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Happily Remember, and Never Forget
by Elijah Alexander (idforgabe@yahoo.com)

Rated: R   Genre: Drama   User Review:

It's the story of a man coming to terms with the death of his mother. He must also deal with all the guilt he feels he caused her in life. He wants his mother to be remembered beyond her existence and to achieve that he must wrestle with the emotions her death has caused.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


In a solid white-walled room, a WOMAN lets out a equally
painful and triumphant scream. It is followed by the cries

The WOMAN lying in the bed with relief on her face is LINDA
SESMAS (30). She has long auburn hair and light skin. Though
her face is reddened by strain and beaded with sweat, it is
evident that she is very pretty.

LINDA falls back against her many pillows and breathes
easily. She lifts her head up with great strain to see a
NURSE wiping down the baby's face.

A DOCTOR takes off his gloves and looks at LINDA.
Congratulations, Linda. It's a
healthy baby boy.
Her breathing continues to be rapid. But there's a wide
smile on her face.
Can I hold my baby?
You're the new mother. You can do
whatever you want.
The NURSE brings the child over to LINDA. She places the
baby on the new mother's chest. Then the NURSE covers up
Linda's legs with a blanket.

Linda stares with abject wonder at the child before her.
Some interested people outside
would like to join you, if you're
up to it.
Yes. Please.
Three figures enter the room. One is a MAN. This is the
father, TED SESMAS (33). He's somewhat short and a little
stocky with a great big black mustache.

He's accompanied by two young children, RACHEL (6) and JOSH


(5). Their faces do not hide there confusion, but they
recognize their mommy as they sprint to her side.

LINDA gives them a smile and tilts the newborn in the
direction of her older children. Showing off a PLASTIC BAND
on her wrist with the date 2/21/1980 typed on it.
You did real good Linda.
You did pretty good yourself, Ted.
      (as she holds up
       their new son)
Look, Rachel, Josh and say hello
to your little brother.
What's his name?
Gabriel. Gabriel Elijah Sesmas.
The room is dark. A FIST pounds against the outside of the
front door. It sounds like a hammer crashing against the
wood. A BABY starts to cry as the lights suddenly turn on.
Linda races into the room with the infant in her left arm.
She picks up a phone and dials 911.
                       OPERATOR (O.S.)
911 emergency. How can I help you?
Someone's trying to break into my
home! Please help me!
                       OPERATOR (O.S.)
Ma'am. Ma'am. Stay calm. What's
your address?
Little Rachel and Josh walk into the doorway from the hall.
Linda signals them to approach.
Take your brother!


Rachel struggles but manages to grab the newborn who is
screaming uncontrollably. And the pounding at the door has
not let up but has increased in volume. The door rattles as
if its rupture is imminent.
                       OPERATOR (O.F.)
Ma'am, I need to know your
2903 H Street. Please hurry! I
have three children with me!
                       OPERATOR (O.F.)
I'm dispatching some officers as
we speak.
The SMALL GLASS WINDOW at the top of the front door shatters
as a man's arm reaches in in search of the inside lock.
Glass flies all over the floor and in the direction of Linda
who has dropped the phone and grabs a nearby broom. Linda
looks to see the man's face, but he's hidden amidst the
Oh God! He's getting in!
                       OPERATOR (O.F.)
Hello? Are you there? Stay with
me. Ma'am? Stay with me!
But the operator's voice just fades off.
It's the same house, only TWO YEARS LATER. Three children
run around the backyard chasing each other.

Linda comes out of the house holding a big brown box and
carrying a Polaroid camera slung over her right shoulder.
I've got a surprise for you. Close
your eyes.
All three of the kids cover their eyes with their hands as
Linda approaches them with the box. Rachel sneaks a peak. As
Linda draws near, the children hear a soft yelp, followed by

They open their eyes to see a group of five adorable puppies
in the box trying to get out. Each child reaches for and


grabs one and starts holding them up as if to show their
mother their new discovery.
Soon all the puppies are out and climbing on top of the
children's laps.
Are they ours, mommy?
Linda's face, first so jubilant, has a moment of pain in her
eyes at the question.
No. No, I'm holding them for a
friend. But she won't pick them up
for another two hours.
If the kids hear her, they don't let on. They're too busy
playing with the new pups. Linda takes the camera from her
shoulder and aims it at her children. She snaps the picture
and catches each with giant smiles on their faces.
It's FOUR YEARS LATER. Linda walks in from the front door
wearing a nice pink blouse and a gray skirt. Her brown hair
sports a new perm.
Let's hurry up! The appointment's
at four!
RACHEL enters from the hall wearing a green sweater and
black pants and a BLACK BOW in her hair. She's as tall as
her mother. But she has a look of contempt on her face that
is hers alone.
This is stupid. What's the point
of doing it?
It's not stupid, Rachel. It's what
all families do.
We're not like all families.


I'm not gonna argue with you
again. Just get in the car. Josh!
Gabriel! Let's go!
Josh enters the room smiling broadly and showing off some
nice SHINY BRACES. He wears a gray sweater and black pants.
But as he exits the door, he stops and retreats back into
the nearby hallway.
Now where are you going?
Linda just shakes her head and smiles.
Every time we leave that boy runs
off to the bathroom at the very
last second.
Gabriel walks in wearing black pants, a white collared shirt
and holding a BROWN SWEATER under his right arm.
Funny place for that sweater to
be, Mister.
It's not cold outside.
But it will be when we send these
pictures out for Christmas. Just
put it on, Mijo. It'll make your
mom happy.
She inspects his person like an adult lion looking over her
Look at this.
She licks her hand and tries to smooth down a giant cowlick
on the back of Gabriel's head, to limited success. She gives
him a kiss on the cheek.
Aw, come on.


You can live with your mommy's
cooties a little longer. Okay,
Josh! We're leaving without you!
But Josh goes racing out the front door trying to tuck in
his shirt as Linda again shakes her head and closes the
A gentle wind blows across the sands. FOUR MORE YEARS HAVE
PASSED. Rachel and Josh run into the waters of the Pacific
and quickly run out again when they realize the temperature
isn't as nice inside the ocean as outside.

The seagulls fly overhead making their mocking calls as the
tide rhythmically ebbs in and out again.

Gabriel lays out a rather large beach towel with the image
of MICKEY MOUSE in a swimming suit on it. He sits down on
the towel and starts the process of taking off his shoes.

The shadow of an approaching figure looms over him. He looks
up to see his mother.

Linda now has some gray strands in her hair and has put on
some weight. But she still smiles at the sight of her child
and plops down a chair she has brought with her.
You're not in the water yet? I'd
thought you'd be the first one to
jump on in.
I have to take my shoes off first.
I hope your brother and sister
were smart enough to do that.
Linda and Gabriel turn and see Josh and Rachel splashing
water on each other. Unfortunately, they are still in
possession of their shoes.
I don't think they are.
Gabriel gets his shoes and socks off and covers his eyes
from the bright sun.


Aren't you going in the water?
Maybe later, Mijo. I'm just gonna
read for a little bit. You go and
have fun. But don't go out too
Gabriel gets up and races towards his brother and sister. He
quickly joins in on their splashing of each other, but it
looks like his older siblings have joined forces against

Linda sits back against her chair with her sunglasses on.
But she doesn't open her book. She just stares at the sight
of her children. Initially, she smiles.

Then she looks out towards the horizon and sees a swath of
dark clouds moving in their direction with bursts of
lightning in the air. Linda's joyful expression is replaced
by a look almost resembling worry and pain.
ONE YEAR LATER. A light is on in the direction of the
kitchen when Gabriel and Josh both stumble into the hallway.

There are shouts between two parties.

Josh looks back and sees Gabriel following him.
Boy, go back to sleep!
They're fighting again.
When aren't they?
Rachel stands against the sink with her back turned. Linda
is across the room behind a dark brown table.


As long as you live in this house,
you better be home before
Maybe I don't want to live in this
house! Maybe I'd rather live with
dad, instead of some loser who
never even got another date since
her divorce ten years ago!
I'm still your mother! And if
you're trying to hurt me it's
gonna take a lot more than that.
I don't want you as my mother! I
never did!
Too bad! Cause you don't get a
choice! I've sacrificed my butt to
help you and your-
You didn't sacrifice anything!
You're no saint. You work at a
shit job and have a shitty life.
And that's your own fault!
Just then both Josh and Gabriel stand in the doorway to the
kitchen. Both of the combatants take a second to stop and
compose themselves.
Go to your room, Rachel. We'll
talk about this in the morning.
You can't tell me what to do! I'm
going, but just because I'm tired
of hearing you bitch.
Linda's eyes widen at the very mention of the last word. As
Rachel walks by, Linda grabs her by the collar.
What did you say?!


Josh and Gabriel try and get between them and are able to
separate the two. But not before Linda ends up with a
portion of Rachel's green shirt in her grasp.

Rachel takes a look at her shirt and stares coldly at her
Look what you did you fat cow! My
dad bought this for me!
Linda then grabs a chunk of cheese sitting at the table and
hurls it at Rachel who turns and allows the projectile to
hit her squarely between the shoulders.

Rachel acts as if she's about to storm the mound at a
baseball game, but Josh gets in front of her.
She said go to bed!
Rachel shoots her mother a look of pure hatred and tears
start to build as she chokes out the words.
I fucking hate you!
She turns and walks to her room as Gabriel and Josh can only
stand there in shock. Rachel slams her door down the hall as
their mother sits down in a chair and starts to sob.
ONE YEAR LATER the sun shines high above the grassy field as
young boys race each other to kick a ball. A group of about
fifty stand on opposing sides with chairs and umbrellas.

A YOUNG MAN races towards the sidelines giving chase to a
ball. He stops it from going out of bounds and takes off
with a defender in hot pursuit. The YOUNG MAN pretends to
kick the ball as hard as he can, which causes the defender
to turn his back and jump in the air to block the kick.

But the YOUNG MAN simply dribbles the ball past the
unsuspecting opponent and closes in on the opposing goal.

Another defender stands between the YOUNG MAN and the
GOALIE. The YOUNG MAN flies in with the ball with great
speed and prepares to swing his leg for a mighty kick. But
if this defender was watching his teammate only seconds
before, he shows no knowledge for he too turns his back to
block the kick as the YOUNG MAN flies by him still dribbling


the ball with his feet.

It's just the YOUNG MAN and the GOALIE now as the offensive
player streaks in towards the middle of the field and raises
his right leg. He booms a kick into the right corner of the
goal as the defending GOALIE can only dive and watch the
ball sail through the net. His sideline cheers at the goal.
But one person's shouts of encouragement stand out from the
among the rest.

LINDA is jumping on the sideline waving her arms in the air
like an insane cheerleader. She's wearing glasses now. Her
eyesight isn't what it once was. She has put on even more
weight and gained grayer hairs, but her enthusiasm for her
son doesn't appear to have diminished one bit.
Way to go, Gabriel! Great job
Gabriel goes running towards the sideline to make a quick
LINDA pulls out her purse and takes out a ten dollar bill.
Now that's ten dollars for every
goal you score. How many have you
made today?
Just that one.
What about the one you had
The ref said I was off sides.
Then he must have been watching
another game. Between us, let's
just say you have two goals for
Gabriel smiles wide and returns to the middle of the field
to restart the game.
Go for a third!
She covers her eyes from the sun and waves her right hand.


FOUR YEARS LATER Gabriel looks out a window and sees the
California countryside. He looks at the table and sees his
brother roll five dice. They all happen to stop on the
number five.
That's Yahtzee! I win again.
His mother sits beside him and winks at Gabriel.
We let him win seeing how he's
leaving us and going to college.
That's right.
In that case, let's say we play
for money.
Josh stands up, though carefully due to the shaky train
I'm gonna run to the restroom.
Why? Are we about to leave the
house or something? I won't be
missing that.
      (Full of mirth)
Weenie boy!
Josh throws some mock punches at his brother's head and
heads off down the train.

Linda looks at Gabriel.
He's gonna miss you.
Ah, he's the weenie.
It's just gonna be you and me now
kiddo. That is until you leave me.


I guess.
That's gonna be hard on me you
know. You're my baby. My clown
faced boy.
Maybe I won't leave. Maybe you'll
be stuck with me forever. It'll be
like a twilight zone episode where
you wish you got rid of me.
No. Never. All children leave one
day. I suppose that's normal.
She starts to tear up.
Aw, come on, Moomer. Don't cry.
There's people all around us.
I bet you don't remember. But when
you were three, you got really mad
at me. You said, (she mocks a
youthful voice) "No more huggies
and kissies for you." You knew
that would hurt me. Funny thing
is, you seemed to mean it. Since
then, you kind of detached
yourself from me. More and more
each day. So maybe I should be
ready when you leave.
I don't...I'm not trying to be
detached. I don't know. That's
just me. I'm really not much of a
I know. Neither was your father.
Or your brother. Or Rachel.
But…it's nice to know how you're
doing or if you need my help.
You're just growing up so fast,
Mijo, and I feel like I'm no
longer a part of your life


Gabriel just shrugs his shoulders.
You used to really need me. When
you were a baby, you wouldn't
sleep unless you were lying down
next to me and could put your hand
on my neck. Then you'd fall asleep
every time. I guess you don't need
me anymore.
Josh returns to the table.
Alright. One more hour to San
Francisco. More than enough time
to kick both your butts again.
Gabriel sees his mom staring at him. But Gabriel turns his
gaze off towards countryside. He tries to get lost in the
passing fields and abandoned buildings. But he knows she's
still looking at her baby.
TEN YEARS LATER Gabriel (26) enters and drops his coat on a
small table. He takes his keys out of his pocket and swirls
them around his finger as two cats approach and swipe at the
keys from a nearby table.

