sábado, 3 de mayo de 2008

Mi marido difunto(drama para una actriz)_Lia Karavia

Fotografía: Lia Karavia, Grecia.

Lia Karavia

My late husband
Pièce pour une comédienne

Mary is sitting on a bench without a back, in the middle of the stage. She is wearing a grey dress with a pocket and with buttons its whole length. A V-shaped neck opening with a school-uniform type of collar made of the same rough cloth. White heelless shoes. Thirtyish. No make-up. Tied hair.


My late husband. Was he to blame? He was who he was. Nobody is perfect. Now he rests in peace. To eternity, as the saying goes. The other saying is “The dead are absolved”. End of story. (Silence). As for me, neither end nor resting in peace. I came to this point in life and where do I stand? Not at zero. Below zero. You’ll say if you wanted to achieve things, lady, you’d find a way. (Sad laugh). I did find one! Applaud me!

Once upon a time I dreamed of all sorts of achievements. The problem is what drive you put to it. If you need luxury, that is to say assistance, encouragement, understanding, then you can sit and wait. Things may come about or they may not.

To be fair, I must say I had some of that kind of luxury in my life. In the Institution, Mrs. Stella had given me first place in the choir and if there was a solo it was me she asked to sing it. She used to say I could become somebody if I were given the chance to work on my voice. “You have nightingales in your throat, Mary”, she used to tell me. The blessed woman had infinite patience. I’d sit by her and go up and down musical scales. (She sings softly). Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si, do. (Louder, more allegro). Do, si, la, sol, fa, mi, re, do. She sat by me even after teaching time. Imagine having a Mrs. Stella all your life! She believed I deserved a better Music teacher. She did not think too highly of herself. For me she was divine. The following year she did not come to the Institution. I never saw her again. It was as though she had disappeared from the face of the Earth. I hope she is all right, wherever she may be, and never mind I lost my nightingales. Nor did another teacher come to teach us music. Better that way. He might be excellent, but singing does not involve just the voice. It involves the heart, too. And my heart belonged to Mrs. Stella. It still belongs to her, I must say. (Silence). Anyway!

My late husband was annoyed even if I just murmured a tune. He suffered from headaches, he said. Was it his fault? Who would not want to enjoy music and songs? It seemed he was not healthy enough to be able to enjoy them. What was it he demanded? His peace and quiet; no more. I used to shut the kitchen door when I cooked and breathed songs even below my breath. I reckoned he would not hear me with the noise of pots and pans. But my late husband could hear a whisper, sounds softer than whispers. I believe it was rather intuition. Even if I just thought of a song, he threw the kitchen door open and glared at me. “I need some quiet, if you please”, he said. Ha! “If you please”? “I command you!” would be milder than his venomous tone. I muttered I was so sorry. I was trying my best. But glasses tinkle, and pots clink making still more noise. I pretended I was dumb but I knew what he meant. “It is not the pots that bother me”, he replied curtly. “It’s the festivities. Are we celebrating something which I have no idea about?”

You may say was it a happy life for him? Being annoyed by the barking of a dog in the street, by the meowing of a cat! If they were stray animals, there was no one for him to turn against. So he turned against me because I said that it was the good Lord who had created animals, too. That is what we had been taught in catechism, in the Institution. We had been taught to respect everything in the Nature which He had created; and to become good human beings, not to soil with our thoughts and acts His Creation. I remember how mad he got when I dared express such thoughts. Did I intend to bring home some python or a noisy jay, to protect the Nature of good God? he asked angrily. I learned to keep silent not to enrage him. If, however, the animal belonged to some neighbours, he turned against them and I lay low waiting for him to calm down. That was how he was, poor man. Was it up to him to be different? I say his life would be better if he could enjoy things – the sun, the light, colours.

Speaking of colours. As soon as the flower bloomed, whisk! Out of our home! Not he. He was the house-owner; I mean the flower-pot. “Why have you picked this bright-coloured plant, showy like a slut? Why not a lily, since you absolutely needed a flower-pot?” He was exaggerating, I thought, but did not say a word. I believed he’d calm down and let it be, in its exquisite bloom. On the morrow, the pot had disappeared. I wonder how he managed to lift it, since his health was fragile as he said, and one could see he was weak. Who knows where he dumped it? That was the end of that, too. I did not have even a flower-pot to take care of and take a pride in. Never mind me. Wouldn’t he be happier with another character?

