When you heard Elsy talk, you´d swear you were facing a thirteen-year-old, instead of a thirty-year-old woman. A beautiful and sweet woman with the mind of a teenager and an enthusiastic face, lost in the world of glitter and sparkle as the world of movie stars is presented in glamorous magazines. Twice a week I visited her, in her small apartment, where she lived under therapeutic supervision, to see if everything was in order and all right, and to check on how she was feeling.
-"I'm leaving." She said to me one morning when she let me in. She looked at me with the eyes of a child standing in front of a Christmas tree, but she looked unusually serious.
-"Where are you going?" I asked.
-"Hollywood!" she answered firmly.
-"No less!" I sighed. I had a whole stack of administrative papers to go through with her that day, and I could already see this Hollywood thing leading to a drama of biblical proportions, where I would find myself wondering at the end of the story how it started.
-"Shall we make some coffee first?" I asked, "After I've had my caffeine fix, can I help you pack."
She laughed and danced a pirouette.
With Elsy I always had the feeling of walking around Tinseltown, only I found the exit - she didn't.
While I was busy with the coffee machine, I asked Elsy, "And what are your prospects?"
-"Oh," she sighed dramatically, "I've written a movie, and I'm sure it will appeal to movie fans."
-"I must visit a photographer this afternoon. He has to take pictures of me for my future fans. It must be a good one. He must be able to portray me like a knockout."
-"And how do you plan to travel to California?" I asked.
She looked at me as if I had just said something very stupid:
"I'm not going to California; I'm going to Hollywood."
-"You have it your way." I said as I pressed the button of the coffee machine.
-"I also need to buy a travel bag, because that suitcase is a bit too small to carry everything I need."
-"That can be arranged," I said as I sat down at the kitchen table, yearning for a cup of coffee to support me with this story.
-"What kind of movie are you going to shoot?" I wanted to know.
-"A romantic drama!" she said proudly, looking at herself in a mirror.
_" And of course, you play the lead?" I added teasingly.
-"Dear me, such questions you ask. „Elsy said in a high voice. "Nobody is as pretty as you," she said to her mirror image.
"So," I began, "a romantic drama. Lots of kissing I suppose?"
She pouted for a moment. "I will have to practice that, I haven´t kissed too myna boys."
-"I´m sure you won´t have any problems finding candidates for that exercise." I assured Elsy.
-"There's lots of adventure in it too." she went on.
-"That´s good! A lot of action in a romantic drama." I said. Elsy stormed out of the kitchen, yelling: "Wait, I'll be right back."
-"Okay. Let me pour you some coffee. Praised be God for coffee!" I said quietly.
A moment later she came hopping back into the kitchen with a large stole draped around her shoulders.
-"For dramatic imagery, no doubt." I said as I poured her a cup of coffee.
-"I don't want coffee!" she said shrilly.
-"Good, more for me!" I answered.
-"I'm way too nervous." she continued. She held a pile of untidy papers in her hands:
-"Let me see;" she said, sliding her fingers between the pages. "There´s a soldier. No, three soldiers to be exact."
-"A whole army." I added.
-"There is this middle-aged man in the background with a stoical expression. Quite stoical." She sat down at the kitchen table with a serious demeanor, frowning through her script.
-"I forgot to say that one of the soldiers was an officer.”
-"Oh," I said dryly, "is that..."
-"Don't interrupt me." she snapped.
-"It won't happen again." I assured her.
-"The officer was a beautiful man. With a smiling and bronzed face."
-"Hmmm." I ventured.
-"The first time she, I mean my character sees him, she almost faints." Elsy said seriously.
-"Oh my, can this possibly go well?" I quickly entered.
-"He dashes off and runs several yards to catch her." Elsy blushes. She looked from her notebook to me.
I didn't really know what to say or what to say:
-"Is that officer in the habit of making women swoon when they see him?" I asked. Elsy shook her shoulders.
- “So, she was – my character I mean, in a dreadfully unsettled state.” she said in a dramatic imitation British accent.
-"Is that the opening scene?" I wanted to know.
-"I'm going to stop if you keep interrupting me." Elsy suggested irritably and threw the stole theatrically over her shoulder. "Great Scott!" she sighed. "There's a lot of energy boiling here, can't you feel that?"
-"A beauty, scarcely in possession of her senses gets rescued by a dashing officer with a bronzed face." I recapitulated, "A smiling face!"
-"The girl," she continued.
-"Girl?" I asked, "Doesn't she have a name?"
-"Okay." Elsy sighed, "Elvira if you must know."
I nodded silently.
"Elvira hadn't had an easy life." Elsie continued on a more somber note, "She was orphaned and had to live with an old uncle and his old housekeeper."
I looked at Elsy in silence.
-"The soldier had many adventures." she continued.
-"Do we get to see details of that in flashbacks?" I asked.
-"That's a wonderful idea." Elsy jumped up enthusiastically. "I have to write that down right away!"
-"Okay." I said, pouring myself another cup of coffee.