A WOMAN follows Gabriel inside.

She is LAUREN LEEMAN (25) and has blondish-reddish hair. Her
face is speckled with freckles and she wears glasses
covering her bright blue eyes.
But isn't that so stupid? Why
wouldn't you want children to have
health insurance?
Kids can be obnoxious.
Well, yeah. But they should still
have access to insurance.
She notices Gabriel's blank stare. He's not paying
attention. Something's eating at him.


Gabriel? You alright?
What? Yeah. I'm fine. Just not in
a talking mood.
She smiles.
When are you in a talking mood?
She grabs the cell phone that sits on the brown wooden table
and turns it on. She checks for calls.
Your brother left a message.
What'd he say?
He wants you to call him back.
Gabriel takes the cell phone reluctantly and dials.
                       JOSH (O.S.)
Hey, Josh. It's Gabe. You called
                       JOSH (O.S.)
Yeah. I did. It's about...it
There's static on the line.
Wait. Hey, Josh. I can't hear you.
Hold on a second.
Gabriel heads upstairs.
Gabriel enters the room and sits on the bed.
Josh? You still there?


                       JOSH (O.S.)
Yeah, I'm here. It's mom, Gabe.
She's not doing very good.
What do you mean?
                       JOSH (O.S.)
      (Barely a whisper)
She's dying. Mom's gonna die.
There's an audible pause at the words.
That's not...Rachel said she was
fine. What are her doctors saying?
                       JOSH (O.S.)
They all say the same thing. She
just doesn't have much time left,
Gabe. Could be a week. Maybe two
weeks. Rachel and I are gonna put
her in hospice care so she can
finally go home. Mom's going home
tomorrow. It's what she wants.
But is that the best place for
      (with authority)
It's what she wants. Now Rachel
says you have a flight scheduled
for next week.
Yeah. I do.
                       JOSH (O.S.)
Honestly, Gabe, mom won't make it
that long. Her kidneys have shut
down. She's on dialysis, but it's
not working. There's already fluid
in her lungs-
I get it. I'll get a flight for
tomorrow. I'll look for one right


                       JOSH (O.S.)
Yeah. Yeah, do that. And if you
need any money for your flight-
No, no I should be okay. I'll get
online right now and call you back
with a flight number.
                       JOSH (O.S.)
Good. Yeah, definitely do
that...I'm sorry I had to call
like this.
No I understand. I know it's not
easy for you. How are you doing
with this?
                       JOSH (O.S.)
      (Deep sigh)
I'm alright. I'm alright.
Okay. I'll call you back really
soon. Alright? .
                       JOSH (O.F.)
Alright. I love you boy.
      (a slight pause)
I love you too. Bye.
Gabriel hangs up as Lauren enters the bedroom and stands in
the doorway. She's a little hesitant.
What'd he say?
She's dying, Lauren. My mom's
gonna die.
Gabe, I'm so sorry.
She sits down next to him and hugs him. There's just silence
as Gabriel looks blankly across the room.
I need a flight out of St. Louis


Let me handle that. I'll get us a-
No. You should stay here. One of
us needs to keep working and stay
with the cats.
I can get a friend to watch them.
Are you sure?
I probably need some alone time
right now...and with my family.
I understand. But you know you'll
just have to give me a call
whenever you want and I'll come
out there. Alright?
Gabriel nods. Lauren leaves the room. Gabriel just sits on
his bed for a moment. He slowly stands and enters his closet
almost like a zombie, very methodical.

He pulls out his black suitcase and opens it up on his bed.
He enters the closet and grabs some shirts from the hangers.
He folds them and places them in his suitcase. He looks in a
drawer and grabs some socks. He walks over to the suitcase
and stands before it with the socks in hand.

Lauren enters.
Is nine in the morning okay with
you or is that too early? You can
probably drive to St. Louis
tonight and stay with my parents.
She stops when she sees him staring blankly at his luggage.
He turns to her.
I don't know...but...how do you
pack when you know you're going to
see your mother for the last time?
I'm so sorry.
There are no tears. Just another quiet embrace.


It's dark with drops of rain hitting the windshield every
other second. Gabriel sits behind the wheel with the same
blank face he had earlier while packing. The radio's on and
a Cardinals baseball game can be overhead. He drives by a
sign that reads "ST LOUIS 67 Mi"

He keeps his gaze on the road. He doesn't stir. He doesn't
blink. It's almost as if he was driving in his sleep.
The car exits on a dimly lit road. It turns right and pulls
into a church's parking lot and comes to a stop. The lights
are turned off as well as the engine. Thunder crashes in the
Gabriel continues to sit blankly behind the wheel. He softly
lowers his head against the steering wheel and remains in
that position for ten seconds. Then his back starts to spasm
and the sound of deep sobbing can now be heard. He lifts his
head to reveal the torrent of tears streaming down his face.
He wipes at his eyes with his shirt sleeve.

He chokes words through his mouth as he stares at the large
cross standing at the church in front of his car.
It's not fair, God. She's a good
person...she deserves better.
He breaks down again and lowers his head against the wheel.
Once again he wipes his face. He tries to compose himself.
And again tries to choke out some more words.
Help her. Please God. Help my
The tears build up again in his eyes and he lowers his head
again as his back once more convulses.


The car sits there alone in the lot during the dead of night
as the rain starts to fall and pound against it. The
isolation of the vehicle mirrors the isolation of the man
Gabriel stands in line with his black suitcase. His gaze is
once again vacant. It's early morning and there aren't a lot
of travelers yet. Gabriel waits for the ticketing agent as
his eyes slowly build up with tears. But he fights them off
with each passing second by gritting his teeth together.
                       TICKET AGENT
Next! Can I help you?
Gabriel approaches the agent.
                       TICKET AGENT
Got your I.D.?
Gabriel hands it to the agent. He's almost wincing from the
effort to hold back the flow of tears that he knows need to
be unleashed.
                       TICKET AGENT
Going to Bakersfield. How many
Just one.
The agent tags the bag. Gabriel looks to the right and sees
a MIDDLE AGED WOMAN (56) standing in line while only holding
a black purse. He looks to the left and sees a mother with
her husband and two children.
                       TICKET AGENT
Alright Mr. Sesmas. Here are your
tickets. Just take your bag to the
gentleman at that table and he'll
take it for you. Have a nice
Gabriel quickly walks to the table and hands the man his
bag. He then heads in the direction of the security
checkpoint. But he sees a restroom and darts in.


A lone figure stands with a mop wiping down the floors. He
seems content enough when all of a sudden he hears the cries
of a person in the furthest stall. He stops momentarily and
looks up for a second. But then he continues mopping his

The door to the stall slowly creeps open as Gabriel exits.
He wipes his eyes with his sleeves and heads to the mirror.
He splashes water on his face and exits.
Gabriel walks onto the plane and finds his aisle seat. He
sits down and stares at the faces of those who approach his
section of the plane. Some smile and some merely look on.
The last of the passengers make their way down the aisle.

The MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN from the ticket line slowly struts
down the plane with her black purse. She has brown hair and
brown eyes. She carries herself in a matronly manner. She
walks by Gabriel and stops next to him. She points at the
seat next to Gabriel.
I think that's mine.
Gabriel gets up and lets her pass. She sits and takes a
novel out of her purse and adjusts her seat belt.
You stopping in Arizona?
      (lost in thought)
I'm sorry?
Is Arizona your final destination?
No. I'm going to Bakersfield, Ca
Bakersfield! Kind of a dusty old
dirt town. You traveling for
personal or business reasons.


Say no more. I won't talk your
head off.
The woman grabs a small white pillow and places it behind
her head and opens up her novel as the plane prepares to
The plane veers down the runway to take off. It is soon
hovering up within the clouds.
The woman continues to read her book. Gabriel stares blankly
at the seat in front of him as a couple of flight attendants
walk by with the beverage cart. Gabriel shakes his head at
the offer of any items and the woman does the same.

Gabriel reaches for his backpack and pulls out his journal.
He opens it and grabs a pen from his coat. He writes the
date. But that's all. He stares again at the blank page.
It's almost mocking him.
So you're a writer?
What's that?
You write?
The woman pantomimes a pen in hand. Gabriel looks down at
the pen in his hand and journal in his lap.
No. Not really
Interesting. I always just assumed
any person with a journal must be
a writer. You'll take notice I
didn't ask if you were a good one.
She chuckles. For the first time all day, Gabriel gives way
to a slight smile.


You got me there. The truth is I
just play with words. Nothing
more...nothing less.
Words are important. They run the
Gabriel grins and shakes his head.
What's the matter? I got something
in my teeth?
No. But you just said something
more profound than anything I've
been able to write in years. Maybe
my whole life.
Oh Honey, that wasn't profound.
Saw it on a fortune cookie once.
Smart cookie. I got one once that
said, "You are very creative.
Prove it!" (He laughs.) You know,
I get challenged enough at work. I
don't really need a dry, tasteless
cookie giving me orders.
What kinda work do you do? Or am I
bugging you?
No. Not at all. Right now I'm just
a substitute teacher.
Just a substitute? Honey, there's
no problem with being a substitute
teacher. What is it you generally
A little of everything. Right now
I've been teaching Spanish to
seventh graders for the last three


So you speak Spanish?
      (he grins)
Not really.
      (she laughs)
Now there's something you don't
hear everyday. A teacher teaching
something they don't even know.
I wouldn't say that necessarily. I
know the material I teach. But if
you dropped me in the middle of
Mexico right now...or even some
parts of California...I'd be
mocked for being a Gringo. And I
am a certified teacher but only in
Language Arts.
What's a Gringo?
It's like a non-Spanish speaking
foreigner. I'm half-Hispanic from
my dad's side so I look the part.
But as soon as I speak the
español, it becomes fairly obvious
So your dad's Hispanic? What about
your mom?
The very word snaps Gabriel back to reality and his current
destination. The woman notices the change in his countenance
as well.
Oh Honey, I didn't mean to pry.
It's okay. My mom's Caucasian. I
never really thought much about it
but my parents had an interracial
I noticed your used the word "had"


Yeah, they divorced when I was
about two. My mom basically raised
me, my brother and my sister on
her own. I still saw my dad a lot.
But it was a different kind of
relationship. I'm just not nearly
as close to him as I am to her.
Well, that's certainly
understandable. And even
commendable on your mother's part.
Three kids by herself. That's a
nice little challenge.
You don't know the half of it. My
sister and mom just never got
along. It's funny now but I recall
a night where harsh words were
said and my brother needed to
separate the two. It ended with my
mom throwing some cheese at my
Well, as long as no one cut it I
She jabs him in the side with her elbow. Gabriel laughs. The
woman smiles as well.
She then opens her novel. Gabriel closes his eyes for a
second and then reopens them.
You have any kids?
The woman solemnly closes her book.
I'm sorry. That's really none of
my business.
You're fine. I'm afraid the Lord
didn't see fit to bless me with
I'm sorry to hear that.


Don't be. I'm not. Everything
happens for a reason.
Maybe it was for the best. No
kids. No chance of them
disappointing you. Or leaving you.
The woman takes a deep breath. She senses the pain in those
I suppose every person runs the
risk of being a disappointment in
one way or another. But you'll be
hard pressed to find a mother who
would dare say that about her
child. And if you did, then it
kind of works both ways. Don't cha
think? Maybe a child thinks they
let their mother down. But that
mother might see their child as
their greatest achievement. As for
leaving, you have to sometimes.
Mother birds drop their young out
of the nests so they can fly, so
they can grow. All mothers do
Maybe you're right.
Forgive me if I'm stepping on
hallowed ground here, but...I
doubt your mom thinks of you as a
disappointment. A mother's love
runs fairly deep.
A mother's love. You never hear
much about a child's love. Maybe
there's a reason for that. I'm
sorry. I'm just babbling.
Not at all. That was more like
rambling. But sometimes we ramble
to get to where we want to go.
I just want to get to Bakersfield.


