Setting: Postwar America

Related Canon: Mending Fences

Characters:

The Jablonskis: Marszenka, Tomasz and Juliek

The Wolf Brothers: Christoph, Marcel, Adolfo and Georg

The Woods: Kenneth, Adele and their three daughters

The Steinbachs: Franz and Anna

Juliek: *meets his eyes, his own still bright with tears, but his voice is as gentle as it was years ago* And you look older, son. In the best way. *presses another kiss into Marszenka’s hair, enchanted* You have been good to my little girl? She is beautiful.

Marszy: *muffled, still trembling with sobs on his chest* He makes me happy, Tata.

Juliek: Your mother would have loved to see. *smile fades, but then he pulls Marszy more tightly to him* Thank God.

Christoph: *sniffles away his runny nose and wipes his reddened eyes* Sir, she’s the most beautiful. A German fraulein alive couldn’t have turned this ol’ dog on old masters haha! *his laugh was cracked, but genuine. Come, please meet the others. So many good friends here!

Juliek: *wipes his eyes, swaying a little on his feet as he turns. Marszenka ducks under his shoulder to hold him up, Tom moving in behind him* Yes, danke. I hope I will be forgiven for having s-small interest in the friends, because of having my children.

Marszy: *proudly* They will forgive you. *presses his hand where it rests over her shoulder. in German* My father, Juliek Jabłoński. Tata, please meet my friend, Dr. Kenneth Woods and his family. *points out the little girls playing*

Juliek: *unsteady but warm smile, he bends just a little at the waist, but his eyes are on the little ones* Is there any treasure worth more? Happy to meet you.

Chris: It is okay! Now Marszenka and Tom will not be so outnumbered! HA– *remembers his order to be quiet around the man, and stifles his laughter*

Dr Woods; *rather reverently* Mein herr, the pleasure is all mine. *bows slowly*

Chris: haha he must like you! That’s more words than he normally says! And Doktor Steinbach and his wife, Anna.

Steinbach: *watches Juliek from afar, a twinge of sympathy creasing his brow. He nods carefully, lifting his glass subtly to the man as a quick toast. He quickly takes on the ‘doctor’s eye,’ analyzing the old man’s stance and demeanor rather quickly, then shoots Dr Woods a side-glance. Kenneth simply returns it with a subtle nod of his own.*

Dr Woods: *to Tomasz, quietly* Herr Jabłońska–

Chris: –Ski. >.> I keep getting it wrong too. The Polish surnames are flip-floppy like a snow-hare!

Dr Woods: *not quite getting the rabbit reference* Excuse me, Jabłoński, if there’s anything, you know… that we can do. You just let me know?

Juliek: *inclines politely to Steinbach as wall, some curiosity stirring as he recognizes the Jewish name* Doktor Steinbach, Panna Anna. A pleasure.

Tom: *English, over his father’s shoulder* Tom, please, is fine. Thank you. *looks tenderly at Juliek, his eyes softening, then he explains slowly* Not sure much more is to do. *stops himself, then tries again* …Not much to be done, I think. We found him in Russian… *thinks of the English word, not wanting to say ‘gulag’ in front of his sister or father* …Prison. Far north, much hunger and cold. *mouth twists bitterly* Frosted him. My friend gave help of English doctors; think maybe happiness and rest will bring him heal…ing.

Dr Woods: *his eyes don’t leave Juliek, looking him over with a steady head still poised facing Tom* Hm. Well. I would like to look him over if that’s all right, Tom. Some time. Not that I don’t trust English medics… *he says with an awkward smile*

Christoph: *having eavesdropped* LAUGHTER is the best medicine! Look at this company! His daughter, his funny son, and a pack of wolf-hyenas!! HAHA He will be clicking his heels by the end of the night. Whiskey will also do the trick–!

Steinbach: *scolding* –Take it easy on your whiskey, Christoph.

Chris: Oh, says the man with the empty goblet! Someone fill that man’s glass! *Gestures to Adolfo who gladly obliges*

Steinbach: Oh– No, please, I don’t– …*sigh*

Chris: Tata-’błonski! My brothers: Marcel an olympic swimmer, Adolfo the best farmhand you will ever meet, and Georg who survived bombs, and death itself!

Georg: *watching Juliek carefully the whole time having been solemnly still. When lastly introduced, he breaks down, turning to his wife’s shoulder with a quiet sob*

Marcel: *his permanent smirk finally fades* … Georg?

Carla: Shhh, shh, it’s okay… *pulls him aside*

Steinbach watches the tall man skeptically if not with a bit of disgust, shaking his head as he takes a big swig of the whiskey.