You may say what right have you to judge others, lady? If you wish to do so, firstly be the judge of yourself. (Silence). Fair enough. I do judge myself non-stop. But now I am discussing my late husband. No one is perfect, except the Lord. There are, however, some things one can’t easily stand. (She gets up and approaches the audience). “Hush!” (She looks sternly at the persons on the first rows. She places her finger in front of her mouth). “Hush!” (She smiles). That’s what I remember most of him. If I said good morning somewhat vividly, that is the movement he made.

“Hush! You should be a village crier not a housewife”. (Silence).

Lord, everything You did has been done in Your great wisdom. Imagine we might have a baby! How can one keep an infant silent? How can one cuddle it and play with it in whispers? Wasn’t I yearning for a baby? No musical scales, no flower-pots, no colours, just to listen to its heartbeat in my tummy and then in my arms. My life would have taken different paths if I had been blessed with that miracle. But it did not happen; unfortunately for me; but fortunately for the baby itself. Everything You did has been done in Your great wisdom, Lord.

The fact is I had been warned in the Institution. Our Mother had said, “Think about the matter seriously. He is an elderly man. There may be some problem in having children. And if you get the blessing of getting a child, your husband will be at the age of a grandfather, not of a father”. Our Mother could see no more than his age as a problem. How could we know of his character?
And what if we knew about it? No one else had asked to marry me and I couldn’t stay at the Institution for ever. At some moment we, the older ones, have to leave, so that new orphans can come in. And there is worse than being an orphan. Some little ones come there battered; covered with cuts and bruises while still toddlers. There is even worse, but I will not talk about it; for if we say filthy things we should then wash our mouth. As for me, thank Heaven, I was simply orphaned. Inside the Institution everyone was good to me, even when I did not deserve it. However, I had become an adult, nearly twenty. Should I be told I had to give my place to a new child? I did not have a penny of my own; my late husband took me in with nothing but the clothes I had on. Still, the rich dowry the Institution had endowed us with was their teachings and admonition to always follow the right way. (She sits at the edge of the stage and hangs her legs at the space before the seats). I loved learning. The only small thing that grieved me was “below zero”; negative numbers in Maths.

The catechist was equal to John, father of the Church, an inspired orator. The words of gold that sprang from his mouth were precious keepsakes for us. We had memorised the Ten Commandments before we knew how to count up to ten. He who followed his teaching would undoubtedly have a place in Paradise. Not me, forget it. But I speak generally. He kept our souls pure. I’ll never forget him. Mrs. Stella either.

Our Gym teacher, bless her, taught us not to be ashamed of our body, not to scorn it. She said that even before Christ, in ancient times, people knew that the mind, the heart, the soul need a healthy body as their safe dwelling-place. For me gymnastics was a moment of freedom. Methought I would spread wings and fly. I tried to practice a bit while married: stretching up high and higher, to reach the clouds. Yeah, right! My wings had been snipped off. I could not even touch the low ceiling of the house.

But the person I wish to praise above all others is our Drawing Teacher. That man opened the gates of Heaven for me as he talked about Painting. Not just about the first icon-painters with their sombre colours and austere faces of the saints, but also about those that followed, of the Renaissance, who depicted glances, sentiments, gestures, and who dared use bright colours. The monk-painter Fra Lippo Lippi became my favourite of the time, and I tried to copy his icons. That teacher of ours went on talking to us about trends of painting up to our days. We learned magical words, difficult only at the start: Realism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism… I got a passion for painting, not only just what I saw, sometimes as I myself saw things around me, and at other times things which my mind created. Τhe teacher used to look at my drawings and say, “There’s something in here; a vision of your own. Don’t lose it, Mary. Don’t let anyone take the pencil or charcoal from your hand. Are you listening? I hope that you are listening to me and that you will not forget my words, Mary”. (She gets up).

The man was saying this for my good, but at the end it turned out to be the other way round. And since confession takes some weight away, I must say it has caused great damage. (She goes to the far end of the stage, touches the wall as if desperately searching for something – an opening, the button of a secret door, something she does not find, till she stops the vain effort, turns to the audience and remains motionless for a while).

