I attack my own sword

Тонга ТУЛИНОВА | Драматургия


Nya. A girl, 16 years old.

Katya. 23 years old. A provincial, who moved to Moscow.

Igor. 21 years old. A physics student.

Nadezhda. 36 years old.

A medical examiner.

The morgue. The medical examiner is in domestic premises. An old table, 2 chairs, a wardrobe. There are a teapot, a couple of cups and an ashtray on the table.

What is the most important thing in our business? Indifference. Except that it is not always possible to remain indifferent.

He lights a cigarette.

They say that everything was okay, nothing suggested it… Nonsense! Only a complete emotionally challenged idiot could fail to notice a suicidal in his own environment. Unfortunately, they are the majority. Suicides do not occur suddenly. They become the last step.

As a matter of fact, a person can be stopped. A feeling of hopelessness?.. But it is death that is final. Life brings a lot of options. It is just that someone in a narrowed state of mind needs help to broaden his or her horizons.

People are generally prone to self- destruction. Realdeathseekers.


“Nothing is as tiresome as waiting for a train, especially when you are lying on the rails.”Don Aminado

“Do you want it? Do you want me to be yours? Alone, lonely, loneliness, once, the only one, as one… I sleep about you, I live to you, I watch you, I have dreams without you, I came up from behind, there was nothing, coffee from a yellow mug, kissing on the neck, at least by the hands,  the lure, the desire, the visit, the call, to the quick, over? As if, close, there was not, something, next to, I fall, the looks, “our eyes are identical”, yellow, we did not live, we did not … tear up?..

It hurts… You throw away my little flowers; I walk bumping into the walls. And everything is pointless. There was and is nothing. Only the dreams that hit backhand. I explode from your touch. I have so little of you… And I almost know where you are, what you are doing, I can almost see you… You are so close and so far… You won’t respond… You won’t call… You won’t come… I only dream of you and I do not want to wake up… I cannot forget you.

Unnecessary words, unnecessary feelings, unnecessary ties. The good ones do not tear, aren’t you sorry for the bad ones?..

Along the same roads, but past me. On your way. I explode even from a gentle touch, forcing it down inside me… Because I am a fool, because it is a habit, because I am afraid and – secretly, later, sneaking – looks, burning through, touches, as if accidental – and again superficially indifferent, falsely intentional “passing by”… Pretending.

And when everything breaks out from a single embrace, when I drown in this gaze, when I remember the smell, the tenderness, every line, every mole, I have remembered for so many days…  And the only thing I do is lose words, throwing still alive letters-moths away into the dead emptiness of a spider-web… Insanity, indifference, inaudible sounds… Insomnia. Impotence. Insignificance.

Powerful, inconsolable grief, the one that drags you out of nonexistence at dawn better than any alarm. So heavy and sturdy is the word – “never”. Viscous. Clasped tightly, I can not break through it. Suddenly and fast, the realization of loss hit me hard with its relentless truth.
I will run away soon, in a little bit.

Shall we talk?

She dials a number. A phone conversation.

A man’s voice:

“What now? I am not good at autosuggestion.”


“Your autosuggestion is fine. Look how you have autosuggested to get rid of me.”

Man’s voice:

“It was not an autosuggestion, it was a well thought out decision.”


“It was a badly thought out bad decision.”

A man’s voice:

“Umm… Anyway, I made it.”

Nya (singing):

“And I was sent to hell.”

Silence on the other side. The subscriber hangs up.

Good talk.

Three minutes later, Nya sends a message: 

“Are you going to change your mind?”

Returned message:

“I really need it.”
“Well, don’t.”

How this girl spent the night. Hello, morning!

You are victor, I shout wounded,“Aaaaah! Aaah…” to stations. I choke on the emptiness of promises. I burst up into Perun’s* clouds. I drown in “that is all there is to it”. I cry quietly, in a frenzy, I sob – I am still living. Living… Leaving…   “Let me with last farewell caress soften your step while you walk away”*. [*V. Mayakovski “Lilitchka!”]Shedidnot. He shot himself.

