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THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (chapter 3)

2006-07-09 16:01

  MOMENTS LATER

  C.U. SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX

  A key is inserted and the lid is opened. There are many papers, deeds, et. Michael begins sorting through these.

  Carolyn notices a manila envelope addressed to her mother,postmarked 1965. She opens it up to find TWO LETTERS and A PHOTOGRAPH —— FRANCESCA standing NEAR A COVERED BRIDGE, her hair wind blown, her expression serene, beautiful and sad. She wears a RED DRESS with buttons down the front.

  CAROLYN Michael, look —— I've never seen this picture of mama. Have you?

  Betty and Michael look over her shoulder. He shakes “no.”

  CAROLYN (cont'd)

  It was in this envelope from 1965.

  BETTY She's not wearing a bra.(takes bridge photo)

  This is Roseman Bridge in case anyone's interested.

  Interested yes, but no one thinks anything of it. Michael returns to the other papers. Betty takes the photograph for further examination. Carolyn opens one of the letters and begins to read.

  The following dialogue is heard OS, as CAMERA ANGLES ON CAROLYN reading one of the letters:

  BETTY (O.S.)

  It's a beautiful picture of her.

  MICHAEL (O.S.)

  (to lawyer)

  Why are there two deeds here?

  LAYER (O.S.)

  One of for the original parcel your father bought and this one is for the additional acres he purchased in '59.

  MICHAEL (O.S.)

  And this?

  LAWYER (O.S.)

  Those are bills of sale from the equipment your mother sold in ……

  (CONTINUES O.S.)

  Throughout their conversation, we focus on Carolyn as she reads and her expression sinks into one of shock and confusion. She flips to the last page of the letter to read who it is from. She can't believe her eyes.

  BETTY (O.S.)

  What's that?

  Carolyn jumps a little, so engrossed in her discovery. She lies.

  CAROLYN Oh, just a old letter from a friend.

  BETTY(laughs)

  No treasure maps, huh?

  CAROLYN(laughs nervously)

  No.

  Betty starts inspecting knit knacks around the house she might be able to take. Carolyn looks to Michael.

  CAROLYN (cont'd)

  Michael.

  MICHAEL(reading documents)

  Yeah.

  CAROLYN Michael.

  MICHAEL(irritated)

  What?!

  CAROLYN Come here a minute.

  Michael crosses impatiently to Carolyn. Carolyn looks around to the others, then guides him OS into the kitchen for privacy. He protests.

  MICHAEL What? Where are we going?

  They exit. Alone with the impatient lawyer, Betty examines a vase as she pumps him for info.

  BETTY Did she say anything in there about me? Leaving me anything in particular?

  LAWYER No.

  Betty prattles on as she examines each item, much to the lawyer's dismay, hiding her resentment and hurt.

  BETTY I didn't expect so. She never liked me. It's okay. I always knew. Thought we married too young. Nobody broke his arm —— that's what I said but you know mothers and their sons. Also,she never liked the fact of us moving to Florida although what's where the opportunities were. Couldn't deny that. Suppose we should have visited more but you know she hardly ever made an effort to come to Tampa. Not even to see her grandchildren. She was a cold woman. They say Italians are hot-blooded but not her. She was cool as ice.(picks up a candlestick)

  She leaves these to anyone?

  Michael and Carolyn re-enter the living room. Michael's expression now matches Carolyn in disbelief.

  BETTY (cont'd)

  What's going on?

  MICHAEL Um…… we were just wondering how it might be better if me and Carolyn went over the stuff by ourselves. Not keep you two waiting around. I'll contact your office about the legal work.

  Grateful, the lawyer packs up to leave.

  BETTY I don't mind waiting.

  MICHAEL Well, there's a lot of boring stuff to do. Lists of people we have to write to. Find mama's relatives addresses in Italy —— stuff like that.

  BETTY Well, I can help.

  MICHAEL I said NO!

  That came out a bit aggressively. Betty is hurt.

  MICHAEL (cont'd)

  Why don't you go to your mothers. Or back to the hotel. Sit in some air conditioning. Take a bath.

  BETTY(near tears)

  I do not need instructions from you to bathe!

  (gets her bag)

  I knew you'd do this! I knew I'd come all the way here and be shut out as usual! I came to be here for you! I didn't have to come!

  (genuinely hurt)

  Lord knows I was never much welcome in this house before. Apparently dead or alive, nothing's changed.

  CAROLYN Aw, Betty.

  Carolyn feels badly for her. An impatient Michael refuses sympathy. Embarrassed, Betty starts to exit then stops at the mantle.

  BETTY Carolyn —— you want these candlesticks?

  CAROLYN No. You can have them.

  Betty grabs them both and exits. Carolyn looks at him disapprovingly. Michael takes the letter from her hand.

  MICHAEL Now what's this about?

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