6a 1910 A DECLARATION OF LOVE TO
THE WRONG PERSON
Mahler is playing music on bottles in the kitchen pantry.
Gropius appears. He is not able to see Mahler, but he can
hear his playing.
GROPIUS (whispers, enchanted:) Alma
- Alma?!! - Alma?!!!
Mahler stops playing.
don't stop. Don't stop, my dear!! Go on playing, my love.
I don't want to disturb you. But... I wanted to tell you something.
There comes a time in life when you have to make a decision,
when you have to say »Yes« or »No«.
I was ready to say yes the moment I saw you. You know my feelings.
I have no doubts whatsoever. I beg you: Don't say »No«.
I won't take »No« for an answer. Say »Yes«
to our new-born love. - I know, there is a big difference
between the two of us. You are married, I am not. But you
don't love him. You love me. You don't have to say it in so
many words. Your body tells it to mine whenever we touch.
Your body offers itself to mine with absolute passion. There's
nothing left of you for any one else . I know it. I feel it.
If you say »no« to our love, this »no«
will destroy the rest of your life. Alma, without you my heart
is rotting away in the grave that my body becomes when it
is not touched by you. - You say you love him too. But as
I see it you just feel sorry for him. Don't tell me you love
him. The only thing you feel for him is pity. If you stick
with him, you will end your days in a false, love-forsaken
life. He is a sick man. He could be removed from his position
at the opera at any time! He's a Jew, even though he's converted.
- Alma my love, my hope, my desire. The moment your nurse
introduced us to one another, on that blessed evening of the
4th of June, my whole being was split in two: the first twenty-four
years of my life without you are of no interest to me any
more. All that counts from now on are the moments that we
are going to spend together. It all started for me without
warning. . During that moonlit walk we took by the little
stream ... Alma my love, my body, my soul, I cannot live without
you. If you have any feelings at all for me, you have to abandon
come live with me. Alma my blood, my
life, my universe!
Mahler comes out of the pantry and calls Alma through the
from another room) Yes, what is it, my dear?
you please come down for a moment?! I think there's someone
here who wants to talk to you.
coming! Just give me a minute, love.
Gropius intends to leave.
here, stay here. Just give her a minute.
Mahler and Gropius observe one another in dead silence. Alma
is it, Gustav? Do you need some tea, or can I get you... -
her what you've got to say. She's here now.
is that supposed to mean. ?
She's waiting. - Has your courage left you? Do you want me
to tell her for you? (Silence.) All right, I will ... (He
addresses Alma:) My love... There comes a time in life when
you have to make a decision, when you have to say »Yes«
or »No«. I was ready to say yes the moment I saw
you. You know my feelings. I have no doubts whatsoever. I
beg you: Don't say »No«. I won't take »No«
for an answer. Say »Yes« to our love... to our
- I know, there is a big difference
between the two of us. Yes
You are 29, I am 50... And
you don't love me. You love him. You don't have to say it
in so many words. Your body tells it to mine whenever we touch.
Your body offers itself to mine with absolute passion. There's
nothing left of you for any one else. . I know it. I feel
it. If you say »no« to our love, this »no«
will destroy the rest of your life. Alma
my heart is rotting away in the grave that my body becomes
when it is not touched by you. - You say you love me too.
As I see it you only feel sorry for me. Don't tell me you
love him. Yes, you do. I can see it. All you feel for me is
pity. If you stick with me, you will end your days in this...
»false..? Love-forsaken life?« Alma my love...
I am a sick man, I could be removed from my position at the
opera at any time. I'm a Jew, even though I've converted.
- Alma, my love, my hope, my desire. The moment your nurse
introduced you to him, on that goddamn blessed evening of
the 4th of June, his whole being was split in two, and so
was mine: the first twenty four years of his life without
you are of no interest to me any more. All that counts from
now on are the moments that the two of you are going to spend
together. It all started for me without warning . I must say...
During that moonlit walk you took by the little stream ...
Alma my love, my body, my soul, I cannot live without you.
If you have only the slightest feeling for me, you must abandon
stay with me. Alma my blood, my life, my universe!
(to Gropius) Did I miss anything?
all this about?
I'm wondering the same thing . What's all this? I'd like to
know myself. Can you explain it to me? - I'm waiting for an
ALMA An explanation
Well. An explanation! He's waiting for an explanation. I'll
give you an explanation. - No, Walter, don't go! You can't
leave me alone with him now. - I wasn't even 23 years old
when I met him. He was already 42, imagine that. And the director
of the Royal Opera house. What did I know about life? What
did I know about men? Nothing. Almost nothing. My only experience
before that was Alex. »Experience«! Now I know,
- thanks to you, Walter - that that was no experience at all.
We kissed, that's true. And yes, he touched me. He caressed
me very intimately. We were very familiar with each other's
bodies; and I will never forget his hands. It was all so very
exciting for the innocent virgin that I'd been - until I met
you, Walter. Yes, Gustav! I've been married to you for seven
years, I gave birth twice, but God knows how I got pregnant.
I still felt like a virgin. A virgin
! You never made
of me a woman, never! Never! - And now you ask for an explanation.