My late husband had his good sides. We shouldn’t mention only his bad ones. He was not stingy. If I needed new shoes, he would bring up the subject before I had time to talk about it. “Go get yourself a pair of shoes before the soles fall off those wretched ones.” And he did not even discuss the price. How much are they? Very well. Here is the money. If I needed some clothing, same thing. I cooked what I knew he liked. It happened that fresh fish was expensive. Would he grumble about it? Not a word. How much was it? Here it is. Still, I knew there was a list of items allowed and a list of items forbidden. Excluded for me to buy anything… useless. (She goes to the bench and sits). I mean something that he considered useless; even if for me it was more necessary than bread and water; as necessary as the air I breathe. What did I need? A couple of paint-brushes, some paints, a few pieces of cloth or paper and, above all, a small space of my own. Never mind if I went nowhere. I could travel round the whole world by painting what pictures gushed out of my mind. Such things were excluded.

Through saving, I managed to put a few pennies aside and secretly bought two paint-brushes, without knowing what to do with them. At the shop there was also a young woman whom I often saw coming and going at the little house opposite ours. She knew exactly what she needed, mentioning numbers and brands. I, on the contrary, pointed to a paint-brush hesitatingly and said, “Give me that one, if you please”. The young woman approached me and said, “Hi! Do you recognise me? My name is Tonia and I live opposite you. Do you paint, too?” In the beginning, I got scared. I told her my name, and then I said I did not paint. To avoid lying, which is a sin, I added that I liked painting, but that I had no space for it, not much time either, and little knowledge of techniques, therefore… She looked at me and laughed. “Which means that you buy the paint-brushes to console yourself?” I tried to laugh, too, but I did not manage. “To cheat myself”, I said. “Haven’t you seen people holding an unlit cigarette to pretend they are smoking?” “Smoking is not creation”, Tonia retorted seriously. “If one needs to create, one cannot cheat one’s soul by just holding a pain-brush”.

That encounter upset me. I was not going to relate my life-story to her, nor was I to expose my husband by telling about my life with him. But the young woman did not seem interested in gossip, anyway. “Come over for a cup of coffee, when you find a free moment, Mary”, she said. “You will be pleased to meet my husband. He can live without comforts, without much sleep or food, not without painting. I don’t know if he could eventually manage, but he is not interested in a life without painting. It is for him that I have bought all this. As for me, I know for sure I can’t live, nor am I interested in living without my love, Michael”.

Of course, their conditions were different from mine. I turned over and over again in my mind that conversation and I wondered if I could live with secret paint-brushes, without colours, a life colourless in itself. Not sometimes black and sometimes white. Always grey.

My late husband had undoubtedly been through difficult times to have ended in such a joyless way of life. Perhaps, if he opened his heart to me, some things inside him might be cured. But firstly he did not consider me worthy to hear how he had fared in his life before I met him. And secondly he did not seem to realise he had a problem with emptying life itself from his life. (She paces thoughtfully to and fro).

Why are you saying that, one might ask? Didn’t he open a door in his life by marrying you, a young girl, when he was pretty aged? Better than no opening at all. Well, one might consider it was an opening. He needed someone by his side, so that he would not be all alone, like a lone tree. I put order in his house, the way no man can; he enjoyed home-made food, while before me he either had something uncooked or had meals in cook shops; he found clean and well-ironed clothes to wear. He did not appear to have other needs. Would you really consider all this as the opening of a door? I believe that an opening would be for him to have with me some discussions for companionship, to teach me some sort of competitive game – draughts, chess, backgammon, whatever; anything but cards, which we had been warned at the Institution never to touch in our lives.

I must say that he did not use me as a vessel for pleasure. He was a gentleman in that area. Perhaps he had been that way since he was young, or perhaps abstinence came with age, but for me it was great to be treated with respect. I could live without love. Without respect I would be in Hell. I did not face such a problem, thank Heaven. If I had a tiny space to draw in, maybe even murmur some tune now and then, I think I would have no problem at all in my life. But things are not always what we wish them to be.

I met Tonia again in the street some days later. She was carrying some oranges in a net. “Come over and let me make some orange juice for you. Come and make the acquaintance of Michael”, she said to me. I mumbled that I did not have much time, but she laughed. “If we wait for lots of time to make acquaintances, we shall remain unacquainted and friendless for ever. We grab time, Mary dear. We create it; we fight with it, against the clock, as one says; but we do not allow time to be the master of our lives”. I followed her out of curiosity. “Who are you to have and to express such ideas?” I wanted to ask her. Well, as soon as I entered the little house my question became unnecessary. I saw a pile of paper on her small table and she told me she was a writer and translator. Thus, she might not have become a millionaire, but she managed. Michael got up from the other end of the room to greet me. He was so smudged that I could not see whether he was good-looking or ugly. But I did notice that he limped more than slightly. Some other man might consider it as misfortune. Contrariwise, he spoke of his good luck.