She pats him on his hand.
And soon enough, Honey, you will.
The plane settles down for a comfortable and safe landing.
Gabriel walks off the plane with the middle-aged woman only
two steps behind him. They exit the gate together.
Good luck in Bakersfield, Gabriel.
I really hope Linda gets better.
Thank you. I enjoyed meeting you.
Gabriel heads towards some monitors to check for his next
gate. But he suddenly pauses and turns to look back at the
woman. He looks but cannot find her in the mass of
travelers. His face is full of perplexity as he whispers to
I never told you our names.
He turns around and sees Bakersfield on the monitor. He
heads in the direction of his next gate while still glancing
around, looking very much confused.
Gabriel stands by the carousel waiting patiently for his
black bag. He finally sees it and grabs it off the
carousel. He looks around for a familiar face but sees none.

He wheels his luggage to the entrance of the small airport.
He stands out on the curb. He checks his watch and looks on
at the cars that drive by picking up their friends,
relatives, associates. He checks his watch again.

Finally, a red minivan pulls up to him as the passenger


window is lowered. A heavy-set woman is behind the wheel.
She's older but this is RACHEL SESMAS (32). She wears
clothes that she has no business wearing. They are far too
tight and the makeup on her face is far too abundant.
Gabriel sees her and opens up the backseat. He throws his
bag in and gets in the front seat. He doesn't look at his
sister. He keeps his eyes straight.
You're late.
They drive off.
So how long are you gonna be in
Maybe a week.
Are you hungry?
Not really.
You tired?
A little.
We can go to Andres if you want.
I just want to get home, Rachel,
and see mom.
Well, I have to make a stop


I need gas.
Why didn't you get it earlier?
I was already late picking you up.
I noticed. Look I just really want
to see mom.
We will. But I also need to get
some ice tea.
You don't need any ice tea.
It's for mom. She's at home now.
And it's gonna be up to you, me
and Josh to make her happy these
last few days. If she wants
something, then whatever it is, we
get it.
Then get her tea. Get her anything
she wants. But I think we're past
the point of making mom happy.
They drive into a gas station. Rachel gets out and starts
pumping some fuel. Gabriel stays in the car and just stares
out his window. His gaze is fixed on a young mother with her
young daughter. The mother picks up her daughter and plants
a big kiss on her face. The daughter giggles and smiles as
the two, hand in hand, walk into the gas station store.
The red minivan arrives at Linda's house. There's a nice
brown wooden gate surrounding the front yard. An abundance
of foliage marks the territory with one huge palm tree


rising into the sky. Gabriel grabs his bag and walks towards
the door with his sister.
Is Josh watching her?
No one is.
You left her alone?
Josh was supposed to come by
before I picked you up. But he got
stuck at Pi Pi's. I tried to wait
for him...that's why I was late
picking you up.
Gabriel just shakes his head.
Stupid grandfather. Stupid
brother. Stupid sister. The hat
trick.You all shouldn't have
abandoned her.
If Rachel hears she does not let on. They both approach the
front door.
Rachel opens the door as Gabriel sees his mother in her
weakened condition for the first time.

LINDA SESMAS (56) sleeps in her specially made Hospice bed.
Her head is bent against her slow rising chest with an
oxygen mask attached to her mouth. There are speckles of
blood on it from coughing bouts.

Her hair is short and thinned out on top. It has been dyed
with some blonde highlights at the tips. There are multiple
bruises across her face and her arms. She has bandages on
her wrists and her neck. She's in a white gown with a white
sheet covering her legs. It's a hard image. It hurts Gabriel
to see his mother looking so frail and so weak.

As Gabriel approaches, Linda opens her eyes slowly and
appears shocked to see her youngest child standing in front
of her.


Look who's here to see you!
Hey Moomer.
Linda raises her arms up to embrace Gabriel. He hugs her
softly so as not to hurt her and kisses her on the forehead.

She smiles and weakly tries to remove the oxygen mask from
her face. Rachel comes and helps her take it off.
What are you doing here, Mijo?
Her voice is soft, almost a whisper and competes with the
buzzing of a nearby oxygen machine.
I'm here to see you, pretty lady.
She slowly raises her hand and touches his cheek.
You're really here.
      (to Gabriel)
Look behind you.
Gabriel turns and sees white granite tile placed all around
a brick fireplace.
Josh did that, and the wood floors
and the fence out front.
Gabriel look at Linda who is still just staring at her son
in both delight and disbelief at his presence.
Wow, the weenie boy went all out.
He did a real good job.
Momma, here's your tea. I put a
little sugar in it, but I can put
more in if you want.
Linda takes a sip.


It's good.
How's your temperature? Too cold
or hot? (To Gabriel) She had a
fever this morning.
I'm fine.
You just sleep if you need to,
Moomer. I'm not going anywhere for
a while.
Linda smiles as Gabriel gives her another kiss on her
Your little boy's gonna be here
for the next three weeks.
Gabriel darts his glare at Rachel. Rachel helps Linda put
the oxygen mask back on as she closes her eyes and rests her
head on her chest.

Rachel brings in a bag and places it on the table next to
the oxygen machine. She takes Gabriel aside.
      (he whispers)
Why'd you tell her I'm gonna be
here for three weeks?
It'll make her happy.
You shouldn't lie like that.
It'll be okay. I've gotta run an
errand. I'm not sure where Josh
is, but here's mom's cell if you
need to make any calls. Let me
just write down my number in case
something happens. Also, here's
the number for Hospice Care. They
have nurses on call for any
emergencies and they're supposed
to send them out pretty quickly.
Mom's medicines are in this bag.
This brown bottle's morphine. The


                       RACHEL (cont'd)
nurse that came by this morning
said to just put two drops on her
tongue if she's in any pain. This
orange stuff is for her breathing
treatment to clear out her lungs.
Okay slow down. That's a lot of
stuff to remember.
You just take off the cap and pour
the liquid into the mask. Then
flip the switch on the machine.
It's pretty easy. She just needs
to breathe it in for a while and
her chest should clear up. It's
kind of like the asthma treatments
Josh used to take.
How long is Josh gonna be at Pi
He should be here soon and she
sleeps a lot. You shouldn't have
any trouble.
      (looks at Linda)
I'm not real comfortable being
left alone right now. Why don't
you just wait for Josh to show up
before running off?
I'm already late to a doctor's
appointment. I'll be back really
Well, just hurry up. Please.
Rachel grabs her purse and heads for the door. She stops and
turns around and goes back to hug Gabriel.
I'm glad you're home, Goober.


Yeah. Yeah.
She leaves.

Gabriel finds a chair and moves it closer to Linda. She has
fallen asleep. Gabriel sits by her and places his left hand
on her right hand. He stares at her sleeping face. The whir
of the breathing machine is constant. Linda's breathing
sounds difficult at times as the air sometimes forces its
way through her lips.
It's okay, Moomer. Dream some good
Gabriel stares at a clock. ONE HOUR has passed. He grabs for
a book as he sways his legs back and forth. He again stares
at the clock to see TWO HOURS have passed.

Gabriel holds the book in his hand. He stares at his
mother's labored breathing. Each breathe seems like a
struggle and his eyes follow the rise and fall of his
mother's chest. The phone Rachel left behind rings.
                       RACHEL (O.S.)
Is Josh there yet?
No he's not. And where are you?
                       RACHEL (O.S.)
I'm almost done. I just need to
make one more stop.
Gabriel makes sure his mother's rest goes undisturbed as he
walks into the nearby hallway.
One more stop?
                       RACHEL (O.S.)
It won't take long.


      (very annoyed)
That's what you said two hours
      (getting defensive)
Don't worry about it!
I am worried about it. What the
hell is more important than being
here right now?
                       RACHEL (O.S.)
It's none of your business!
It's him isn't it? What'd he
finally get out of jail? You're
such an asshole, Rachel!
                       RACHEL (O.S.)
Listen little boy! You have no
right to talk to me like that. And
how dare you judge me! Where were
you, huh? Where were you when mom
first got sick? It took her dying
before you even visited!
      (raises his voice)
At least I'm here now!
He hangs up. Gabriel turns and she's that his mother is
stirring from her nap.
       changes his tone)
Hey, did I say you could wake up?
She removes her oxygen mask.
Did something happen?
Yeah. I won the lottery. I was
just telling them where to send my
big check. You want more tea?


She smiles and nods.
Thank you, Mijo. I'm so happy
you're home.
She reaches out to touch his face again.
Look at you. You're all grown up.
But you're still my clown-faced
boy. I remember when I could just
hold you in one arm.
You still can, Moomer. But you
might drop me.
No. I'd never drop my baby.
Are you happy you're home?
I'm happy you're home. My whole
family. Is Lauren with you?
No. She's good. She wanted to
come...but I told her not to. I
wanted you all to myself.
Linda smiles.
      (serious tone)
He pauses. There's something weighing on his mind, but he
doesn't know how to say it. So he settles for the easiest
There's a lot going on up here.
(he points to his head) There's a
lot I want to say. But I don't
know where or even how to begin.
You never were much of a talker. I
got used to it.


It's never been easy for me to
open up. I'm just not trusting
Why that U2 song?
For your wedding last year, you
wanted us to dance to that U2
"Trying to Throw Your Arms Around
the World."
You never told me why you wanted
us to dance to that song. After
you suggested it, I read the
lyrics and how some woman trips
and falls on the sidewalk. I
thought you were making fun of me.
My clumsiness.
I never meant it as a joke.
Then why? You wouldn't tell me
last year. Tell me now. Please.
For me, the song's talking about a
woman who tries to do too much for
another individual, to the point
that she gets lost along the way.
She's completely unselfish and it
costs her a bit of herself but she
continues to make the sacrifice.
It was a way to say that I
understood all you did for me. How
you had to overextend yourself to
make me and Josh and Rachel happy.
It was meant as a thank you.
She smiles.


You're talking.
I guess I am. You must've tricked
It was really hard to give you up.
To Lauren...or when you went away
to college....really hard on
me...because you'll always be my
baby. But I know you had to leave
to find yourself.
Like the prodigal son.
No. Not at all. I'm very proud of
you, Gabriel. You're a good and
honorable man.
Some might beg to differ.
Rightfully so.
Then you just tell me where to
find them. I'll set them straight.
He smiles and looks away. Now's the time for complete
I never told you this, Moomer, but
it was never easy for me to leave
you. This past summer when Lauren
and me visited you...i kind of
broke down. I saw you waving and
blowing kisses at me and...and...I
just lost it. The bus pulled out
of the parking lot and I just
started balling. I felt...like I
was abandoning you...again. Like
I've always been abandoning you
all my life or something. And it
hit especially hard this last
time. And I'm sorry. I've just
been leaving you too many damn


Linda pats his hand and realizes the sincerity in his voice
and the hurt and regret he has kept to himself.
Oh, Mijo. Remember this.
She attempts to sit up to look closer in her son's eyes, but
the effort is taxing and feeble.
You never abandoned me. And I'll
never abandon you.
She lies back in her bed and puts her oxygen mask back on.
The effort has sapped her remaining strength as she softly
closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep once more.
Gabriel opens up the fridge and peaks in. A cockroach
scampers across his hand as he flings it on the ground and
steps on it. He looks towards the sink and sees two large
cans of RAID. He also spots the mass killing of the roaches
by the stove and on the kitchen table. He makes a face. The
place has been overrun with bugs. Then he hears the front
door open.
Gabriel enters to see his brother holding some grocery bags
with his fiancée in tow.

JOSH SESMAS(31) now has a strong build and a strong jaw. His
black hair is cropped neatly from his days in the Navy. He
bears no resemblance to his mother like Gabriel does. He
must get his looks from his father. He has grocery bags in
his hands.

His fiancée HEATHER (23) is certainly younger. She has long
brown hair wrapped in a pony tail and meek smile.
Weenie boy!
Gabriel raises his finger to his lips to let them know their
mother is asleep. He points towards the backdoor in the
kitchen and they both walk in that direction.
      (to Heather)
Watch her.


