Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Zuzana Ferenczová (Slovakia)

Jump out of Skin

Vyskosic z kože

Text Extract

A Problem
high up

Girl: I’ve got a problem. God, I’ve got a big problem. Lem-prob, lem-prob, lem-prob, lem-prob, lem-prob, lem-prob, lem-prob, lem-prob, lem-prob, blem-pro, blem-pro, blem-pro, blem-pro, blem-pro, blem-pro, blem-pro, blem-pro, blem-pro, blem-pro.

It’s as big as the highest highrise in the middle of the biggest housing estate in the world. No. It’s as big as the biggest slap in the face you’ve ever received. It’s as a big as the night, when your fear won’t let you sleep and the wretched night won’t end. It’s as big as the ocean, when you get to see it for the first time through the window of a stinking old coach. It’s as big as the biggest something that you can imagine. It’s as big as the BIGGEST SHIT.
Really, it’s not bigger than a bruise on your wrist after someone has held you too long and too hard. Maybe it’s not even as big as a dog bite. Maybe it’s even smaller than a punched-out tooth. Maybe it’s smaller than a stupid piece of snot. I don’t know how big it is right now. I can’t even imagine it. I don’t even want to. I just know it is.

Dust on the shoes
in the dust

Girl: Who will tell me what to do, who will tell me what’s better? Who will tell me what’s right? What’s more right? What’s better or more right or the best or the most right or better than best or the most right? If it’s a circle from good to bad then doesn’t the good follow straight on from the bad? What’s the best thing for one person is the worst thing for another. Who can tell me? I’d like to be a pebble so that someone could kick me in one direction or another. But I am not a pebble. Who am I to ask what to do? Who can say what to do when it really MATTERS?

Hot Chocolate
by the wall

Boy: Why are you looking at the wall?
Girl: It calms me down.
Boy: What lesson are you bunking off?
Girl: I am not bunking off, they sent me to fetch the map of the Habsburg Empire.
Boy: I’m bunking off PE, the teacher forces us to score headers and I’m sure that’s the reason the football players are so dumb. Because their brain cells are dying off, thousands of them every time they score a header. And the teacher is nuts about football. If he could, he’d be scoring headers all day long. How many brain cells do you think he has left after 20 years of daily training?

The wall

Boy: I mean it …
Girl: You’re nuts. I’m doing a survey.
Boy: About what?
Girl: What would you do if you knocked someone up?
Boy: Have you been knocked up?
: It’s just a survey, for the school magazine.
Boy: I see.
Girl: What would you tell her?
Boy: I’d try to convince her to keep it. Though, I guess, it’d be quite tough, her folks, social services, the school, fucked up life, saggy boobs and all that. I mean, not if I knocked up some thirty year old, she’d be happy as Larry.
Girl: But what if she was ONLY FOURTEEN?
Boy: Still.
Girl: How come?
Boy: I’m only here because my mum changed her mind about an abortion at the last minute. The appointment had all been arranged. She was lying there on the doctor’s table, in her polka dot pajamas, and then she just ran away. She left the hospital.
Girl: And she told you just like that?
Boy: She’s told me she regretted not doing it. Around hundred times.
Girl: Oh. And she escaped in her PAJAMAS?
Boy: My mother running away from the abortion table, cooool.
Girl: And you remember that. As a foetus?
Boy: Sometimes it feels like I do, you know. Even if she hates me, I am glad she didn’t do it. I’ve survived my own trauma, you see. Right at the beginning. While I was still an embryo. Been there, done that. I know what life is about. I’ve been there, on the edge of losing it. And, in a way, I am gratfeul to my mother, cause it’s toughened me.
Girl: Mo-ther.
Boy: What a word, eh? Mother is like a tatoo you’re stuck with till the end of your life.
Girl: As if it was written with a permanent marker.
Boy: I call her MOTHER. When I was little and loved her, I called her Momo. Momo, like in that old movie.
Girl: When I was little, she was Mommie. I can hardly believe it. Mommie?!
Boy: I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed…. Wow, come to think of it, everyone HASAMOTHER. That’s hard core.
Girl: It is.

Girl: Are you going out with some thirty year old?
Boy: No, not really.
Girl: So with somebody else then?
Boy: Not now. And you?
Girl: Me neither. But I … I am …
Boy: What?
Girl: I’m seeing someone. At the moment. But MAYBEI’MNOTSURE, not for too long. I’ll give it one more week at the most.
Boy: I see.

Girl: Do you know what happens after death? Did you feel it then?
Girl: Whatever would follow, whatever would have happened to you after …
Boy: It felt like the skin on hot chocolate, enveloped my tiny legs and was pulling me out …
Girl: You didn’t have legs yet?
Boy: I think I did. If I didn’t, how could I feel it?
Girl: Hot chocolate. Tiny legs. Mother. I’d like to have this wall in front for me for ever. It calms me down.


Making decisions is always hard, even if you feel so sorrowful that you can´t tell your best friends. In the case of Kika and Ika, the main girl´s question is: How come some problems get sorted out on their own and the others don’t get sorted neither by 84 kilos of WAITANDSEE, nor by TIMEHEALSEVERYTHING or EVERYTHINGWILLBETHEWAYITSHOULDBE?
The girl is ALMOSTFOURTEEN , pregnant and she doesn’t know, what to do. She can´t have a baby but she also can´t make a decision to terminate her pregnancy. Because she doesn’t want to kill her foetus without knowing what WILLBEAFTER. Even if she is pretending to do a survey, no one can answer her question. So she takes the courage to feel the touch of death on her own skin and find out, what kind of life is THERE. In the world of ALMOSTFOURTEENS you don’t ask the adults, you try to solve everything on your own. While hanging out of school the girl meets a boy, who is alive only because his mum ran away from the abortion table in her POLKADOTPAJAMAS. The girl doesn’t have a mother and even though the boy has one, he hates her. As he says: Mother is like a tattoo you’re stuck with till the end of your life, that’s hard core. The boy agrees to help the girl to die just a little bit. The practical boy´s question is – how to do it? Finally they find a way, but it is really hard to try to kill your friend. Even harder if you’ve just fallen in love with her. The time is rushing – the girl had just 84DAYS to decide and now it’s the last one. In the same time Kika and Ika solve the equally important question – what to wear if you know you are going to the other world?
And one more thing: If you HAVEAPROBLEM, you shouldn´t give the PROBLEM a name. LEM-PROB. Is that a name?


© Zuzana Ferenczová


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