The morgue.

Medical examiner:

“She came to the station in the morning and lay under a train.”


“The only thing that keeps many people from committing suicide is the fear of what the neighbors would say.”

Syria Conchali

“I am a weak person. I do not know how to win; I do not know how to be the best. I am always somewhere on the side. In the corner. A fifth wheel. I sit there alone and do not hope for anything. Nobody needs me; I can do nothing. I am good at nothing. I fail.

I am a very peaceful person. I get beaten even in street fights. I like to think that there are girls who never get beaten by boys. I am clearly not that girl.

I write letters to people purposely to make them write me back. Yes, it looks like I will never see the light at the end of a tunnel. Not even a bleak of sunshine. Every year… Every eternity…

My road is rough and deserted. I crawl every now and then. And every now and then I have no strength left, and the thing that is left is to roll on the ground and wail. Only it will not help. Nothing will. So I will sleep.

I will not eat anymore, ever again. I will not! Please, forgive me; I will not do it again!

I scream, I fling, but no, I cannot break free. These ugly stiff hands hold me tight. I cannot do it.

I cannot bear it anymore; it hurts. It is very, very painful and unbearably unfair. I do not understand why this ugly man is beating me.

He is a few times bigger than me; and I am hardly visible on this huge bed. I wriggle and bend enormously, a playdough little girl, a snake-girl. A worm. He is going to crush me with his spanking, just crush me! I scream so loudly that it makes the ears stop:

I hate you, fool, freak, don’t, Daddy, don’t, Daddy, dear Daddy, don’t, pleeeeease, I am sorry, I hate you, fool, fool, fool, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

The door opens; my mother walks in. Mommy-save-me-help-me-take this monster away from me!

My mother calmly says:

“Enough already, chill.”
“My father methodically continues to beat me. He is going to kill me now. Thank God. The sooner, the better. I should not live. Iamalien, Iamunwanted. “
“I will make you into a person! I will show you! I will teach you to love your motherland! Parasite!”
“I do not know what a “parasite” is, but I guess it is something really bad. I am a parasite, I am four years old and I shed floods of tears. Oh, life… I poke, kick, bite and call names, I resist as best I can. Fight it is!

My mother stands in the doorway, I wiggle on the bed, my father continues spanking me, now with a belt. A soldier’s belt, with a star on the buckle. Brown and stinky. My father used to be a military man, now he is a locksmith. I do not know what a “locksmith” is or what he can do generally. A soldier fights. But what does a locksmith do? I do not understand. Does he lock things? Unlikely, because that would be a “lockthings”. And I would have noticed.

He stops beating me, threatens to make me into a person one more time – I am a person, aren’t I? – shakes and folds his belt and leaves the room.

I weep floods of tears, I am about to choke on them, I think. They are salty. I wipe my face with a pillow and cry again, I cannot stop. The pillow, almost as big as me, is all wet now. I am so little, yet such a big crybaby. I feel hugely sorry for myself.

My mother comes up and starts to comfort me. I cry louder. The neighbors bang against the radiator. They will not save me. No one will. I cannot eat what I want, and I cannot watch evening cartoons, because you are supposed to eat something different, however disgusting, and Dad watches football in the evening.

I hear through my sleep that my boyfriend is back. There is someone else with him. Now they are going to drink in the kitchen.

The voice in the kitchen: She is going to the market tomorrow. I’ll tell her to buy her some brains at that.”

The morgue.

The medical examiner:

“She hanged herself in the stairwell.”

Igor. At home.

“It is hell. I can do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I am trying to make myself go outside, and I cannot. Only to get beer. Alcohol helps, yes. Otherwise I have no strength even to get up and wash. I lay staring at one point for hours. Turning my head is quite an event.

