Yossi Waxman

Writer, Artist, Designer 

The Thespian

 Prose Series, Yedioth Books, 2007

Chapter One: My and My Sister's Theater

 

Since, my dear, I cannot really kill you or erase you from my memory, I've reached the cowardice conclusion that I should kill you with words, with the life and the death I will make up for you on these here pages. I will scheme passions and hates and loves and frustrations for you. I will fabricate a timeline for you and imagine unforgettable roles for you because - after all - you are an actress. The Thespian.
My life's actress. The object of my admiration. My beloved. My sister. My sin. My memory and rage.

 

And therefore, on the following pages I will drive you crazy. I will give you enough reasons to fornicate, to lie through your teeth, be mean, be a good mother for your children, be a lousy sister, a whore, a Madonna, a lover. To be greater than life. Then, perhaps, with the lies and fables I will contrive for you - layer upon layer, plot upon plot - I would be cured of my malaise, of this deviant love that has no purpose, certainly not in this empty life, this cruel incarnation, playing my ridiculous role in this botched-up play: Your Brother.

 

My dearest, some maintain that theater is but a disease, a dark, libidinal, inflamed abscess that must burst open on stage to cure the audience and the actors. It is the outbreak of a collective epidemic that every evening purifies all that is behind and in front of the curtain. Well, clearly you and I are sick.

 

***

 

Ladies and Gentlemen! My show opens with a dream I had.

 

In my dream, I am in Maggie's old house, that tiny apartment on G Street, and I walk all around the rooms and hallways, searching. The house is empty, neglected, shabby and filthy. Maggie! I scream. Maggie! Maggie! Where are you, Sis? But she's nowhere to be found. I go through drawers that I come across, trying to find my old childhood picture books, but the drawers are all empty. I open closets that rise before my eyes in defiance. Perhaps our old photos are hiding there? But they too are hollow. And I think to myself, my God! How will I ever know if we were real or not, without any photos, proof, or evidence?

 

So, now I want to relax a little, have a glass of water and a bite before I go on, but there is no water in the kitchen tap, and the apples in the fruit bowl on the kitchen table get stuck in my teeth. They are not real apples at all. They are made of painted papier mache. And where is everyone? I run to the nursery to check on Roy. And Roy is asleep in his bed, covered in a blanket that I bought for him at SnowWhite Children's Goods in Jaffa. His bald baby skull is shining at me, perhaps laughing. I lean over and try to hear his breaths, but he is not breathing. Ahhhh! I panic and pick him up. This baby is dead.

 

But this Roy is not Roy! It is a doll. And the toys on the carpet are not children's toys. They are props. Stage accessories. I look up and see that the view from the window is not real either. It is a faded painting on a piece of sloppily hanging cloth. What looked for a moment like sunlight that shines into the nursery is artificial light too. It comes from colorful luminaire.

 

I flee from this fabricated nursery and reach the other end, only to find out that this is not a house at all. It is a pile of wooden pieces, stage settings of a living room and kitchen and a dining hall, and a nursery. I come out from behind the scenes and go back to the kitchen, stumbling blindly. This is not a house, but a stage depiction. The memories are merely the appearance of memories, illusions, tricks of the mind… lies! To hell with it, I am thinking. I need to get out of this fake house, but strong footlights blind me, close in on me, mock me, make me lose my way to you. I am blinded. Where are you, my sister, my love? 

 

***

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Translation: Baruch Gefen