EXT. FOOTBALL FIELD, BLEACHERS – RAINY DAY
A group of children run amuck on a sparse football field, mud and rain soaking through their uniforms and cleats.
MARS (35) patiently watches her son at play. He runs in the opposite direction, away from his target, amused by an invisible creature unapparent to everyone else. The ball flies into his view. He kicks, misses.
Nice try Hon!
(Forces smile, claps, waves)
He waves back gleefully.
GUSTAV (36) approaches the bench. He watches as his daughter rips off her own jacket and flings it to the ground. She runs onto the field, her jacket drowns in a nearby puddle. He shakes his head in defeat.
Didn’t think you were gonna make it.
Neither did I,
until I managed to bribe pre- dinner gummy bears into a hard enough bargain.
Ah, well, you haven’t missed a thing. They’re still nil – nil.
no, not that way! The other way, kick it the other way! [Eases back down]
It takes practice.
She offers him popcorn. He reaches into her bag, grabs a handful.
(Pops a kernel in his mouth)
How’s he doing?
Fine, most days. He’s still a little slower than all the others, but I don’t think he minds. As long as I’ve got a smile on my face, it doesn’t seem to matter.
For a moment, they get lost in the action of the game. Gustav pops another kernel into his mouth.
And Jon, where is he?
You mean Atlas,
(turns attention back to the field)
oh, he’s working double over time, as usual.
Gustav nods, focuses on the miniature action unravelling before him.
And Luce, is she…?
– Retching what’s left of her liver into Dr. Mendelsohn’s toilet bowl,
(pops a kernel in his mouth),
I thought her stay was permanent?
It was, but a shortage of beds makes her sober vacation circumstantial. They know our situation, she’s got a home. Her housemates don’t.
And that’s cause to chuck her out, just like that?
That’s how the system works.
What if she relapses? What then?
I’ll be on my own,
(pops a kernel in his mouth, turns attention to the field)
Together, they watch as Gustav’s daughter sprints across the field, trips over her feet.
Mars’ son advances to her side, lifts her up. She runs ahead. With difficulty, he follows after her.
I’m sorry, she’s –
Don’t apologize, its fine. They’re just kids.
Luce was fifteen, when she had her.
Yeah, I remember.
(tosses the remainder of kernels, one by one, towards the field).
Hey, you WEREN’T alone.
Luce cared more about what was at the bottom of her Guinness more than any – anything else.
You can’t keep blaming her –
Beat. A yelp is heard. On the field where Gustav’s daughter lays in a heap. Perturbed, she stares at him waiting for a response. He rises.
Don’t. She’ll never learn.
I can’t just sit here!
(rises, wraps arms around his)
and you will.
Together, they watch her hands flail wildly into the air; her feet fly back and forth. Then in a split second, she rises back to her feet, makes an attempt at the football that whisks past her. Mars releases her hold on him. In an instant, he turns, embraces her tightly. He buries her face in her neck, tears raging down his cheeks.
she’s all I’VE got.
He squeezes her tighter.
Yeah, I know.
A whistle sounds, they separate.
(wipes the tears from his eyes)
grab her things.
They hold each other’s gaze as the field clears. Their children stand at opposite goal posts, waiting. Mars steps forward, turns, only slightly.
Take care, Gus.
(glances at the field)
– of her too.
He forces a smile as they leave the field in opposite directions.
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