The backyard has a nice little pile of trash in one corner
of the yard. There are stacks of books and old furniture on
the patio where Gabriel and Josh stand. Josh holds a beer in
his hand. Takes a swig.
Want one? (Gabe shakes his head. )
All this crap's from the living
room. I cleared it out to put down
the hardwood floors. Decided to
just leave it out here. It's
pretty dusty.
You did a good job with
everything, especially the fence
out front.
I was in a rush. The hardwood's
already buckling. I just didn't
have enough time to do everything
Mom really likes it. So Rachel
said you were at Pi Pi's? How is
Josh takes another swig.
He's still a dirty old curmudgeon.
I was waiting for his meals on
wheels. They came an hour late of
course. Story of my life. So
naturally when they did show up,
Pi Pi kept us there with one story
after another. I told him we
needed to go so Rachel could pick
you up. But you know how he is.
Once he starts a story he's gotta
finish it even if he doesn't
remember the ending.
He laughs. It's a loud guffaw enough to scare the birds in a
nearby tree. He drinks again.
Weenie boy! (he messes up
Gabriel's hair) Pi Pi wants to see
you. Says you should write a book


                       JOSH (cont'd)
about him. He even unearthed a
journal he had to get you started.
He's got a journal? That's a
similarity between us I can live
Yeah, he showed it to me. Got some
pretty good stuff. The spelling's
atrocious and the man can't form a
coherent thought, but the plot's
got potential.
He laughs again.
I could title it, "The Asshole."
That's right! But then you'd have
to market it to everyone in San
Again he laughs at his own joke. It's a loud forceful laugh
with a big cheesy grin on his face as his whole body shakes.
Josh takes another swig. Gabriel has heard this type of
gallows humor before. Enough to know that there's no sense
in rebuking his brother, so he settles for sarcasm.
Ah, good. I was afraid you might
not be a homophobe anymore. You
have to admit it's a little weird
coming from someone who actually
attended college in San Francisco.
Oh, it's a beautiful city. Gotta
give'em some credit. They know how
to design.
That's mighty complimentary of
you. So how's Pi Pi's health these
Shit. He'll outlive us all. I lost
count all the times he's cheated
death. I told him today that


                       JOSH (cont'd)
Heather and me might be moving in
with him pretty soon.
Really? And Heather's okay with
You kidding? But we're broke. It
was either move in with Pi Pi or
go back to the Navy. Yeah, I had
to quit my job about a month ago
when mom got sick.
He drinks again.
Then how'd you pay for all these
Mom's idea. She told me to quit my
job and get everything ready for
her when she moved back in. It's
all from her bank account...and
some of mine.
Pi Pi offer any help?
Hell no! Mom told him about three
weeks ago to stop calling her in
the hospital. He'd call to bitch
and moan about how sad he was
cause of Nana dying and all. Said
everyone was leaving him.
Doesn't he know she's sick?
He knows. He's just doesn't give a
damn. He's selfish. He's a selfish
old fart. Don't know how she
survived him.
Gabriel shakes his head.


Did Rachel pick you up on time? I
told her to go ahead and get you
when I knew I was running late.
That reminds me. So I only have
one week off from work, right? And
I told Rachel that. But she tells
mom that I'm gonna be here for
three weeks. I didn't say anything
cause I don't want to upset mom.
But when a week comes, I'll have
to say something.
Josh's countenance gets really serious.
You don't have to say anything to
her. Mom won't make it another
week. The doctors confirmed that.
She could pass any day now.
Gabriel goes silent and turns his head towards the ground.
Josh kicks a nearby book.
Fucking doctors! You know two
weeks ago they told me she was
alright. Yeah! Called me up and
said the cancer was in remission.
The chemo worked. Next week, I get
a call and her doctor said mom's
kidneys have shut down.
Apparently, the cancer never left.
I tried calling the asshole who
lied to me. He wouldn't answer.
Finally got hold of him. Know what
he told me? You must have heard me
wrong. I said, "Is that right?
Fuck you! Did you hear me right?
Fuuuck you, you fucking moron!"
(he grits his jaw) I swear, I
almost drove to the hospital to
kick the shit outta that guy.
Josh lifts his right hand. Gabriel now notices a big bandage
on it.
You see that?


Put your fist through the wall
Your anger-
Nearly scared Heather to death.
But better than putting it through
that doctor's fucking face.
I wanna know why her doctors
didn't find the cancer this summer
when she had those bruises all
over her body. Bruises don't just
develop while you're sleeping.
That's not normal. They should
have known something was wrong
months ago.
Boy, her hospital care was so
shitty. I went out to see Moomer
with dad about three weeks ago. We
walk into her room and she has
blood smeared all over her neck
and arms, her sheets. It's like
they hadn't cleaned her in days. I
was so fucking pissed.
Gabriel again can only shake his head at the images forming
in his head. He's at a loss for all this. He didn't know any
of it. He's not sure he wants to.
How's dad doing with all of this?
I don't really know. He visited
her a lot in the hospital. He's
the one trying to clean the
backyard. (takes a drink) Maybe he
feels guilty. But we're all here
now. The whole Sesmas clan. I was
waiting for you to get back.
Heather and I are gonna make a
thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Just
for Moomer. She won't make it for
the real one next month.
That's a good idea. I volunteer to
burn the pumpkin pie.


Josh finishes his beer. He looks at the empty bottle.
I need another one.
Josh turns to walk inside. Gabriel follows.
Gabriel sits at the end of his mother's bed with his head
down. His luggage is at his feet, but he's not really
concentrating on unpacking.

Josh enters the room and pats his hand on Gabriel's
shoulder. He sits down in a chair next to the bed with
another beer in hand.
You need extra blankets?
I should be okay.
I'm glad you're back.
I wish it was different
It's a pretty raw deal.
Really sucks.
Yeah it does. Yeah it does.
I'm only twenty-six. You know? And
I'm about to lose my mother. I
know some kids lose their parents
at the age of ten or even
younger...but I don't care. This
is my mom. If I live till I'm
eighty, I'll have to live
two-thirds of my life without her
being in it. How is that fair?
It's not. It's sure as hell not.


All of this...all of it...it's
pretty hard to accept. I seriously
feel like I'm lost in a dream.
None of this can be happening
because it's not supposed to. It's
Unfortunately,it's very real.
I thought she'd be okay. I really
did. I never thought...I would've
come sooner. I should have.
You came when you could.
Did I? (He pauses at his own
question) I haven't seen Smokey
Hertha called me two weeks ago.
She saw him underneath her bushes
next door...I buried him in the
backyard next to Sasquatch. I
didn't tell mom. I'm not going to.
Poor little guy. He was a real
sweet kitty.
Josh takes a drink.
He lived a good long life.
Seventeen years.
The water starts to build up in Gabriel's eyes. The air in
his chest comes slower as body starts to quiver from the
pain. He doesn't want to necessarily show weakness in front
of his brother, but if not now, then when. The tears slowly
fall. His words fight through his grief.
It's not for Smokey.
      (he sighs)
I know.


She's our mother. She deserves
better than this.
Heather enters and stands in the doorway. Gabriel bows his
head into his chest. He wipes his tears with his forearms.
Linda's asleep. I'm gonna head out
Wait a second. I'll go with you.
Josh stands and walks by his brother. He stops and pats
Gabriel again on his shoulder. He leaves.

Gabriel just keeps staring down at his luggage. The tears
drop down from his eyes and onto his clothes, but he doesn't
make a sound for fear his mother will hear him down the
The television's on as Linda wakes up to see Gabriel once
again by her side.
Good morning, Moomer. Do you need
anything? Water? Tea? Morphine?
What's that smell?
Oh oh. Do I need to jump in the
Is it cream of wheat?
Josh came over early. The weenie's
making us breakfast.
It smells wonderful.
Josh enters the room with a big wooden spoon in his hand.


Boy! You hungry...oh, is she
awake? Good mornin', Moomer! (He
kisses her on the her cheek) I
just made some breakfast. You want
Yes, please.
Josh exits.
How'd you sleep?
The doorbell rings. Gabriel gets up and opens the door. It's
his father.

TED SESMAS (59) is still a fairly short, fairly stout man.
He now has streaks of gray on the side of his head. He's
still built like a circular rock with big forearms, strong
calves, and a bushy salt and pepper mustache.
Old Man!
Heyyy. I didn't know you were
Gabriel hugs his father. It's a bit of an awkward embrace.
Just got in yesterday.
Did you have a nice flight?
It was alright.
Ted moves towards Linda and takes something out of his
Good morning Linda. You remember
this? I found it in my garage


Ted shows her an old picture in an old frame. It shows two
young people very much in love as they both sit on a Harley
Davidson. Ted is thin, wears the same mustache and sports
some very nice shades while he grips the handlebars. He
looks like Josh. Linda's arms are around Ted's waist. She's
much thinner and very beautiful as her auburn hair flows
with the breeze. The joy of the moment is evident in her
wide smile.
I need my glasses.
Gabriel puts them on for her as Josh enters with a bowl.
      (to Ted)
Old Man! You're just in time for
breakfast. What's that?
It's a picture of your father and
me. About thirty years ago. I
can't believe you still have it,
Me neither.
He laughs and his whole belly shakes.
      (to Ted)
You hungry?
I already ate. Need my strength to
finish that backyard. I'm gonna
try and haul all that trash to the
dump today.
Gabriel gives a spoonful of cream of wheat to his mother.
She swallows slowly. After two bites, she waves it away.
It's very good. Thank you, Josh.
Ted feels her forehead.
A little warm. You guys have any
Tylenol? She might have a fever.


Gabriel enters the kitchen and makes some noise looking in
cabinets for the item. When he returns, he sees his father
with both his hands on his mother's head. He's praying over
Dear Jesus, we ask in your name
that you heal Linda, Lord. We ask
in your blessed name that you
answer our prayers and return
Linda to full health so that she
may continue to love and worship
you oh Lord.
Gabriel doesn't know what to do. Does he put the Tylenol
down and pray with his father or wait it out, albeit
clumsily? He decides for the latter. His father picks up
speed as he continues to forcefully finish his little
We know you have the power of the
Almighty Lord Jesus, the Father
and the Son, to spare your child,
Linda, and to take away all the
sickness all the disease
inhabiting her body. We ask, Lord
Jesus, that you bless this house
and cast out any weakness that the
evil one may use against Linda and
her family. We pray, Lord Jesus,
that you comfort Linda and give
her peace of mind. In this we pray
in the name of the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Here's the Tylenol.
Ted is sweeping the back porch wearing a white mask to keep
dust from getting in his lungs when Gabriel approaches.
You look like a doctor.
Ted laughs and his whole belly shakes yet again.


How's Dora?
Ted removes the mask.
She's doing pretty good.
It's a pretty nice day.
How's the weather in Missouri?
Cold. I was wearing a long sleeve
shirt and pants yesterday. When I
stepped out of the airport, it
felt like a sauna. I do miss the
weather in California.
Do you guys get hurricanes over
Nope. Just tornadoes...and
locusts. Well, not so much with
the locusts.
Gabriel picks up an old book on the ground. He's wipes some
dirt off the cover. It's a bible.
Need a bible?
No, I've got enough at home.
I assumed you could never have too
Well, that's true too. Is that
your mom's?
Might be. She still's praying,


That rosary on your mom's wrist
was a gift from Dora. I've been
praying with Linda a couple of
times now.
Good. That's good. I remember
talking to a woman once who told
me how you can see the strength of
a person's faith when they're
Oh yeah?
She said when a person's at peace,
it's because of their faith. And
when they're scared...it's because
of their lack of faith. Not sure
that lady knew what's she was
talking about, but...I hope mom's
not scared.
Ted shakes his head and picks up a piece of trash in the
yard. Gabriel realizes the awkwardness of his words around
his father. They've never really shared much in terms of
There's a new Mexican restaurant
over by my house. It's
called...what's it called? Don
Perico's? Don something. They've
got a pretty good lunch buffet.
We'll have to try it out before
you head back.
Definitely. I need to fill up on
as much Mexican food as I can.
It's not too good in Missouri.
Is that right?
I think it's because they don't
have enough Mexicans. Lauren and I
went to this place called El
Maguey and I happened to see the
cooks in the kitchen. They were


                       GABRIEL (cont'd)
all Asian!
Ted laughs again.
Well maybe all the Mexicans are
cooking at the Chinese
You might be right. That'd explain
the enchilada I got with my Pu Pu
Josh enters the backyard.
Weenie Boy! I have to run out to
Pi Pi's.
Gabriel heads to the backdoor. But he turns to his father.
Don't work too hard old man. I'd
hate to see you passed out back
here. Then we'd need a real
His father laughs once more as Gabriel heads inside to check
on his mother.
Gabriel sits down next to his mother and glares at her
bruised face. Linda's breathing has worsened and Gabriel's
eyes follow the slow rise and fall of his mother's chest. He
places his hand on top of hers. She stirs and takes off her
oxygen mask.
I'm sorry I woke you.
Gabriel grabs a container of tea and raises it towards
Linda. She shakes her head.
It's okay, Mijo. I get tired of


I didn't know that was possible.
(pensively) Moomer, how are your
      (she whispers)
Good and bad. It's harder than I
Gabriel lowers his head closer to his mother's mouth.
I'm sorry, Moomer. What was that?
      (again she
It's harder that I thought.
Do you need some morphine?
Linda rebuffs the offer by shaking her head.
You mean it's
She nods passively.
I'm sorry.
Gabriel? I want you to answer me
truthfully. (she pauses) Was I a
good mother?
What? Where'd that come from?
That's a question that doesn't
need to be asked. Yes! You
were...ARE a great mother.
It wasn't easy...raising all three
of you by myself. Sometimes I felt
like a failure-
Not a failure. Not at all.


