The Seagull
Anton Chekhov

Nina is an actress. She has returned after a few years to the home of her ex-boyfriend, (Kostya), a writer. She tells him how she spent the years away from him.

Why do you say you kiss the ground I walk on? I ought to be killed. I'm so tired, Kostya! If I could only rest... rest. I am the seagull... No, that's not it. I'm an actress! It doesn't matter. So he's here, too! It doesn't matter! He didn't believe in the theatre, he laughed at my dreams, and little by little, I stopped believing myself. I lost heart. And always the strains of love, jealousy, constant fear for the child...I became trivial, and commonplace, I acted without thinking or feeling... I didn't know what to do with my hands, I couldn't move properly, or control my voice. You can't imagine what it's like to know you're acting badly! I am a seagull. Do you remember the seagull you shot? You left it at my feet, he came to me and said, "I had an idea. A subject for a short story. A girl, like yourself, lives all her life on the shores of a lake. She loves the lake, like a seagull... But a man comes along, by chance, and, because he has nothing better to do, destroys her..."

What was I talking about, before? I - Yes, about acting. I'm not like that anymore. I'm a real actress now! I act with delight, with rapture. I feel drunk when I'm onstage and think that I am wonderful. Ever since I got here, I've been walking around, walking around and thinking, thinking and even believing that my soul grows stronger every day. Now I see at last, Kostya, that in our kind of work, whether we're writers or actors, the important thing is not fame, or glory, not what I used to dream about, but learning how to endure. I must bear my cross, and have faith. If I have faith, it doesn't hurt so much, and when I think of my calling I'm not afraid of life.

When you see him, don't tell him anything... I do love him, yes, I love him more than ever... "By chance. A subject for a short story."

How sweet it used to be, Kostya! Remember? How bright, and warm, how joyous and pure our lives were! And the feelings we had for each other were like fine, delicate flowers! Do you remember?

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