CARLOS: Would you still go if I ask you not to?

CLAUDIA: Don't ask me not to see my own mother. I have to see her. She gave me life. Do you understand? (Blackout.)


Scene IV

Next day. In a women's detention center. CLAUDIA is talking to her mother. ELENA appears to be tormented by thoughts.

ELENA: Daughter, you ought to take care of yourself as if you were an emerald. I had to talk. The police promised me that if I supplied them with the names of the ones who provided us with that thing, you know, they would pardon five years of the possible ten that I will be condemned to serve.

CLAUDIA: That's too many years, Mother.

ELENA: You have to take care of yourself. You'll know where to find me. I will have no way to communicate with you. (Sobs.)

CLAUDIA: Mother, you'll always know where to find me, I promise.

ELENA: Child, move away from the house where you're living now as soon as possible.

CLAUDIA: Where can I go, Mother?

ELENA: Anywhere, far away, far away from where we used to live. Nobody ought to know where you are. From now on, deny that you are my daughter. Deny that your father is that man who is my husband. Change your name. If you want to survive the revenge of those I have informed on, you have to deny everything. You know nothing of your past. You ought to start a new life.

CLAUDIA: Why did you report them?

ELENA: Don't accuse me of being a coward. I shouldn't have said those things. I wish I had the power to wipe out those things, that confession. I only thought of myself. I thought of the years I would save from being behind these bars. Don't blame me. As an independent being from us, which you are, you ought to save yourself.

CLAUDIA: Mother, Mother, what am I to do?

ELENA: I'm sure that you will survive. I survived horrible things and in order to not lose my mind. I hid them under a turtle shell which I set off to sea, the one which, in my

-141-

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