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THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (chapter 16)

2006-07-09 16:39

  1995

  INT. SLOW BEND CAFE - PRESENT DAY - EVENING

  The same saloon/restaurant of twenty-five years ago has been turned into a modern cafe yet the original charm is still there.

  Carolyn and Michael sit in a booth, with half-eaten dinners before them. Carolyn has been reading the book to Michael when she looks across from her to find —— Michael looking like a little boy who is fighting not to cry.

  CAROLYN What's the matter?

  Michael shakes his head. He can't or won't explain. He's too upset. His eyes tear up. Carolyn feels badly for him.

  MICHAEL I'm going to get some air.

  He exits. Carolyn smiles sympathetically. Somehow this last passage of their mothers doesn't affect her in the same way. She returns to the book but first asks a passing waitress,with great urgency.

  CAROLYN Can I smoke here?

  The waitress nods. Carolyn needs a cigarette for the rest of this. She opens her bag to get her pack. Inside her bag she notices a BUSINESS CARD. She picks it up to read IRA NEWMAN,attorney. Divorce. Pre-Nuptials. Marital Litigation. She pauses for a moment. Then, tossing the card back inside, she lights her cigarette and takes a drag. We follow the curls of smoke up as we:

  DISSOLVE TO:

  1965

  INT. JOHNSON LIVING ROOM

  Camera moves down curls of smoke, to reveal:

  Robert and Francesca in each others arms, under a blanket on the living room floor on a bed of couch pillows, smoking a cigarette after lovemaking. Francesca seems miles away ——feelings of regret and guilt creeping in.

  ROBERT Are you comfortable?

  (she nods)

  Do you…… want to move to the bedroom?

  FRANCESCA No. I can't. Not yet.

  She can't bring herself to go into her husband bed.

  ROBERT You want to eat something?

  FRANCESCA Are you hungry?

  ROBERT No.

  Silence. Robert shifts his body to face her.

  ROBERT (cont'd)

  Honey. Are you all right?

  She looks at him and starts to cry, shaking her head. The room is filled with memories of her family. She nestles in his arms. He folds her. She closes her eyes.

  FRANCESCA Take me somewhere.

  ROBERT What?

  FRANCESCA Right now. Tell me someplace you've been —— someplace on the other side of the world. Anywhere but here.

  ROBERT(thinks, then:)

  How about Italy?

  FRANCESCA Yes.

  ROBERT How about Bari?

  FRANCESCA Yes. Tell me about the day you got off the train.

  ROBERT Have you ever been to that station?

  FRANCESCA Yes.

  ROBERT You know that little place nearby with the striped awning that sells sandwiches and little pizzas……

  The two transport themselves together to another place, where there is no familiar memories surrounding them to interfere.

  CUT TO:

  EXT. JOHNSON PORCH - NIGHT

  The two sit in bathrobes on the porch looking out over the pasture. They have plates of dinner on their laps. They eat voraciously.

  ROBERT Do you have anymore of the stew?

  Chewing, Francesca nods and leans over, picks a pot off the porch and ladles some more onto his plate. Too much falls out and it spills onto the robe.

  FRANCESCA Oh, I'm sorry.

  ROBERT It's okay. It's not that hot anymore. Thanks God.

  Francesca hands him a dish rag. Robert wipes off the food revealing his bare leg. She reaches over and touches it. He looks at her and smiles. She leans over and kisses him passionately until, suddenly, she pulls away. She looks upset. She rises and moves away to look out to the pasture. Robert can sense what is wrong.

  ROBERT (cont'd)

  You think too much, you know that?

  FRANCESCA I just feel like I'm getting a little…… out of control that's all. It's kind of frightening.

  ROBERT Why?

  FRANCESCA Why!? Because, I'm having thoughts I hardly know what to do with. I……

  can't seem to…… stop them.

  ROBERT Nobody's asking you to.

  FRANCESCA(excited)

  And arraccinos and zeppolis. Yes! I know it!

  ROBERT I sat outside and had coffee.

  FRANCESCA Where? Near the doorway or the near the front of the church?

  ROBERT Near the church.

  FRANCESCA(closes her eyes)

  I sat there once. It was hot. Like today. I'd been shopping. I had all these bags around my feet I kept having to move every time the waiter came by……

  DISSOLVE TO:

  EXT. SANDWICH CAFE - BARI - DAY

  Francesca sits at the outdoor cafe in Bari with shopping bags around her feet. She re-arranges them as the waiter passes by, mumbling something vulgar under his breath. When she looks up —— Robert is standing there. She smiles. He offers her hand. She takes it and rises. They leave the cafe.

  MONTAGE:

  Francesca and Robert together against the breathtaking backdrop of the Italian countryside.

  EXT. BARI COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

  On a lakefront, Robert and Francesca make love.

  WE INTERCUT WITH:

  INT. JOHNSON LIVING ROOM - EVENING

  FRANCESCA AND ROBERT MAKING LOVE ONCE AGAIN.

  Francesca looks at him and understands he is giving her full permission to explore whatever she wants. Hesitantly, she crosses to him and takes his plate away. She stands before him, leaning him back into his chair. She slowly,tentatively, opens her robe. She strokes his hair, then caresses his head and gently guides it between her legs.

  1994

  INT. SLOW BEND RESTAURANT - NIGHT

  C.U. on an ashtray filled with cigarette butts as Carolyn anxiously lights another. These last entries have over stimulated her. She calls to the waitress abruptly.

  CAROLYN Can I get another cup of coffee,please?

  When she looks up, she sees Michael has returned. He sits.

  CAROLYN (cont'd)

  Where did you go?

  MICHAEL Bar across the street.

  CAROLYN Have you called Betty?

  (she shakes his head)

  Maybe you should.

  MICHAEL I found out who Lucy Delaney is.(she looks interested)

  Remember the Delaneys from Hillcrest Road?

  CAROLYN Yeah. But I thought she died.

  MICHAEL He remarried. Apparently they were having an affair for years. Apparently the first Mrs. Delaney was a bit of a stiff.

  CAROLYN You mean —— she didn't like sex?

  MICHAEL(nods, then simply:)

  I bet mom could've helped her.

  CAROLYN Boy. All these years I've resented not living the wild life in some place like Paris and all the time I could've moved back to Iowa…… Are you drunk?

  MICHAEL Not yet. You want to go?

  CAROLYN I think I better. Between the book and the coffee, I'm this close to raping the busboy.

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