Well here it is. - When you first declared your love for me,
seven years ago, and you asked me to make up my mind, I didn't
know what love meant. I mean real love, between a real Man
and a real Woman. All I had known was Alex Zemlinsky's fluttering
hands on my nakedness. It was like an Etude. But when you
asked me to be yours, you put me in a terrible dilemma. I
would whisper to myself »my love«, and immediately
I would add: »Alex«. I asked myself honestly if
I could love you as you deserved, and as I was capable of
loving... And would I ever understand your art, or you mine?
With Alex it was mutual - he loved every tone that came out
of me - and all you said was: »there's something to
consider seriously.« You kept telling me how much you
loved me, and I couldn't find a loving answer- yes. It would
have been a lie. How could you ignore my lack of feelings
towards you?! How could you have been so blind to my condition
, to the aversion I felt towards you? I kept asking myself
over and over : do I love this man? And the answer
was: I don't know. Or sometimes it was a plain
»No«. But there was never a "yes". -
So many things about you irritated me. Your smell
way of walking, your humming, the endless walks, even the
things you said. When you held me in your arms - I missed
Alex. So badly. Every minute, every second... I didn't know
what I felt - did I love you or didn't I? Or if I did - was
it the director of the opera, the great conductor that I loved,
or was it the man? It certainly wasn't the composer. Your
music leaves me cold, so dreadfully cold. I never believed
in you as a composer. - You understand, Walter? This was the
man I was supposed to be bound to forever, but I didn't even
like his hands! At least not the way I loved Alex's hands,
even worshipped them. And - stupid as I was - I wondered if
he would encourage me to compose the way Alex did, if he would
support my artistic striving - And if he would love it, like
he ... And what did he do instead? Nothing but nagging, nagging,
and more nagging: »Another two days without any news
from you. Why don't I get any mail? I don't understand why
you did that. Is this necessary?« - You don't understand
why? Because I was discovering for the first time in my life
what love really meant. I mean real, passionate love, between
a man and a woman. Not love letters, not love in words, poems
or pictures, reams of paper on which love is described at
great length, without the slightest knowledge of what it really
is! Without even the desire to know what it is! Without knowing
that it even exists!! I am talking about love between two
living creatures, between two beautiful young healthy bodies!
stop it! It's torture!
He asked for it. He wanted it to be like this. - While we
were discovering our love, he kept nagging me with his daily
letters and telegrams: Another three tormented days for me
without news from you! Give me a sign! I'm very worried! Please
answer urgently! Are you hiding something from me? Answer
my questions! Write more! Can't you send me at least a postcard?«-
No! I did not write. What did you want me to write to you:
I am drunk with love? I'm spending magical nights in the arms
of my lover while the dawn and the nightingales' song lull
us into , in a wild, exhausted slumber. ? - To « My
Child and Wife« - he wrote ... but such an addressee
no longer existed. The letters had to be sent back. «Almschili,
my Almschibilili, my Almschilitzilitzilitzili» These
were no longer terms by which I could be addressed! I was
not a child any more. I was a woman, with a lover who, on
countless unforgettably steamy nights, panted in my ear, «Alma,
you, my Alma!» as he lay breathlessly on top of me !
Our two bodies lost themselves in one another as our two souls
found themselves in our love.
you have no right
course I have! I have every right in the world. I spent years
yearning for his love ! How blind he was in his quest for
asceticism. «Whole-wheat bread and apples»! After
eight years of forced asceticism, that turned me prematurely
into a discouraged old woman, alienated from the world, I
was dying for love and passion! Prometheus didn't give people
fire just so they could light matches!! Walter gave me in
one night what you didn't give me in eight years of barren,
sterile marriage. You asked for the truth - now you have it.
Themes from Mahler's 10th Symphony explode in a crazy arrangement.
heaven ! Oh, God! Oh, God! Why did you forsake me? Eli Eli
lama shevaktani? The devil is dancing with me! Madness, take
hold of me, goddamn it! Annihilate me, make me forget that
I exist ! Make me stop being, make me disapp- Only you know
what that means. Ach! Ach! Ach! Be well, my harp! Be well,
be well! Ach Ach. To live for you, for you to die! Almschi!
him! Run after him! You can't let him leave like that!
him go, and stay gone !!! - Oh, Walter, I'm burning for your
naked body to lie at my side, with nothing to separate us
but sleep! Come, my love! I I live only for the time when
I'll be completely yours! Your wife. My Walter - from you
I want a child - to cherish and nurture - until the day comes
when we can be united and drown in each others' arms without
remorse. Your spirit and my body - such dual perfection will
surely engender a demigod. I want to have you over me again,
physically, inside me! I want to see you like your god created
you - for only a god can produce such a creature. I want your
beauty to melt inside me! I ache for your embraces! I'll never
for¬get the touch of your hand on my most intimate parts.
You sent fire and joy flowing through me. Yes, it is possible
to be entirely happy, there is such a thing as perfect joy.
In your arms I've known it. One little nuance more, and I
would have become a god. Everything about you is holy to me.
I want to kneel down and kiss your loins - kiss everything.