Wanting To Belong.
BEACH, EXT - DAY, LATE AFTERNOON.
The late afternoon sun dapples a sandy coastline. The waves that wash against the shore are agitated, whitecapped by a constant wind. In the background is a small New England township. The most prominent feature of the low town skyline is a church steeple with faded red roof shingles and topped by a weather worn cross.
In the foreground, on the beach itself, stand THE MAN and THE WOMAN. She is young, and would be pretty if it wasnít for her drawn, fatigued expression. She is wearing a scarlet shirt and black skirt that were once quite fine, but are now tattered. Facing her, The Man is in early middle age, patriarchal in face and form. Their conversation is almost smothered by the BREAKING SEA and RESTLESS WIND. (This oceanic noise is heard throughout the piece, at varying levels)
...donít you see that? I thought you that was what you wanted...
I thought I did.
The Womanís conversation has a tendency to fade away, as her gaze is constantly drawn to the town, particularly the church steeple.
TOWN EXT. - DAY, EARLY MORNING
The Woman is walking down the main street of the town seen in the previous scene. She is wearing her scarlet and black clothes, but they are clean and almost new.
The street is deserted, there are no vehicles apparent, nor any pedestrians. The incongruous SILENCE of an empty street permeates, the OCEAN NOISE is still noticeable, rising and falling but distant and somewhat removed. The Woman passes and pauses before several buildings whose purpose is so obvious by their architecture as to be archetypical: the town hall, college, court house.
The Woman continues walking and finally stops in front of The Church, whose steeple was visible from the beach.
The Woman stands frowning at the steps of The Church before the green painted wooden doors. The steps are well worn, and swept clean. She is, looking from the empty streets to The Church.
BEACH EXT - DAY
The wind is fiercer now. The Woman constantly brushes her hair from her face.
No one ever insisted-
I doubt that. I never needed encouragement.
CHURCH INT. - DAY
The Church is somewhat austere, but not without its trappings. A richly colored stained glass window over the altar dominates the front of the building. The altar itself is simple and plain.
The Church is crowded with parishioners, all in their Sunday best, a collection of pastels, time worn jackets and ugly hats. The Man is standing before them, preaching to the congregation who listen intently. His words cannot be heard, as the unseen OCEAN RUMBLES over his sermon. This constant RUMBLE comes to a sudden stillness when The Manís attention is distracted by something in the rear of The Church. We can only hear the almost silence of a dedicated crowd.
He looks up, behind The Congregation and sees The Woman standing in The Church doorway, sunlight behind her. A few Parishioners glare at her, and she looks about for a long moment before abruptly sitting down in one of the vacant seats near her.
The Man resumes speaking and the OCEAN NOISE rushes back in.
BEACH EXT. - LATE AFTERNOON
The Woman cannot bring her gaze to The Man.
Itís happened before.
It was nothing new.
CHURCH EXT - DAY
The Congregation has gathered on The Church steps, talking quietly, their voices barely heard. The
WIND has lessened, barely more than a WHISPER. The OCEAN, too, has become a sussuration,
just enough to blur The Parishonerís conversation. The Man stands at the edge of the crowd of Parishoners, listening without comment.
The Woman stands amongst The Parishoners, answering unheard questions with a nod or shake of her head. Her attention is taken by a particularly suburban hat belonging to one of The Parishoners, an apparently intentionally squashed mess of pink felt and lace.
The Parishoner removes it and holds it out to The Woman for a closer look. The Woman puts it upon her head, to the amusement of The Congregation. Another woman holds out her light blue gloves, which The Woman dons. Another Parishoner holds out her dark, bulky handbag, which is also taken.
CUTAWAY - POV of The Woman regarding the crowd smiling, laughing at her, and reaching towards her.
All seemed entertained by this dressing up, except The Woman, whoís expression is incongrously intent. The Parishoner of the pink hat reaches into a shopping bag at her feet and holds up a shapeless dress, identical her own except this one is a pale yellow. The Woman reaches takes it and holds it up against her own body. With her pink hat and blue gloves, the effect is discordant. The Woman continues to frown, holding the dress before her, ignoring the Parishoners around her as they hold up their sleeves against her face, obviously comparing colors. The Man watches this and smiles, unnoticed by all.