Marshes of despair devour me. They swallow me, drag me to the bottom. Vile, slimy. Greasy and insanely stinky. “There they are, those forests, full of blueberries”* — is that how it goes? [*J. Brodsky “To Urania”]. It does.  It did not go away or disappear out of my hands, I did not run away and hide — where would I hide? – no. They took me out. Sent me away. Pushed me out. Gently, in a way, unobtrusively, softly.  Inevitably. As if a wave threw a dead dolphin out onto the stones of Simeiz beach. Lay me out. Spat me out. Released me. And let me go. Fly on your way, good dolphin, frolic elsewhere. There is no place for you at home. There is not, as if there never was. Who will remember…

There used to be… Packs of dear friends, a sister beside me, a mother and a father – all together, swimming. Where are they now, what shores do they enjoy? My gray cold corpse was dragged onto the rocks; I lay there for a long time. A feast for seagulls. The white and winged moaned trizna** above the quiet sea waves for a long, long time…

What was it that you took me away from? What did you lead me to? I cannot understand. I wanted to stay there and I do not want to be here. I survive and I do not want to survive. I do not want to live like this. I wanted to leave. At least I tried. You would not let me. I cannot see the reason. I live in hell for the last ten years. I die in it. You know everything. I do not want that anymore. I can not do it anymore. I am no more.

Anguish. Wet-rubber-matte-black. It envelops, germinates, tears up…”

Nadezhda. On the stairway balcony of the top floor.

“What do you hope for?

Do you think that you can be 20 again? Do you really think that there is still a chance that opportunities might come? You see — you do not even write «events». You are careful. Yes, you are a pro in this. No Oxford. No New York. Nothing.

Delirium of a sober one. Tears of rain…

The gray tears of rain turn into muddy puddles underfoot. There is a big doll in a pantsuit lying facedown near the garbage bin, and you stop and think, «What a good shot». And you examine it closely from all sides.

You quickly turn away when you see the reflection in someone’s mirror. You choose mirrors carefully now. You remember exactly which of them show someone else, not you. Avoid them.

The look in your eyes got heavy. You scare. It used to be a funny game, now it is a ruthless reality.

You are pathetic. You are alone. You cry.

Tomorrow will be all the same. Tomorrow will be all the same … tomorrow will be all the same? Will there be tomorrow?..

Cigarettes got more expensive. It is raining.

The elevator rides back and forth. It came empty again. Some kids are having fun.”


*Perun —The thunder-god of the ancient pagan Slavs

**Trizna — part of an ancient pagan funeral rite of the Eastern Slavs

Nothing happened


Kusya. Blonde. 36 years old. She has several university diplomas. She has almost no mimicry. She takes up karate. She is studying Chinese.

Morosov. 21 years old. A handsome IT student.

Jonny. A brunette. 36 years old. A drinking single mother.  A qualified fashion designer.

Natasha. Red-haired. 36 years old. An accountant.

Kusya. At home.


“Pitiful masks, delirious masks

All watercolors, deliberate lies.

May be, the rain will wash them away…

They used to call me Nadezhda*. It was torture. “Hope is my earthly compass”** (singing).  How far will you go with such a compass… What about dying last?

“Miss, what is your name? – Whatever, you will forget it anyway. – No, I won’t. – Hope. – Hope springs eternal!”

Damn funny, you know! Most importantly, very original. How many times have I heard it… And everybody thinks he made a good joke! Lord have mercy…

Crying with melting snowdrops sets in March.

No more swinging the swings, no more “here you are”

I cannot stand this pitiful name, Nadia…

Anyway, people change their sex, I thought. Why not change a name? 500 rubles and a trip to the registry office, a piece of cake. Years have passed, and my relatives still do not know about it. I had to tell my mom, because you never know who might call, they could have thought they had a wrong number. Her reaction? What reaction could there be? Adequate. Anyway, my friend now calls me Kusya, and I call her Jonny. You see, Jonny… Why don’t you piss off, Jonny…”

Jonny comes out.


“Yes, with pleasure. Well, not always with pleasure, of course, but what can you do …”


“Why don’t you ask, whose fault it is.”


“Good talk.”