I tried. I really did.
You did a lot more than just try,
Moomer. A lot more! Now Josh,
Rachel and me have faults...but
who doesn't? That doesn't mean you
failed as a mother. We were never,
never without love. You gave us a
lot. Maybe we failed as children-
No! Never.
She touches his cheek.
You're so handsome. But you're
still my clown-faced boy. Always
will be.
And you'll always be my Moomer.
I'm so happy you have Lauren in
your life. It's important to know
that someone always loves you.
Moomer...Mom. I want you to know
now and forever....I always have
and I always will love you the
best. No one else even comes
I'll always love you too, Mijo.
She again places her right hand against Gabriel's cheek. He
softly kisses her forehead. Linda reaches for her oxygen
mask and Gabriel helps her put it on. She closes her eyes.
Gabriel places his hand on hers.
You dream for me. Okay? You dream
about walking on the beach in
Ventura, with the warm sand on our
feet, watching the sunrise with me
like we did last Christmas. I'm
standing on the rocks near the
shoreline looking at the tide as
it splashes against the rocks and


                       GABRIEL (cont'd)
onto me. And I look back, and
you're sitting down and staring my
way with your sunglasses on, just
smiling. The wind blowing against
your face. The cool sea air grips
us and the seagulls sing their
rhythmic song. And I'm looking
back and I'm smiling at you. A
twenty-six year old man looking
and feeling like a ten-year old
boy with his mother. And you're
happy, Moomer. We're both very
His words trail off. Gabriel bows his head. He clenches his
jaw to keep from making any noise. But the tears start to
build. He doesn't want to cry beside her. Not yet. But he
can't fight off the hurt any longer. The tears fall at his
feet. He whimpers ever so slightly as he struggles to
compose himself.

Ted walks in and stands at the other side of Linda. He looks
at Gabriel and sees his tears. He does not move. No hug. No
pat on the back. Perhaps he's confused. He's never actually
seen his son cry. He wasn't around as much as Linda. And
this sight shocks him.
I'll be back. I'm gonna head out
to the dump now.
And Ted leaves Gabriel alone with his dying mother.
It's dark. Pitch black. A scream shatters the silence.
                       RACHEL (O.S.)
A pause. She screams again.
                       RACHEL (O.S.)
Gabriel shoots up in bed. He turns on the light. The clock
reads 12:30 am.
                       RACHEL (O.S.)


Yeah! I'm coming!
He jumps out of bed and rushes towards his sister.
Gabriel enters to see Rachel holding the breathing treatment
to Linda's mouth. Gabriel circles his mother and sees her
eyes closed. Her breathing is heavily labored.
Just keeping breathing, Mom. Just
like that.
Linda's chest slowly rises and a good amount of time passes
with each breath. Rachel hands Gabriel her cell phone.
I called Hospice.
                       HOSPICE (O.S.)
Who's this?
My name's Gabriel Sesmas. My
sister just called you.
                       HOSPICE (O.S.)
We've already told your sister to
administer the breathing treatment
to clear Linda's lungs, Mr.
Sesmas. We've also sent out the
on-call nurse and she already
knows your address.
Okay. Can you just hurry? She's
really struggling to breathe.
                       HOSPICE (O.S.)
We'll try and get there as fast as
possible. The nurse should be
there soon. Just keep
administering the breathing


Gabriel hangs up and stands at the other side of his mother,
opposite his sister.
What'd they say?
Just keep doing what you're doing.
The nurse is on her way.
Come on, Linda! Breathe! Good job!
Just like that!
Gabriel continues to stare down at the rise and fall of his
mother's chest. Slowly, her chest continues to ascend and
fall back again. Each time, it seems slower than the
previous breath.
Breath, Mom! Breathe! Don't stop!
Gabriel continues to watch the movement of her chest. He
listens to the buzzing of the machine as Rachel continues to
press the plastic device against Linda's lips. Linda's eyes
remain closed.
Linda! Breathe! Don't give up!
Keep breathing!
Come on Moomer.
Gabriel looks at the bruised face of his mother. Each gulp
of air he witnesses might be her last. The rise of her chest
is a struggle. The very task a Herculean effort. And
Gabriel's witnessing it all now before his eyes. His
greatest fear coming true. The death of his mother.
Don't stop, Linda! Breathe!
We need to call Josh.
I already called him!
Gabriel eyes go back to his mother. He peers down at her
chest. Amidst the shouting entreaties of his sister and buzz
of the breathing treatment, Gabriel sees what he feared
since he arrived home only two days ago. His mother's chest


does not move. Rachel notices it as well. And tears rise in
her voice.
No! No, Mommy! Nooo! Wake up,
Mommy! Wake up! Breathe!
Gabriel stays surprisingly calm and extends his hand towards
his sister to move the breathing treatment from Linda's
Rachel. It's okay. It's okay.
She's gone.
But Rachel is breaking down. The tears start streaming down
her cheeks. Her cries are choked in grief and loss. She
ignores Gabriel's words and consoling hand as she tries to
place the breathing treatment to her mother's dead lips.
Come on, Mommy! Breathe! Breathe,
Rachel. It's okay. She's free.
Rachel drops the mask to the ground and places her face on
her mother's unmoving bosom.
Mommy! Mommy!
Gabriel puts his hand on his sister's back.
You need to calm down. Just
Rachel throws Gabriel's hand off her.
She's lost all composure. There's no reasoning with her now
and there's no sense in trying. Gabriel just has to ride it

The front door quickly opens. Josh and Heather have arrived
with fear on their faces.


What happened?!!
What did you do?!!
Gabriel has already lost one sibling to momentary madness.
He doesn't want to lose his brother's grip on reality. So
his voice remains calm.
It's okay Josh. She's gone. Mom's
Josh forcefully grabs his inconsolable sister from behind
and pulls her off Linda's body. He turns to Heather.
Get her outta here!
Heather escorts a crying Rachel down the hall and into her

Josh looks at the face of his mother. He turns to Gabriel.
What happened, Boy?
She just stopped breathing. A few
minutes ago.
You saw her?
Josh looks at the face of his mother. He leans over and
kisses her forehead. He falls to one knee and grabs her
right hand. He bows his head down against her palm.

He raises his face towards his mother and grits his jaw with
as much might as he can muster. He's fighting off his tears.
The terrible struggle is evident on his face as he stares
straight at his mother's. But he won't allow himself to cry.
Not now.


It's okay, Josh. She's not in pain
Josh lowers his head. He keeps it against the leg of his
mother for a few seconds. Then he rises up slowly and enters
the kitchen. A few seconds later he returns with a beer in
hand. Heather comes back into the living room. Rachel can
still be heard sobbing down the hallway.
She's not stopping. (she sees the
beer in her husband's hand) Josh?
I don't think you should-
He quickly turns on her.
      (rage and grief)
I don't need you babying me! Not
Heather's eyes begin to tear up as she meekly stands there.
The struggle of pain and anger can he heard in Josh's words
as he strives to choke off his own tears.
I wanted the Thanksgiving dinner
yesterday! But you said wait
another day! And now she's gone.
Gabriel finally intervenes in a calm and collected voice as
Heather retreats into the kitchen.
Hey! Listen. That's not helping
right now. And I know it hurts.
But mom's in a better place. She
is. But I don't want you yelling
right now. Not here. I need you to
be calm.
Josh takes a drink. Rachel returns to the living room. She
has regained some composure.
Does dad know?
Not yet.
Maybe we should call him.


No. We need to call the mortuary.
They need to pick her up.
Gabriel leans over and kisses his mother's forehead.
Know some peace, Moomer. Dream of
the ocean. I love you.
He then grabs a box of Kleenex.
I'm gonna call Lauren. (he forces
a smile)I'll probably need these.
Gabriel exits and heads down the hall towards the bedroom.
There's a knock on the door. Josh answers. A WOMAN stands
holding a black bag. It's the same MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN Gabriel
met on the flight to Bakersfield.
I'm here for Linda.
Gabriel sits at the end of the bed holding a cell phone. He
is lost in thought and glares at his reflection in the
mirror. He finally dials.
                       LAUREN (O.S.)
Lauren? It's me. She's gone, my
mom's gone.
The need for being calm has abated. Gabriel begins to sob
and barely gets the last words out.
                       LAUREN (O.S.)
Oh, Gabriel. I'm sorry.
Gabriel wipes his tears from his eyes and wipes his nose. He
steadies himself.
Can you fly out here?


                       LAUREN (O.S.)
I'll find a flight right now.
Good. I'm sorry to call this late.
                       LAUREN (O.S.)
No. It's fine.
I saw her die, Lauren. I saw her
last breath. No one should have to
see that.
                       LAUREN (O.S.)
Gabriel, I'm so sorry.
Please...just get here soon.
He hangs up and grabs some more tissues.

Gabriel falls back on the bed, drops the phone and curls up
in a fetal position. He closes his eyes as tears run down
his face and his body shakes.
The ticking clock on the wall reads "12:58."

Josh and Gabe sit in two seats directly facing a large
wooden desk. Lauren and Heather sit behind them on an old
brown couch in a dimly lit room.

A fairly STOUT MAN (51) walks in. He's got bright orange,
reddish hair that's thinning on top, a large pair of
eyeglasses, and a bushy red mustache. He sits down facing
Josh and Gabe with a large file in his hands.
                       STOUT MAN
Okay. And who are you here for
Our mother. Linda Sesmas.
                       STOUT MAN
And she's the deceased?


Josh gets a glint of annoyance in his eyes and looks at
Gabriel due to this means lack of tact. Gabriel understands
the meaning of his brother's look. Perhaps he should answer
this man's idiotic question.
                       STOUT MAN
And your names?
I'm Gabriel Sesmas and this is my
brother Joshua Sesmas.
The man looks curiously at Gabriel as if he just now
recognizes him.
                       STOUT MAN
Didn't you come in yesterday with
an obituary?
With my sister, yes.
                       STOUT MAN
So you're the one who took my pen
Gabriel is baffled by this random and seemingly
inappropriate question directed his way.
I never took any pen. My sister
was with me-
                       STOUT MAN
So she's the klepto?
The phone rings. The man answers. Gabriel can only shoot a
look of confusion at his brother who is busying himself by
gripping the handles of his chair as hard as possible.
                       STOUT MAN
Yeah. Okay. No, just hold on. No,
I've already got the file. I'll
just bring it down to you. Yeah.
(to Josh and Gabe) Hold on a
The man exits with the large file giving Josh the chance to
finally voice his displeasure.


Is this guy a fucking moron or
What's wrong with him?
Must really like that pen.
You can't just accuse people of
stealing your pen. That's not very
He's a fucking idiot. (mimics the
man) "And she's the deceased?" No,
asshole, you're brain is.
Lauren and Heather chuckle behind them. The man walks by,
stops, and keeps going. If he heard them, he doesn't let on.
Quasimodo wants a fucking pen,
I'll buy him a pen. And shove it
up his fat ass.
Might actually make him smarter.
Lauren and Heather once again laugh behind the boys.

The man returns without apologizing for the interruption and
the delay.
                       STOUT MAN
Okay. Uh...have you thought about
a message for the headstone?
Josh, still very much perturbed, looks again at Gabriel to
We want her full name, Linda Susan
                       STOUT MAN
Alright. And what about a personal


We'd like it to say, "We will
always love and remember you,
The man gets a puzzled look on his face. Apparently, it's
not hard to do.
                       STOUT MAN
What's a "moomer"?
It's spelled M-O-O-M-E-R.
                       STOUT MAN
Yeah. But what is it?
It doesn't mean anything to you.
It means something to us.
                       STOUT MAN
I don't get it.
That's a shocker.
It's a nickname she had. Our
nickname for her.
                       STOUT MAN
Is it in the dictionary?
Josh grits his jaw at the man and his complete lack of
understanding. Gabriel does his best to keep his brother and
himself composed. But it's not easy.
It just has special meaning for us
and our mother.
The man scribbles down the message in its entirety finally
forsaking the conversation that would be hard-pressed to
make its way to the Algonquin Round Table..


                       STOUT MAN
Do you care about where the
message is placed on the
What do you mean?
                       STOUT MAN
Like do you want the message at
the top or bottom or off to one
Gabriel looks over at Josh who is just staring at the
straight at the MAN in quiet, contemptuous rage.
I guess the bottom, beneath her
                       STOUT MAN
It'd probably look better at the
top actually. Right up here.
The man points at a picture of a headstone.
I'm pretty sure he said the bottom
is fine.
                       STOUT MAN
Alright. It's your call.
Yes it is.
The phone rings again. The man answers once more neglecting
the immediate needs of those in attendance.
                       STOUT MAN
Yeah. This is he. No, that's not
right. If you think...just hold
on. (to Josh and Gabe) Excuse me a
With the man's exiting yet again, the four remaining
participates in this strangely aggravating experience
discuss the general intelligence of the man who should be
more empathetic than he actually is.
Does he seriously not know what
nicknames are?


      (to Gabriel)
Is he really that fucking dumb? Or
is this some kind of sick prank?
Check his license on the wall over
there. See if he spelled his own
name correctly. What a stupid
piece of shit!
Gabriel can just shake his head.
I don't mind the stupidity so
much...but we just lost a loved
one. Are they always this callous
with people who are grieving? It's
just mind boggling really.
      (to Josh)
Don't forget to ask about Nana's
death certificate for Pi Pi.
Oh, that's right.
I'm surprised he even wants it.
Probably just wants to wipe his
ass with it.
Josh lets out a loud guffaw forgetting the anger that has
recently permeated the room. But just like that, the man
returns and reminds Josh about the present, annoying
                       STOUT MAN
      (again without
Do you want quotations around
      (calming down)
Yes. We also have another question
concerning my grandmother. She
passed away last summer and my mom
had her buried here.
                       STOUT MAN
What was your grandmother's name?