-"He was captured and imprisoned by the enemy, but he managed to escape." she went on.
-"Sounds interesting, but also a little scary." I said.
-" He had managed to escape, but every time he was captured again and treated even more severely than before."
-"Heaven!" I cried out.
-"The third time he manages to break through in neutral territory. But he was all alone there, and the people in that country spoke a foreign language that he did not understand. He had to endure a lot of hunger and then an epidemic broke out."
I saw that she was completely absorbed in her story.
-"You made this all up right on the spot?" I asked. Elsy nodded.
-"Well done." I said.
-"And then he found a dog." she continued enthusiastically. "A husky!"
-"Yes, that can be very therapeutic." I smiled, "Unless you have the dog killed in the middle of the movie, the audience won't like that too much."
_"And then..." she began, as if I should hear the violins swell, "A cry!"
-"What?" I asked impatiently, "Go on girl, I´m sitting on pins and needles here!"
-"A car tries to escape the traffic. The fender of the car knocks her over."
-"Who?" I interrupted her.
-"Our heroine, of course, Elvira! You must pay attention!" she said in an irritated tone. „She is being dragged back and forth through the dust." she continued; fists clenched.
-"Yes but." I interrupted her again, "We were just in neutral territory starving with a newly found Husky."
-"You understand nothing about drama! „ She sighed as if she were near despair.
-"You got me there." I winked at Elsy, "I'm a layman in the business of the movie industry. Forgive me. Please proceed!"
Elsy clicked her tongue and flipped through a notebook in which she had scribbled down her script. Her eyes sparkled and the color deepened in her rosy cheeks.
-"And then a dam broke." Elsy finally broke the silence.
-"Where?" I asked as if I was shocked.
-"In my story!" Elsy stamped her feet impatiently.
-"Of course, where else?" I apologized „Please forgive my ignorance."
-"Elvira has a charm of melancholy and naturalness." Elsy said with a determined stance, "The viewers like that. It will appeal to the movie fans!"
"I am convinced that we are on the point of seeing the birth of the next great star in Hollywood's firmament." I tried to sound solemn.
-"The breaking of the dam will be an important scene." Elsy said thoughtfully. and then she fell silent.
-"Do you think the people will feel it in their bones?" she asked in a faint voice.
-"Ah," I began, "the emotive power in the flickering image... of course, they will!"
-"Do you think I have what it takes to become a real movie star?" she wondered poutingly.
-"Well, maybe you could use a little more training." I replied.
-"I'm not a coward." Elsy said in a sad tone. I looked at her in amazement.
-"It's a lot of work to make a movie, right?" Elsy picked up a pocket mirror, flipped it open, and looked at herself in it.
-"Do you believe the audience could love me?" she asked.
-"Is that why you want to be in the movies?" I asked back.
-"I never want to play a villain. That´s for men." she crossed her eyes and laughed out loud.
-"You know, Elsie, movies are just make-believe." I tried to bring to her attention.
She stopped laughing.
-"I so want to become a star." she sighed.
-"You already are, Elsy." I said.
-"No!" she whined, "A money-earning star in the movie firmament." She stared out the window with a sad look.
-"Why, Elsy, we were just having a dandy time. Why so depressed all over sudden?" I wanted to know. "Tell me what's on your mind."
-"In the movies, things are happening all the time. I would like for things to happen every day." she replied without looking at me. "I love big scenes!" she added somewhat shyly. She jumped up and took a theatrical pose.
-"A handsome prince, a man of fine appearance, dominating the scene. Earnest in his desires...."
-"Go on!" I pushed her, "Don't stop now!"
-"And he will gather you in his arms. A moan of human tenderness. Your skin glistening, your sooth black lashes matted." I tried to cheer her up. "His lips in a thin line. He will brush the tear that escaped down your cheek with trembling hands. His arms wrapped around you as he strokes a hand through your silken hair. I love you he will say, and there won´t be a dry eye in the movie theater."
She clapped her hands with joy.
- “Would you come to see my movie?” she asked.
- “Why, of course!” I replied, “Opening night! I will be a theatre with a lush red velvet curtain covering the screen, which gives the auditorium an aura of majesty. The lights will dim, and the curtains will part with a flourish. The audience falls silent in anticipation. Stunned into an even bigger hush as soon as you appear on the silver screen.”
- “Oh, please don´t stop!” she begged me.
- “The theater will be packed of course. Your performance causes such an intense emotional reaction, resulting in tears all over the place. And the music…Oh, the soundtrack…Music of extreme dramatic contrast. An oasis magicked out of the chaos around it: gigantic, irrefutable musical power.”
She looked at me with big, dreamy eyes,
- “And then what?” she sighed.
- “And then you will drive past me one morning in your chauffeur-driven limousine and pretend not to know me.” I joked.
- “Never!” Elsy exclaimed.
- “Well, in the meantime, I will see you the day after tomorrow.”
- “I will write a few more scenarios in my script.! She laughed.
- “Can´t wait to hear all about it, Elsy. Make it Oscar-worthy material!”