This is a story I wrote a few months ago. Or maybe it’s a script? Either way, enjoy.
A young man and his wife are leaning against the hood of hatchback. She is hugging his arm. Her head is leaning against his shoulder, and they are both looking straight ahead at a funeral home a hundred yards down a road packed with parked cars on both sides.
Eric: Why are we here? Lisa: Where? Eric: My father’s funeral. I don’t want to be here, and neither do you.
Eric: Well? Lisa: Well, what? Eric: Why on Earth did you think it was a good idea to come here? Who knows what people will say when we step through that door. Lisa: Who cares what anyone says? He was your father, you have every right in the world to be here. Eric: He wouldn’t even want this. Lisa: Of course he’d want you to be where, what are you- Eric: No, I don’t mean that. I mean he didn’t even want a funeral. He told me. He said “Whatever you do, don’t let your mother waste her money on some extravagant whining-fest.” Lisa: Don’t you want to see him one last time? Eric: See what? There’s nothing to see! My dad is dead. The thing everyone’s crying over in there is his lifeless body. Not him. A sack of meat that used to house his thoughts, hopes, and dreams. And now they’re gone like him. Lisa: Don’t say that. Eric: Why shouldn’t I? Because it makes you uncomfortable? God damn, I’m so sick of having to censor what I say because it makes people “uncomfortable.” What this world needs is the truth, and I’ll be damned if I won’t be the one to tell it. Lisa [fed up]: Oh boy, here we go. You know exactly what the world needs, don’t you? You’re just so full of answers to everyone’s problems. Well, what about you, huh? Is there something you don’t know the answer too? Is there anyone in this world you don’t pity? Eric: Listen, you dragged me to this thing, I don’t have to explain myself. Death is death. I’m not claiming to know any more about it than a two year old or a fucking priest. Funerals are for the living, not the dead. The only reason this is happening is because my mom feels guilty because she divorced him a month before he dropped. If anything, we should have a party. The old man would’ve liked that. This guilt-tripping fight over who knew him best bullshit is for the birds. I said I was done with this family years ago, my father’s death isn’t gonna change that.
The young couple are startled at the sound of something breaking against the sidewalk. They turn around to see what happened. A boy no more than 11 years of age and a litte girl are staring at broken glass on the ground. The boy tries to stop the girl from crying as the couple walks toward them.
Lisa [kneeling down]: Are you two okay? Boy: Yes ma’am, we’re fine. My stupid sister just dropped our mama’s birthday present on the ground and now it’s broke! Girl [sobbing]: I d-didn’t mean to, it was real slippery… Boy: I can’t believe you did this. It’s all your fault! Yeah, I bet she’ll put you up for adoption now… Girl: Shut up, no she’s not! You don’t know anything! Lisa: Hey now, it was just an accident. I’m sure your mother would understand! Boy: What’s there to understand? It’s my fault for letting her take it out of the bag anyway. That’s the last time I let you tag along with me.
The boy storms off, leaving the girl kneeling over the broken glass, tears filling her eyes again.
Lisa: Don’t pay attention to him, boys can be that way.
Smiling, Eric rolls his eyes and bends over to help the other two pick up the glass.
Girl [sniffing]: Thanks for helping me out, miss. Mama says I can’t talk to strangers, but you seem nice. [whispers] I don’t know about him, though…
Eric curses after cutting his finger on a piece of glass. The girls giggle together. After putting all the glass in the brown bag it came in, Lisa throws it in a nearby dumpster.
Girl: Well, thanks again. I have to go home now, I don’t want my mom to get any more disappointed in me than she is now…
The girl quickly scurries off in the same direction as her brother.
Lisa looks back at Eric who is sucking on his cut finger. Rummaging through her purse, she pulls something out but keeps it balled in her fist. She grabs Eric’s hand from his mouth and drops a locket into it. Eric looks into her eyes with an apologetic look on his face.
Eric: What’s this… Lisa: This is the reason we came here. It’s the locket you gave your sister on her birthday years ago. And you took it back because you were a self-righteous asshole who doesn’t know how to forgive someone. Eric: Come on, it’s been years. She probably forgot she ever owned this thing in the first place. What do you even what me to do with it? Lisa: I want you to show some humility and go in there and give it to her.
Complete silence as Eric moves the locket around in the palm of his hand. Lisa lightly turns his head towards her and looks into his eyes.
Lisa: I’m not going to ask you to do this for me, because you have to do it for yourself. Eric looks back at the locket for a full minute and then up at the funeral home. Eric: Okay. Let’s go.
Lisa smiles. She wipes her weepy eyes. Eric takes her by the hand as they walk towards the funeral home together. As they walk along the sidewalk, a car stops by the red light. It’s the boy and girl they met earlier with a woman who is obviously their mother driving. The little girl is in the passenger seat, with an ice cream cone in her hand. She smiles and waves at the couple with a spot of ice cream on the tip of her nose. The woman looks at the couple and gives them a polite nod. The car drives off.