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I.Us.Me translated by Cristina Toma

Characters: Him – any guy Her – any girl

Scene 0 Him: To avoid the end of the world bureaucracy, Focsani city authorities decided the Marriage Registry Office and the Death Registry Office will be merged into one. This way, the freshly-married lovebirds have the possibility to apply for a Death Certificate as soon as they’re done with the Civil Service. The Office will be easily found, as it will be located inside the “Marriage House”, the door marked “Marriages & Deaths”. Her: In Egypt, a majority Muslim country, the SMS divorce has been legalized. Three messages with the text “talak”, meaning “divorce”, will suffice for a man to end his marriage. The Egyptian authorities announced the messages will not be charged extra and that they are currently working on a bill which will regulate the divorce by mail and also through the socializing channels. (Blackout)

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Scene 1 Him: I like brunettes Her: I prefer tall men Him: I’m crazy about big breasts Her: What’s important is to get along Him: I love curly hair Her: The self confident men Him: Women with attitude Her: Should be good in bed, right? Him: Hi, I think I’ve seen you around Her: I come here pretty often Him: I wonder what they put in pops; it makes me kind of dizzy Her: It’s called alcohol (she laughs) Him: You’ sure? Him: Just like any other being on the planet, man has his own mating ritual somehow similar to any other animal species. The mating dance, the jewellery show-off and the song are just a few of the similarities. Similar to all the other animal species, the siege of the woman, with the entire arsenal man was endowed with, finalises in the sexual act. The process can vary in length from one night to several weeks. A man will show his willingness to mate and the woman may or may not accept. The man’s invitation will remain valid all the way through the demarche, but he must be careful for one wrong step and the woman may lose interest. The sexual act will take place at one of the houses, his or hers. Next day, the man commands respect within the pack, will tell all the other members about his success, using expressions like: “I’ve done her”, “success” or “I’m the man”. By this act, the man will improve his hierarchy within the pack. After the consummation of the sexual act or acts, the man is lacking energy and is apathetic. Her: In the playing of the mating game, the woman owns all the trumps. Often enough, the woman is obliged to flirt with several males at the same time, to find one who can live up to her standards. The woman prefers tall males, with a well developed muscular system and free of bulging prominence around the waist. His position on a hierarchic scale is also important. Woman’s desire for mating is just as strong as the man’s, but she, often, restrains herself. Some experts say that this restraint leads to a greater pleasure when the sexual act takes place, eventually. Actually, the woman’s restraint is an adaptation to the prejudice of the human society, a particular case which we only find within the human species. For the male as well as for the female, the sexual act is a physiological necessity.

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After the sexual act is consumed, the woman feels a strong revival and an increasing of endorphins level. Her: With a few friends Him: Would you like a drink? Her: Why not? Him and Her: the game has begun. Him: Would you give me your phone number? Her: Rather give you a mess ID Him: OK Her: I’ll wait for your “add” Him: OK Him: Saturday, at the club I met a superdooper chick. She gave me her mess ID. Nope... I didn’t give her yet “add”. I’ll wait for a few more days, or she’ll think I’m some fuck up. Her: Oh... I don’t know what’s wrong with me... I kept my messenger on for three days in a row; I’m kind of worried the computer might burn up. I should’ve given him my phone number. Oh, I’m so dumb!!! Yeap, of course it’s set on “invisible”, I don’t want him to think I’m desperate. “He” would like to add you to his messenger list? “OK” Her: Wait... wait a bit ‘cause it hurts Him: You’re tickling me Her: Watch out, you are pulling my hair Him: Sorry Her: Are you getting there? Him: I swear, I’ve never seen before this type of bra Her: Help you? Him: No, I can handle it Her: Now? Him: Now, it’s all good (They make love) Him: Sex? Her: Love Him: Anywhere? Her: In bed Him: Tits? Her: Breasts