Kusya(to the audience):

“When we have a fight, we change to formal terms of address. Ah, our fight in Simeiz! Fireworks! Hurricane! Awesome. Once one of her lovers asked me a wonderful question: «Nadia, where do you find yourself such friends?” Interesting, that he did not wonder where he finds himself such lady-friends.”


“He does not call.”

Jonny (to the audience):

“Another case of divine love. (to Kusya): When will you find yourself a human love? Have a human one already!”

Kusya (signs):

“I am all for it…”

They leave. Morosov, at home.


“I have no chance to breath. I get up at six, I start work at eight, then I go to the university. I come home, my stepfather starts yelling. Besides, I have a few commissions to finish. They pay me a tiny salary at the office, because I am a student. I am lucky they hired me though, I am not much of a programmer. But that will get me some experience.”

Kusya and Jonny go out onto the river bank. A bag is hanging at the top of a birch tree. 


“Pit stop. (She opens a beer can and spills some). Shucks, I spilled my beer.”


“You should be careful with our fuel.”


“Damn right…”


“I woke up today and saw the light. My employer has been cheating me!”


“16 years! 16 fricking years I have been telling you this!”


“The Belorussian girl hinted at it. She hinted all right! When I accused her of being a Sagittarius, she said, “I am just Sveta”.”


“I have been telling you this in plain words for 16 years! Why are you clinging to this industry? Have you achieved anything there for once? I passed your entering exams to the university — you dropped out. You had it underfoot – here, take it!   No, we do not need easy ways. Give us some problems! You won’t? We’ll make them themselves! Aren’t there any other areas in the world? Gödel’s theorem – no, no way, right? If there is no way out within the system, you look for the way outside the system! Darn it! How long are you going to dance on the same rake? Youhaveasickchild! Oldidiot!”

Morosov, athome.


“I do not get enough sleep at all. But I have a formal employment in my specialty. I miss my friends… Graf’s birthday is coming soon. I won’t make it in time before nine, it is my only free evening, I should see her. (Calling Kusya). Hi. Let’s meet on Friday. I, actually, won’t have much time, but we’ll have at least an hour. Can you make it? Then, as always. I will wait. Kisses. (Hangs up).

How old is she? 27? 30? She would not answer. We have no future … What am I doing … I do not know … Her legs though!”

Friday night. Morozov is waiting for Kusya to come from work; he smokes. She sees him and comes up. They hug and kiss and walk to her place. They keep a distance between them. Kusya realizes that he does not want to publicize their relationship, so she purposely takes his hand. He lights a cigarette again, as an excuse to let go of her hand.  


“How are you?”




“Do you ever answer this question in a different way?”




“I see.”

Kusya(to the audience):

“What do you see? You see nothing. Schoolboy.”

In the morning. Morosov did not get enough sleep as usual.


“I am going to have a few days off; I must visit home. I must make time to see her before that. (He calls Kusya, the machine gets it: “Ni hao! You are speaking to aninsentient answering machine. If you have something to say — say it. You know what to do!”). Hi, it’s me. What time will you be at home tonight? Let’s meet. Call me please.”

They meet.

The soundtrack playing is Ianva Tango dellamenade.

Kusya, at home.


“Let’s envelop all this drivel with text. You won’t read it, because I won’t write it… We will not meet again; I feel it. I drown. I explode at nights. I die. I come to life again. I leap and fly over the roofs. I am alone. I am in you. Not in me. Do you exist no more? But you never did…”


The ships of life —

Love and impotence

Goin full sail.

Morosov, athome.


“Hey, we’ve got mail. He reads:  “Are you coming over?” He writes, “I’m not”. He reads, “Thank you for having been in my life”. He writes,“Thank you too for everything”.”

Kusya, at home. A sleepless night. Tears.

Pub № 1.


“They started recognizing me in such places.”


“It would be better if they recognized you in jewelry stores.”

Kusya, stalkingMorosov.


“You seem to be sad today for some reason.”


“It happens.”


“It happens.

