The Cheat

Emma Parkinson

SCENE ONE – LISA IS IN THE FRONT ROOM

LISA (OUT): I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but think the worse. When we first met, he was always on time, full on energy and super organized. But recently he’s often late and always forgets things. The doctor says it’s common with professional burnout. It’s like he’s here sometimes, in person, but mentally, he’s not. Mark has been so good to me. Perfect, even apart from running late sometimes, but it happens doesn’t it. I can’t help but feel something is missing though. Like part of him is missing when we are together and… I can’t help but think I’m losing him. I know I’ve messed up time and time again, and I know I don’t deserve a man like Mark. He’s kind, thoughtful, forgiving, understanding. Everything a girl could wish for. I know I nag sometimes which probably doesn’t help…pffttt who am I kidding all the time. Mithering him to pick up his dirty underwear off the floor and moaning that he never scrapes his plate when he’s finished his food and I’m sick of telling him to put his mug on the bloody coaster. But that’s just Mark.

MARK (OFF STAGE): Hello Love, Only me.

LISA: Hiya, how’s your day been?

ENTER MARK

MARK: Same old really.

LISA: How come you’re back so late again?

MARK: Oh just Mrs Wilson giving me an ear full again

LISA: About what?

MARK: Oh you know the usual, printing and spending too much money on resources. I had to buy paper myself again today, these budget cuts are crippling the school.

LISA: Nearly three hours talking about budget cuts and printing?

MARK: Well you know, with her husband cheating on her she’s just all over the place, she was in a right state I couldn’t leave her like that could I? Anyway never mind that I’ve got something for you.

LISA: For me?

MARK: Of course for you silly, who else would I buy jewellery for! I saw you eyeing it up when we went shopping for Amy’s 16th.

MARK PRODUCES A JEWELLERY BOX AND GIVES IT TO LISA. LISA OPENS THE BOX

LISA: Aw Mark you shouldn’t have… We really can’t afford it

MARK: Oh shut up and put it on

MARK HELPS LISA PUT THE NECKLACE ON

LISA: You really are too good to me

MARK: Only the best for the best… I love you.

LISA: I love you too.

THEY KISS

MARK: Good… now what’s for tea I’m starving

LISA: Well it’s a good job I made your favourite then isn’t it. You’ll have to warm it up though I didn’t realise you were going to be nearly three hours late…again!

MARK: I’m sorry love, you know she’s having a hard time. You can’t be mad at me for comforting a 60 year old lady.

LISA: I know, poor woman. I don’t know what I’d do if I found out you were cheating, especially that late on in life. how could anyone do that after nearly 40 years of marriage.

MARK: I don’t know. We can’t judge though we don’t know all the details

LISA: All the details, there’s no excuse for cheating Mark. I can’t believe she’s stuck by him.

MARK: Well, like I say we don’t know all the details, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.

LISA: She’s done nothing but stick by him, even when he nearly bankrupted her with his gambling addiction! How does he repay her? By doing that.

MARK: Love makes you do funny things, now come here you.

THEY KISS AND THINGS QUICKLY START TO HEAT UP, TO WHICH MARK INTERRUPTS

MARK: Did you say tea was ready?

LISA: Yeah you can warm it up after.

LISA CONTINUES TO TRY IT ON, MARK IS RELUCTANT

MARK: I’m hungry love.

LISA: Yeah so am I, I’ve been waiting all night for you.

LISA TRIES TO START THINGS UP AGAIN, BUT MARK INTERRUPTS AGAIN

MARK: Well, just give me 20 minutes and I’ll be all yours.

LISA: I don’t think I can wait 20 mins.

LISA TRIES KISSING HIM AGAIN, MARK PULLS AWAY AGAIN

MARK: You’ve been waiting all night so what’s another 20 mins.

LISA: Fine.

MARK: Don’t be like that love.

LISA: Like what?

MARK: I’m just tired, it’s been a long day.

LISA: I know, I’m sorry, I’ve just missed you that’s all.

MARK: I’ve missed you too but I also missed my lunch.

LISA: Mark, what’ve I told you. You need to look after yourself properly. You’re no good to anyone otherwise. I’ll go and put your tea in.

MARK: Thanks love. I’ll just be out here.

LISA: I thought you were giving up.

MARK: I am, but one won’t hurt.

LISA: You’ve been saying that for 30 years. Make sure Amy doesn’t see you. The last thing we need is her smoking.

MARK: Our Amy? Smoke?

LISA: Well she might if she sees you.

MARK: The girl who coughs at the petrol station when inhaling petrol fumes?

LISA: That’s not the point, your her Dad, she looks up to you.

MARK: I don’t know why.

LISA: Because your kind and generous man, now go on.

MARK HEADS OUTSIDE

MARK: How can something that feels so right, be so wrong? I crave it, I crave it like an addiction, like smoking…I know it’s bad for you but I do it anyway, I ignore the consequences, the pictures on the packet fags of black lungs and decaying teeth, I ignore the risks of cancer and gum disease. I delve straight in, I light it up. It touches my lips and I tell myself every time don’t do it. But then I think fuck it, you only live once, were all going to die anyway. I take it back. I inhale it and with that inhale it takes over my whole body. I let it out and with that release of breath everything seems alright again, just for a moment. That’s how I’d feel when I’m with her. But then I go back to reality. I feel guilty. It’s ironic, I used to call people like me – I’d read the paper and think how could you do that, abuse your position of power. But I’ve never felt like this before, about anyone, not even my own wife. I know she wants it as much as I do. I can just tell by the way she looks at me. She craves it too. Maybe it’s the fact it’s forbidden that makes me want to do it more, the fact I could lose my job doesn’t even enter my head when were together, how bad it that, only after do the feelings of guilt creep up on me. I know I should stop, I should try. I should end things… end things, before anyone gets hurt. I know the right thing to do would be to leave my job, get away from her. Do the right thing by my wife, my kids. I should end it. Tonight.

 

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