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Him: Without? Her: With Him: Wildly? Her: Yes! Him: Now? Her: No! Him: Love? Her: Love (Blackout) Scene 2 Her: I think we should better clear up the important stuff Him: I’m listening Her: On which side of the bed would you like to sleep? Him: On the left one Her: OK. How would you like your eggs “sunny side up” or “over easy”? Him: Sunny side up Her: The coffee? Him: I don’t drink coffee Her: Good. Favourite color? Him: Violet. Yours? Her: Lavender. What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid? Him: Helicopter pilot. Actually a co-pilot, my pal Mircea was the pilot to be. You? Her: (she laughs) Ballerina Him: The most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done Her: Mmm... When I was in high school I let it go during the maths class. Your turn Him: Oh... no! Her: You’re cheating, go ahead... Him: No chance... I don’t tell Her: I won’t ever tell you anything anymore. Him: Never-ever? Her: I don’t even talk to you anymore ... Her: How many kids you wish we’d have? Him: Two Her and Him: A boy and a girl Him: And what names shall we give them? {Larisa, Maria, Remus, Robert, Cristi, Laura, Monica, Gabriel} Him: OK that’s a deal! Crina and Laurentiu Her: And where will the wedding party take place? Him: Definitely in Paris Her: Perfect. Would you like me to make eggs for you?

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Him: Be my guest Her: How did you say you liked them? (Blackout) Scene 3 Her: What are you doing? Him: I’m working Her: Take it (She is throwing a rock) Him: Are you nuts! What’s that? Her: A rock Him: And what do you want me to do with it? Her: Don’t you know that penguins give rocks to each other as wedding rings? Him: Sometimes you behave like a kid, I swear, penguins... Her: Do you wanna be my penguin? Him: I want you to leave me alone while I’m working Her: You are so insensitive! Him: Leave me alone!!! Her: You are the nastiest lover in the whole world. Him: I’m trying to work Her: I can’t stand you. Him: Carry on Her: You’re a pig Him: I’m your pig and you love me the way I am... (Both are laughing) Her: Tell me something beautiful Him: “In the city where it rains for just about three days a week An old man and an old lady – Two mechanic, broken toys – Walk hand in hand and cheek to cheek...” (Blackout) Scene 4 Her: Look... I really like this one Him: I don’t know what to say, it seems a bit too small Her: What about this? Him: That one’s really bad Her: OK, but let’s try and choose one, today, if possible Him: Don’t get mad Her: It is just a mattress, what could be so hard

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Him: It’s a mattress on which I’ll sleep all my life, it’s a mattress which I’ll have to look at each time I get into the room, on which I’ll sit a countless number of times and which will witness all ours love rounds. It’s a mattress which once it’s bought can’t be returned or exchanged. On this mattress I’ll spend my sickness moments and this mattress will be the only witness to my end. You see guys... regarding mattresses there is no place for compromise. They have to be perfect because once you bought one, can’t be returned or exchanged. A single spring coming out of its place and the mattress becomes a torture object. Unbearable, irreparable, a relic of the mattress which has been. Him: OK. We’ll take this one. Do you like it? Her: Yes... You still love me, don’t you? (Blackout) Scene 5 (Past midnight, He is sneaking in) Her: I’ve been waiting for you Him: Sorry, hanging out for a beer with the guys Her: Do you know what time it is? Him: I’m really sorry Her: I hoped we would have dinner together Him: I said I’m really sorry Her: You don’t have to yell Him: My father used to say that a woman is like a watermelon. She has to be tried before you take her. My father also used to say that a woman is like a rope tied around your neck, but in this regard he didn’t give me any explanation, he said I would understand the day I’ll grown up. About the marriage, my father used to say that even it’s five minutes before you’re dying it’s still too early to do it. When they were fighting, my father used to call my mother “poison”. I don’t think he had a know-how on women. My mother and my father had the most miserable marriage possible, ever. Her: When you don’t have anyone, you want a relationship, when you don’t have anyone, you imagine the man who would come and fulfil your life, with him you’ll live the greatest love story ever written and to his kids you’ll give birth. Then he appears... and he is not a prince climbing down from a horse, he’s rather a rough unshaved rude jerk who stinks of beer and snores when he sleeps. I can live with that. No matter who he is, that one is suddenly losing his identity and becomes “your man”. “Your man” is the last man to whom you’ll make love, the last man who’ll hold you in his arms at night. “Your man” is now the only man.