Somewhere near the heart it explodes,

Breaking my plans, breaking open my hopes,

Like a bullet drives forward.

Through streets and weekdays I’ll call you;

I will catch up; I will rush towards you, into the maelstrom.

No, I will not give up. I have no illusions.

My god… I do not have you – I have nothing.


“I would like to walk alone now.”


“I want to go with you. (Walks with him).”

Pub № 1.

Jonny (to the audience):

“It is going to last for three years, in the least.”


“You cannot run; you cannot hide.

Thousands pass by.

I pretend to mime.

Our hands are tied.”


“I am sick of it! There was nothing between us! It meant nothing!”


“My bitterest sorrow. Infinite roads…

Deserted apartments and arduous thresholds…

An ocean of weakness. I’m broken by chains.

Forgotten. Exhausted. A shock through my veins.

An ocean of weakness. My heart has been broken.

My bitterest sorrow. My bitterest sorrow.”

Kusya, athome.


“It is six o’clock, minus thirty it is time for a burdensome and intrusive walk. Get ready to see me, honey!”

The railway station. Kusya waits for Morosov to go to work and joins him.

 A train tambour. Morosov throws an empty cigarette pack on the floor.


“You are like a pig! I still cannot forget the cigarette butts you threw from my balcony; although I had shown you where the ashtray was.”


“How long are going to follow me like this?”


“As long as is necessary to get the desired result. If you do not give me this hour, then I’ll steal it from you. If you do not want to be with me in an amicable way; you will in any way.”


“This method won’t work!”


“It is the only method I know.”

Morosov is histerical.



“So, are we playing role games now? “Well, Just You Wait***”? My little hare, you. Well, little runny-bunny, are you out of places to skedaddle to? One-two-three-four-five, bunny cannot hide…”

In a train car. Morosov is wearing headphones. Kusya is sitting opposite; she decides to touch him with her tears. She starts crying.  

Kusya (to the audience):

“The sky has canceled the dawn – it is crying with me.”(Silence).


There’s ice in your heart.

Transparent heaven pours

Snow-white tears


Tears from heaven

Can soften your heart.

I am inside them.

Silence? Flaunting of words? Speech is not just what we mean. The speaker is a prisoner of his speech. It all starts only when we stop talking. God is a god in unsaid things. The language noise interferes with listening to silence. The word barrier. If you get over it, silence will become a part of your language. The symbols need to disappear for the speech to become significant. “To say” and “to speak” are not the same. When you feel the difference between what people say and what they want to say. When you experience linguistic shortage, not lexical, but semantic. Plenty of feelings and emotions that you cannot express via words. That are not susceptible to a univocal description. Not a single phrase is equal to itself. Not a single action is equal to itself… Silence helps words obtain their meaning. Silence is contained inside a word. When what is said differs from what is heard… Only silence can express love…


“I do not care. Go home.”



“We never even talked!”


“What can you and I talk about? A synchrophasotron?”


“We have studied that…”


“About partial induction? There is nothing to talk about with you!”

At a crossroads. Kusya notices Morosov. He notices her too.

Kusya (to the audience):

“Excellent, I have calculated everything correctly. He is going to stand at the traffic lights for 90 seconds now. I must pretend I am nervous. Well, I’ll have to smoke again.”

Lights a cigarette with shaking hands.   

Morosov (to the audience):

“Wow, look at them shaking hands!”

Kusya (to the audience):

“That’s right.”


“You are stalking me.”


“What else is new.”


“I’ll report you!”


“Corpus delicti? Hello young man! What happened? A young lady travelled with you on a train? You bump into each other in the street? What does she look like? Good? That’s terrible, of course. Next time you go to work, take me with you, please. Because I already have two murders here, six robberies, extortion, drug trafficking. In short, I am bored to death, I have nothing new. I have literally nothing to do. Make love not war.”

Morosov is in helpless hysterics.  

Pub № 1.

