Kosovo… (a story)
Translated by Vesna Tomić Bečki
- Vasilije grandson, Andrej, Soldier
(Children, Vasilije grandson and Andrej. Young and beautiful. Singing a count-out rhyme.)
VASILIJE GRANDSON AND ANDREJ: From up, above, take a look down
take a look across the rivers, the orange sun quivers
take a look across the field, it’s everybody’s yield
take a look over the fence, when the new dawn commence
the dawn is fright
for the new men’s right.
From up, above, here I come
have a good thing made and the ghosts fade
have some cold breeze and my heart freeze
have no voice so I can have a choice
the choice is fright
for the new men’s right
(Sotir enters. Vasilije grandson and Andrej run away. As if carried by the wind.)
(Europe, Kosovo, Urosevac (Ferizaj). An Inn. XXI century. Year two thousand and some, at the very beginning. January, strong winter. Sotir and Dimitrije are sitting at a table and drinking. Dimitrije, a member of KFOR, in a uniform of junior sergeant of U.S. Army)
SOTIR: Come on Dimitrije, we are imprisoned!
DIMITRIJE: Did I imprison you!?
SOTIR: Not directly, but your kind did!
DIMITRIJE: No Sotir! They saved you from misery, from chaos. It wasn’t much of a state, it collapsed in only three months. At least we have order now.
SOTIR: You call this an order?
SOTIR: How long has it been since you left to America?
DIMITRIJE: Well, twenty years...
SOTIR: You were about the same age as my sons.
DIMITRIJE: About the same...
SOTIR: And you learned all about order there.
SOTIR: Well, is this it? There isn’t a soul in the village that dares go to Urosevac unescorted, and let alone...
DIMITRIJE: You can go to town whenever you want.
SOTIR: No, not really. Only when you’re willing to escort me.
DIMITRIJE: Well, as you know, I’m always willing. Cheers. Let’s just warm up, without endless policy talks. I’m so cold...
(Dimitrije hold his glass up, ready to touch glasses.)
SOTIR: That uniform, as if you are different. As if you’re not a Serb...
DIMITRIJE: I’m not! I’m a soldier!
SOTIR: What kind of a soldier?
SOTIR: You know what I’m saying...
DIMITRIJE: No, I don’t and I don’t want to know!
(A longer pause. Dimitrije is still holding his glass up.)
DIMITRIJE: Come on...
(Sotir accepts. They touch glasses.)
SOTIR: Unless we drop dead before...
DIMITRIJE: Well drop dead if you will, when you’re so fucked up. Dying is all you think about. Never about life,. I told you hundred of times that this misfortune could have been prevented. But no, a Serbian cannot sit tight on his ass and that’s final. He has to scratch even when it damages the skin. You’re no more than a bundle and yet you prepare for war.
SOTIR: Another war, no way.
DIMITRIJE: There is a rumor in Urosevac that both you and Albanians can hardly wait for the forests to turn green to eradicate each other, to the last man. Only be careful, this time there could be no one left.
SOTIR: Schiptars’ dugouts are full of weapons. It’s known where and how big each one is. But you’re turning a blind eye...
DIMITRIJE: As long as they’re underground, there’s peace.
SOTIR: But when they emerge from down there...
DIMITRIJE: If they emerge, you’ll get behind the ones paid to fight. You just endure what might happen and leave the rest to others who have to fight. (He drains his glass. Then he pours another drink to himself and Sotir.) You have land...
SOTIR: So I do!
DIMITRIJE: Focus on it! And tell those sons of yours to buckle down, you’re the head of the house. They’re too hesitant about joining the police...
SOTIR: They’re grown up men. I cannot tell them what to do.
DIMITRIJE: Grown up, my ass! If they join the police, nobody could touch you.
SOTIR: You’re asking too much.
DIMITRIJE: I’m asking too much! I’m trying to keep you alive...
SOTIR: I’d say you looking after yourself.
DIMITRIJE: I am.
DIMITRIJE: Let’s skip at least one war, to have some rest. There would be other wars.
(Vasilije grandson and Andrej enter. Panting. They look at Dimitrije.)
DIMITRIJE: What is it?
(They are still breathless. They just look at Dimitrije.)
DIMITRIJE: Did you hear what I asked? What’s the matter with you two, were your tongues removed?
VASILIJE GRANDSON: Mr. Dimitrije, you have been summoned, Sir.
DIMITRIJE: By whom?
ANDREJ: They said, Mr. junior sergeant is to come at once.
(Vasilije grandson and Andrej run away. As if carried by the wind.)
DIMITRIJE: Shit. Out of the blue. This rakija agrees with me, shit. Sotir we have to go. (He drains his glass and stands up.) Don’t let me remind you again. Decide! Your decision is crucial for the village. If your family joins, it’ll be useful for all. If not...
SOTIR: Is this a threat?
DIMITRIJE: No. Advice.
( A well to do, rural house in a village near Urosevac, on St. Stephen’s day. Head of household Sotir, his younger son Vasilije, Sotir’s daughter-in-law Marija, married to the elder son Ratomir, are sitting around the table.)
SOTIR: Well daughter, let’s eat.
MARIJA: Can we wait a bit. Rasko’ll be any minute now.
(Vasilije stands up and leaves the table.)
SOTIR: If he comes, he’ll eat.
(Marija stands up and starts laying the table.)
SOTIR: Sit down, St. Stephen is a great saint.
VASILIJE: Not only for me.
SOTIR: For you, too!
VASILIJE: In God’s name, divide the land between us Sotir.
SOTIR: I already told you. The time is not right.
VASILIJE: When will it be?
SOTIR: Not now.
VASILIJE: This is unbearable. I want to have my own home, to get married.
SOTIR: Well get married, this is your home.
VASILIJE: You know very well why I won’t marry while I’m in this house.