“I was lucky to have been born with a small talent. And still luckier to have a life companion who considers that my small talent is a big one” They both laughed and Tonia went to make us some orange juice. Then Michael asked me to sit by his side, he gave me a piece of paper and told me to draw my heart. I drew a waterfall. He did not ask me why; and if he had asked, I would not have known what to answer. My heart a waterfall? Mysterious is the Lord’s will! When I left, they gave me some paints and a drawing pad. Before I could thank them, they said they were giving me that material as a loan and they wanted it back with interest. Who knows what puzzlement and worry appeared on my face? They both burst out laughing. “The interest will be whatever you draw”.

Nice persons. How could I tell them they were upsetting my life? But indeed they were. (She comes downstage and for a moment dangles on one leg, the other hanging in the space beyond the stage). Could I turn the key and enter his house… that is… I mean our house, with paints and a huge drawing pad in my hands? I trembled all over. (She stands on both legs). Divine Providence had it that he was taking his nap and did not see me. So, I stumbled down to the basement and hid my treasures behind the tins where we kept our cooking oil and other stored provisions.

From that time onwards, the basement became my precious space and my consolation. I stole ten minutes from here, half an hour from there, and I created the world. In His image. The Lord had created the World in six days. My creation was fragmentary; drop by drop. But my soul found its peace, though I always trembled as a thief, afraid I might be caught red-handed. Literally red-handed! (She looks at her palms smilingly.)

My late husband was not jealous of me. I must put that in his good points. He knew I that had been brought up with the Bible under my pillow and that I was no fool to ignore the Commandments of the Lord. Thou shalt not steal, though shalt not commit adultery, though shalt not bear false witness… Yet, I saw him scrutinising me suspiciously, for the first time. Had anything changed on me? I did not disturb, I did not sing even below my breath, I continued our routine as usual, but he seemed to notice some difference. I was not going to ask what. Let’s not stir up what should go unnoticed. Since I now had a secret, I had to play dumb to protect it. But he insisted. “Are you having some celebration I know nothing about?” “What celebration? My name day is on August 15, for Maria the Mother of Christ. And we are still far from there.” I saw he was still distrustful, so I continued even more stupidly. “I try my best not to make a noise. If, however, I have caused any inconvenience…” This time he was not speaking of noises, he explained. He was speaking of light. I pretended I was surprised. Light? That’s strange! Precisely, he said; light in my eyes, on my hands, on my body. He was a weary man. Strong light exhausted him, made him dizzy. I am not a moron and I feel ashamed to pretend I am one. But I had to promise him I would keep the lights of the house as low as possible. As if I did not know what he really meant!

Things deteriorated when Tonia knocked at our door some day. She had not seen me for a while and wanted to ask if I was all right. I must have blushed, then turned pale, for I felt feverish, then frosty; but I assured her I was fine and she left without more fuss.

However, my late husband started asking questions. Who was that woman and what did I have to do with her? Despite my explaining that she was a nice neighbour, hard-working and virtuous, married to a good man, he would not relax. He loathed contacts with neighbours. He asked me in a cold tone to keep my distances too, as a good wife.

At the Institution we had been taught that disobedience is a sin. But we had also been taught that God has given Man free will. I thought it wrong not to use that Divine gift. It would be ingratitude to my Creator. So I did not stop dropping by at my neighbours’. I had to tell Tonia my husband was strict so she’d better not visit. I felt it so shameful to tell on my husband that I burst into tears. Our Mother always advised us to keep things of our home inside its walls. It was like betraying him, though my heart was full of pity for him. Was it his fault he behaved the way he did?

Deep inside me I believed that my late husband was … what is the word? An innocent sufferer. Not answerable.

Tonia said she understood. I might visit whenever I could. Then Michael gave me a palette, some tins with paint and a piece of canvas in a big roll, to paint stroke after stroke my entire soul. That’s what he said. I slipped into the house like a burglar and hid everything in the basement.

