Michelle Oh Chris. Thank you so much for taking me out tonight. It’s been so…er…nice. Are you sure you don’t mind paying?
Chris Well I wouldn’t be much of a date otherwise now would I?
Michelle Chris we talked about this. Please don’t call it a…a…
Chris A date?
Michelle Yes. That. We shouldn’t call it…that.
Chris (Playfully) Well what is it then?
Michelle Well, it’s just two friends who…
Chris Who have booked a hotel room.
Michelle Yes, well about that…
Chris (Worried that his chance might be slipping away) Look, it just seems that you could do with a bit of romance. (Michelle is looking down. Chris takes her hand and prompts her to look up) Hey. Hey. (She looks up) We are relational beings. We were designed to feel loved. To feel appreciated. To feel desired. And if you’re not feeling that, if you’re not getting that, then there’s nothing wrong with looking for it, even if it means looking outside your marriage. Your husband’s not giving you what you need. It’s only natural that you get it elsewhere.
Michelle (Sounding more convinced) Right. Right. I mean forget him right?
Michelle I need romance.
Michelle Do you know what his idea of romance is? (The waiter – the same one as Phil and Rosie’s – comes over with the receipt and gives it to Chris to sign. Chris takes his time over it, giving the waiter the opportunity to listen in) The other week I told him that he never did anything romantic. So how does he prove me wrong? He goes out that night, gets completely drunk and goes home to plan this romantic night in. I get home from the late-shift that night to find that my chrysanthemums have been ripped from the front garden and are lying in a mess on the lounge table. Meanwhile, he’s drunkenly belting out Elton John’s Rocketman at the top of his voice and asking me between verses if I’m “in the mood”. Oh and there was the meal of course. Phil’s idea of a romantic dinner? He’d microwaved an egg. I spent the rest of that evening cleaning out all the previous attempts that had exploded in the microwave.
(Chris hands the receipt back to the waiter who is looking at Michelle as if he might recognise her)
Chris (To the waiter) Are you ok?
Waiter Fine sir. Just a touch of déjà vu. (Takes receipt and card and walks off looking confused)
Michelle So anyway, that’s my husband for you.
Chris You know, some men just have no idea how to treat a woman.
Michelle (Starting to flirt) Oh and I suppose you do.
Chris (Confidently) Well, you’ll just have to judge for yourself.
Michelle Oh Chris. Why does this feel so easy? I just feel so relaxed with you. Like I could get away with anything. It’s how I used to feel around Phil. The things he promised me when we got married. Life is all about love, sex and romance he told me. He always knew what to say – what to do – how to cheer me up. Now we can’t stand the sight of each other. Just being in the same room as him puts me on edge. (The waiter returns with the receipt) Everything he says and does irritates me. Everything. Even the smallest and most insignificant of things will set me off. Stupid stuff like…broccoli.
(The penny drops for the waiter. He stares, shocked and open-mouthed, at Michelle. He looks across the restaurant towards Phil and Rosie and then back to Michelle and Chris. He face is a mix between utter disbelief and amusement. He suddenly bolts across the restaurant towards his colleague)
Waiter (Calling out) Tracy! (He trips behind the table of the next conversation. His head pops up from behind the table) Hi there. Are you enjoying your meal?
Bill Well we haven’t ordered ye…
Waiter Excellent. (Dashes off to tell his colleague, leaving us with the next conversation)