Christoph: D8 Excuse me, tata… *goes to his brother’s side as well* Georg, what’s wrong?

Georg: I can’t do this, Christoph. I have no business among this company. It is like looking at ghosts. I don’t deserve to be in the presence of these happy families, celebrating life– *he chokes on the last words, barely able to articulate through his awkward sobs. Carla soothes him in Spanish but it does little for his darkened countenance.* Please, just– excuse me. *brushes her off as he briskly marches off.*

Christoph: *concerned and confused* Buh– Georg, no–…. *glances back at the Jablonskas and puts on his best simple smile* The burgers smell ready! Please, help yourself! Marcel? Drinks for Tom! Dr Woods? If you would serve the food?

Anna: Please, let me. *brushes past her husband who stands glowering, watching Georg round the corner of the house*

Chris: *jogs to catch up to him, but stops at Marszenka, planting a firm kiss on her forehead* It’s a good day, not so? *genuinely as he smiles at her, lifting her chin and kissing her lips again before leaving*

Juliek: *is hesitant around the German men, studying them all warily, but although the trust isn’t there neither is the hate* Marcel, Adolfo, G– *stops, brow knitting in worry, but everyone else is faster and he doesn’t have the energy to try beating them to the punch. He follows the men with worried eyes, only smiling to see how gently Marszenka is kissed*

Marszy: Yes, Chris. *meekly* It’s a good day. *returns the kiss, embracing him, then lets him go and turns to Juliek again* Don’t worry. Chris will help him; you can spend company with me.

Tom: *silent and glowering; he too is watching Georg’s departure with a shadow over his face. He doesn’t bother excusing himself, not knowing what to say and not wanting to upset Juliek more, but slips around the back to search out the defectors*

Christoph has Georg against the wall, the only way to keep his brother from walking right off the property. Georg, obviously uncomfortable, fidgets and refuses to make eye contact with his brother.

Chris: Georg, what’s the matter with you? You know you’re an honored guest here.

Georg: Honored? What honor is there for me, Christoph? Marcel the Olympian god? Dr Woods, the American hero-medic? –And what am I, Christoph? Will you brag about my medals I earned for killing their family? Steinbach can’t stand to look at me! He is drinking himself blind so he won’t have to look at me, and even Woods’ children avoid me.–

Chris: *helplessly* No, Georg, Franz? Why, he’s always a big drinker!

Georg: Do you know why that is, Christoph!? Because of me! Because I made his life hell on earth, and here we are toasting to a reunion of family– My family, because that man has none of his own to go back to!

Chris sinks, looking away harshly as a silence falls between them.

Georg: *shaking his head* It’s a sick joke to introduce your wife’s dying father in my presence, Christoph. I shouldn’t have come.

For once, Christoph doesn’t know what to say, unable to look his brother in the eyes either.

Tom: *furiously storming in, unable to take what he’s overhearing* My father is not dying! *lashes out, hitting Georg full in the face with hatred burning in his eyes* It is sick joke. Know why?! Not because you are here, big crowd of happy Germans. Is knife-cut to me, but I could forgive — but not this! You will not let us have what little happiness there is. *bitterly* Not enough to set all of Poland on fire, not enough that I do not know what happened to six people I loved, or to give my home to RUSSIA . You have to come and make it all about you. How dare you cry and make them worry! How do you -dare-?! Selfish Nazi bastard. *snarls*

Georg is startled, but takes the hit with minimal recoil, the siding of the house propping him back up before he falls. Christoph wastes no time in retaliating on his brother’s behalf, wedging himself in and giving Tom a rough shove in the shoulders to distance him from Georg.

Chris: That’s my family you’re talking to!

Georg: Chris! *his deep voice freezes his younger brother in his tracks, but Chris doesn’t let his eyes off of Tomasz, more in defense than rage* I don’t need you defending me. He’s right.

Chris: *whirling around* No, Georg, he’s not! You can’t let him say that–

Georg: No, Christoph, *he says again sternly* it is selfish of me, but then I never claimed to be anything more. *looks Tom in the eyes sternly, yet there’s a certain distance in them, as if staring past him* I can not help if they worry. It is in their blood to fear the German.

Chris: Georg–

Georg: –I can’t be seen around them… for everyone’s sake.

Tom: *completely ignoring Chris; at this point he’s incensed* NO! *wrenches free, shoving Georg against the side of the house* Our blood is to fight the German, to stand, but I say WORRY, not fear. Worry. About you, you bloodsucking leech. *shoves him harder* Worry, the kind that comes from love. *enraged, to Chris* Your family still sees us as dirt on his shoe! Is fortunate I left my gun. For -him-.