(Vasilije takes a look at Marija. She runs away into the kitchen.)
SOTIR: Marija! (To Vasilije.) Antichrist.
VASILIJE: You wouldn’t allow it. My getting married. With the woman I wanted, the way I wanted.
SOTIR: I did what’s proper.
VASILIJE: If its proper for one, than it is proper for the other.
SOTIR: First one first, then the second.
VASILIJE: So, where are the grandchildren then?
VASILIJE: It’s not my fault that I’m younger.
SOTIR: Nor mine!
VASILIJE: Well, whose fault is it? Late mother’s maybe?
(Ratomir enters the room. Drunk. He’s singing.)
RATOMIR: I wander why I drink, then I come home and it slaps me in the face.
SOTIR: Here’s your brother. Divide amongst yourselves. I’ll take no part in it.
MARIJA: Rasko, you came. Let’s eat.
RATOMIR: I ate. Give me some wine, woman.
MARIJA: Let’s eat together for once...
RATOMIR: Don’t give me that shit, pour some wine!
(Marija pours wine for Ratomir.)
RATOMIR: (To Vasilije.) The land again, ha!
VASILIJE: I have my own problems, Ratomir.
RATOMIR: Stubborn, our Sotir, tough. Maybe he’s waiting for his sons to became enemies?
MARIJA: Ratomir, you’re drunk!
RATOMIR: Shut up!
SOTIR: I won’t divide the land between you two, and that’s final. Now is the time to stay together.
VASILIJE: Don’t you realize that this is going to drive us apart?
(Sotir crosses himself and starts eating.)
MARIJA: Father, excuse me, I should go, it’s time...
SOTIR: Already. Why didn’t you eat...
MARIJA: Never mind. I’ll eat later.
(Sotir waves his hand to show Marija that she is excused.)
RATOMIR: Where are you going?
SOTIR: It’s some woman’s affair. I let her go.
RATOMIR: (To Marija.) Well, who’s your husband, Sotir or me?
SOTIR: Enough already. I lost my appetite.
(Marija runs out.)
SOTIR: You both should keep your mouth shut, both here and in town.
RATOMIR: So that’s the issue. That’s bugging you... You’ve been talking to Dimitrije again?
SOTIR: The army can see it too, along with everybody else.
VASILIJE: Well, let them look.
SOTIR: Dimitrije is right. Our only chance is to lie low.
VASILIJE: Is there ay lower than this Sotir...
SOTIR: What can you do?
VASILIJE: I would defend myself and if it’s my destiny to die, I’ll die like a man!
VASILIJE: They are all around. They bribed half of UNMIK and KFOR. As soon as they have a chance we’ll get slain like rabbits.
SOTIR: No, not if we play it right.
RATOMIR: You’d want us in their police, ha?
SOTIR: It’s not only theirs, the police is ours, too.
VASILIJE: Sotir, we fought them for years.
SOTIR: Kosovo police is our only chance to survive. To keep our land.
VASILIJE: There’s nothing more important to you than the land.
SOTIR: Like you don’t care. You’re so eager to take it from me! (Long pause.) I’ve been trying to teach you things, all your lives. I wish you learned something.
(Marija is lying on her back under frozen and bare apple tree. Her legs are around the tree-trunk. Dimitrije is watching her, unobserved.)
MARIJA: Oh, fertile tree, apple tree
Fruitless never be, with soul connect thee.
Give me, oh, tree, from a branch free.
Oh, fertile tree, apple tree
Don’t let you fruit waste, to the womb relate.
Let it grow in me, and never claim back, oh tree.
(Marija notices Dimitrije and gets up.)
MARIJA: What are you doing here?
(Dimitrije is quiet.)
MARIJA: I’ll tell on you to Ratomir.
(Dimitrije is slowly approaching. She runs away.)
(Sotir’s house. Spring. Sotir is sitting and smoking. Dimitrije enters the room. He is breathless.)
SOTIR: Can you knock?
DIMITRIJE: Forget about knocking, Sotir, there’s trouble in town.
SOTIR: I can hear it’s some kind of trouble...
DIMITRIJE: Riots. Albanians set half of Urosevac on fire. The church is also on fire...
SOTIR: You came to give me the news. So, I should flee.
DIMITRIJE: They won’t dare come this way.
SOTIR: Sure, you scared them away...
DIMITRIJE: They know the village is armed. So do I.
SOTIR: Did you come to arrest me, by any chance?
DIMITRIJE: I closed one eye, but I can’t close both. Listen carefully! Don’t let Rasko and Vasilije became outlaws. No wood can hide them nowadays, that time passed. This commotion will pass, but the forthcoming trouble won’t end well. I can protect you only when you’re all together!
SOTIR: How can you, when you too flee before them!?
MARIJA: Father, Vasilije put his uniform on!
(She spotted Dimitrije and stopped. She’s scared.)
SOTIR: Go Dimitrije, I beg you, leave. I might have deceived my soul but I cannot escape my destiny!
(Long pause. Dimitrije exits.)
SOTIR: Where is Ratomir?
MARIJA: I don’t know. He isn’t in the house.
SOTIR: Go, tell Vasilije to come.
MARIJA: I will, father.
(Marija exits. Sotir approaches the chest of drawers in the far end of the room and takes out a bundle from it. He approaches the table. He unwraps it. It’s a gun. Vasilije enters, wearing a camouflage uniform of former Yugoslav Army.)
VASILIJE: You called me, Sotir?
SOTIR: I did.
SOTIR: Sit down, I’ll tell you.
VASILIJE: I don’t have time for this.
SOTIR: Sit down.
(Vasilije sits down at the table.)
SOTIR: I told you that this won’t be quiet for long.
VASILIJE: You said lots of things.
SOTIR: Ratomir isn’t with you?
