Lighting a cigarette Essay
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Girlish looking woman, in her late twenties, a little overweight, lost in thought. She is wearing jeans, a white jumper and trainers. Her dark hair is tied back. Scene is set up in the upper right stage corner. It is an airport arrivals lounge. There is luggage around her. She is nervously lighting a cigarette. Lights are directed towards her, the background is in shadow. How many times can you start again? I haven’t got a job, I don’t know the language, and what’s most important I’ve never been here before.
After two years in the Italian sun, grey and cloudy England will be a big change.
At least, that’s what I’ve always heard about the island. Oh! I wish I could call this place home in a few years’ time. English people sound alright actually. Not that I have met many of them, but the few in the airplane were really nice to me. Their Italian wasn’t as good as mine but certainly better than my English. (Silence. She looks around obviously waiting for someone). I left this life behind me and I am not going to regret it. Not much to miss, except the weather, the sea view from the balcony and the food. There was nothing else to stop me from leaving.
Martin wasn’t Italian and after the last few months I can’t even think about him as someone close to my heart. I wish he had said something, anything, but he simply let me leave without a word. It wasn’t easy. (Her eyes are filling with tears). I really don’t know what I was expecting. After two years together you would have thought that we both would know that it is not how we wanted to live, and certainly not in each other’s company. But perhaps for Martin everything was great. After only two months we stopped going anywhere. One day I asked him to go to the beach. He said “I’m tired.
You just want to go on the beach all the time. ” He was tired for the next two years. We met in the Czech Republic where our parents live. None of us was living there on a regular basis any more. Martin had already been in Italy for about two years. His sister had married an Italian, Roberto, and they helped him start a new life there. For most people in the small village where we were born, he was the lucky one. They could only dream about living in Italy. At the time my life wasn’t bad, it was very different however. I was working in Germany taking care of an elderly woman.
At the beginning it was really tough; I knew hardly any German and had no one there. The first three months I spent in tears, but there was no chance of a job nearer home and I could save a lot of money. The work was live in so I had few expenses. And to be honest it wasn’t a hard job at all. Muksi was eighty-eight, but she was in very good health. I was doing some cooking and cleaning, but not much more. They treated me as a part of the family and after while I started to feel it. (Half closed eyes, recalling memories) I think it was Christmas time when I started going out with Martin.
He asked me “Do you have someone special? ” I said no quite emphatically! I hadn’t thought about starting a new relationship at all, not after my last mistake. But somehow, when I was meeting my friends, Martin was always there and a few weeks later we were celebrating New Year’s Eve together. It was a distance relationship, he was living in Italy and I was in Germany. He flew to me in Frankfurt for our first Valentine’s Day! I was so in love. I thought I had found the one. Martin said “Maybe we could go back to Italy together. I’m going to change flats so I thought that maybe you …
” I loved him even more then! Just a few weeks later I flew to him to start a completely new life on the East coast of Italy. And now I am flying to start a new life again! How many times can you do it? Is there a limit? My mom was really worried that I’m moving yet again and of course sad that it hadn’t worked out. But I couldn’t stay there any longer and she calmed down when I told her that I was going to Tania. I think it took me too long to realise that Martin was not “the one”. What a waste of time! I should have known long ago. Sadness on her face.
Sometimes, without any reason, he didn’t talk to me for weeks. It was killing me. I was always there for him, his mate, but I hardly ever got anything back. I was spending all my money on the rent, the food, the bills and he … he bought a new car, a plasma TV, some other gadgets. How naive I was thinking that it would all be “ours”. (Sigh). Towards the end his friend Matej lived with us for two months so it cost me even more. Matej never gave me any money and never said anything. Looking nervously around and checking what time it is. I didn’t tell Martin that Tania had bought me a ticket.
I didn’t ask her for it. She has been my best friend for over fifteen years. I was so ashamed! I didn’t have the courage to call her and tell her that I’d got it wrong again. After about a month of silence she rang me and said “What’s the matter? I know you well enough to know when something’s not right. ” I told her that life was not perfect. She knew it had to be much worse. She had met Martin once when she and Nick came to Italy for a week’s holiday and they stayed with us. She never said anything and because of this I guessed what she thought, but now she just said “I’ll send you a ticket to come and visit us.
You can stay if you want or you can go back”. How did she know that I didn’t have any money? That same week Martin reverted to the great guy he could be. We were talking a lot and one night believing he would understand, I told him that I was going to visit Tania. I didn’t say it was a one way ticket and that it was really in his hands if I came back or not. He started shouting, “Do you really think that she wants you there? She is just trying to be nice. People have got their own problems. ” That was so nasty of him. (Sigh).