Vanda Feriancová

In the Snow


Simon:            What more do you want from me?

Claire:            They don’t talk to you any more?

Simon:            No.

Claire:            You’re lying.

Simon:            Stop writing to me, Claire. I beg you. Please...

Claire:            If you tell the truth to everyone...

Simon:            I keep telling the truth...

Claire: Help me. Maybe you could write an article about us. You’ve got contacts... You would turn the entire world upside down! Help me. Help me, Simon. And then I will leave you alone. Forever. I promise.

Simon:            Claire...

Claire: Okay, let’s not drag the whole world into it. It will be quite enough for me if you could talk to Peter. Explain everything to him.

Simon:            It was hard on me too, you know. Very hard. I was taking tons of pills during all those years. And now I’m finally okay.

Claire:            Are you going to betray me again?

Simon:            Your illness is a direct result of the shock. This state is very natural and logical after all that happened to you.

Claire:            That happened to us!

Simon:            That happened to us...

Claire: You’re afraid to tell the truth. Afraid they would send you to a hospital instead of America. You’re also scared that nobody would believe you.

Simon:            The only thing that makes me sick are your neverending letters... Claire... Your husband probably wouldn’t be too happy to learn about all those letters you write to me.

(Claire starts laughing, very cordially.)

Claire: This is where they placed one electrode on me, and here they put another one. Like in a movie. Have you ever seen a film like that, Simon? Or did the adults also tell you not to stick your fingers in the power socket?

Simon:            Regular procedure... medically tested.

Claire:            Nothing helped me. Not even the piles of pills that they kept feeding me.

Simon:            Claire...

Claire: You know why nothing helped me? Because I had never been sick before. When I understood that they would not stop with the electricity, I started to lie. I played healthy. As healthy as the doctors wanted me to be. But they never stopped talking to me. It was them who talked me into writing to a boy in a red coat. I didn’t even know his name. He had done so much for me and I didn’t even know his name. So I wrote just like that, to the Mountain Service. The letter had found him and he wrote back to me. And I started writing to him. About how things were between you and me, when we came back from the Hawks Mountain Pass... About how everyone suddenly wanted to talk to us. And also how afraid you were of them and how you didn’t want to listen to them any more. And how you left me because I was the only witness who knew everything. And you had to get rid of the witnesses!

Simon:            I didn’t leave you because of them!

Claire: You left me and I was left alone. Alone! And when I couldn’t stand it any longer, my mom shoved me into the hospital!

Simon:            There are cases when expert help is needed!

Claire:            Did you really think that when you get rid of me you would get rid of them, too?

Simon:            Expert help!

Claire: I kept writing and writing to him that at last he came to get me. I found him and he took me to this cabin. He took the forester’s job and we moved here... And only here I understood what was so tempting up here for me. A surprise was waiting for me. The same one that is waiting for you now... She came here to me... My Granny...

Simon:            Claire...

Claire: If only you knew how happy I was! I was so happy that I could be with her again! And now perhaps we all could live here with her in peace. Maybe I wouldn’t care that they don’t like me downtown. Maybe I’d get used to it. Now if only Peter weren’t stuffing me with pills and I wasn’t afraid all the time that he will send me back to the hospital where they will run electricity into my head...

Simon:            Your Granny lives here with you?

Claire:            She’ll meet with you. She promised.

Simon:            Your mom’s mom? The pretty lady who was wearing a red embroidered robe in the framed picture that used to hang above your bed?

Claire:            She still has it. And the slippers that I used to envy her! Red ones with pink feathers!

Simon:            You’re just trying to see how much of this I can take. As usual.

Claire:            You want proof?

Simon:            The hell with your proof!

Claire:            I will tell you why your girl is here!

Simon:            Leave her alone! Don’t drag her into your stories. Please!

Claire:            Why? You want to take her to America too?

Simon:            Why should I be taking her to America?

Claire:            Aren’t you going to miss her?

Simon:            We’re adults.

Claire:            So you don’t love her that much...

Simon:            Maybe I could even fall in love with her... if you finally left me alone.

Claire: Don’t worry, you didn’t want to take her with you just to have an alibi. You don’t have to be remorseful. They needed her! They called her!

Simon:            I’m worried about you...

Claire:            Worried about me or afraid of me?

Simon:            We shouldn’t have come here.

Claire:            You had to come here. Or did you really think that you finally found a regular girl?

            (Malvina enters the room.)

Malvina: I’m sorry, who was it calling for me? “Needed me?”

Claire:            You...

Malvina: I’m a very light sleeper.

Simon:            I’m sorry.

Malvina: Apology accepted. After all, what else am I left to do, right... So who was it calling for me?

Simon:            Me. I called for you.

Malvina: But you are not calling me to come to America with you...

Simon:            Am I supposed to call you to come to America?

Malvina: I didn’t know you used to go out together...

Claire: We did. But then we had a minor accident and many things have changed in our lives. And because Simon didn’t want the change, he left me.

Simon:            We broke up quite normally. Like when two people split up. They get together, they go out together, then they break up. It was a long time ago.

Claire:            Two years ago.

Simon:            We went out together like any other couple.

Malvina: How could you leave a sick woman?

Simon:            I want peace. Understand, the two of you? Peace, so that I can work!

Malvina:  Simon...

Simon:            Why did you spy on me?

Malvina: I only wanted to drink some water.

Simon:            So get a drink and go back to bed. Please...

Translated by Katarína Slugeňová Cockrell