VASILIJE: It’s him you’re worried about? No, he isn’t.
(Vasilije stands up. Sotir grabs his arm.)
(Sotir and Vasilije look at each other for long time.)
SOTIR: It’s not a good idea. For neither of us.
VASILIJE: What do you want me to do. Sit down and watch Schiptars exterminate us like lice.
SOTIR: Trouble asks for a cool head.
VASILIJE: Well give one to my brother, if you can.
(Vasilije starts walking toward the door. Sotir is sitting, as if broken. Vasilije stops.)
VASILIJE: I went to the cemetery this morning. They broke the gravestone and shit on mother’s grave. I don’t know where you get your strength, but I cannot take it any more!
(Sotir gets up.)
SOTIR: So, this is your decision.
VASILIJE: It is.
(Sotir gives the gun to Vasilije.)
SOTIR: It’s my father’s. Take it and take care who you aim at.
(Vasilije takes the gun. He looks Sotir straight in the eye.)
SOTIR: That’s from me to you. Now you can go.
(Pause. Marija enters with a bag full of food.)
MARIJA: Vasa! For the road. Take it.
(Vasilije takes the bag.)
MARIJA: Be careful.
(Marija and Ratomir lie in bed. They have just made love. It’s cold, although it’s early summer. It’s night. Marija touches Ratomir’s hand. She wants to caress him.)
RATOMIR: Don’t bother...
(Ratomir sits on the edge of the bed, with his back to Marija. He lights a cigarette.)
MARIJA: It’s summer and yet the nights are cold.
(Ratomir is quiet.)
MARIJA: Vasilije decided. How about you?
RATOMIR: They didn’t leave me much of a choice, did they. Him and Sotir.
MARIJA: I want to tell you something... Something nice.
RATOMIR: (He turns to Marija, excited, touches her stomach.) Are you....
MARIJA: No, I’m not. It’s not that. What I wanted to say... (Pause.) I’m scared Rasko.
RATOMIR: You’re not the only one.
MARIJA: You’re a good man...
(They look at each other in a touching way, without passion.)
(An Inn. Beginning of summer. Ratomir is wearing an uniform of Kosovo Police. He’s sitting and drinking. Dimitrije enters carrying a jug of wine.)
DIMITRIJE: Just the man I wanted to drink with.
RATOMIR: I’m in a hurry.
DIMITRIJE: There’s no rush.
RATOMIR: I have work to do.
DIMITRIJE: Well, it’s your brother’s doing. You should ask him why...
RATOMIR: Enough, Dimitrije. I curse the day when I obeyed Sotir and you.
DIMITRIJE: You saved your whole family with this uniform. I wish your brother did the same. You should blame him, not me.
RATOMIR: I’m being transferred.
DIMITRIJE: Where to?
DIMITRIJE: Fuck, they won’t welcome you there.
(Dimitrije sits at the table and pours into his and Ratomir’s glass.)
DIMITRIJE: Are you taking Marija along?
RATOMIR: What’s it to you?
DIMITRIJE: I’m only asking!
RATOMIR: You ask and yet you know the answer!
(Dimitrije offers the drink to Ratomir with no success.)
DIMITRIJE: Can you leave her here? Vasa might drop by...
(Ratomir stands up.)
DIMITRIJE: Sit down, let’s drink...
RATOMIR: I told you I’m busy. I have to go.
DIMITRIJE: To your wife? Yeah, don’t keep her waiting.
DIMITRIJE: The rumor has it, you want her to leave the house, but Sotir wouldn’t have it!
RATOMIR: It’s none of your business...
DIMITRIJE: You never know.
RATOMIR: You never know what?
DIMITRIJE: You drink, or you don’t! There’s no third option... And I want to drink.
(Sotir’s house. Sotir is sitting at the table. He can hear Dimitrije shouting from outside.)
DIMITRIJE: Hey, Sotir!
(Sotir approaches the window. Dimitrije enters. There is a bloody bandage on his forehead. A KFOR soldier accompanies Dimitrije.)
DIMITRIJE: There you are!
SOTIR: Did you forget how to knock?
(Dimitrije knocks on the table with his rifle.)
DIMITRIJE: Here, I’m knocking. (To the soldier.) Look over there.
(The soldier goes to another room.)
SOTIR: Don’t send him there. What are you doing Dimitrije?
DIMITRIJE: The sergeant was killed tonight.
SOTIR: The sergeant!
DIMITRIJE: They almost got me too. Where’s Vasilije?
SOTIR: He’s not in the house.
DIMITRIJE: Where is he?
SOTIR: I don’t know.
DIMITRIJE: You’ll personally explain that to the lieutenant.
SOTIR: Dimitrije, don’t joke with this.
DIMITRIJE: I don’t joke with my life. (He points to his bandaged head.) You see this. No more joking Sotir!
(The soldier enters holding Marija’s arm and carrying guns he found.)
MARIJA: Let me go! Dimitrije, tell him to let go!
(Dimitrije gives a sign to the soldier to let Marija go.)
DIMITRIJE: (To Sotir.) Didn’t I tell you? Why didn’t you listen... (He gives a sign to the soldier.) Take him!
(The soldier escorts Sotir out. Dimitrije walks behind them.)
MARIJA: Where are you taking him?
(Dimitrije suddenly turns back to Marija. She takes a step back in fright. Dimitrije leaves the room. Marija is quiet. She slowly approaches the mirror and looks at herself.)
(KFOR Headquarters. Marija is sitting on a chair in an office. She is beautiful. Dimitrije enters wearing a uniform of a sergeant.)
DIMITRIJE: I was told that a woman wants to see me. They didn’t say it’s you.
MARIJA: That was my idea.
DIMITRIJE: What do you want?
MARIJA: I want you to release Sotir.
