Аннотация: The conversation between Russian mother and son, American immigrants. The Mother tells her son how she met his father and how she broke up with him.
Why does no one love us?
By Ludmila Anselm
Translated by Jim Clinton
Peter: 14-year-old boy
Ma: Peter"s mother
A living room. Curtains drawn over a window.
At rise Peter"s hand is poised and eyes are staring at the phone he expects to answer any second. Ma enters in a rush and grabs for the phone. Peter deftly deflects her hand and grabs the receiver him self.
Ma: Why did you do that? I have to call Aunt Gail.
Peter: Call her later.
Ma: I want to call her now.
Peter: Can"t you see? I"m expecting a call.
Peter: Emma will call. We agreed to go to the movies.
Ma: Why don"t you call her?
Peter: It"s the Sabbath. Her family can"t use the phone until "first star", like around sunset time.
Ma: Give me the phone. Gail and I can certainly finish talking before sunset!
Peter: No! Emma will call any minute from a pay phone.
(Ma upset, falls into the sofa)
Call later after Emma and I go ... or call her on your cell phone...
Ma: I have to pay to use the cell phone before nine o"clock.
Peter: Call after nine... What"s the hurry?
Ma: Aunt Gail owed me $100. She gave it back to me yesterday, but when I counted it, $10 was missing. Maybe this was her installment idea, or a mistake.
Peter: Why doesn"t Emma call? I asked her a week ago and I reminded her again yesterday. She promised to call. I hope... I hope...
Ma: Try calling her yourself.
Peter: I did. No one answered. Maybe she"s sick.
Ma: If she"s sick she certainly should have called you.
Peter: Look at me Ma. What"s different?
(Ma peers at Peter)
Ma: You shaved! Why?
Peter: Girls were teasing me "Fuzz Face". What do you think?
Ma: That was such nice soft fuzz on your cheeks. I loved to stroke it. Where did you get the razor?
Peter: Uncle Ted, Aunt Gale"s boyfriend. He has an electric shaver.
Ma: So soon...
Peter: I told you I wanted to shave.
Ma: I know you wanted to shave for your date... Did you use an after-shave lotion?
Peter: No. Should have?
Ma: All your pimples are bright red... Next time we"ll at least put some rubbing alcohol on your face after shaving...
Peter: I saw... I"m so embarrassed... Ma why doesn"t Emma call? She should...
Ma: I don"t know... Instead of doing your homework you are wasting time shaving too soon and mooning over a girl. Silliness...
Peter: It"s not silly. I just want to go to the movies with Emma... Practically all the boys in my class have girl friends... I have nothing to boast about and, they don"t talk to me...
Ma: And they won"t until you do better in school... Good marks get respect...
Peter: Girls don"t care about boys" marks! They like boys who risk and clown and have to stay after school.
Peter: She"s smart...
Ma: Then why don"t you work harder? Talk to her about hard homework...
Peter: There"s nothing I"m interested in...
Ma: Now the school psychiatrist wants me to go and talk with him. Are you arguing with your teachers again?
Peter: They tell stories and stupid lies.
Ma: What lies? Tell the truth now!
Peter: Mr. Small my biology teacher said that he"s reading Solzhenizin"s book "Archipelago Gulag" and that if a man peed outside in the winter cold the hospital could operate on his frozen penis without anesthesia!
I raised my hand and said this was stupid.
Ma: How do you know that it was not true?
Peter: I didn"t, but I asked Uncle Ted and he agreed that it didn"t sound right.
Ma: I really don"t care whether it can happen... tell me better about your session yesterday with the psychiatrist.
Peter (bored): He wanted me to put the words on some little wooden blocks in alphabetic order.
Peter: I don"t know the last part of the alphabet, so I built a pyramid out of the blocks...
Ma: I"ve got a son who doesn"t want to learn and I have to go to school!
... Have you started that report you have to hand in Tuesday?
Peter: No, but...
Ma: Emma won"t call you!
Ma: When I was a little girl I studied hard and liked boys who were good in school. And you are just a... You just have to learn...
Peter: All you say is study, study... you forget that now it"s spring...
(For change the theme) Ma, tell me better how you met my father...
Ma: That was a long time ago... in Russia... I don"t remember.
Peter: But I want to know something about my father...You loved him?
Ma: Yes, I loved him...
Peter: Was he your first love?
Ma: First, no! When I was in school there was the boy that I liked, all the girls liked him too...
Peter: Did he like you?
Peter: So nothing happened?
Ma: I wrote him a letter saying how much I liked him... and he told everybody that he was my "Heart Throb".
Peter: And then?
Ma: The whole class laughed at me.
Peter: And you?
Ma: I cried.
Peter (sympathizing: All saw you cry?
Ma: I cried at home... But I went to school after that... And learned all my lessons...
Peter: What happened after that?
Ma: I graduated that spring and went to work...
Peter: And? Where did you meet my father?
Ma: We worked in the same place.
(Ma laughs to herself)
Peter: Why are you laughing?
Ma: I just remembered how we met.
Ma: We all ate lunch in the same cafeteria. When I saw him the first time I thought, "He"s for me", but he walked right by. He didn"t notice me. So I set out to try. I jumped in back of him in line. He put a bowl of soup on his tray. I quickly hit his tray with mine. His soup spilled all over his tray. He glanced at me and wanted to swear, but then I took the exact same soup as his. We sat at the same table and traded soups. That"s how our friendship started.
Peter (laughing admiringly): You were quick! And then?
Ma: He asked me to a movie...
Ma: He asked me to walk in the park... We sat on a bench and kissed...
Ma: After a couple of months I moved into his apartment.
Ma: I was pregnant with you.
Peter: Why did you split up? I want to know why I don"t have a father now. What happened? He cheated you?
Ma: Firstly he сheated you...
Ma: The cad had no interest in you and... me... You were born in a Maternity Hospital. All the fathers waited at a big window to see their babies. I waited with you in my arms all week, but he never came to see you... It turned out that he had met another woman!
Peter: What did you do?
Ma: When I was let out of the hospital I went right home to my parents not to his apartment.
Peter: You saw him?
Ma: Soon he got a job in another factory. I never saw him again...
Peter: Ma how did you live through it?
Ma: You helped me...
Ma: You were always with me...
Peter: And what was happened then?
Ma: And then... I grab you in my arms and went to America...
Peter: Ma, did my father ever give you flowers?
Ma: Yes! I remember once we walked past a fence in front of beautiful lilacs. He climbed over the fence and pickled me a bouquet. Bowing, he gave them to me. I put them on my bedside table. Oh how wonderful the lilacs smelled.