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THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (chapter 4)

2006-07-09 16:04

  INT. KITCHEN - LATER

  Sitting at the kitchen table, Carolyn is in the middle of reading the letter to Michael.

  CAROLYN“—— going over and over in my mind every detail, every moment of our time together and I ask myself, ”What happened to me in Madison County?“ I struggle to put it together in a way that allows me to continue knowing we're on separate roads. But then I look through the lens of my camera,and you're there. I start to write an article and I find myself writing it to you. It's clear to me now we have been moving towards each other,towards those four days, all our lives ——

  MICHAEL(rises)

  Goddamn sonofabitch! I don't want to hear anymore! Sonofabitch! Burn the damn thing! I don't want to hear it!

  Throw it away!

  Carolyn continues reading silently. Michael's curiosity gets the best of him:

  MICHAEL What's he saying now?

  CAROLYN Well, he just gets on about how if mama ever needed him, she could find him through the National Geographic magazine. He as a photographer. He promises not to write again. Then all it says is……

  (beat)

  I love you…… Robert.

  MICHAEL Robert! Jesus! I'll kill him.

  CAROLYN That would be some trick. He's already dead. That's what this other letter is.(takes letter and skims)

  From his attorney. He left most of his things to mama and requested……

  (she stops)

  MICHAEL What?

  CAROLYN That he be cremated and his ashes thrown on Roseman Bridge.

  MICHAEL DAMN HIM! I knew mama wouldn't have thought of that herself. It was some damn perverted…… photographic mind influencing her! When did the bastard die?

  CAROLYN '82.

  MICHAEL Wait a minute! That was thirty years after daddy. Do you think……?

  CAROLYN I don't know. I'm completely in the dark here. That's what I get for moving away.

  MICHAEL This happened way before we both got married. I…… I can't believe it.(then, innocently)

  You think she had sex with him?

  Carolyn cannot believe he is this dense.

  CAROLYN(sarcastic)

  My Lord. It must feel real nice living inside your head with Peter Pan and the Easter Bunny.

  MICHAEL Don't talk to me like that. She was my mother for Christsakes. And now I find out she was…… She was a ——!

  CAROLYN Don't say that!

  MICHAEL Well, what am I supposed to think?

  CAROLYN I can't believe she never told me? We spoke at least once a week. How could she do that?

  MICHAEL How did she meet him? Did Dad know?

  Anything else in that envelope?

  CAROLYN No, I don't think so. I ——

  She dumps it over and a SMALL KEY FALLS OUT. Pause, as Carolyn and Michael look to each other —— they grab the key and run out of the kitchen, almost comically falling over each other in their obsession to put this puzzle together.

  A SERIES OF JUMP CUT ——

  From one lock to another as they try to find the keyhole that fits the key —— they try closets, attic doors, jewelry boxes,night tables, vanity drawers…… Finally ——

  INT. BEDROOM - DAY

  At the foot of their parents bed sits an WALNUT HOPE CHEST,covered with a tapestry. Michael and Carolyn look to each other first, before one removes the tapestry and the other tries the key. It fits. They open the chest to find:

  Camera equipment, a chain with a medallion that reads“FRANCESCA,” three leather bound notebooks —— and a sealed envelope with “Carolyn or Michael” written on it.

  CAROLYN/MICHAEL You read it!

  Carolyn relents. She takes out the lefter and reads:

  CAROLYN“January, 1987. Dear Carolyn. I hope you're reading this with Michael. I'm sure he wouldn't be able to read it by himself and he'll need some help understanding all this, especially the parts about me having sex……”

  Insulted, Michael pulls the lefter out of her hand and defiantly attempts to read it aloud himself to disprove his mother's claim. But after looking at a few lines, he surrenders and hands the lefter back to his sister.

  CAROLYN (cont'd)

  “First, and most of all, I love you both very much and although I feel fine, I thought it was time to put my affairs, excuse that word, in order.”

  MICHAEL I can't believe she's making jokes.

  CAROLYN Sshhh. “After going through the safety deposit box, I'm sure you'll find you're way to this letter. It's hard to write this to my own children. I could let this die with the rest of me, I suppose.(cont'd)

  But as one gets older, one fears subside. What becomes more and more important is to be known —— known for all that you were during this brief stay. Row said it seems to me to leave this earth without hose you love the most ever really knowing who you were. It's easy for a mother to love her children no matter what —— it's something that just happens. I don't know if it's as simple for children. You're all so busy being angry at us for raising you wrong. But I thought it was important to give you that chance. To give you the opportunity to love me for all that I was……“

  Carolyn and Michael look to each other like two school children about to take a difficult exam. They continue.

  CAROLYN (cont'd)

  “His name was Robert Kincaid. He was a photographer and he was here in 1965 shooting an article for National Geographic on the covered bridges of Madison County. Remember when we got that issue and looked at those bridges we'd seen for years but never noticed? How we felt like celebrities? Remember when we started getting the subscription?

  They don't remember.

  CAROLYN (cont'd)

  I don't want you to be angry with him. I hope after you know the whole story, you might even think well of him. Even grateful.

  MICHAEL Grateful!?

  CAROLYN(reads)

  “…… It's all there in the three notebooks. Read them in order. If you don't want to, I suppose that's okay too. But in that case I want you to know something —— I never stopped loving your father. He was a very good man. It's just that my love for Robert was different. He brought out something in me no one had ever brought out before, or since. He made me feel like a woman in a way few women, maybe more, ever experience……”

  MICHAEL That's it!

  Grabbing the letter, he starts putting everything back in the trunk.

  CAROLYN What are you doing?

  MICHAEL This is crazy. She waits till she's dead to tell us all this. Well, I got news for you. She was my mother. That's enough for me. I don't have to know who she was.

  CAROLYN Well, I'd like to read them.

  MICHAEL No. We're going to lock this up and ——

  CAROLYN STOP IT!

  (Michael freezes)

  I want to read them! If you don't want to, then just leave. But don't you push me around like I'm some mule you paid for —— I already GOT A HUSBAND!

  Michael is stymied.

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