DIMITRIJE: Just like that, you want me to release him for no particular reason.
MARIJA: There is a reason. That’s why I came.
(Sotir’s house. A week later. Marija is in the room. Sotir enters.)
MARIJA: Father, you’re alive... Oh my God...
SOTIR: Of course I’m alive. They know they can’t treat me like trash. I’m not without influence. Most probably Ratomir pulled some strings...
MARIJA: You’re alive and that’s all that matters. Here, I prepared a clean shirt for you. (She gives him the shirt.) I’ll prepare dinner while you change.
(Marija goes towards the exit. Sotir stops her with the question and starts changing his shirt in front of her.)
SOTIR: How’s the farm?
(Marija stops. She is angry, disappointed.)
MARIJA: Fine. Your farm is just fine!
SOTIR: What’s the matter?
MARIJA: Nothing’s the matter!
SOTIR: You’re not glad they’ve released me.
MARIJA: How can you say that...
SOTIR: I see you’re frowning.
MARIJA: Is the land the only thing that you’re concerned about? I’ve been sick with worry for a week, wondering if you’re alive and what should I do...
SOTIR: Don’t worry, I made my decision. I won’t tell you to leave.
MARIJA: You won’t?
SOTIR: There are more urgent business to take care of...
MARIJA: And Ratomir?
SOTIR: We’ll talk about that when he comes back.
MARIJA: Father, would you take care of my child like of your own grandchild?
SOTIR: The time is difficult. Marija don’t make it worse.
(Sotir’s house. Two weeks later. Marija is sitting. She hears somebody knocking on the door.)
MARIJA: Who is it?
VASILIJE: (From outside.) It’s me, Vasilije. Marija, open the door. Quick.
(Marija opens the door.)
MARIJA: Vasa! What are you doing here at this hour?
(Vasilije enters. He is wearing short beard, neatly cut. He is holding a gun. He’s in a uniform and wears a gun on his belt.)
VASILIJE: We’re near, on the hill just above the house.
MARIJA: Come, sit down. It’s been long since I saw you last. You lost some weight, your face seems longer.
VASILIJE: There’s no cooking like yours.
MARIJA: I’ll lay the table in a minute.
(Marija goes to get the food and lays the table for Vasilije.)
VASILIJE: Sotir is sleeping in the vineyard, right?
MARIJA: As you know. He’s keeping a watch. They took his gun away, but he took an axe and he spends all day there.
VASILIJE: I hear he was arrested?
MARIJA: Yes, but only for a short time.
VASILIJE: Was it because of me?
MARIJA: I guess...
VASILIJE: Is he all right?
MARIJA: Yes, he’s fine.
VASILIJE: And you?
MARIJA: Do you want some wine?
VASILIJE: If you have some.
MARIJA: There is, thank God.
(Marija brings the wine and a glass.)
VASILIJE: Bring another glass for you.
MARIJA: I don’t drink.
VASILIJE: Take some... Just a drop.
(Marija takes a glass. Vasilije pours some wine. They touch glasses.)
VASILIJE: Well, cheers.
MARIJA: To your health. Come on, eat.
VASILIJE: Do you hear from Ratomir?
MARIJA: I don’t.
MARIJA: Would you like some pie? I made it this morning.
(Marija brings the pie.)
VASILIJE: Can you and Sotir manage?
MARIJA: We can, you take care of yourself.
VASILIJE: The rumor has it Ratomir wanted you to leave the house.
(Marija is quiet.)
VASILIJE: Sotir wouldn’t let it?
VASILIJE: Was it because of the babies?
MARIJA: Yes. He says I’m barren.
VASILIJE: So, are you?
MARIJA: Would you like some more wine, let me pour...
(Vasilije doesn’t answer. Marija pours wine.)
VASILIJE: Do you love him?
MARIJA: He’s my husband.
VASILIJE: I didn’t ask that.
MARIJA: What did you ask?
VASILIJE: You came to my house the wrong way.
MARIJA: You were gone Vasilije. Gone...
VASILIJE: Sotir sent me off to military school! You could have waited.
MARIJA: You’re a man, why didn’t you come back?
VASILIJE: I did, I did... Only to listen you moan at night in my brother’s bed.
MARIJA: Stop it, please!
VASILIJE: If you had said only the word, one word...
VASILIJE: Would you like to have a baby?
MARIJA: Don’t ask that...
VASILIJE: Well, would you?
VASILIJE: Me too, Marija. I would also like to have a baby.
(Marija and Vasilije are sleeping in bed. It is a warm summer morning. Sotir enters, they wake up.)
MARIJA: Father, I...
(Vasilije gets up, starts to dress.)
VASILIJE: Sotir, listen to me now...
SOTIR: Do you know whose bed is this?
VASILIJE: Listen to me.
SOTIR: I asked, whose bed is this?
VASILIJE: It’s mine now.
SOTIR: It’s Ratomir’s.
VASILIJE: It was Ratomir’s.
SOTIR: What is Ratomir to you?
VASILIJE: He sent her away! I brought her back.
SOTIR: A brother, Ratomir is your brother. You’re brothers, you idiot. That’s your brother’s bed you were in. You’re a devil!
VASILIJE: She’s mine and that’s final!
(He is dressed, takes the gun and a bag. He turns to Marija.)
VASILIJE: Marija, I’ll come to get you as soon as I can.
(Vasilije wants to kiss Marija. She curls up and turns her back to him.)
SOTIR: What should I tell your brother, if he comes back?
VASILIJE: Tell him the truth.
(Vasilije starts going out. He stops for a moment and looks at Sotir. He looks at his father.)
VASILIJE: Take care, Sotir. Take care.
(Vasilije goes out. Sotir looks at him. He looks at his son.)
SOTIR: Everyone creates his own destiny. I should have got rid of you.
(Marija is crying. She sobs. Quietly.)
