The Love Of A Good Woman

“You can’t read from a screen,” he said. “And you certainly can’t edit from one.”

That should be: ‘You can’t read off a screen’, she thought. He was always making pronouncements of this sort. Comments of no more value than any other comment, made by anyone, about anything. But he would express an opinion as if what he had to say possessed a kind of holy truth. It was like when he said, “This is the best TV show I’ve seen” or “This is the best ever TV show”. He said these things, Ben her boyfriend did, as if they verily rang with the chimes of purity. As if they were unimpeachably accurate, and, and this was important, it seemed to Charlotte, who was sitting in the white café thinking about all this, it seemed when Ben spoke like this he was almost impressing himself, as though for that moment, while he was talking, he was part of the audience as well. ‘That is the most carefully considered comment I’ve heard from Ben’, Charlotte thought, somewhat mischievously thinking in Ben’s voice, with his drawl and his emphasis on the I’ve, she was imagining him being an appreciative hearer of his own words. And she was imagining him enjoy the experience of performing in front of such an appreciative and knowledgeable audience.

Charlotte withdrew the script from her bag. She made a note in pencil on the back: “chimes of purity” – she liked that. She would rub out the words later, before Ben got the chance to see them, but she needed to note them down now so she wouldn’t forget the little phrase which had just popped into her head.

Her coffee sat unmolested in front of her. She always ordered something different when she was in a café, never quite knowing what she would get as she had very little interest in coffee and only used cafes because they were dry and sheltered and people would leave you alone while you read or wrote in one. This time she had a tall glass with a long spoon jutting from it at the top, and there was cream and ice cream in there somewhere, and she had laughed when the man put it down.

She started to read the script, Ben’s script, and a pen was in her hand as she read. The pen was red, at Ben’s suggestion. “Tell it like it is,” he had said. “Don’t sugar coat it.” Charlotte wondered if negative comments really did seem easier to take in blue or black or green pen, rather than in red pen, but Ben had requested red, so she obliged.

It made her laugh. Charlotte covered her mouth with her hand. It was funny, in parts. But it was woeful in others. And the whole didn’t hang together as a story ought. She didn’t care about the characters and felt nothing when she finished reading it, except that sometimes an hour goes faster than it does at other times, and this had been a long hour. Some hours are longer than others, she thought. She agreed with herself.

She circled two amusing passages and wrote: “Good! Develop these ideas more” in the margin next to them. Then she put the script back in her bag, hoping Ben would move onto another project, as there wasn’t really any hope for this one.

Published in: on May 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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