He called me a filthy dog, and said I tempted them. Why else would it happen? Five months in the bush, passed between the soldiers like a washrag. Used. I was made poison by their fingers, that is what he said. He had no choice but to turn away
Do you know what I was doing on that morning?
I was working in our garden picking the last of the sweet tomatoes. I put Beatrice down in the shade of a Frangipani tree, because my back was giving me some trouble. Forgiven? Where was Fortune? He was in town fetching a new iron pot.
"Go," I said "Go, today man or you won't have dinner tonight!" I had been after him for a new pot for a month. And finally on that day the damn man had to go and get it. A new pot. The sun was about to crest, but I had to put in another hour before it got too hot. It was such a clear and open sky. This splendid bird, a peacock had come into the garden to taunt me, and was showing off its feathers. I stooped down and called to the bird. "Wssht, Wssht." And I felt a shadow cut across my back, and when I stood four men were there over me, smiling, wicked schoolboy smiles. "Yes?" I said. And the tall soldier slammed the butt of his gun into my cheek. Just like that. It was so quick; I didn't even know I'd fallen to the ground. Where did they come from? How could I not have heard them?
One of the soldiers held me down with his foot. He was so heavy, thick like an ox and his boot was cracked and weathered like it had been left out in the rain for weeks. His boot was pressing my chest and the cracks in the leather had the look of drying sorghum. His foot was so heavy and it was all I could see, as the others..."took" me. My baby was crying. She was a good baby. Beatrice never cried, but she was crying, screaming. "Shhh" I said. "Shhh." And right then...
A soldier stomped on her head with his boot. And she was quiet.
Raymond and I were at a small hotel on a point overlooking a lake. One night there was a gathering. A crowded room. I was by a window looking out into the night. I saw the room reflected in the window. A woman watched me. I had seen her on other evenings playing cards. I watched her watching me. I was afraid to turn around, afraid to see, afraid of what she would see. She crossed the room and stood behind me. Our eyes met in the glass, caught. She whispered something. Her breath was warm. It was a foreign country.
What foreign country?
(He waits for an answer)
What foreign country?
What are you up to?
Talking. Ah, talking. I envy you. Women know how to talk to each other.
Ben Harcourt: Jesus…you think I was born this way,like some cut-throat pirate of the high seas? Huh? Hell,I’m just trying to muddle through, that’s all, just muddlemy fucking way through to middle age, see if I can makeit that far. You like trivia so goddamn much, well here’sa little tidbit for ya…I’m faking it. Okay? Totally gettingby on fumes. I put my game face on and go out there andI’m scared shitless. (BEAT) I’ve screwed up every step ofmy life, Abby, I’m not afraid to admit it. Happy to, actually,I am happy to sing it out there for anybody who wants to hear.I always take the easy route, do it faster, simpler, you know,whatever it takes to get it done, be liked, get by. That’s me.Cheated in school, screwed over my friends, took whateverI could get from whomever I could take it from. My marriage,there’s a goddamn fiasco, of which you’re intimately aware.The kids…I barely register as a dad, I’m sure, but comparedto the other shit in my life, I’m Doctor-fucking-Spock. Nomatter what I do or have done, they adore the hell out of meand I’m totally knocked out by that. What kids are like. Yeah…(BEAT) And you, let’s not forget you. Us. Okay, yes, I haven’tdone all that I’ve promised, said I’d do, I fuck up along the way.Alright. But I’m trying, this time out--with you, I mean--I havebeen trying. Don’t know what it looks like, feels to you, but Ihave made a real go of us and that is not a lie. It isn’t. And sothen, yesterday--through all the smoke and fear and just, I dunno,apocalyptic shit--I see a way for us to go for it, to totally erasethe past… (BEAT) And I don’t think it makes me Lucifer or acriminal or some bad man because I noticed it. I really don’t.We’ve been given something here, a chance to…I don’t knowwhat, to wash away a lot of the, just, rotten crap we’ve done.More than anything else, ...that's what this is. a chance. I know it is.