BEACH EXT. - LATE AFTERNOON
OCEAN NOISE again dominates the ambient noise..
...but you wanted-
I donít know what I wanted!
I thought I wanted to be here...
WHITE ROOM, INT. - TIME INDETERMINATE.
A flash image of The Womanís face against a blindingly white background. For that moment, all is SILENT.
CHURCH INT. - DAY
OCEAN NOISE mingled with the QUIET CROWD rise and ebb, first one source is dominant, then the other.
Another Sunday congregation. The Woman is there. Her clothes, still the same scarlet and black garb, are showing signs of wear, and she stands out more than ever against The Congregation. She sits amidst them, either ignorant or ignoring the dissaproving glances her clothing evokes. Her attention is focused on The Man, at the pulpit. Her expression is neither rapt, nor bored, but focused, intently focused.
A female member of The Congregation reaches out to The Woman, to brush off some dust, or remove a loose thread. The Woman shies away violently, evoking further disapproval from The Congregation. The Churchgoer reaches out again, but then pulls away from The Womanís suddenly hostile gaze. By unspoken consent, they all return their attention to The Manís unheard sermon.
WHITE ROOM, INT. - TIME INDETERMINATE
Another flash image of The Womanís face against a white background, but she is now blindfolded by a strip of purple cloth.
CHURCH INT. - NIGHT
The OCEAN NOISE is faint, but audible, an occasional splashing and rolling noise.
The Church is almost empty. Moonlight streams through the stained glass window, coloring all it touches, but leaving dark patches here and there. The Woman is lighting a candle, one of many near the altar. She is apparently unaware of the ragged state of her clothing. She smiles at the colored light falling upon her and the candles. The Man approaches her, apparently borne out of the darkness, and sits down next to her. She notices that he is holding the pair of sky-blue gloves from the earlier scene in his hands. Her expression hardens suddenly, and she gets up, heading for the Church doors. He reaches out to catch her arm, but misses, and the gloves fall to the floor.
WHITE ROOM INT - TIME INDETERMINATE
The OCEAN NOISE is almost inaudible at this point.
The Woman, blindfolded, but otherwise unrestrained, is seated upon a bare wooden chair in a bright, white windowless room. On the floor around them lie a Bible opened to Relevations, a small wooden cross and an incense burner of the kind seen in high Church ceremonies The Man holds a piece of purple cloth, similar to The Womanís blindfold, in his hand and is talking to her, quietly insistent.
...for help and snatch from ruination and from the clutches of the
noonday Devil this human being made-
The Woman suddenly jumps up, ripping the blindfold from her eyes. A seagull SCREECH is heard. She is ready to flee.
BEACH EXT. - LATE AFTERNOON.
The Man has reached out towards The Woman, and again, she steps away. Their dialogue is clear over the OCEAN NOISE.
Iím sorry. I just canít agree with that.
If youíre not with us, then youíre against us.
The Man takes her by the arm and leads The Woman to the waterline of the beach. They stand at the shore, yet The Woman still gazes at The Town. The Man touches The Womanís cheek. She turns her head away.
The Woman sits down abruptly, turning her back upon him and looking out to the sea. The Man walks away, leaving her sitting in her tattered clothes. She is tightly curled upon herself and, after a long moment, looks back at The Town. The only sign of The Man are his footprints in the sand.
Night is falling quickly now, and the woman ignores both the darkness and encroaching waves as she stares back at The Town. Her gaze falls to the sand.
POV The Woman seeing a piece of green beach glass by her feet.
The Woman picks up this piece of glass that has been smoothed by time and sand and holds it up in the moonlight. After a long moment, she stands, still holding the piece of glass. She glances first at The Town, then The Sea and back again. She nods as some internal decision is reached and she begins to walk directly into the churning ocean and away from The Town.