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Him: Come on, please... Her: Leave me alone, go to your friends Him: You know that you are the only one I love, my little bear Her: Sure you do, since you can’t sleep with your friends (Blackout) Scene 6 (knocks at the door) Her: Busy (knocks) Her: Busy Him: Let me in Her: No! Him: Come-on, I’m in hurry, let me in Her: I’m sitting Him: So what? Her: And I am sitting Him: It doesn’t bother me Her: It does bother me Him: When did you become so shy darling? Her: You can’t even have a proper shitting in this house! Her: “And then, the girl kissed the handsome prince and he turned into an ugly toad and they lived unhappily ever after”. In high school I had a friend, she was a crazy one. Instead of sex, love or fuck she was using a more diplomatic expression, she was “adjusting her hormones”. Her trouble was that she was adjusting them with every man popping-up her way. She used to say that people are like tea bags, they are loosing the essence and in the end they remain just a pallid, minute and sickly part of the person you once knew. And she was also saying that we were just a couple of naive girlies if we believed that there would be something else after the “hormones adjusting” has lost its charm. Her: Here we go... You won Him: This is not a war (Blackout)

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Scene 7 Her: You leave your socks lying all over the house Him: You have mountains of shoes Her: You would do anything to stay away from home Him: You don’t smile anymore when I enter the door Her: You never say “I love you” anymore Him: All you think of is your career Her: You make me feel unattractive Him: I find you unattractive Her: You look at other women on the street Him: I’m looking at other women on the street Her: I’m reading your messages while you take your shower Him: You read my messages? Her: I believe you are cheating on me Him: I want to cheat on you Her: Are you cheating on me? Him: What makes you believe that? Her: You don’t make love to me anymore (walks away) Him: I don’t think I love you anymore Her: Do you still love me? Him: I don’t think you love me anymore Her: Do I still love you? Him: I don’t think we love each other anymore (walks away) Her: Count with me, do you want to? Him: OK Her: One Him: Two Her: Three Him: Four Her: Five Him: Seven Her: No, you missed it... again... One Him: Two Her: Three Him: Four Her: Six

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Him: You missed it! One more time... One Her: Two Him: Four Her: Once again... One Him: The difference between my grandfather and my grandmother was ten years and the same amount of time my grandmother took care of him, after he was paralysed. My grandmother was telling me, that after they were done eating my grandfather used to ask her: “Marry, will we have our supper yet?” My grandmother never complained. And then, one day, my grandfather died and my grandmother was left alone. She was 70 years old. She met an old guy who was alone himself and they moved together. My grandmother was religious so they had to have a wedding, my mother did not attend it. My mother never understood her, but for my grandmother the game started all over again. After a few years, the old guy also died, and my grandmother found herself alone again, and after a short while she died too, just like that. As if she just waited for him to die first. So my grandmother was a country girl, she could barely read, nobody told her about the emancipated woman and about the love at the Third Age. I read somewhere, that nowadays a couple, in order to survive, is in permanent need of a conflict, that a relationship is over when the other one, simply, just doesn’t care any longer. Her: When you decide to end a relationship, you think only about the madness, the dissatisfactions, the wishes, only about those sites you suffered in. The sea destroyed the sand castle where you two used to hold your life, your presents, your song, your pleasant memories. A man like you does not have the time for pleasant memories, does he? It’s weird but after a period of time, the good things are the only ones you recall. A man like you does not need unpleasant memories, does he? Somewhere in your head, someone pulled a handle and hung on top of it a note in big underlined letters: “Not to be restarted ever” (Black out) Scene 8 The next dialog takes place through the notes on the fridge stickers.

Him: Are you in the mood for a movie tonight? Her: We are out of sugar Him: Tomorrow is Andrei’s birthday Her: Wake me up when you arrive Him: I’m gone for the office Her: I went out with Cristina for a coffee page. 9

Him: Out for soccer Her: I’m at the hairdresser Him: I’m out of battery Her: I’m busy Him: Sorry, I can’t make it today Her: I want us to split up Him: It’s Monday, 0 hours and 0 minutes o’clock. I deleted a number from my phones phonebook, I deleted a contact from my mailing lists, I rebooted my brain to make abstraction of the last 2 months, 4 years, one century. The cube I’ve been living my life in is disintegrating and I am the reason for this disintegration. I became a memory deleting machine. I called one of my friends and went out for a beer, where I pretended everything was OK. What a cliché, right? If you’re born on Monday, you will probably die on a Friday. (End)

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I.Us.Me by George Stefan Translated by Cristina Toma

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