Audrey Giyer. G-I-Y-E-R.
The man turns to his computer and punches in the name.
My grandfather wanted to know if
we could still get her certificate
of death from you all.
                       STOUT MAN
Let's see. The certificate was
actually mailed out about a month
ago. Yeah, it says here it was
mailed to Linda Sesmas.
Hmmm. Is it possible we can get
another copy from you?
                       STOUT MAN
I'm actually not at liberty to do
that. You'll need the authority of
the person who received the
original copy.
And how are we gonna do that?
                       STOUT MAN
Oh, it's easy. You just have to
bring Linda Sesmas in.
      (shocked by his
That's our mom.
                       STOUT MAN
Yeah, just bring her in.
The four faces staring at the man are dumbfounded and
completely silent.
Josh is behind the wheel. Heather sits next to him in the
passenger seat with Gabriel and Lauren both seated in the
back seats.


How do you not know the name of
the deceased? Shouldn't you come
prepared in advance? What a
It's hard to prepare when the
mouse that runs your brain
suddenly and unexpectedly dies.
Wow. I just wanted to cry in
there. He was so oblivious.
I wanted to jump across the table
and strangle him with his own ugly
I'll go on record and say I'm no
business man per se. But it's
probably not a good idea to accuse
the bereaved of stealing your pen.
Yeah, that was really fucking
intelligent. (mimics the man) "So
she's the klepto?"
Well. You know. Rachel probably
did steal his pen.
That's why I didn't deck him right
then and there. Rachel's been
arrested for shoplifting more
times than that guy's eaten
And the way he questioned your
guy's message. That was so tacky.
It's a hell of a mortuary they got
going there! A hell of a mortuary!


I still can't get over the fact
that he asked you to bring in your
mom for your grandma's death
certificate. I feel like we should
seriously egg his house or
You know this could actually make
a pretty decent short story...if
it just wasn't so depressingly
I'm telling ya boy! You got plenty
of material here in Bakersfield.
Make your own sitcom. You can even
use the music from the Simpsons. I
can hear it now. Theeee
He laughs like a loud bellow that nearly shakes the entire
Definitely some material here. But
we just lost a pretty good
The comment brings everyone back to the present situation
and all those in the car go quiet. Lauren places her hand
over Gabriel's as their eyes stare forward at the passing
Lauren and Gabriel prepare to walk through the front door
just as Rachel is leaving. She's on her cell phone and
grabbing some items from her purse. She takes out a piece of
paper and then a PEN from her pocket.

Gabriel nudges Lauren's arm and tilts his head towards his
sister who is writing down a phone number. He smiles.
      (whispers to
Could that be the mythical pen we
heard so much about?


Methinks it is.
Rachel hangs up.
Where'd you all go?
Greenlawn Mortuary with Josh and
That was Greenlawn on the phone.
They want to know when we're gonna
bring Mom's clothes for her
viewing. I'm gonna run to Kohl's
and see what they got. Wanna come?
The thought of spending more time with Rachel isn't very
comforting to Gabriel.
Nah. That's okay.
Gabe...you should go. It's for
your mom.
I guess you're right. You gonna
join us?
I'm still a little jet lagged. I
think I'll take a nap actually.
Alright, Rachel. It's just you and
me. But let's not take a million
years. I know how you operate.
Rachel and Gabriel head towards her car as Lauren proceeds
to enter the house.
Lauren looks around the living room and picks up a framed
picture standing on a table. The picture's somewhat faded
with noticeable spots. It's a family portrait of Linda in
her late thirties. Gabriel stands in front of her with his


BROWN SWEATER next to Josh showing off his SHINY BRACES.
Rachel is by her mother with a BLACK BOW in her hair.
Rachel's behind the wheel with Gabriel in the passenger
seat. The radio's on. No conversation. Gabriel just stares
out the window at all the passing trees and buildings.

Rachel's cell phone rings. She answers.
Hello? I can't really talk now.
No, I can't talk now. My mom just
passed away. Two days ago. Yeah. I
have to go. Okay. Bye.
      (very curious)
Who was that?
No one.
He looks out the window at the oil fields in the distance
and the overabundance of dirt fields clogged with wires and

He decides he's not gonna let this go. He probably should.
But he wants to know if his suspicion is true.
No, really. Who was it?
      (slightly annoyed)
Don't worry about it.
It's him isn't it?
It's none of your business.
His words have anger behind them but he doesn't raise his
voice. He stays in control while knowing he will get under
her skin eventually. And that is exactly what he wants.


I can't believe you. Your mother
just passed away…like you just
said, two days ago. Maybe the only
person who loved you
unconditionally despite all the
hell you put her through and you
repay who by stabbing her in the
What's the matter with you?
You are! All that shit you pulled
on mom-
      (screams again)
I never did anything-
Just stop. Just stop right there.
Okay? Lie to yourself and everyone
else in your life all you want.
But don't lie to me. You always
thought that because you were the
oldest child mom must have messed
up with you because you were the
first crack she had at raising a
kid. Spare me. You've been selling
that sob story for years now. But
you were hard on her Rachel. More
than you know.
Listen little boy! You always do
this. Always! You start trouble
for no reason! You have this
attitude where you stir up shit
and mom always let you get away
with it! You never even got
spanked once!
I never gave mom a reason to.
Unlike you, I didn't start smoking
when I was eleven. I didn't
shoplift with my cousins. I didn't
get in fights at school. And I
didn't drop out of college to
elope with an illegal immigrant.
Your life reads like a Who's Who


                       GABRIEL (cont'd)
of American Morons. But you
brought it all on yourself.
My life hasn't been easy like
And whose fault is that? You
blamed mom for everything.
Everything. But it wasn't her
fault as a parent. She didn't take
the knives and the scissors and
cut your arms. You did that. She
didn't force you to hang out with
losers. Your association with
those lowlifes are all your own.
But the worst of all it, Rachel,
the absolute worst, is the fact
that you cared more for that piece
of shit on the phone and his
family than you ever did for mom.
And that's what really pisses me
Rachel pulls into the Kohl's parking lot.
I'm not gonna talk about this with
you. We're here to find mom a
Gabriel's had a chance to vent. He gets out of the car and
without waiting for his sister, he heads towards the store.
Gabriel walks in. Rachel eventually makes her way in as well
and both go their separate ways.

Gabriel looks at some dresses on a rack. He stops himself
and looks up in the air. He takes a deep breath. He turns
and finds Rachel. She's looking at some black dress pants
and red jackets. He heads in her direction.
I didn't mean to get mad at you.


Let's just remember why we're
here. What do you think of this
She holds up a red dress with a black sash. But Gabriel's
attention strays and his eyes are focused elsewhere. He sees
a WOMAN enter the store. It's the same WOMAN who sat next to
him on the plane.
Yeah. That's not bad. I'm gonna
keep looking.
Gabriel walks towards the WOMAN. She has picked some black
pants with a red coat. She turns and sees Gabriel
I like this. It has a business
feel about it but could also be
worn for fun occasions. Don't you
You're the woman I met on the
plane. On the flight to Arizona.
Aren't you? What are you doing
Most people might assume I'm
I mean what you are doing
here...in Bakersfield. You are the
woman I met on the plane to
I am, Gabriel.
He shrugs and gives her a queer look.
So this is just a weird


Or just a coincidence. Why does it
have to be weird one?
Because you know my name. But I
never told you it on the plane or
my mother's name for that matter.
That...is weird.
I suppose that's true. You didn't
tell me your name. You also
haven't told me what you think of
this outfit yet.
He gives her another curious look and takes a short step
Are you some kind of stalker?
She laughs.
I don't know. How rich or famous
are you?
Um...I'm not either.
Then, honey, why in the hell would
I be stalking you and not Brad
Pitt? Doesn't make a whole lot of
sense, does it?
Okay. You're not a stalker. But
you have to admit...this is more
than a little strange. I meet you
on a plane. We go our separate
ways in Arizona. You know my name
as well as my mom's without me
telling you. And now you just
walked into a store where I'm at
looking for clothes to bury my
mother in.
      (with sincerity)
I'm sorry about that...the loss of
your mother. I truly am. Linda was


                       WOMAN (cont'd)
an extraordinary woman.
You see. Right there! Why would
you say something like that? As
far as I can tell, you didn't even
know her.
I know her sense of fashion and I
think she would really like this.
Gabriel takes a glimpse at the clothes being held by the
WOMAN in front of him. There's no apparent crazed look in
her eyes. She seems sincere. But he is beyond perplexed..
Seriously...who are you?
The WOMAN extends the outfit towards Gabriel.
Here. Show this to your sister.
Ask her what she thinks. Don't
worry, honey. You'll see me again.
Then I'll be a little more
When you feel like it.
Rachel walks up behind Gabriel and grabs the pants. Gabe
turns towards Rachel.
Those are nice. Mom would like it.
Gabriel looks back to see the WOMAN. But she's gone.
Gabriel and Lauren are lying in bed with a lamp on a nearby
table still turned on. Gabriel has his hands behind his head
as he stares up at the ceiling. Lauren's reading a book.
You wanna hear something really


Lauren closes her book and takes off her glasses.
About what?
The night before you came to
Bakersfield, I was scared to sleep
in this room.
It's kind of stupid. I was scared
my mom's spirit would visit me. So
I slept with the lights on.
That's not stupid.
It sounds bad. Like...I should
want to see her spirit. Then it'd
be like she didn't leave.
But she hasn't left. Not really.
I know. I know. Here in my heart.
My thoughts. My dreams.Just last
night, I dreamed I was in the
living room, all alone. The phone
rang and I answered it. It was my
mom. She just said my name. I knew
it was her. And she sounded
scared, as if she were pleading
for some kind of response from me.
But all I could say was "Mom?"
over and over again. She didn't
answer. And I woke up. I don't
want to have dreams like that,
Maybe when we get back home, you
can talk to someone. A grief
counselor. Just to help you deal
with this.
Or because I'm losing my mind.


Why do you say that?
If I tell you, you'll think I'm a
It's too late for that.
They both smile.
Coming to Bakersfield, I met this
woman on a plane. She knew my
name...my mom's name. But I never
told her any of that. And today, I
saw her when I was shopping with
Wow. That's a weird coincidence.
That's what I said! But it's not a
coincidence. She sounded like she
knew my mom.
Maybe she read your mom's obituary
in the paper.
No, it's more than that. She's got
this whole creepy vibe thing
going. And she said I'd see her
whenever I wanted like she's some
kind of ghost or something.
      (trying to defuse
       the heavy air
       with levity)
She's probably just an escaped
mental patient.
I'd actually prefer that over the
possibility of a ghost. I would.
Well I'm here now. So it's okay.
Right? No need for lights.


Yeah. I guess so.
Gabriel reaches over to the lamp and turns it off.
Gabriel stands before his mpther's large wooden dresser. He
looks at his image in the mirror. He turns and hits his knee
against a drawer that he has seemingly left open.
Ah! Come on!
He grabs the dresser and slams it back into place. Then he
collects himself and breathes in slowly. He opens the
dresser he just closed and notices it's filled with an
assortment of old family pictures. He takes out the whole
drawer and places it on top of the dresser.

He finds one picture of a LITTLE GIRL with dark brown curls
wearing a WHITE DRESS and a WHITE HAT. He studies it and
places it on the dresser.

Then he looks at ONE PARTICULAR PICTURE of him with his
siblings. Gabriel's about two years old in the picture and
he and his siblings are circled around a group of PUPPIES
with large smiles on their faces.
                       WOMAN (O.S.)
Cute puppies.
Gabriel quickly looks up into the mirror and sees the WOMAN
standing in the room behind him. He turns with fear and
stumbles back onto the ground. He grabs a hairbrush next to
him and raises it over his head like a weapon.
Really, Gabriel? You had two
objects right next to you when you
fell, a hammer and a hairbrush.
And you grabbed the hairbrush.
How'd you get in?
Does it matter? Let's both stick
to relevant questions.


