writing: screenplay, #1

[a boy and a girl, both mid-teens. each rather drab-looking; not Hollywood ordinary, just ordinary. sitting with their legs between the iron slats of a balcony. crows and city noise in the background. a cornflower blue sky, some clouds]

the girl: I can’t even talk to him, not anymore. It’s driving me crazy.

the boy: Yeah, why?

the girl: Because I can’t talk to him! Isn’t it obvious?

the boy: No, why can’t you talk to him? That’s what I meant. That’s what matters more.

the girl: Maybe for him. Not for me.

the boy: If you don’t care about his reasons, then why do you care about talking to him at all? Since everything is clearly all about you.

the girl: That’s not true! I just meant–at this point–I’m just done. I don’t even care anymore. I’ve always, always been there for him, whenever he was going through something horrible. And now–

the boy: Now it’s your turn?

the girl: Shouldn’t it be?

the boy: Maybe not. I mean, look at us.

the girl: Ha. You’re funny. I don’t owe you anything.

the boy: Oh yeah?

the girl: Of course. I’ve kept track.

[she pulls out a notepad, the blue one from earlier. she shows him the marks, the lines, the tallies. the boy looks down and away.]

the boy: Even now, you’re doing this. I thought–I hoped you’d get better.

the girl: What? It’s not like there’s something wrong with doing this.

the boy: Well. Let me know how that works out for you, in the end. Are you gonna show God that notebook when you die–that’s gonna be your secret weapon? You’re still the same: fairness before everything.

[a beat]

the boy: Before everything.

the girl: [irritated] You know what.

the boy: What?

the girl: Don’t look at me like that.

the boy: Why? Are you mad?

[he is still treating this all as a tragedy, but he allows himself a bit of mock fun. she is offended by the new smile on his face. she seems to draw inward, to turn to thunderstorms.]

the girl: I was talking about you all along. You’re the one I can’t talk to. I can never talk to you! You just laugh at me–you’re laughing at me, right now.

the boy: Me? You can’t talk to me? [laughs] Then what are we doing right now?

the girl: Well, I want you to say different things.

the boy: Yeah?

the girl: Yeah. Like–I want you to have this.

[she hands him the notebook. the boy looks at it for a moment, everything and nothing in his eyes. Then he throws it over the balcony]

the girl: Hey! You asshole. I can’t–

[she starts to stand up. he yanks her back down]

the girl: Don’t touch this sweater. It’s expensive. It’s actually new.

the boy: Ooh, let me take it off. I’ll sell it. I’ll buy you a new notebook.

the girl: Why? So you can throw that one away too? Asshole.

the boy: No, stupid. So you can start over with all blank pages. And you can start fresh with new lists. You were almost out of pages, anyway.

the girl: Who cares? I’ll just get it when we leave. I can see it down there on the street.

[the boy is staring at her. she looks at him, confused]

the girl: What?

the boy: [softly, nervously confident] I’ll buy you a new notebook, I swear. I want to make everything a blank page for you.

the girl: What does that even mean? Asshole.

[he leans towards her very carefully and puts his thumbs on her cheeks. he wants to kiss her. she does not know what she wants]

the boy: Why can’t you talk to this boy? What do you want him to say to you?

the girl: [silent, enraptured, shy but wary]

the boy: Will this work? I’ll do it, just like this. [he puts his lips on her nose, very lightly] Hi. It’s nice to meet you. It’s nice to meet you, again and again and again. Even if we both die as two sad tallies in that stupid notebook.

the girl: The notebook–

the boy: What?

the girl: The wind blew it into the street and there’s a car coming–

the boy: Hey, wait–please.

the girl: Oh no, shit!

[she breaks away. we watch the boy in silence for a moment, before he breaks and slams his fist onto the balcony floor]

the boy: Just once–

[he holds up his hand, palm to the sky, and examines it. there is a criss-cross of white scars over the skin, some just barely healed]

the boy: [bitterly] Let lips do what palms do.

[off-screen comes the girl’s yell. she has recovered the notebook. there is something of the mundane, the stagnant every-day in how she says it, and in the way the boy looks bleakly toward her, past the camera. he is not even bothering to think anymore]

the boy: Fairness before everything. She has a point–really, she has a terrible point. I guess, at the very least, I should play by her rules.

[scene ends.]


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