SOTIR: (To Marija.) You should dress. The sun is high.
(The office of Kosovo Police in Shtrpce. Ana is in a uniform, with blond hair pulled up. She’s beautiful with big eyes, looking in a computer. She’s sitting and typing. Ratomir is dictating. His hair is neat. He is wearing a uniform of noncommissioned officer.)
RATOMIR: Item 17: Blankets, 20 pieces. Item 18: Socks, 150 pairs. Item 19: Caps, 30 pieces and item 20: Boots, 20 pairs. The necessary equipment list made on 12th August 2004. Kosovo Police, Shtrpce. Platoon leader, Ratomir Krstic. Ana print two copies, let me sign, have it translated and send it to Headquarters.
(Ana holds her head and stops typing.)
RATOMIR: Are you OK?
ANA: This heat...
RATOMIR: Can I get you some water?
(Ana nods. Ratomir gives her a glass of water.)
RATOMIR: Would you like some ice?
ANA: Just some water. I’ll be OK.
(Ana takes one sip of water. She cannot drink more. She puts the glass down.)
RATOMIR: Should I unbutton this top button?
ANA: I’ll do it. (She unbuttons the top button.)
RATOMIR: Maybe you should have some rest?
ANA: No, no need. I’m already better.
(Ten days later in Shtrpce, next to the creek. Ana, beautiful and naked. She just bathed. She’s looking for her clothes. Ratomir enters, he is holding her uniform and underwear. Ana is surprised, she squats and covers her breasts with her arms.)
ANA: How dare you?
RATOMIR: Your uniform, it has your scent.
ANA: Give me my clothes.
RATOMIR: You look better without it. I’ve never seen such a delicate skin. It’s whiter than porcelain.
ANA: Somebody will see us.
RATOMIR: I want to touch you.
ANA: I’m cold.
RATOMIR: It’s summer. Just let me touch you.
(Ana is quiet. Ratomir kneels next to her. He is touching her skin.)
RATOMIR: It’s white and cold from the water. And yet my hand is on fire. It looks like porcelain. I wonder if I scratched it, would there be any blood.
ANA: You’re a married man, Ratomir.
RATOMIR: There’s no blood, just skin.
ANA: You have a wife, Rasko!
RATOMIR: Can you love?
ANA: Most probably, you have children too.
RATOMIR: Could you love?
ANA: I don’t understand you.
RATOMIR: I don’t have anything. When a dog follows me, I’m glad. Somehow, everything missed me.
(Ratomir puts Ana’s uniform on her shoulders.)
RATOMIR: Life goes by, little by little, and when you look back you don’t have a feeling that it lasted. Finally, you close your eyes, but you haven’t really opened them. This is what I’m afraid. Ana I don’t want the whiteness of you to go by me. Do you understand.
ANA: Not a word.
RATOMIR: Never mind...
ANA: No, it’s important, it’s very important that I understand your thoughts, the things you want. I want you to tell me in plain words and not these laments. Your words are full with anger.
RATOMIR: Be my wife.
ANA: Just like that. You saw me naked, touched my skin and now you want to marry me. Where is the end?
(Ratomir kisses her stomach. She resists. Just for a moment. Whiteness, complete whiteness, like a long flash.)
(Sotir’s house. Just before the Christmas. Marija is in bed, her stomach is big. Sotir enters. He sits next to the bed. Pause.)
SOTIR: Are you sure it’s time?
MARIJA: I guess so.
SOTIR: I sent for the midwife, just in case.
MARIJA: Maybe you shouldn’t have.
SOTIR: Let her come, just in case.
SOTIR: This is not good.
MARIJA: What is wrong?
SOTIR: Well, the timing. It’s Christmas, it’s been said that it’s not good when a child is born on Christmas.
MARIJA: I cannot influence this.
SOTIR: People would believe anything. The way the things are, all Kosovo people were born on Christmas.
MARIJA: But when it’s born.
SOTIR: What do you mean?
MARIJA: The baby, you said it belongs here.
(Sotir is quiet.)
MARIJA: I don’t care about the people, they’ve already been talking. I care about the baby. It’s not his fault it was conceived in sin, he shouldn’t grow up without a mother.
(Sotir is quiet.)
MARIJA: Neither can I live without my baby.
SOTIR: Let’s leave that subject for later.
MARIJA: Tell me now!
SOTIR: What can I say? I don’t know. You’re married to one, but you’re having the other’s son baby. I cannot deal with that.
SOTIR: Were you with Vasilije on your own free will.
MARIJA: He didn’t force me.
SOTIR: Did you do it because of him or because of yourself?
MARIJA: I told you, he didn’t force me.
SOTIR: You didn’t want Ratomir?
MARIJA: I didn’t love him. There were times when I wanted him.
SOTIR: Then why did you stay?
MARIJA: Why did you persuade me not to go? In the beginning, I was welcome in the house. At the end, you were the only one who wanted me to stay. You needed me here, I felt it. You want me no harm and yet you harm me. Both of us, me and you.
SOTIR: I only followed the custom. You’re supposed to leave the older one on the land and you sent the younger one to school, into the world... You have the older one married. When you have the land, you have a commitment. The land makes one a man. Without it, the man is naked. I had to do it.
MARIJA: You didn’t have to do it this way.
SOTIR: First, you and Ratomir got married and then Vasilije came back.
MARIJA: You knew. So did Rasko, when he asked me to marry him. So did you. You knew, didn’t you? I can see it in your eyes, they are not old.
MARIJA: And I accepted. It could be I’m not good, but it wasn’t my doing. The things got out of hands. Nothing can be changed, nothing. I’m having the baby!!!
(There is a knocking sound on the door.)
SOTIR: It’s the midwife. I’ll open.