I don't know...a person appears
from out of nowhere...seems like a
pretty relevant question to me!
She extends her hand to help him up. Gabriel draws his
hairbrush closer to his chest.
Oh please, honey. Do I look that
threatening? You can comb my hair
She helps him up.
You're heavier than you look.
What do you want?
Me? I don't want anything. I'm
here to try and help you deal with
your grief.
What...like an angel?
I wouldn't know. Do they
specialize in that field of work?
You're saying you're not an angel.
Are you a...ghost?
Honey, do you even know what the
word "relevant" means? Should I
take some time to expound upon
that little concept? And to think
you graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Okay. Fine. I get it. You're here
to help me with my grief. How, if
I'm allowed to ask, are you going
do that?
Now that's a good question. You
see, Gabriel, it's all about
steps. And the first step towards


                       WOMAN (cont'd)
recovery is to purge your
emotions. A true catharsis. But
before we can even begin to do
that, we need to identify all the
emotions you're currently dealing
with. So tell me...how do you feel
right now at this very second?
      (with disdain)
How do I feel? How do you think?
No need to be abrasive. I asked a
simple question. I'd appreciate an
honest answer.
I just lost my mother. It hurts!
So you're hurting. Is that all?
Isn't that enough?
You waste my time.
She turns and heads for the door.
Where are you going?
I'm leaving.
You're leaving? You break into my
house, scare me to death, you
don't tell me who you are, you
make me mad and then you just
Get off this "who are you?"
business. It doesn't matter. I
help those who want my help. And
right now I'm waiting for you to
be honest, completely honest, with
yourself. Can you do that? Because


                       WOMAN (cont'd)
if you can't, I'm not hanging
around. Now...can you tell me how
you feel?
Gabriels looks around the room, away from the woman's gaze.
He doesn't know what to say. He stares back at the woman.
And gives a quiet response.
I feel angry.
I'm sorry. I didn't hear you. What
was that?
      (he shouts)
I said I feel angry!
Good. Anger's good. That's at
least a start. Now...why are you
Because I just lost my mom.
What "and"? I don't need another
That's not exactly true is it?
Look into your heart and find the
answer. It's important you
determine the reason why you're
angry right now. When you
do...I'll return. Simple as that.
She walks out the door into the hallway. Gabriel follows.
Hey! Wait! You can't just break in
But when Gabriel enters the hallway, he sees that the WOMAN
is gone.


Maybe you can.
Gabriel heads back into the bedroom and goes to the dresser.
He looks into the mirror and sees his visage.
Am I going crazy?
He looks down at the drawer on top of the dresser. He starts
rummaging through what's left of his mother's belongings.
The sun is out and it's a beautiful day. Gabriel sits on top
of a cooler in the back reading a collection of papers
stapled together. A soft breeze flows through the trees over
his head. It's peaceful. It's quiet.

The backdoor opens and Lauren walks through holding two
bottles in her hands. She walks up to Gabriel.
Want a White Russian?
He opens up a bottle and takes a gulp. Lauren places her
hand on his shoulders.
What are you reading?
Some things I've never seen
He grabs a pile of stapled papers and hands them to Lauren.
Lauren looks at the first one at the top of the pile.
It's some kind of essay my mom
wrote for a writing class. She got
an A.
What's it about?


Abuse. The verbal and physical
abuse she suffered at the hands of
her parents.
I remember you telling me about
Yeah, I knew Pi Pi and Nana were
abusive. But I never actually
talked to my mom about it. That
essay just makes it real. Very
real.Apparently when she was
seven, Pi Pi unleashed on her
because she spilled some juice on
a carpet. It was an accident. Pi
Pi told my mom how clumsy she was.
How stupid she was. How she'd
always be a disappointment. And
she was just a little kid, Lauren.
Seven years old! That memory never
left her. They belittled her,
destroyed any confidence in
herself she might have had. Can
you imagine living in a house like
that? It must have been hell.
Sounds like she was a much better
parent to you and your brother and
sister than they were to her.
I don't know how she did it. I
mean, Rachel and my mom would have
some pretty good go-rounds, but
nothing like that. My mom never
made us feel like dirt. I can't
say we did the same for her.
What do you mean?
I got along with my mom pretty
well, but…there were times…she
called me one month before she
went into the hospital. Before she
found out about the leukemia. And
she was upset about something and
just wanted to talk. And I snapped
at her, Lauren. No reason to. I


                       GABRIEL (cont'd)
just wanted to be left alone. I
didn't want to be bothered by my
family or their problems. And she
was so meek about it. Apologetic
for calling. Like she had did
something wrong. And she didn't do
anything wrong. She just wanted to
talk to her son…so I could make
her feel better. But I didn't. I
probably made her feel like dirt.
Some good son, huh?
Lauren doesn't respond as Gabriel takes a drink from his
bottle. Lauren sees a small book on the ground that looks
like a journal. She picks it up.
That's a journal. My mom's.
Did you read it?
Felt like I should. She was really
frustrated. Hurt. She just
survived her first battle with
cancer and she had no idea it
would come back. She talks about
me, Josh, and Rachel. And how much
of a crappy son I am.
I'm sure she didn't mean anything-
It's okay. She doesn't call me
names or anything like that. I
almost prefer she did. She
certainly had the right. She was
sad and lonely. Sad I never
returned her calls. And surprised
I didn't seem to care enough about
her. She really thought I was the
one who wouldn't let go of her so
easily. But I did. I just
abandoned her.
You have to stop thinking that.
You know it's not true.


But she felt so alone. And she had
good reason. Cause it's true. I
did leave her. I never called. I
didn't visit enough. It is true.
He shakes his head at his own disappointment and drinks
again. He takes the journal from Lauren and starts flipping
through the pages.
It's the last lines that are the
toughest to read. Her last entry.
      (reads from the
"Help me God! Please make this
next year peaceful on me! I feel
so weak. Help me Lord! Give me
strength and bless me with a
better year in my life. I
desperately need next year to be
better. I can't take another year
like this one."
      (looks up at
Her words. Her last words. She's
pleading to God! And what did she
get, Lauren?
He gets up and takes another swig from the bottle. He heads
to the backdoor.
Gabriel, are you okay?
I'm angry.
It's dark. A solitary figure sits on a swing. It's Gabriel.
His head's bowed as he drifts back and forth ever so slowly.
He hears the noise of another swing and he responds without
even raising his head.
I was wondering when you'd show.
Then let wonders cease.


The WOMAN sits on the swing next to Gabriel and she stares
up at the stars that poke through the trees.
The stars are beautiful tonight.
This is a nice park.
Not really.
Now why on Earth would you say
Now I'm curious. You've got a
story to share, honey. Please do.
They used to have these Sunday
night concerts here during the
summers. My mom liked them. Maybe
it was the free entertainment.
Maybe she really just wanted to
spend time with her children. I
obviously hated it. It was
classical music and I was like ten
years old. What did I care about
classical anything? This one
Sunday I remember very well. It
was early morning and me and I
brother were riding on our
skateboards our mom bought us that
past Christmas. I wasn't very
good. Neither was my brother. But
it was fun. I remember we were
going down this one street when I
saw it, my biggest childhood fear.
A big dog that wasn't on a leash
and no owner in sight. And this
dog was huge. A brown pit bull.
Oh, it was both ugly and scary. I
remember my brother riding by it
without any hesitation at all.
Then it was my turn. My palms
still get sweaty just thinking
about it. But I thought, if I keep
my eyes on it at all times, then
I'll be safe. So that's what I
did. I just stared at this dog.
And it stared right back at me.


                       GABRIEL (cont'd)
Its eyes followed my eyes and its
head followed my movement. I felt
like I was traveling in slow
motion. But I got by it and I
didn't look back. Later that
night, my mom was getting the
blankets ready and made some hot
cocoa for us to go to the concert.
But I just didn't want to. So I
pretended I was sick. And we
didn't go that night.
Is that it?
The next morning, my mom picked up
the newspaper. And there on the
front page was this story about
five people who were viciously
attacked by a rabid dog at a local
concert in the park, this park.
The dog had to be shot down by
police officers. The story had a
nice big picture to go with it. It
showed a cop standing over the
dead dog, a large, brown pit bull
terrier. The same brown pit bull
that scared the hell out of me
earlier in the day. That's weird,
Exceedingly strange.
Always made me think I had a
guardian angel watching over me.
Are you my guardian angel? If you
are, I'm not too happy with your
boss right now.
I'm just a concerned party.


And who are you concerned about,
me or my mom?
Maybe both of you. You said you're
not happy. Why is that?
Because my mom deserved a better
life than what she got. Better
parents. Better job. Better
husband. Even better children.
Okay. That'll do.
      (extends her hand)
Come on. Don't be shy. You believe
your mom didn't get a fair shake.
Let's find out for sure.
Gabriel takes the WOMAN's hand. Suddenly a flash of
all-encompassing white light surrounds the pair. Gabriel
closes his eyes to keep from being blinded. When he opens
his eyes...
...he sees that he is no longer in the park.

He's in a living room where the décor is straight out of the
fifties. Gabriel looks around in puzzlement and notices the
sun now shining through one of the windows. The WOMAN stands
next to him and she takes in the changed scenery as well.
This is Pi Pi's house. And the
sun's up. What the hell happened?
Just take a look around.
It's a little different. I
recognize the yellow sofa and the
grandfather clock, but not those
pictures on the wall.
You're grandparents just bought
the clock.


No, they had that thing for years.
Still wrong.
      (shoots her a
       queer look)
You saying we traveled back in
Not quite. This is just a memory.
We're accessing it.
I don't remember any of this.
That's because it's not your
Suddenly a LITTLE GIRL (7) runs into the room. She has dark
brown curls and happens to be wearing a cute little WHITE
DRESS complete with a little WHITE HAT. This is LINDA SESMAS
as a child.

She holds a glass of grape juice in her right hand and she's
skipping to a melody that must be in her head.
Oh my God. That's my mom. I
recognize her from a picture I
just found in her dresser. She's
so young.
Yes, she is. And full of energy.
Just look at that smile.
She's just a kid. She doesn't even
know what's coming.
The young girl's exuberance is interrupted by a harsh
entreaty from a distant room.
                       NANA (O.S.)
Linda! Hurry up this minute!
Church will not wait for you!
The young girl spins around looking towards a door.


                       YOUNG LINDA
I'm coming, Mommy.
As she turns back around, she accidentally bumps into a
bookstand. The glass of juice falls from her hand, shatters
against a glass tabletop and the juice splashes onto the
white carpet. Just then another shout is heard. This voice
is deeper and much more menacing.
                       PI PI
Linda! Get out here now!
                       YOUNG LINDA
I'm coming, Daddy.
But instead of moving towards the door, Linda grabs some
paper towels from the kitchen and tries desperately to clean
up her mess. The juice stains into her dress as she knees
down directly into the carpet. Linda then notices a menacing
shadow standing over her. She turns but can't make out the
face initially as the sun blinds her. But she recognizes the
voice with its thick Oklahoman accent. It's her father.
                       PI PI
What have you done!?
He grabs her by the right arm and starts to shake her. Pi
Pi's back is turned to Gabriel so that Gabriel cannot make
out Pi Pi's face either. But he recognizes the voice.

Gabriel moves towards Pi Pi.
      (with anger)
Let her go!
But the WOMAN grabs Gabriel by the shoulder.
Just a memory, Gabriel. You can't
do anything here.
Pi Pi points at the carpet and the broken glass.
                       PI PI
You clumsy little idiot! Look at
the mess you made! And look at
your dress! It's ruined!
                       YOUNG LINDA
I didn't mean to, Daddy.


                       PI PI
That supposed to make it okay? Is
that how I raised you? To make
messes and excuses?!
                       YOUNG LINDA
No daddy. I'm sorry-
                       PI PI
Sorry won't clean up this mess
either. Sorry won't refund my
money for that dress. You can't go
a day without getting into
trouble. Can ya?!
The little girls starts to cry and tries to turn her face
away from him. But Pi Pi grabs her cheek and makes her look
right at him.
                       PI PI
Don't you start crying! I ain't
washing out tears from that dress
either. You need to go to your
room. Right now! And you think
about how disappointed I am in you
and you try and think how bad that
makes me feel.
Gabriel shakes his head as he hears these words.
What an asshole!
Pi Pi turns towards Gabriel and the Woman.

Gabriel sees the face for the first time. It's hideous. It's
warped and twisted and barely resembles anything human.
Gabriel takes a step back out of fear.
                       YOUNG LINDA
Don't be disappointed daddy.
Pi Pi turns back to Linda.
                       PI PI
Well, I am. And until you stop
being so stupid, I'm gonna have to
keep being hard on ya. It's for
your own good. Now run to your
room. And pray. And don't you dare
cry in there or so help me-


As Pi Pi reaches for his belt, the LITTLE GIRL runs away. Pi
Pi squats down and picks up a few pieces of broken glass.

A bright light shines, engulfing the room.
When the light fades, Gabriel and the WOMAN are standing in
a crowded parking lot full of rowdy teenagers. Gabriel turns
to the WOMAN.
His face. What was wrong with Pi
Pi's face?
It's the face that little girl saw
all her life. The face of an angry
father who only threatened and
never praised. It's how your
mother truly perceived her father.
To her, he was a monster.
Gabriel notices a particular GIRL (17) walking with her
hands filled with textbooks. It's LINDA as a teenager. She's
very attractive with long brown hair and tight blue jeans
that have something of a stain on them.

