Updated: Oct 7, 2022
This is a shortened version of play by Arnis Aleinikovas. Arnis is a Lithuanian writer, actor and director, currently working and living in Prague. He published his poetry in our last issue Unsichtbar/Invisible. The whole play is available on his website: Read it here.
by Arnis Aleinikovas
Lack is "the fact that something is not available or that there is not enough of it” (Cambridge Dictionary).
These stories deal with it.
SCENE II Phone call
1. Hey, I missed your call.
2. Hey, yeah, it was, ehm… nothing important, I called to ask how you are doing these days.
1. I am ok. I guess.
2. You guess.
1. Yeah, I mean. It is a weird time. I feel my body is in pain and I have no idea what to do with it.
2. Do you want to tell me more about it?
1. I cannot talk, I’m sorry.
SCENE XI INT. PLANE
I just remembered this weird dream I had last night. Why do I remember it now? I guess it doesn’t really matter why. I was dreaming I was in the forest at night. My phone was on the brink of dying and I was walking under these enormous trees, searching for an exit, but at the same time, keeping still and calm. It’s hard to imagine a person being peaceful in a forest at night. I don’t know this forest. But we don’t dream about things we haven’t seen before, right? I read somewhere that our imagination cannot make up things from nothing. Of course, I have been in forests before, and I know what they look like. This forest might just be an adaptation of them. So, I am in this forest. With my phone flashlight on, illuminating the trees all around me and patches of grass beneath my feet. And then I stop. I move my flashlight a little bit upwards, and a deer is looking straight into my eyes. She is not moving. I am not moving. My breathing changes. We are staring at each other. For a long moment. And it is so calm. It feels like we have met before. Like we had known each other for a long time and today we met. Finally. She was looking at me – somehow pure.
SCENE VII INT. EMPTY ROOM
I am thinking about those kids in the little carts. Trying to imagine their heads, their nervous system. They are looking at the world without any pre-recorded knowledge. They are building their own lives. From scratch. From nothing. From “You are my mom, and this is – Who is this?” Later – they will be given our constructs to live in. Then they will be fighting, willing to change the world... And it is a never-ending story. For a better tomorrow. But now, They are little kids in the little carts With expanding neurons and unknown realities.
SCENE X INT. BATHROOM.
A is in the bathtub, naked, imagining talking to B.
A. Why are you here? Why are you still coming here? What are you saying? I cannot really hear you. Come closer. I thought maybe you will never come here again.
A’s voice from offscreen, counting down from one hundred by sevens; a clinical test for your cognition.
A. Tell me. Tell me something.
A. Maybe you want some tea? You are not talking much these days. It’s okay. I don’t really mind being silent.
A. No, it’s not working that way, maybe with some music.
Music starts playing.
A. Oh, I haven’t seen you for ages. Let me kiss you on the left cheek, and now right, and now left again. This is how you do it right? Just without touching the cheek of course.
A. So, tell me, tell me. Tell me everything - how’s your wife, how are your kids. How’s this new world you are living in? Are you happy?
No answer because A is still alone.
A. (over-playing that B is saying something)
M, yeah. Yeah. I do understand. M, yeah, m. Yeah, so interesting. M, yeah, yeah. Mhm. Mhm.
A. Yeah, I remember you have always believed in God. Once you had told me, you lost the connection. I remember I was laughing inside of myself, and you will never know about it, because I respect what you choose to believe in. But I still think it’s a bit weird. To believe in something that was created by humans. Some story that was created by humans.
A. Are you smoking?
A. I was, oh God, I was smoking like hell, but now I am trying to smoke less.
B enters the room. B is the MAN in his 20s. Atmosphere changes and we play as though the previous scene hadn’t happened at all.
A. I remember you have always believed in God.
B. That’s true.
B. Do you?
A. Well, it’s complicated. We went to church from time to time, but my parents did not really believe in God. So, it was more like a social ritual.
SCENE XVI Phone call continuous
1. It might be my nerves. I am just nervous.
2. Why are you nervous?
Sometimes I just feel like I do not belong anywhere. I think that no matter what I do, I will be judged for it and that at the end of the day it is not enough. You know, my grandmother doesn’t ever call me. She says she doesn’t want to disturb me. Do I seem busy, though? No, I know I am busy. But I am busy working because I have nothing else. I have nobody to hold before falling asleep and I have no one to hold me.
You know what? This pain feels like seatbelts cutting into my skin and I can neither move nor breathe. This is how it feels.
SCENE XIII INT BATHROOM
A. Are you still smoking?
A. Stupid question. I think you will never quit.
A. When you are here, I always want to smoke. Maybe because I always feel nervous when you are close by, and maybe I was too fucking stupid – I couldn’t see that before. I said to myself that maybe I could wait, I could suffer in the name of love… and I tried.
B. I didn’t ask you to do this.
A. Of course, you didn’t. You didn’t ask me to do anything. Why did you come here?
B. Because I wanted to check in on you. And I think you need help. I think you need to start everything anew. You need to start trusting in people, you need to fall in love again, you need to start creating. There is no us in the future.
Do you remember when we went to bed? I remember I was looking at you naked. You wanted me and I wanted you. (smiles) We were lying there for some time. Not saying anything, but we both felt the same. We were into each other, and we both were thinking about how to begin. Do you remember that?
B. I do.
A. And doesn’t it make you feel anything? No emotion? Nothing?
B. Look, it was quite a long time ago.
A. Yes, I know. But this just goes straight to your body memory. It goes very deep, and you cannot forget that easily.
B. I do prefer to think about memories as something outside of my body. I try not to grow attached too much.
A. So, you prefer to lock them out and tell yourself that it never happened?
B. Where are you going with this?
A. Can I hug you?
B doesn’t reply; A hugs B, stays there for some time.
A. Can you hug me back?
B hugs him back.
A. Could you try to be more sensitive about it?
B. What do you mean?
A. I mean – can you hug me with the intention of really hugging me?
SCENE XVI INT. PLANE
I cannot remember the last time somebody touched me in a way that would make me feel safe and needed. In a way that would help me forget about the rest of the world. Forget about my pain and the pain of the world. I am tired of feeling hopeless. I am tired of scrolling through pictures where everyone is smiling and pretending that nothing is happening while everything is.
SCENE I INT. EMPTY ROOM – MAN IN HIS TWENTIES
I am seeking for connection. A primal animal instinct – I believe. But the people on the street turn their eyes to the ground, Or their phones, So, we rarely ever meet. Then I look at the ground. Or the trees. The sky. When it’s blue, I have this “opening” feeling. You know, when you are looking at the blue sky for a long time, it flows into you. Then you realize how big the sky is and how small your problems are. I can breathe with my empty head And feel my body, Feel that I am alive. Cliché.
This girl just smiled.
Illustration by Lily Gladenbeck.