(Sotir starts towards the door. Marija grabs his hand. He stops. They look at each other for a couple of moments.)
(Ana and Ratomir are lying. Her uniform is unbuttoned. Her stomach is big and yet she is pale. She is pregnant.)
ANA: I don’t want this without you.
RATOMIR: You know you have to.
ANA: You have the land. Why don’t you send me over there?
RATOMIR: It’s not my house any more. You’ll be safe in Mitrovica, amongst our people, while I’m away, in the field. Both you (he touches her stomach) and him.
ANA: You’re always in the field, ever since this started. I’m afraid... I can’t be alone again...
ANA: When father got killed, mother and I fled Benkovac. We were sent to Prishtina. I found myself there far away from everything I considered a life, in spite of the apparent peace, after the horrors I’ve been through in Croatia. People were nice to us, but they weren’t mine. And when the bombing started... Mother couldn’t stand that. Her death was a selfish thing. She left me alone, all alone...
RATOMIR: And Petrit?
(Ana stops. Pause, long pause.)
RATOMIR: Petrit is...
ANA: I know what you mean! Petrit was an Albanian!
RATOMIR: I didn’t mean that...
ANA: God knows what would have happened to me in Prishtina if he hadn’t protected me. He saved me from lynch, he helped me burry my mother... I was a burden that he so joyfully carried... We joined the Police because it was the only way for us to survive. I wanted to run away. As far, as possible. And I was thankful... God knows, maybe it was love, but I didn’t realize... Evening before he died I... This unbearable feeling of guilt because of you... I can’t live alone, Rasko, I just can’t...
RATOMIR: You’re not alone.
ANA: Promise you’ll come to get me.
RATOMIR: You’re carrying my child.
ANA: To get me!
(Ratomir is looking at her. His hands are part of her skin.)
RATOMIR: Do you, Ratomir Krstic, take this woman? Yes. Do you, Ana Kricka, take this man?
ANA: Yes, yes... Thousand times, yes!
(Sotir’s house. It’s winter. Marija is rocking a cradle. Dimitrije enters. He is drunk.)
MARIJA: What are you doing here?
DIMITRIJE: Let me see him...
MARIJA: You have no reason to look at him! Go away, you’re drunk!
DIMITRIJE: So I am. Let me see him!
(Dimitrije approaches the cradle. He kneels next to it. The child starts crying.)
MARIJA: Sotir will hear you, for God sake, Mitar.
DIMITRIJE: Is it really Vasilije’s?
(Sotir enters. Marija and Dimitrije don’t see him. Sotir is quietly listening.)
MARIJA: I told you hundred of times that he’s Vasilije’s. Go away!
DIMITRIJE: They’re brothers, both infertile.
MARIJA: I know.
DIMITRIJE: Love is one thing, but blood is completely another, Marija.
MARIJA: He’s not yours!
DIMITRIJE: Swear, swear on his life.
(Pause, Sotir breaks the silence.)
SOTIR: You heard her, more than once.
(Marija realizes that Sotir was listening in on the conversation.)
SOTIR: If I see you come here again, Mitar, I swear I’ll kill you.
(Dimitrije lifts his rifle. Marija holds his face.)
MARIJA: He isn’t yours!
(They stay motionless for a moment. Dimitrije removes Marija’s hands off his face. He gets up, pulls his uniform, looks at the cradle and goes out. Sotir starts following him. Marija runs after him and hugs him from behind.)
MARIJA: (In low voice, into his ear.) You have a grandson...
(Marija holds Sotir tightly. She wants to turn him to face her.)
MARIJA: You have a grandson Sotir...
(Sotir slowly turns around. She hugs him harder. She takes his hand and she wants to stroke his hair. Sotir hesitates for a moment. Then he hugs her. He is stroking her hair.)
SOTIR: My strength...
(Kosovska Mitrovica. Winter. Ana is sitting in a room. Ratomir enters.)
ANA: Oh my God, Rasko! (She runs to him and hugs him.) Why only now, why only now...
RATOMIR: Don’t be frightened, everything is OK. Where is the baby?
ANA: Andrej is sleeping.
RATOMIR: I want to see him...
ANA: I’ve just put him to sleep. Later. I taught him to say daddy. He calls me both daddy and mummy.
RATOMIR: My son.
(They look at each other, laugh and hug again. He sits down and she sits into his lap.)
ANA: I’ve made tea, it’s hot.
RATOMIR: Does he know about me?
ANA: He knows that he has a father. He’s still a small boy. Take your tea.
RATOMIR: How are you?
ANA: I’m fine, now I’m fine.
(Pause. Ratomir drinks his tea.)
ANA: When I look at Andrej, I think how he separated me from you.
RATOMIR: Don’t say that. You know that it was impossible...
ANA: It was difficult for me. Bloody field...
RATOMIR: Everything will be OK, everything.
ANA: When you left me here that night, with him in my stomach, I thought I couldn’t make it.
RATOMIR: It’s OK, Ana.
ANA: I was cold, I shivered, I was frightened. I thought you loved only what I carry inside and that one day you’d come and take him away and I would be all alone again. I can’t be alone! I can’t... I’m afraid to be alone.
RATOMIR: Ana, I’m back.
(She found her rhythm. A rhythm of lost harmony. White.)
(Sotir’s house. Sotir is sitting and smoking. Vasilije enters, in a uniform, a bit untidy, unshaven, he looks like a soldier on the run.)
VASILIJE: Where are they?
VASILIJE: You know very well who.
SOTIR: Why do you ask?
VASILIJE: Where is my child?
SOTIR: I don’t know about your child.
VASILIJE: Don’t play games with me Sotir. I know that she had a baby. People talk. It’s my child, isn’t it.
(Marija enters, she notices Vasilije. Vasilije approaches her and starts hugging her very strongly.)
