Three steps out and five steps upstage. The half-a-second pause to check readiness and then slow steps up the little staircase.
It was pitch dark. And utterly silent. They anyway didn’t need to signal through sound or action. They had been doing this for days now. Each time the stage went dark and the set had to change, they made slow tender love. She felt his nerves strain as they lifted the writing desk up the staircase and he felt her breath. They felt they knew each other intimately.
One day, her trousers rustled faintly as she moved and he knew she wasn’t wearing her usual pair of jeans.
They went by their swift coordinated motions like it was a ritual dance.
They entered with a table full of props. She lifted the decanter off it. He placed the fat red book on the table and she placed the decanter on it. He placed the chess board, she the pieces. Then they picked up the books from the sofa downstage to strew them over the desk. He carefully placed the hat carelessly on the floor and she knew to avoid it as she moved. It took all of 15 seconds. They waited for these parts in the play.
She didn’t know his name. He had read hers on a list.
They never spoke back stage. They had other duties. On-stage, with a thousand eyes watching, they moved under the blanket of darkness and lived their togetherness.
It was so delicate, their affair. They were afraid speaking to each other would end their reverie.
One day, as she picked up the decanter, he heard a tiny clink. She wore an engagement ring. He placed the hat differently. She stepped on it. They both knew it wouldn’t be the same again.