BIRDS DO MIGRATE
The sound of the rain outside. Dark.
PAUL Forty-seven. Forty-eight. Forty-nine.
Light turns on. The room with a bed, a table by the window and a chair. There are two plates on the table: one is full of peanuts the other one is empty. Paul is lying on the bed, staring at the hole in the roof through which raindrops leak out. He follows the drops with his eyes all the way down until they fall into the bucket, counting.
PAUL Fifty. Fifty- one. Fifty-two. Fifty… (Does not continue)
He stands up, takes some chewing gum out of his pocket, chews it for a while and takes it out of his mouth. He fills up the hole in the roof with the chewing gum. Goes to the window, opens it. The sound of the rain becomes much louder when the window is opened. When it reaches him, Paul suddenly shuts the window again as if hit by the noise outside. The phone starts ringing. Paul turns his head to where the sound comes from and turns back again. He sits down on the chair by the table and starts counting the peanuts putting them from one plate to another.
PAUL One. Two. Three. Four…
Paul continues counting, gradually raising his voice. The phone stops ringing for a while but then it rings again. He buries his ears with his hands. The ringing does not stop.
PAUL Twenty one! Twenty two! Twen.. three! Four! Seven! Nine…
Paul runs to the phone, grabs it and smashes it into the ground. Light goes off.
They are laughing. Light turns on. They are standing back to back in the centre of the room then turn towards each other. The laughter eventually stops. Their heads down, they are looking at each other’s shoes.
ALMA Yeah… (Raises her head and looks at him) There are those things that can never be forgotten.
PAUL And there are the ones that should be erased... (Searches for cigarettes) But one cannot simply make the memories disappear. (Counts the cigarettes left in the pack. Lights himself one. Takes a glance at a lighter and shakes his head as if awoken from a dream.) They’re following everywhere!
ALMA You mean… (Lets him light her cigarette)
PAUL You know! This one belonged to him… (Shows the lighter.)
ALMA Your father?
PAUL No. No. The man whose surname is written on our mailbox; a goddamn curse remaining forever: in my student ID, passport, and even driving licence! It’s not enough that I can see him every time I look at my brother’s face and even my own image in a mirror! The goddamn lighter also reminds me of him!
ALMA You do miss him, don’t you?
ALMA The one whom you’d not dare call father.
PAUL Wait. Do you think that I don’t have my own problems?
Did I miss this? (Shows the scars on his back)
My mother crying? Brothers screaming? Should I not be averse to all those sleepless nights and…
PAUL Do you know what he said before leaving for the USA heading for a better life? “Birds do migrate, my son! ” - As if trying to comfort me. If he only knew, how goddamn relieved I felt after he left! Ha! Funny bastard was that mister…
ALMA Stop being so sarcastic. I got your point. (Silence) Why didn’t you pick up the phone?
PAUL Why didn’t you write a single letter?
PAUL Deafness, then.
PAUL I never pick up the phone! You know that… Why did you even bother?
ALMA I thought you’d outgrow this habit.
PAUL You’re thinking too much…
ALMA It’s been three years already, and you’re still afraid to hear his voice?
PAUL I’m not afraid to hear it!
ALMA Then, perhaps, not to hear it?
PAUL Who are you to ask those questions?
ALMA Your friend?
PAUL Oh, now she is my friend! After a year without a single word? A year abroad… Forgetfulness? Ha! A good reason…
ALMA Well, but I’m here.
PAUL For how long?
PAUL You are no better than him.
Opens the door and shows her the way out.
Paul shoots up in his bed as if woken by a nightmare. The raindrops are still leaking through the roof and falling into the bucket. He runs towards the table and starts counting peanuts, moving them from one plate to another.
PAUL One, two, three, four…continues.
Somebody knocks the door. Paul pays no attention to it. The door opens. Alma enters.
ALMA I am sorry.
He does not look at her; continues counting.
ALMA I am sorry for leaving, coming back and leaving once again! I am sorry for forgetfulness! Can you hear me? I am sorry!
PAUL I cannot understand. I cannot understand! It was yesterday. Yesterday! It was exactly forty six. Today it’s only forty five! It can not simply disappear. Where the hell is it?
Starts searching for it all over the place.
ALMA Paul, it’s only a peanut! (Laughs)
PAUL You don’t understand! Help me! It simply makes no sense… Just think about it. I mean, birds do migrate, I know that. But they are coming back. And if forty-six of them left, then forty-six must come back. Am I not right, Alma?
ALMA What are you…? (Surprised)
PAUL (interrupts her) One cannot simply disappear. Can one, Alma? Alma! Answer me, please. Where is the goddamn peanut? Talk to me! Your words make me feel alive. It simply makes no sense. Alma!
ALMA Paul! Listen! Paul! My plane is leaving in one hour. Paul, I must go! Came to say goodbye… Cannot leave those things unsaid. I’m sorry. I promise to write! Really!
PAUL It’s been a thousand and fourteen days. No sign, Alma! No goddamn sign! I would forget those sleepless nights, him being drunk and treating us like animals if I could only get a single letter, email, phone call, a message saying that he’s dead, for Christ’s sake! Where is he? Don’t you ever leave! Alma! Alma!
ALMA I must go. I will be back… I…I…I promise. I will write! Paul, listen, I must go now.
She rushes out
PAUL Who am I, a puppet? Alma! Dad! I’m a goddamn puppet. A patient one… One? One, two, three, four, five…
Continues counting. Light goes off.