinced of it. Maybe we weren’t supposed to be something back then but now-NOW-now we can, you know, be something.

(beat)

SHE:  This isn’t my first time. Doing this. I hate myself but it’s the only way I can feel any balance. It’s usually easier when it’s with someone who’s in something with someone else. Then it feels like it can go on forever and it feels like it’s helping everyone involved, whether they know it or not. This is my first time doing it with someone I’ve known before. I don’t know what to tell you but…

(beat)

HE:  Am I your soul-mate?

SHE:  No. But you’re closer.

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    • rzeroth

      Really enjoyed the piece. I thought it hit it's darkest point when she said that she didn't feel bad about what had happened the night before because she felt like she found her soul-mate. The fact that they both acknowledge that they're not perfect for each other at the end leads me to believe that their fling has as good a shot at lasting as their soon-to-be nixed relationships. I guess that's ending on a high note. Ah the joys of monogamy.

    • Tara

      So much story in few words – it's great!
      But ouch. It doesn't sound like it will turn out as he's imagining., and she's probably not exactly racing up the soul mate ladder.

    The Author

    Chris Harcum

    chris.harcum
    Chris Harcum is an actor and playwright living in Brooklyn, NY. His play American Badass (or 12 Characters in Search of a National Identity) was recently published in the Plays and Playwrights 2009 anthology. Other writing includes The New York Times, nytheatre, and Virgodog's World.

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