Well, there was something magical in that canvas. As soon as I unrolled it, my hand knew what my mind did not. Had I learned how to mix paints? No. Yet, I knew! The colours went where they themselves wanted. The light was so intense that I thought it would swallow me. In the joy of that time an unknown fear crept in and became bigger and bigger. How could I hide all that light? I supposed it would show through the cracks and every now and then I stopped and climbed up to make sure my husband was resting in peace. (She returns to her bench and sits).
My late husband. Late. Too late now. (Silence). Ah, that reminds me he used to have his meals quite late. (She laughs). One remembers funny things at times! My husband was very fond of macaroni. Maca… (Sadly). Macabre. Well, he liked them best of all. I asked, “Shall I cook fresh beans?” “Sure; why not?” “Or would you rather have macaroni?” “What a question! Macaroni, of course!” He was quite easy as to food, however. He would eat ungrudgingly anything I cooked, even when it had not come out too tasty. Basically, he was good, poor man. Something had gone wrong in his life, but who knows what?

When I unrolled it all, the canvas spread from one end of the basement to the other. Never in my real life had I seen some of the pictures on it, which I myself had painted the day before. Had I ever seen a real waterfall when I drew my heart for Michael? No, but let’s suppose that I had seen one in some picture. What about this now? I was at a loss. On the canvas there sprang eerie landscapes and seascapes. Creatures emerged from the water and flew up high. Reddish light from inside the earth merged with the blue light descending from heaven. And I had the feeling that what I drew produced music. It was surely a hallucination. I was not mad to believe colours produced sounds.

I looked at the pictures and thought perhaps our Earth was like that millions of years ago. As for me, small, mortal and… how can I express it? finite, I observed the canvas ecstatic and terrified by what I saw. I had practically lost my speech at that time. For how could I speak about it all, even just to my friends, opposite?

I decided that as soon as I finished, in a couple of days, I would roll the canvas, find the right moment to get it secretly out of the house, take it to Tonia and Michael’s and give it to them. “Here is my debt to you”, I would say laughingly to hide the terrors I had gone through. “And here is the interest you had asked for your loan”.

Afterwards I would live in safety, with smaller joys or no joys at all but also without terrors. That is what I planned to do. (Silence). Well, Man proposes and God disposes. (She makes an effort to get out of silence and immobility. She manages to liven up. She gets on her feet).

Of course, when it was freshly painted I did not roll it right away. I climbed up to do some chores, allowed some time to pass and went down to roll it when it was dry. That day I went out to buy a chicken to make some soup for my husband. When I returned, I found the house empty. Strange! He does not go out in such cold weather even if he has to. Then I heard noises in the basement. I stumbled down out of breath. “What?” I screamed inside me but my voice had turned to stone.

No human being should see what I saw down there. My husband was stabbing with a carving knife whatever he found around him: paint boxes, sheets of paper painted and unpainted, all lying on the floor now torn and tattered. And the whole time he growled like a wounded beast. “So that’s what it was! That’s it, slut! That’s where you were hiding to do your dirty tricks! Filthy woman! I took you in, with just a rag on her body and I made a lady out of you! That’s what it was all about, bitchy servant girl!”

I wanted to yell. “What dirty tricks? Why a slut and a bitch? Have you married me to be your servant girl or your wife? Why so much hatred?” But when I opened my mouth only a bubble of air came out, noiselessly.He turned round and saw me standing there looking at him. “Welcome, my precious one! Come help me clean the stables of Augias. Give me a hand and let’s finish the job”. He lifted his fist with the carving knife and stabbed the middle of the canvas. If I could scream, if my voice managed to find a way out, perhaps disaster would have been avoided. Along with the voice, the thing that swelled in my chest, as if a hyena had wriggled inside it, might have found its way out. With my mouth wide-open, voiceless, with the air-bubble bursting silently, I darted to take the knife from his hand.

He could resist, but I think he was taken aback. I took it from him easily, almost as though he had given it to me of his own accord. I lifted it high in the air. I think I was lifted along with the knife and my feet no longer touched the ground. Then I fell on him and became quiet.

Perhaps I slept – some seconds, minutes, hours, I couldn’t tell. I opened my eyes and felt I was stuck on something that did not allow me to breathe. I was stuck with thick blood on my husband.

“And the two of them will be joined in one flesh”. These were the first words that came to me. As I could not move, I thought we had both died and was not afraid. But the colour of blood brought another thought to my mind. That was just the colour I needed for the last brushes on my canvas. Scarlet birds soaring to the skies. I would finish my painting by dipping the paintbrush in the blood, then go to the kingdom of Death with him.

I got unstuck, got hold of the paintbrush and was awakened. My throat opened. First one more air-bubble came out, huge; then a shriek that tore the walls and the streets. The house filled with people.

Unknown persons: nurses, stretcher-bearers, curious on-lookers who were driven away by policemen. I saw a familiar face. “Let me pass! I am her friend!” Tonia was shouting. And I pleaded. “Tonia, take the canvas. Give it to Michael. I owe it to him, Tonia!”