Jonny (to the audience):

“They attract us, trap, pursue. They suddenly take shape of intrusive mirages. They are everywhere – smiling confidently on our way to work; disappearing mysteriously in the secrecy of magic scenarios, which you can take a peek of, wrapped in a blanket and finishing your «Chianti». Glossy heroes are fabulous. In demand. Successful. Do you like them? No? Turn off the TV, baby, little ones should have long gone to bed now. Well-adjusted tan shade. Snow-white smiles (smiles! Can anybody see any unpainted ones on faces or in the street now?) Perfect bodies. They are flawless; they can handle anything. Do you want to be successful? Beautiful? The crowd is full of invisible beings. If you are not noticeable, you do not exist.”

Kusya, in the dojo (a karate training place).


“The last thing that a person has when he has nothing left is his body. In a crazy race of a modern world, there are too many crashes that remain unnoticed. When you lose everything, your body is the only thing you can concentrate on, simply because there is nothing else there. It will pay back. A body is the only thing that remains with the person until his very death. Changing, aging, aching – the only thing that is your own. Trying to keep it healthy is the least we can do.”

Natasha, at home.


“The quantity of events devalue them. (Pause). We started dating about 15 years ago. Then they told me he had a son. It was the first time I died. Then my house burned down. Good thing that my mother went to the store when it happened. They threw a bottle with inflammable mixture right through the window. It happened right before the New Year. I had just bought a new dress. Firefighters arrived, but they did not have any water. My Dad was looking for water.  Then my university burned down, which means, I guess, that I no longer can recover my diploma. Meanwhile he had a daughter. I hope we will get married.”

Kusya and Jonny on the river bank. A bag is hanging at the top of a birch tree.


“Natasha called. She said he had a third child.”


“That’s old. Oh, it is a bag, evidently. I thought for some reason it was a stork’s nest.”


“Really, how would a stork’s nest end up here? See, a bag too has a chance to take off.”


“I need to identify the Swiss…”




“the Swiss …”




“To see where the opener is. Must be like a corkscrew. Try it!”

Kusya (to the audience):

“Where is the opener in a Swiss army knife?”

Natasha rides in the car on the Garden Ring.


“The words are all helpless; obscure faces fly by…

The city slaps quickly and hard in the nighttime.

Kusya, at home. Morosov calls her.


“Are you at home?”




“Come out.”

Kusyacomes out.


“A knife, a gun, or sulfuric acid?”


“Cut it out…”



“You scare me.”



“You’re crazy.”


“I’m quite normal, all my actions are logically justified. I want to be with you, and I am doing everything to make that happen. Do not be afraid of me, I’ll never hurt you.”


“I got cleaned out. On the train. They took everything out of my pockets. It’s cold, put your hood on.” (Puts her hood on).

They go to her place.

In the morning. 


“Man, what am I doing here? How did I get here?”


“You came on your own. Do you think I carried you here in my hands? Although I could, of course…”


“I am sure. (Smiling). I am sorry. I have to go.”


“I love you. Come back soon.”


“I am sorry.”

They hug; she kisses him; he leaves.

In the street. Morosov and Kusya are walking towards each other. She stops. He sees her, but there is nowhere to turn. Hewalkspasther.

Pub № 1.

Kusya (ordering):

“As usual.”

 Natasha calls.


“Do you have a Schengen visa?”


“No, I don’t.”


“That’s a shame. We were about to leave, but my Dad suddenly got ill; and everything had already been paid for. I thought we could go together.”


“Try and misbehave there.”

 She walks out of Pub № 1.

It is raining. 


“The desire to create your own history is impossible toinsert into a mathematical framework.”

Rain is the sky’s tears.


*Nadezhda — is a Slavic female name, meaning “hope”.

**a line from a popular Soviet/Russian song.

***»Well, Just You Wait!» is a Soviet/Russian animated series featuring a Wolf and a Hare as main characters.

About the author:

Tonga Tulinova, writes in the genres of drama and poetry. She was born on  September 3 in the city of Pushkino, Moscow region. She graduated from  the Moscow State University of Service

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