by Maximiliano “Max” Gonzalez
FADE IN TO:
INT. APARTMENT — DAY
It is the late afternoon as the sun slowly proceeds to set. We are introduced to a MAN in his mid 20s, lying on a sofa in the living room of his apartment reading the novel The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostovetsky. He is wearing a black suit, long black pants, socks, and a tie. He has a somewhat somber, almost emotional expression on his face, concentrated fully in what he is reading. Suddenly the telephone rings. He puts the book down, gets up, and walks toward the phone. He picks up the receiver.
The person on the other end responds. We don’t hear the other end of the conversation. The man’s facial expression shifts from one of nonchalance to one of confusion.
My God! (stutters out of shock) Wh-why
are you calling me? You never bother
to call me!
The other person responds.
Today? Is everything alright?
The other person responds.
Okay. I guess I’ll see you around
6:00? Okay. Thank you. Bye…
He hangs up the receiver.
CROSS DISSOLVE TO:
Around an hour later, we see the man reading the novel again, this time with an even more pronounced feeling of anxiety and somber. It’s as if he doesn’t understand the current state of his being. Something said during the conversation set him off. Suddenly, a loud knock is heard at the door. The man, clearly startled, drops his book onto the floor, and proceeds to walk, in a fast and anxious manner, towards the door. He opens it.
Before him stands his SISTER, a young woman in her early 20s, wearing a dress. The expression on her face shows no joy at being reunited with her brother; it’s clear she is very emotionally disturbed. The two spend a good while looking at each other with blank stares, unsure, or unwilling, to break the silence. Finally, the sister speaks up.
(looking up in shock) What? What do
Take me inside… I need to sit down.
The man consoles his sister, helping her walk into his apartment.
EXT. APARTMENT BALCONY — DAY
A few minutes later, the two siblings are sitting outside on the man’s balcony. The man drinks from a cup of water. The woman does not. They say nothing for a little while. Then the woman asks a question to her brother.
Can I ask you something?
Okay…? Can I ask you something first?
What’s concerning y-
He is interrupted by the woman.
Have you ever forgotten about the
past? Have you ever lost grasp of who
you were years ago?
No? Why? Why would you ever think I
would forget about my memories? Or my
identity? And you? You never even
bother to see me. Have you forgotten?
She doesn’t answer. However, she then notices her brother’s musical record box sitting on the floor outside.
Wait… Oh, I remember…. You were so
happy when he gave that music box to
Oh yes… I still listen to music from
there. It helps keep my emotions in
order, along with my memories.
Memories of a bygone era. Memories
when everything was alright, and when
everyone was happy. And when I wasn’t
so damn busy!
He lightly chuckles, but then after he finishes, both remain silent for a few seconds. The woman then speaks up.
Turn it on. Please…
Without another word, her brother proceeds to do just that. He puts a classical (or piano jazz) music disc inside, and turns on the record player. The music begins to play as he returns to his chair.
I visited him the other day.
EXT. FATHER’S HOUSE — DAY (FLASHBACK)
Cut to her visiting his house in broad daylight. The music from the record box plays in the background. She approaches his door.
FEMALE SIBLING (V.O.):
(As she is approaching the door) I
heard that his condition was
improving, and so I went to check up
on him. (She knocks on the door) What
I bore witness to… haunted me. I
couldn’t even recognize him. Who was
The door opens. A man, far older than the siblings, appears in the doorway. He is their FATHER. He stares at the young woman, and then after a few seconds, his mind glows with astonishment.
Oh! Oh dear God! G-Greta! My love,
The old man hugs his daughter with such intense passion that it would seem as if two lovers have just reunited. The daughter is utterly confused, and begins to show an emotion of deep sadness.
FATHER (ON THE VERGE OF CRYING):
I knew those doctors were lying.
Saying that the cancer finally did you
in. And… oh! You look young—and
beautiful again! You look just like my
The father, now fully crying, stares at the woman point-blank in the face, and asks her a very blunt question.
Where have you been? (louder) Where
the hell have you been?? After all
this time, you never even thought to
visit me before?!
(Confused and scared) What? I came
here just last week to give you your
(Grabbing her by the arm, and
continually staring at her) Oh dear
Lord how I’ve missed you! Come with
me. (she tries to resist) Please!
(again, she tries to resist) PLEASE!
INT. FATHER’S HOUSE — DAY
Stop, Father! Your legs! They’ll give
(Still pulling her) Nonsense! (Pause,
then with tears of joy, quietly)
Greta, my love, don’t you understand?
This is a cause of celebration! We’ll
call the children, but first we must
go and cook dinner together, just like
the old times. You remember that,
The old man, never taking his eyes off his daughter, proceeds to walk towards a small stairwell. The young woman, after hearing about this, becomes emotionally stagnant, as if she is trying to process what she heard, and as if that statement ripped open some memory of her parents as they were back then.
(still walking) Come, my dear! I have
some leftover salmon in the refri–
At that moment, the old man trips on the stairwell. His bodily reflexes don’t activate, as he has lost (or failed to remember) the ability to react as he once did, and so he falls, head first, onto the hard floor below…
EXT. APARTMENT BALCONY — DAY
Screen cuts to black, and then returns to the table with the two siblings. The young woman is on the verge of tears. The two of them just stare at each other, shocked, and in despair. The music still plays in the background.
The doctors said that he’ll never walk
again…. That he’s been paralyzed from
the waist down. (pause) B-but what
about his mind? His mind is what’s
paralyzed! He’ll never remember how to
walk! He can’t even remember his own
daughter! He only sees Mother… and how
happy he was when he supposedly saw
her… so very happy…
At this point, the woman breaks down sobbing. The man immediately gets up, quickly walks to her, and kneels on the ground right next to her.
Is there anything I can do? I fear for
him. His mind is playing tricks on his
memory. He doesn’t know who he is
anymore. Just a slowly deteriorating
mind full of beautiful memories
trapped in an uncompromising body that
offers no respite from his suffering.
Or ours. (Pause as he contemplates the
situation; turns to look at her
sister) I’m so sorry. So very sorry….
I should have been there for you and him more. But you know how demanding
the work of a psychologist is… Listen,
how about we go and visit him. Maybe
he’s doing better, perhaps? Where is
(still crying) In the hospital across
town… But I don’t think he’s any
better. All alone in that small space,
filled with false memories and
recollections of a better time…
But maybe he is! Have some hope, both
for him and for us. Who knows? Maybe
he’ll remember something new there.
Shall we go?
His sister nods. The two get up. The man turns off his record player, and the two proceed to walk. Cut to the hallway outside the apartment, where the two then enter and head in the direction of the elevators.
INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY — DAY
Aside from that, is everything else
okay with you?
(no longer crying) I suppose. I
graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in
a few months, so that’s something to
look forward to, I guess.
INT. APARTMENT ELEVATOR LOBBY — DAY
The two arrive at the elevator lobby, and the man calls for the elevator. He then promptly returns to his sister. She continues.
I’m sorry, but it’s just that I can’t
think of anything else right now. What
happened yesterday was just… so
surreal and horrifying that it shook
me. It still does.
I know. But, hey! Like I said, maybe
things have changed for the better.
(reassuringly, with a smile on his
face) Now come on. Let’s go share a
new memory with him.
His sister smiles back. She then leans forward and gives her brother a deep hug as the setting sun illuminates the window behind them. They probably haven’t shared one like this in years.
Thank you so much. For everything. I
(gently) I love you too.
The two release themselves from the embrace. The elevator arrives and the two walk into it. They call the elevator, and the doors begin to close. As soon as the door closes, the screen cuts to black. Roll credits.