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    Понедельник, 06.02.2023, 09:05
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              И Л Ь Я   Ч Л А К И

    IN THE PARK (В парке)

    Translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and Francisca Everduim




    Christina – early 30s
    Sylvia – early 30s



    A warm summer's evening. A woman is sitting in the park: Christina. She pulls out a packet of cigarettes and casually lights up. A short pause. Sylvia appears. She walks up to Christina and looks at her.

    Sylvia: Hello.

    Christina nods, barely looking up

    Sylvia: May I sit here?
    Christina: Sure, go ahead.

    Sylvia sits down. A short pause.

    Sylvia: Lovely weather today.
    Christina: Yes, lovely.
    Sylvia: No trace of that storm yesterday.
    Christina: No, none.
    Sylvia: Have you got a cigarette I could have?
    Christina: Sure, go ahead.

    Christina gives her a cigarette. Sylvia lights up.

    Sylvia: I don't normally smoke. Almost never – just two or three times a year, no more. But today I fancied it; I don't know why. Today seems kind of...
    Christina: Kind of…?
    Sylvia: Gloomy.
    Christina: Maybe.
    Sylvia: Do you live nearby?
    Christina: Not particularly.
    Sylvia: I love this park, too. I do live nearby, but that's not why... Even if I lived at the edge of town, I'd still come here.
    Christina: That's why I come.
    Sylvia: I'm sorry, am I disturbing you with all my chattering?
    Christina: Not at all.
    Sylvia: I should have asked.
    Christina: If you were disturbing me, I would have said.
    Sylvia: Amazing.
    Christina: What?
    Sylvia: I saw you and thought: there's a lady it would be nice to sit with and have a chat, or just sit quietly. Something about your face attracted me... You don't often see that.

    Christina looks up and looks intently at Sylvia.

    Sylvia: Is something wrong?
    Christina: No, everything’s fine.
    Sylvia: The way you looked at me was… odd, somehow.
    Christina: That’s just how it seemed to you.
    Sylvia: The expression on your face – it was like you recognized me. Do we know each other?
    Christina: No, I've never seen you before.
    Sylvia: It's a bit dark here, that's why. There are so many trees here that even on a sunny day it's not very light.
    Christina: That'll be it.
    Sylvia: I wonder who you thought I was. Who did I remind you of?
    Christina: I don't know...
    Sylvia: I wouldn't say that your face filled with joy just then.
    Christina: Well... I thought...
    Sylvia: You don't need to say if you don't want to. Was it some unpleasant acquaintance?
    Christina: I don't know... No, I don’t know her...
    Sylvia: You don’t know her? Why that funny reaction, then?
    Christina: I'd heard too much about her.
    Sylvia: I guess it wasn't all good?
    Christina: No, quite the opposite.
    Sylvia: Seems very complicated. I don't really understand. Well, good luck to her, your non-acquaintance. If she's that bad, then there's no point talking about her.
    Christina: I don't know what she's like. I don't want to know, either.
    Sylvia: Me neither.
    Christina: You don't work?
    Sylvia: What makes you think that?
    Christina: Because it's day time. Most people don’t work at night.
    Sylvia: Oh yes, of course. No, I do work and everything’s fine... I just took the day off today... It's that kind of day... I can’t even bear to think about it!
    Christina: You look like you work in science.
    Sylvia: No, I'm a secretary. Very ordinary... But my boss can’t live without me. I've been telling him all week that I can't work today, that there’s nothing I can do, I can't get out of it. If only you’d seen what a fuss he made about granting me leave. Can you imagine?! And on this day...
    Christina: I don't work.
    Sylvia: Really?
    Christina: I'm unemployed.
    Sylvia: But presumably you have a husband?
    Christina: No, I'm not married.
    Sylvia: Hmm, that's a shame... I understand, because I was unemployed for quite a long time, too. But all the same, things were easier before the death of my...

    Christina stands up energetically.