They allowed her to approach me for a moment. She patted my gluey hair. She said only a couple words, but they were balsam to my heart. She said, “I understand.” Then she said, “We’ll keep what you have painted.”

Before they took me away, I saw her with my own eyes roll the canvas. “Whatever may befall me, something of me has been rescued”, I thought. And I had the time to shout thank you to her.
Then I was dragged out. There was a crowd in the street. Some yelled and insulted me. It did not last long, for they pushed me inside a car and I was driven away.

I was stripped naked and washed. Nobody had ever seen me naked, not in the Institution, not my husband, and I had believed that my life would go by without anyone ever seeing me stark naked. I was surprised to realise that the woman’s glance on me did not disturb me. Perhaps that fact was due to our Gym Teacher, at the Institution, who had taught us not to scorn or be ashamed of our body. Or maybe I was in another Universe, where I existed bodiless, and it was no concern of me to have my hair washed and the blood scrubbed off my body. Then I was clad in this dress.

I was led into a cell and was given something to eat and drink. What was the use of food and drink if I was bodiless? I expected punishment, or at least indifference, not food. But a young lady came in; she held my hand in hers, looked into my eyes and said, “You must learn how to feed yourself and go on living, girl. Muster up your courage and do it”.

Why? Had I said it or just thought of it? Anyhow, she answered. “You see, even a newborn baby makes an effort to cope, on entering an unfamiliar world. Pick up the spoon and bring it up to your mouth”.

Who was she? Could she be an angel? How come an angel came by my side, since I had been doomed? Had I said it or just thought of it? She responded. She was a psychologist and she would stand by me. I started eating. She smiled and left. I had the food and I drank.

I don’t know how to mark time in here. At some point a lady came. “I am your lawyer”, she said. She must have been wrong. I had no lawyer, nothing but the canvas, if it had been rescued. “I have been appointed to defend you”. How could she defend me since I had disobeyed God’s most important Commandment? Thou shalt not kill.

She asked who knew me well, to call them to testify for me. Why?

“To give testimony as to your character, to convince the Law Court to accept extenuating circumstances”. I did not understand the use of it, but I told her about the Institution. Who knew me better than Our Mother?

Later the lawyer came back. The news she had for me was that Our Mother had nor agreed to bear witness for me, to try to lessen my guilt. I considered it natural. Coming out of the Institution and entering a Law Court should be a real ordeal for her. Besides, what “extenuating circumstances” could the Court accept since I could find none for myself?

On visiting days, every prisoner expected somebody. I did not expect anyone. Still, once I was called, too. Tonia had come and told me that Michael and she would testify for me, so that partial excuse might be accepted by the judges. I could not care less about excuses. I only wanted to know Michael’s judgement for what I had painted. Tonia spoke with emotion. “He said that he felt a bit jealous, and would like to be able to see the world through your eyes”. All the rest was indifferent to me. They could do as they pleased at my trial. But Tonia explained that trials are not black and white. If one had extenuating circumstances, one could ask for things. I could then ask for paper and pencils or colours. Therefore I became interested.

The couple, my friends, came to the Court. Michael limped far more than I remembered, but he was not smudged and he looked to me very beautiful, the way I imagined angels. A severe man asked them questions, and then the lady lawyer asked them, and they answered. They spoke about my life with my late husband. Nothing dirty. They just said that he had imprisoned me in our marriage out of love, and I had kept trying hard to open a small window to be able to breathe. They said that I had been in self-defence when I stabbed him. “Do you mean he attacked her?” the stern man asked ironically. “Did he perhaps try to take her life away?” Michael looked at him into the eyes, quite calm. “Far worse, sir. He tried to pluck out her soul.”

The Court accepted I had had an honourable life previously. They accepted I had been in confusion when I committed the act. They did not accept I was in self-defence. They had not understood Michael’s words. But I had; so I saw myself with some leniency.

I was sentenced to life-imprisonment, as a message to other women not to end up like me. I found it reasonable. Anyway, where could I go and what could I do outside the prison? Here I have a space of my own.

The most important piece of news is that at visiting time tomorrow Tonia will bring me painting material. And in here I bother no one if I whisper tunes. So I can create some things, I can be someone. Not a zero. Not a negative number. Something positive. And I can live free. Freer that ever before. (She looks at the audience and smiles serenely).
END. Curtain or darkness.
25 April 2008
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