INT. FLOWER SHOP — DAY
A MAN, mid 30s, enters the shop, head hung. The flower shop ATTENDANT busies herself with an arrangement.
The attendant gives a look of confusion as he walks up to the counter.
Can I… help you?
Tears stream down the man’s face. He sobs quietly as he speaks.
One purple begonia, please.
The attendant reaches for the flower, handing it to him.
Two dollars, please.
The man sniffles as he pulls the money out of his pocket.
He turns to leave. The attendant leans over the counter to watch him go.
EXT. PARK — DAY
The man hunches on a bench, sniffing the begonia. His tears wet the petals. An OLD LADY hobbles by, stopping in front of him as she sees him crying.
Are you alright?
The man stands and hands the old lady the flower.
Please have this.
She accepts the flower, smiling as she stares into the bloom. The man walks away.
EXT. FAIR GROUNDS — DAY
The fair is dirty and depressing. People mill about, lost amid the carnival music. The man approaches a BALLOON VENDOR.
What’ll it be–
The vendor freezes as he sees the man crying.
One red balloon, please.
The vendor pulls a red balloon down out of his bunch and hands it to the man.
This one’s on the house.
Looks like you could use it.
The man turns away, ignoring the balloon. Its presence on his wrist makes him cry harder. The vendor, bewildered, watches the man go as children spring impatiently around his feet.
EXT. CAFE — DAY
The man sits alone on the almost deserted terrace, the balloon standing at attention above his head, tied to his wrist.
A WAITRESS in a brightly colored apron half-skips toward the man’s table. She jovially pokes the balloon before seeing his sad face. She stops smiling.
Oh dear. Isn’t the
Would you like something
to drink? A whiskey, perhaps?
No thank you. I’ll just
take a chamomile tea.
She hurries back inside, glancing over her shoulder as she goes.
A MOTHER strolls by with a small GIRL toddling beside her. The girl stops and stares at the balloon.
Oh mommy, a balloon!
She glances up hopefully at her mother.
It’s not polite to stare, dear.
I want a balloon!
Maybe after dinner,
if you eat your vegetables.
The man leans forward, untying the balloon from his wrist. He hands it to the little girl.
Vegetables are gross.
The girl jumps with glee as the mother stares indignantly at the man.
I don’t know if I should thank you
or slap you. Come on, sweetie.
The girl is completely lost in her new balloon. Her mother pulls her away. The girl turns back smiling and waving. The man casts his head back down.
The waitress returns with a steaming cup of tea.
What happened to your balloon?
It blew away.
What a shame. Red balloons
are the nicest.
The man starts crying again as he picks up the tea to sip it. The waitress makes her way back inside. Teardrops fall into the man’s tea. He leaves some money on the table and abandons the still full cup.
EXT. STREET — DAY
The man sobs harder to himself as he drags his feet forward with an excruciating effort.
EXT. HOUSE — DAY
The man approaches the front door of a row house. He takes a deep breath, wiping his face with his sleeve. He slaps himself. Once. Twice. Three times.
He puts the key in the lock. Out of nowhere, he grins wide.
INT. FRONT HALLWAY — DAY
The man enters with his over-exaggerated smile.
LITTLE GIRL (O.S.)
A LITTLE GIRL, 6, runs around the corner straight into the man’s arms.
Devon threw up.
The man strides down the hall, little girl in tow.
INT. BOY’S BEDROOM — DAY
DEVON, 9, lays in a hospital bed. Toys mingle with medical equipment on the bedside table. Tubes and wires suspend between his small body and beeping machines.
The man enters, smiling, with the little girl.
Hi, sport. How are you feeling?
Ok, I guess.
You’re such a strong kid,
you’ll be just fine.
And then we’ll play
baseball again, right, Dad?
Daddy, Devon’s too sick to play baseball.
He just needs some more
time to get better.
The door swings open gently as a WOMAN, late 30s, enters with a small paper cup full of pills and a glass of juice.
How are you feeling, sweetheart?
She gives the man a sweet kiss on the cheek before quickly moving to Devon’s side.
Daddy says I’ll be OK.
She glances over at her husband, giving him a tired, hopeless smile.
Of course you will be, my love.
She plants a kiss on Devon’s forehead.
INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT
The woman sits on the edge of the bed, weeping uncontrollably. The man, stone-faced, comforts her.
How do you do it?
Do what, sweetheart?
Stay so strong?
I don’t know.
I’m falling to pieces.
And you never seem to cry.
He pulls her close. The woman crumbles under the weight of her tears. The man stares off into the distance, gaze fixed, eyes dry.
©Lauren Greenwood 2013