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THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (chapter 13)

2006-07-09 16:37

  Beat. Awkward silence. Suddenly there is tension between them.

  ROBERT My mistake. I apologize.

  FRANCESCA What made you ask such a question?

  ROBERT I thought that's what we were doing —— asking questions.

  FRANCESCA(defensive)

  I thought we were just having a conversation. You seem to be reading all this meaning into it. Meanings I must be too simple to, uh……

  interpret or something.

  ROBERT I already apologized.

  Silence. Robert remains seated. Francesca remains at the sink.

  ROBERT (cont'd)

  It's getting late.(rises)

  Thank you for dinner.

  Pause. Francesca feels badly.

  FRANCESCA Listen, I'm sorry I ——

  ROBERT No, no. Forgive me. I made a mistake. It was an inappropriate thing to ask.

  FRANCESCA(shrugs it off, then:)

  …… I feel like something's been spoiled now.

  Robert smiles and crosses to her. He takes her hand into both his hands.

  ROBERT It's been a perfect evening. Just the way it is. Thank you.

  Francesca smiles. The possibility of a kiss hangs in the air between them until Robert turns to get his film out of the fridge. As he exits through the screen door, he stops.

  ROBERT (cont'd)

  One thing though —— don't kid yourself,Francesca. You're anything but a simple woman.

  He smiles and exits, catching the screen door before it slams.

  Francesca doesn't move for a moment, then crosses to the door as if to run after him when she is stopped by the PHONE RINGING. She picks up.

  FRANCESCA Hello?

  RICHARD (on phone)

  Franny?

  FRANCESCA Richard, hi.

  RICHARD (on phone)

  How are you?

  FRANCESCA Fine. Everyone settled in okay?

  RICHARD (on phone)

  Just fine. We're all in one room. Michael's on the couch and Carolyn's……

  (continues……)

  She hears Robert's truck door open and close. She hears the motor being turned on. She half-listens to Richard.

  FRANCESCA Uh-uh…… good…… Hmmm……

  She hears the truck driving away as Richard continues:

  RICHARD (on phone)

  We got our position in the Fair. Not bad although I would have liked to be third which is not too early and not too late. But I told Carolyn not to worry……

  (continues, if needed)

  CUT TO:

  INT. FRANCESCA BEDROOM - NIGHT

  Francesca exits her bathroom, in her bathrobe, shutting the light. She is brushing her hair and thinking of Robert. She sits on the edge of the bed. She sees her reflection in a mirror on the closet door.

  She stands and takes her robe off. She steps forward to look at her body —— running her hands gently around her curves, her neck, down the side of her thighs, her face, her breasts.

  She shuts off the lights and gets into bed under the covers. She closes her eyes and tentatively begins to explore her body. It is awkward for her but we can see her trying to let herself go. Until she opens her eyes in frustration. It's no good. She can't do it. She feels ashamed. The shame turns into anger.

  INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

  Francesca sits at a writing table with two large books opened before her containing literary quotations. She searches for the line Robert mentioned in the pasture.

  A note sits before her as well. On it reads: “Robert. Again,I'm sorry for last night. Would you like supper again tonight after you're finished. I'd like it very much if I were one of those good friends you have in the world. Anytime is fine ——Francesca…… P.S. By the way, ”Of what I call God and Fools call Nature“ was……” She writes the name BROWNING.

  CUT TO:

  EXT. ROSEMAN BRIDGE - NIGHT

  Francesca is tacking a note for Robert to the bridge. She considers taking it down a moment later, but decides not to. She gets back into her truck and drives away.

  WIDE ANGLE OF BRIDGES - DAWN

  DISSOLVE TO:

  The view of the bridge goes in and out of focus until we realize we are seeing it through Robert's camera lens.

  Once the focus it sets, Robert notices something is tacked onto the bridge. He crosses to it hurriedly —— time for the perfect shot is running out —— pulls it down, thumbtack and all, and shoves it into his pocket, unread. He returns to his camera to take his shots.

  CUT TO:

  INT. JOHNSON BEDROOM - MORNING

  Francesca is making her bed when she hears a truck driving down the road. She looks out the window to see:

  Robert's truck. However, it passes right by her house.

  Francesca's spirit sinks. She feels silly, ashamed and rejected. She sits on the bed.

  FANTASY:

  Inside the truck, Robert drives by the house and chuckles to himself at the foolishness of some boring, frustrated housewife. Francesca's note has been crumbled and stuffed into a dirty ashtray.

  END OF FANTASY:

  Francesca enters her bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

  INT. KITCHEN - LATER THAT MORNING

  Francesca sits at the kitchen table in her bathrobe with a cup of coffee —— a comic portrait of shame and self-pity. Her hair is a mess, she hasn't showered or dressed and she stares into space while listening to the bluesy Chicago radio station.

  The sink is full of dirty dishes she refuses to clean. Beside it is an ashtray of butts from the night before. She carries it over to the table and begins fingering for a butt to smoke in desperation. She lights up and stares into space.

  FANTASY:

  Robert is in Africa talking to TWO ZULU TRIBE MEMBERS. THE DIALOGUE IS SUBTITLED IN SWAHILI:

  ROBERT(laughs)

  …… and then she tacks this note on the bridge asking me to have dinner with her again!

  One Zulu turns to the tower and remarks.

  ZULU How pathetic.

  END OF FANTASY:

  Francesca put out her cigarette and suddenly gets an idea. She goes to the phone, reads a number off of a slip of paper and dials.

  FRANCESCA (on phone)

  Hello? Is Richard Johnson staying there?…… No, I don't want to leave a message. Maybe you can help me ——I'm his wife and I live in Winterset Iowa —— I wanted to surprise them by driving up tonight. What would be the fastest route, the Interstate?…… Huh- huh…… Hold it, let me get a pen.

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