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THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (chapter 7)

2006-07-09 16:32

  INT. COFFEE SHOP/DINER - MORNING

  Dressed in jeans and a light summer blouse, Francesca sits alone —— treating herself to breakfast and the paper. Some of the gossip news includes rumors of Frank Sinatra, 49,marrying Mia Farrow, 19: Cary Grant 61, marrying DYAN CANNON,27. Francesca shakes her head in disbelief at such news.

  She tries to continue reading, but is distracted by the loud conversation in the booth beside her:

  TWO MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN and ONE MIDDLE-AGED HUSBAND sit after breakfast discussing the local gossip.

  ELEANOR Oh, this heat! Times like this I wish we took that offer from your brother and moved on up to Michigan.

  HENRY They got heat in Michigan.

  ELEANOR Not this kind of heat.

  HENRY Heat is heat.

  ELEANOR Heat is not heat! There's different kinds! And this heat is much hotter than what they got in Michigan. You go and call your brother and see if he don't say the same thing.

  HENRY I'll get right on it.

  Mrs. Delaney, an attractive well-off woman in her forties,enters the shop and heads for the counter.

  GLADYS(whispers)

  Mrs. Delaney.(Eleanor looks)

  Did you hear the latest?

  ELEANOR No, what?

  GRADYS Apparently, she caught them.(Eleanor gasps)

  Ran right into them in Des Moines in the middle of her shopping.

  ELEANOR Oh, what a horror. Poor woman. That Redfield girl's got no business showing her face in daylight.

  GRADYS I don't know how that tramp stands living here. No one can bear even speaking to her. She has no friends.

  HENRY Well, nobody put a gun to his head.

  ELEANOR Oh, shut up! It's the woman who's in control of these situations. Men don't know which end is up till a woman points.

  Mrs. Delaney acts as if nothing is wrong. Yet, she knows everyone knows and everyone knows she knows they know, yet no one says a word. She sits at the counter.

  MRS. DELANEY Just coffee, please.

  Francesca hears the gossip continue in hushed tones:

  GLADYS See. Money don't buy happiness. I must say, she's taking it well.

  ELEANOR I'd kill him. Him and that Redfield woman. Together. First one then the other. And then I'd laugh.

  GLADYS I'd laugh first then I'd kill them. Make sure they heard me laughing.

  Eleanor nods. Not being able to stand it, Francesca rises. She must pass them on the way to the counter, in order to pay. Eleanor immediately stops her.

  ELEANOR Francesca! So, everybody got off okay last night?

  FRANCESCA Yes, thanks.

  GLADYS What you going to do all alone for four days —— a woman of leisure?

  FRANCESCA Oh, you know there's always something to be done. Have a good day. Henry.

  Henry nods back. As she exits, they whisper.

  ELEANOR She's changed.

  GLADYS Oh, yes.

  ELEANOR She used to be so friendly.

  HENRY Maybe she's going through “the changes.”

  Eleanor hits him in the chest.

  ELEANOR What do you know about “the changes”?

  HENRY Well, I didn't know they was a secret club.

  ELEANOR Don't talk about what you don't know. Besides, she's too young for “the changes.”

  GLADYS My niece had “the changes” when she was thirty-one.

  ELEANOR No. What a tragedy. What happened?

  GLADYS(wisely)

  She changed.

  At the counter, Francesca pays up. She looks to Mrs. Delaney and tries to smile, but Mrs. Delaney works hard at not making eye contact with anyone. Suddenly, she rises telling the waitress:

  MRS. DELANEY Excuse me for a moment, I left something in the car.

  She exits quickly. Francesca pays up as the waitress adds:

  WAITRESS Poor woman.

  EXT. COFFEE SHOP/DINER - MORNING

  Francesca exits and heads for her truck. As she crosses from one corner to another, she notices down the side street ——

  Mrs. Delaney sitting alone in her own car, sobbing. Unable to bear the humiliation, she stole herself away to cry.

  Francesca wants to help but feels useless. She quickly heads for her truck.

  CUT TO:

  EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAY

  Francesca sits on the front porch with some iced tea, trying to cool herself off. It is a scorcher. She is barefoot, her blouse hanging out of her jeans, her hair fastened up by a tortoise shell comb.

  Camera begins a slow move into close-up, as she sips her tea and lets her mind wander. WE INTERCUT HER FANTASIES WITH HER ON THE PORCH:

  FANTASY: Back in town, Francesca slides into Mrs. Delaney's car. She embraces the woman who cries into her arms.

  —— Francesca on the porch.

  FANTASY: Mrs. Delaney's car is surrounded by townpeople staring into it. Francesca hugs Mrs. Delaney closer to her in defiance.

  —— Francesca on the porch.

  FANTASY: Mrs. Delaney's car drives up to a train station. She and Francesca exit with suitcases. They are surrounded by news reporters as they make their way to the train.

  REPORTER Mrs. Johnson! Mrs. Johnson! Is it true Cary Grant has proposed to you?

  FRANCESCA Yes. And I've accepted.

  REPORTER What about his engagement to Dyan Cannon?

  FRANCESCA I said to him Cary you're being ridiculous. You're more than half her age. He said no one had ever been that honest with him and he falls in love with me.

  REPORTER What about your husband?

  FRANCESCA I'm very sad but Richard said that since it's Cary Grant, he completely understands. I'm also taking Mrs. Delaney away from this town. She'll be living with Cary and I in Beverly Hills.

  She boards the train with Mrs. Delaney.

  END OF FANTASIES.

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