VASILIJE: Marija, I came. To get the baby! To get you and the baby!
(Marija pulls away with a cry of anger.)
SOTIR: Let her be! You can’t just come here and take whomever and wherever you want after all this time. She belongs here.
VASILIJE: It’s not enough that she saved you from prison...
SOTIR: Shut up!
VASILIJE: You have my child, my son.
SOTIR: There’s nothing that belongs to you in here.
VASILIJE: He’s mine.
SOTIR: Even so, he’s not yours. With you he can loose everything. In the eyes of the world, he is Ratomir’s. You should be going now.
VASILIJE: Sotir, I won’t have this, I’m not giving up on the child.
(Vasilije cocked his gun.)
VASILIJE: Marija, get ready.
(Marija approaches Sotir.)
MARIJA: Go, Vasa, you should go. He walks, talks, understands. He’s bright and healthy. He’ll be told when the time comes. Please go. We’re taken care of.
VASILIJE: Marija, the child.
SOTIR: If you get caught with them? What will happen? Think about it. Would you? What if they get killed?
VASILIJE: Have you not any human feelings, Sotir.
SOTIR: And you?
VASILIJE: At least, tell me his name.
MARIJA: I named him Vasilije.
VASILIJE: Really? Vasilije?
VASILIJE: Is he beautiful?
MARIJA: He is, for me.
VASILIJE: Beautiful, you say. A child has to be beautiful. He’s mine, isn’t he?
(Marija looks at Sotir.)
MARIJA: He’s yours.
VASILIJE: What will you say when he asks about his father?
MARIJA: He already did.
MARIJA: I told him you loved him.
VASILIJE: You’re right. Tell me more...
MARIJA: And I told him that you’re dead.
VASILIJE: Tell him... What you want, just let it be nice.
(Vasilije returns his gun into the holster and takes his backpack.)
MARIJA: Would you like some food for the road?
VASILIJE: No, I have something to attend to in the town.
(Urosevac. An Inn. Dimitrije is sitting at the table, singing „Dimitrijo, sine Mitre”. He’s sitting and drinking. Vasilije grandson and Andrej enter. They are young and beautiful. They are breathless, grasping for air. They look at Dimitrije.)
(Vasilije grandson and Andrej are quiet and they look at Dimitrije.)
VASILIJE GRANDSON: Dimitrije...
(Vasilije grandson and Andrej run away. As if carried by the wind.)
DIMITRIJE: What’s coming...
(There is a song in the dark.)
(Dimitrije and Vasilije are sitting at a table. Dimitrije is very drunk. He’s singing.)
DIMITRIJE: Dimitrijo, sine Mitre...
(Dimitrije empties the glass of red wine.)
DIMITRIJE: Drink, Vasilije drink! You know how I got promoted to sergeant? Because my sergeant got killed! Why the hell... Why didn’t you tell me you loved her... I would’ve done that all the same, but I wouldn’t love her!
(Dimitrije takes the wine jug. He drinks from it. He wants it all. Vasilije lifts a gun. He points it to Dimitrije.)
(Strpce, the Kosovo Police office. Ratomir is sitting at the desk. He’s writing. Ana enters. He continues writing. Ana takes his pen and sits in his lap.)
ANA: Is there anything you love more than me and Andrej?
RATOMIR: I have work to do!
(Ana gets up. She gives Ratomir a peace of paper.)
RATOMIR: What is it?
ANA: A list.
RATOMIR: A list of what?
ANA: Captives. The group from this morning. There’s also a list of confiscated arms.
RATOMIR: Leave it on the desk. I’ll sign later.
ANA: I took a look.
(Ratomir takes the papers.)
ANA: Vasilije Krstic. It’s your brother, isn’t it.
(Ratomir is quiet.)
ANA: They’ll be transferred to the Headquarters tonight.
RATOMIR: Mind your own business.
ANA: But you’ve applied for a special duty tonight. You’re up to something...
ANA: Whatever you do, don’t forget you have me and Andrej. I don’t know what you’re thinking about but I can demand.
(Ratomir takes the paper.)
ANA: Alive father for my child.
RATOMIR: You’ve put it right. For your child... You’re a good person Ana. You know how to love.
(The same office. Some time later. Vasilije is sitting on the chair. His hands are tied. Ratomir is standing. He’s taking a cigarette out.)
RATOMIR: You want one?
(Ratomir puts a cigarette into Vasilije’s mouth and lights it.)
VASILIJE: (Inhales and then coughs.) Fuck. I new it. A rolled one.
RATOMIR: It’s not good enough for you?
VASILIJE: To tell you the truth, you’re smoking shit. Untie my hands, I have a pack. Let’s smoke some good tobacco.
RATOMIR: No way.
VASILIJE: You don’t have me sit in here to talk about cigarettes.
RATOMIR: (Pointing to the gun.) Grandfather’s.
VASILIJE: Sotir gave it to me.
VASILIJE: You don’t ask about home? Father is OK. Marija is there too. He asked her to stay.
(Ratomir is still quiet and he is looking at the gun.)
VASILIJE: Listen, if you’re going to say nothing and smoke that shit, then...
RATOMIR: He asked her to stay, you say.
VASILIJE: Light another one for me, I want to indulge my lungs.
(After short thinking, he left the gun on the table and approached Vasilije.)
RATOMIR: Where did you say your pack was?
VASILIJE: Finally. In the right pocket.
(Ratomir takes out the pack of cigarettes from Vasilije’s right pocket. He takes out two cigarettes, lights one for himself and the other for Vasilije. Vasilije inhales with pleasure.)
VASILIJE: This is some tobacco.
RATOMIR: Sotir, himself asked her to stay?
RATOMIR: And you?
VASILIJE: What about me?
RATOMIR: Did you ask her to stay?
VASILIJE: It’s none of my business.