Gabriel notices a group of five girls that snickers as LINDA
passes them by.
                       GIRL #1
Did you have a nice trip in the
cafeteria, Linda? I hope that
spaghetti sauce comes out okay.
The GIRL laughs. In fact, they all do.
                       GIRL #2
What a loser. I heard last year
she pissed on herself during a
dance recital.
                       GIRL #3
No way!
                       GIRL #2
I swear.
One particular person does not snicker or laugh. He stands
by himself next to a shiny blue automobile.


His name's ROGER (17) and he's an attractive black youth
with a bright blue jacket and black pants.
Hey Linda! Missed you in class
this morning.
                       TEENAGER LINDA
Oh...hello Roger. I was late. My
Hey, you don't need to give me any
excuse. Course I can't say the
same for old man Bonetti. But if
you got a second, I can give you
the notes you missed, seeing how
we have a test this Friday.
                       TEENAGER LINDA
I'm actually busy right now.
No problem. Better yet, maybe we
can get together later. Go for a
walk or something. I can give you
the notes then and maybe we can
get something to eat. What do ya
LINDA smiles a sheepish grin. She starts to nod her head
when the two are interrupted by a car coming to a sudden
stop and a looming figure blasting the horn.

It's Pi Pi.
                       TEENAGER LINDA
I have to go, Roger.
Linda opens the door and gets in. Roger leans on the car to
say goodbye.
You haven't given me an answer
yet. Tonight okay for you?
But Pi Pi makes the answer for his daughter as he stares
Roger down with his distorted and grotesque face.
                       PI PI
Boy! You have two seconds to get
your hands off my car! One!


Roger steps back. And Pi Pi drives off, but not before
Gabriel and the Woman slip through into the passengers seat.
There is an eerie silence in the car as no one says anything
for a few seconds. Pi Pi is behind the wheel and Linda is in
the passenger seat. Gabriel and the WOMAN are in the back.
      (to the Woman)
The guy was just being nice to
You're surprised at your
grandfather's reaction?
Not at all.
Pi Pi's face is still terribly distorted and he turns his
glare towards Linda who looks away towards her window. Pi Pi
turns the corner and parks the car. He turns off the
ignition. He takes off his seat belt and looks again at
                       PI PI
Look at me! Goddamn it, look at
But Linda has turned toward her door, cowering from the man
who scares her.

Pi Pi wastes no time. He raises his hand and starts to rain
blows against his daughter's back and head with an open

Gabriel lunges from the backseat to halt this abuse.
      (out of fear)
Stop it!
But all Gabriel does is pass through Pi Pi as Pi Pi again
slams his hand against Linda's back as she cries out through
gargled words.
                       TEENAGER LINDA
Stop it, daddy! Please! Stop!


The shock is evident in Gabriel's face as he witnesses the
abuse of his own mother by her father. He's helpless and it

Linda reaches for the door handle, but Pi Pi knocks her hand

Gabriel turns to the woman with water building up in his
Get us out of here.
      (without emotion)
We will soon enough.
Pi Pi stops his attack. All is quiet except for Linda's
sobbing as she hunches more and more against her door.
                       PI PI
I won't see you speak to that boy
ever again. I won't see you near
him. Do I make myself clear?
Linda! Do I make myself clear?
                       TEENAGER LINDA
Pi Pi starts the car and they pull away from the curb as the
bright light returns surrounding Gabriel and the WOMAN.
When the light fades, Gabriel and the WOMAN are standing in
a room of shadows. Gabriel turns to the woman.
I don't need to see any more.
It's not pointless if that's what
you're thinking.
Then it's just cruel!
He turns away from her and wipes his face with his arm,
fighting off any hurt from the past images.


It is hard to see. But I want you
to imagine having to live your
mother's life.
I know all about my mom's
struggles. I don't need this
tortured journey down memory lane.
It hurts. That's understandable.
What good does it do to show me if
I can't change anything?
Who says you can't change
He slowly looks at her with an incredulous stare.
What does that mean?
I've come tonight to give you two
options, the power to reshape your
mother's existence or the power to
do nothing. I'm giving you the
choice of whether or not your
mother lives the life denied her.
The one you think she deserves.
You're speaking in riddles.
Then listen more carefully, honey.
Your mom had a hard life. You said
it yourself. She had terrible
parents, which lowered her
self-worth, which then led to
further disasters in life
including a failed marriage and
working jobs she was too smart
for. You can reshape everything.
Give your mother a new start by
giving her the life she would have
had if she was born to supportive
and loving parents.


Anyone besides Nana and Pi Pi
would've been better.
And that's the real reason I've
been visiting you.
And you're giving me this choice
when it makes more sense to give
it to my mother.
Are you kidding? It would be
monumentally unfair to place such
a decision before Linda.
How's that?
Think about it. Perhaps with
loving parents, Linda's confidence
soars to the point that she goes
to college right after high
school, meets someone she deeply
loves, marries him and has his
children. There's every reason to
believe that you and your brother
and sister would cease to exist. I
cannot ask Linda to wipe out the
lives of her children for the sake
of a new and possibly better
existence. Only you can forfeit
your own life...and by extension,
the lives of your brother and
Like some form of cosmic suicide?
He turns away and just stares up as if he hopes to see some
astral sign leading him towards a decision.
I think...this is all just a
freaky dream. Everything. My mom
dying. Me here standing and
talking with you. None of it can
be real. It's not possible.
There's no sense to it. No reason.


Everything happens for a reason.
A month ago, my mom was alive and
supposedly healthy. How could that
change so quickly? Stuff like this
doesn't happen, except in books or
movies. She survived her first
battle with cancer. That was
supposed to happen! I knew she
would. But she wasn't supposed to
be attacked by it again. There's
no reason in that! It's surreal.
No. It's very real.
And now you say I can change all
this. Give her a happy life. Only
an insane person would believe any
of this.
Or a person racked with grief.
But even more insane is how much I
want it to be true. My mother
deserved happiness. She lived with
so much sadness, why couldn't she
experience the bliss of a good
home? A happy family.
You have a chance to make her
But you're asking me to forfeit my
life, and the lives of my brother
and sister. That's wrong. It's
amoral. No angel would ask that of
me or anyone.
      (with a sinister
I never said I was an angel.
A demon perhaps?


I should show you one more memory.
The bright light returns and when Gabriel opens his eyes, he
...a small room that is empty, save for a brown mini-fridge
nestled in the corner of the room. A 19 inch television set
sits atop an old drawer with a shabby gray bunk bed arrayed
across it. There's also a fair collection of books on a
small brown desk. The white phone hung up by the dark brown
wooden door rings.

There's some commotion outside the door. Someone's about to
                       COLLEGE GABRIEL (O.S.)
Yeah. I'll be right out. Just got
to grab my wallet.
The door opens and a slightly younger Gabriel enters right
as the phone stops ringing. But his face is not visible.

He searches the room. First his desk, then his bed. He finds
a collection of clothes on the ground and rummages through
some blue pants. He pulls his wallet out of a pocket. He
heads for the door and grabs the knob. He stops and stares
at the phone. He picks it up and dials.
                       AUTOMATED VOICE (O.S.)
You have one new message. Press
one to hear this message.
Gabriel dials and listens.
                       LINDA (O.S.)
Hello Mijo. I just wanted to wish
you a happy birthday. You're
probably out with your friends and
you should be. You don't turn
twenty-one every year. It's been a
while since we talked. Please call
me when you get this message. I
love you, Mijo. I'll talk to you
later. Bye.
In the corner of the room stands the slightly older Gabriel
with the Woman by his side.
Call her back.


The younger Gabriel stares at the numbers on the phone.
Dial already!
He won't.
He answers disappointingly.
I know.
There's a knock at the door. Gabriel opens it. A COLLEGE
FRIEND (21) of Gabriel stands in the doorway.
                       COLLEGE FRIEND
Taking you're sweet time I see.
Ready or you making a phone call?
The younger Gabriel bows his head to look again at the phone
in his hand.
                       COLLEGE GABRIEL
No. No it's nothing important. I'm
Gabriel's friend turns but stops.
                       COLLEGE FRIEND
You better grab your coat. It's
freaking cold outside.
The younger Gabriel turns to see his coat on the bed. And
the older Gabriel finally sees the visage of his more
youthful form. But it is not the visage he is used to. He
sees what he is meant to see. What this journey has all been
about. He sees the same distorted face he saw when he viewed
Pi Pi's. And he is shocked.
No. That's not right. She couldn't
have. She thought I was a monster?
No, she didn't. This is one of
your memories.
One of mine...but...no...I'm not-


The guilt, Gabriel. It's the guilt
you feel because you abandoned
your mother. It's you who thinks
you're a monster.
I loved her.
Loved her?
Not enough to return her calls or
visit more often. It was only two
days before your wedding when you
decided to tell her she made a lot
of mistakes as your mother. How do
you think that made her feel? One
month after defeating her first
bout of cancer and so happy to see
her youngest child marry and you
throw that in her face!
      (growing angered)
What mistakes did she make?
Getting you involved in sports,
Boy Scouts? Working hard hours so
you could eat? Those mistakes?
You don't know what's in my heart!
You're absolutely right. I don't.
But did you ever stop and think
that maybe Linda didn't either
because you never told her you
loved her enough.
A bright light flashes in the room.
The light dissipates. They're both back where the journey
started, in the park and sitting on swings. Neither of them
speaks. The wind blows in the trees above and makes a serene
whisper. Gabriel turns to the woman.
That's wasn't fair. She
knew...knows I love her.


There's no maybe. I have regrets.
Who doesn't? But I don't question
my feelings regarding my mom. I'm
just ashamed by some of them.
What regrets?
They're personal.
Humor the possible figment of your
Maybe I didn't tell her enough how
much I loved her or how much she
meant to me. But she couldn't have
had doubts. Maybe I could have
told her so much more. But I never
let her in. I was closed off.
Maybe I could have let her know
that I really visited California
just to see her. How it hurt each
time I left her.
But you did tell her all that.
Not enough. I didn't say it strong
enough! I know each time I'll get
on a plane or bus, I'll look to
the side and see her face. I know
I will. She'll smile my way,
waving her arms goodbye, blowing
me a kiss. I'll waive too. I'll
smile. But it'll be just a memory.
Reminding me of how I left her
each time. And now she's really
gone. And she can't say goodbye
anymore. It's almost as if I
sensed her death was near. Because
it hurt more and more each time I
left her. Why can't she still be


She should be. It isn't fair.
I'm a coward.
Because on that plane, coming to
Bakersfield, I hoped she died. I
wanted her to pass on before I
arrived. Not because I don't love
her. I just didn't want to see her
Many have felt that way.
Gabriel lowers his head.
No. Only a coward feels like that.
And I'm ashamed because I know she
would have given her right arm to
say goodbye to me if the situation
was reversed. Her love was so
strong. She deserved a better son.
A son who would have jumped on a
plane when he first learned the
cancer had come back. Not wait
until she was dying. She loved me.
But she deserved so much better.
Maybe you can make it better. You
have an important choice. Her life
or yours. I'll give you tonight to
think on it. When we see each
other again, I'll need an answer.
He lifts his head to see the woman. But all he sees is an
empty swing swaying in the breeze. And he just sits there.
And he lowers his head again.
The sun is out while a group of thirty individuals wearing
predominantly black clothes walk around under a blue tarp
and give each other hugs and condolences. It's a sunny day
and the grass glistens with morning dew.


Rachel shakes the hands of an elderly gentleman.

Josh stands behind an OLD MAN in a wheelchair.

The OLD MAN is Pi Pi (89). He is quiet and simply stares at
those who approach him to say how sorry they are.

Ted stands with some of his relatives holding a bible in his

Gabriel is next to Lauren. A man approaches.
                       PERSON AT FUNERAL #1
You're mom was a very nice woman
and she was a great social worker.
She'll be missed.
Thank you for coming. I really
appreciate it.
A woman walks over to Rachel.
                       PERSON AT FUNERAL #2
      (to Rachel)
Linda was an extraordinary woman.
The obituary about her was
beautiful. Who wrote it?
Rachel points at Gabriel who is still standing with Lauren.

Gabriel looks off in the distance. He sees the WOMAN holding
some roses. He turns to Lauren.
Excuse me.
He walks towards the WOMAN who smiles at his approach.
Lauren looks in his direction. But she only sees Gabriel. No
one else appears to be with him.
It's such a beautiful day.
It is. On Halloween no less.
I prefer to think of it as the day
before All Saints Day.


I remember this one Halloween I
went trick or treating as the
Flash. My mom made my costume. She
did a great job. Too great in
fact. We visited Pi Pi and after
he gave me some candy, he slammed
the door in my face. He didn't
even recognize me.
      (he smiles)
Who are the roses for?
It felt rude to come today with
No more memories?
Not today. But it is healthy to
look back from time to time, on
the good and even the bad.
Stunting your feelings will cost
you eventually. Be it in dreams or
other inopportune times. A memory
can haunt. So facing them is
always the best strategy.
It's too early to get so deep on
Got that from another fortune
They both smile.