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It was just my luck

it was just my luck

The following one-act play is reprinted from Read-aloud Plays. It is now in the public domain and may therefore be performed without royalties. VERA: But Jean, where are you going, when you pack up here? JEAN: If I have any work to do, I can do it here. VERA: I can imagine, now, how it has been, Jean. But can you find any peace here?

I was left all alone in the midst of these. I knew you before all this. Perhaps you don’t appreciate what an insidious drug memory can be. Let’s be frank, Jean, for the sake of your future. Yes, I have been outrageously unhappy! JEAN: You read a play by Strindberg, and you say it’s very strong, very artistic, but all the while you believe it is only the nightmare of a diseased mind. Well, the Strindberg play has been my real life, and real life my play, my impossible dream. JEAN: We had the deepest respect and admiration for one another, but somehow we never walked in step. His emotion repressed mine, my emotion repressed his. Sometimes one was the slave, sometimes the other.

We couldn’t both be free at the same time. There was always something to hide, to be afraid of. Not words nor acts, but moods. VERA: I wondered, afterward, what it really was. He seemed to impress me like a powerful motor car stalled in a muddy road. You don’t understand, I was unhappy, in the ordinary sense, unbelievably so. I lived as the man lives who faints in the dark mine underground, and I lived as the aviator lives, thrilling against the sun, and as the believer in a world of infidels. That was what he did for me. VERA: You are a big woman, Jean.

JEAN: No, I am a small woman in front of a big thing. And the force of it, relentless as nature, made me what I am. Oh, Vera, when I think of his music, tempestuous as the sea, healing as spring. He had what all the world wants most, flight, and the world stalled him in its own mud. Sometimes I ask it, too, why Paul never succeeded. While we were struggling along, the things that held him back seemed only details. Only now do I see them as a whole.

VERA: But he didn’t neglect his music, that is? He made enormous efforts to get his violin before the public. And several times he was “discovered” by men who could have made him famous overnight. We all believe that genius will out, despite anything, but it doesn’t always. Musicians respected him, but they were afraid of him, too. It was a chance in ten thousand. We pawned stuff to get there.