RATOMIR: You’re right, good tobacco.
VASILIJE: Ratomir, I have a child.
RATOMIR: So you do.
VASILIJE: A boy. Two years old.
VASILIJE: He’s with Sotir. And Marija.
RATOMIR: Where’s his mother.
VASILIJE: She died.
RATOMIR: Do I know her?
VASILIJE: She’s not from our area.
RATOMIR: Not from our area... What’s your son’s name?
RATOMIR: He is Vasilije, you are Vasilije. How the hell is Sotir going to make a difference between you two?
VASILIJE: Don’t joke with me, you know very well why I’m telling you this.
RATOMIR: I don’t know.
VASILIJE: You do! A child has to have a father.
RATOMIR: He does.
VASILIJE: Until when? Until I get a bullet?
RATOMIR: So you think that you’re going to get a bullet?
VASILIJE: We both know where I’ll be tomorrow. I’m not asking for my sake. The child is the only good thing I ever did. I don’t want to cause problems for him when I’m dead.
RATOMIR: You should’ve thought about it long ago.
VASILIJE: Claim paternity!
RATOMIR: Do what?
VASILIJE: Be his father. Brother.
(Ratomir grabs Vasilije’s hair, pulls his head up, then pushes him off the chair onto his knees.)
RATOMIR: You don’t have a brother, Vasilije. Remember that. No brother.
VASILIJE: Where’s your soul?
RATOMIR: Same place as yours. I’ve been waiting this for two years. You, to kneel, to cry, so I could spit right into your face. A brother is supposed to stay away from his brother’s bed, you sorry excuse of a man. Your wife died... Brother! You ask about my soul and you’ve been sleeping with my wife, in my bed!
VASILIJE: It’s not the baby’s fault!
RATOMIR: Drop dead! Like father, like son.
(Ratomir pushes Vasilije and he falls onto the floor. There is a complete silence for a moment. Suddenly, Vasilije hits Ratomir with his head straight into the stomach with a loud cry. His hands are still tied. The blow was very strong. Ratomir is grasping for air and falls onto the floor. Vasilije starts kicking him with his feet. After receiving several kicks Ratomir grabs Vasilije’s leg and brings him down. There is a short wrestling during which Vasilije cannot use his hands. Ratomir takes Vasilije’s head and hits it on the floor. He shouts.)
RATOMIR: I’m going to have a child! I’m going to have a child!
(Vasilije lost his consciousness. Ratomir continues hitting his head onto the floor. Ana enters.)
ANA: Rasko! Leave him be, Rasko. You do have a child. Andrej is calling you “daddy”. Andrej loves you.
RATOMIR: Andrej is not mine!
ANA: Petrit is dead! You’re the only one the child knows about.
(Ratomir gets up. He is breathing heavily. He goes to the desk.)
RATOMIR: (To Ana.) Get lost.
ANA: Don’t do anything stupid...
RATOMIR: Get lost, I tell you!
(Ana leaves the office. Ratomir takes a cigarette from Vasilije’s pack. He lights it. He takes the gun. Throws the cigarette down. Suddenly, he puts the gun to his temple.)
(There’s a shot in the dark.)
(Sotir’s house, end of summer. Sotir and Marija are in the room. She is washing some clothes in the trough. He is watching through the window.)
SOTIR: It’s too hot. The vineyard is withering, there will be hardly enough wine for vinegar...
MARIJA: There will be plenty, there always is. Give me that shirt to wash.
SOTIR: Forget the shirt...
MARIJA: I don’t want to heat the water twice.
(Marija takes Sotir’s shirt off.)
SOTIR: I don’t remember it was this hot, ever.
MARIJA: Your back is peeling.
SOTIR: I’ll lose my mind.
MARIJA: We each have our own trouble.
SOTIR: You talk about trouble. Just wash!
(Marija is quiet. She’s washing the clothes. Sotir lights a cigarette.)
SOTIR: Where’s little Vasilije?
MARIJA: In the yard.
SOTIR: What is he doing?
MARIJA: He’s playing, I guess. I don’t know.
SOTIR: You’re his mother, it’s jour job to know. The army removed checkpoints around the village. Schiptars may come...
MARIJA: Not during the day.
SOTIR: The way they are, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they start shooting at us in broad day-light. (He looks up.) The wines are going to wither. It’s my punishment. You’re my punishment.
(Marija is upset, she throws the shirt into the water. She takes the washbowl and goes out into the yard.)
SOTIR: Bring the child inside!
(Marija is taking the laundry out.)
SOTIR: I wish the bastard would start blowing. Everybody have pity except the one who should. This is not soil any more. It’s a rock.
(A sudden noise. The gas lamp falls off from the wall. It gets broken. Sotir goes towards the lamp. The trough in which Maria washed falls down from the chair. Water gets spilled.)
MARIJA: (Shouting from outside.) Vasilije get away from that tree!
VASILIJE GRANDSON: Mom, the apples are falling down.
MARIJA: Run down the road!
VASILIJE GRANDSON: Look how many there are.
(There are gunshots from the outside. Marija enters. There’s blood all over her.)
(Sotir approaches Marija. She falls into his arms.)
MARIJA: He ran down the road.
(Marija dies. Sotir crosses himself and exits the house.)
(There are shots in the dark.)
(Vasilije grandson and Andrej. They are looking at each other.)
VASILIJE GRANDSON: What is death?
ANDREJ: Death is... The end of life.
VASILIJE GRANDSON: What happens after death?
ANDREJ: I don’t know. Nothing...
(Vasilije grandson and Andrej hold hands. They hold tight, in order not to get separated. Music becomes unbearably loud, almost disharmonious. Holding hands, Vasilije grandson and Andrej go the far end of the stage. Slowly, as if carried by the wind.)
Датум последње измене: 2008-04-01 15:23:53