Two days of Romantis!

(Cut to: a close shot of HENRY sitting, awkwardly and gangly, on a grotesque, floral print couch in a sickeningly overdone living room. His eyes are lidded an unimpressed, and he is feeling a fair bit of shame to be in this situation. His mother, HYACINTH, is one of those busybody types who would like nothing else than to be considered one of the neighborhood elite. She wears a hideous floral dress that matches the couch and a hat that looks like someone set an over-decorated cake atop her head. HENRY’s father, RICHARD, is the long-suffering, soft-spoken husband, bald (without antennae) and with a pair of wire-rim spectacles perched on the end of his nose. A bowtie completes the ensemble. HYACINTH is blustering about while HENRY sits and RICHARD lets her by.)

HYACINTH: (sitting next to HENRY with all the shrill kindness of a frantic mother hen) Henry, darling, you look a fright! Tell me, have you had breakfast?

HENRY: No…

HYACINTH: I’ll make you some tea. You’d be surprised what a cup of tea can do, I always say. I’ve been saying the same thing to that clumsy neighbor of mine…
(her voice trails off as she toddles into the kitchen. RICHARD sits down next to HENRY with a sigh and a kind smile.)

RICHARD: You know, there were lots of other girls I could have fallen in love with, but…

(he shrugs. HENRY laughs a little, and winces at the pain.)

RICHARD: You do look awful, son. Mind telling me what happened? I won’t tell your mother, honest.

HENRY: Long story, Dad. Very long.

(HYACINTH returns with a silly bone china cup of tea, overdone like everything else in the house with false gilding and more cabbage roses than anyone should ever have to see. She continues to flounce by, pacing back and forth, each time coming close to giving HENRY the tea, but each time guided by her own indignation to keep it just out of his grasp.)

HYACINTH: My own son, showing up in such a state, all black and bruised…it’s shameful! What will the neighbors say? They’ll think you’ve been out with the ruffians, I just know it, and then that nasty Patricia will start telling all sorts of vicious lies! It’s just because I had the nicer hat at Easter, but soon the whole village will think I’ve been the parent of a delinquent! Oh, I’ll have to phone Millie and tell her it’s simply not true!

(HENRY and RICHARD sit there, watching the show. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. As HYACINTH rockets out of the room to frantically dial a telephone, HENRY is now certain he is not going to get that tea. RICHARD shifts over and offers him a flask. HENRY, not thinking it through, takes a swig and his eyes nearly pop out of his head.)

HENRY: Phwaw! Dad, what is this?

RICHARD: I’ve got a deal with a fellow in town: I give him a little of my extra grain, he makes me a little extra. You like it?

HENRY: Blimey, I can’t feel my tongue!

RICHARD: (with a melodramatic sigh) You’ve gone soft in the city, my boy…

(HYACINTH blusters back into the room, still holding the cup and saucer and chunnering madly.)

HYACINTH: That Millicent! So selfish! “I’ve got things to do,” as if I don’t! (she finally clocks that the tea is in her hand) Oh, dear, I’m sorry Henry, here’s your tea.
(she sets down the saucer in front of him and immediately turns to RICHARD.)
Come along, dear! It’s tea with the Rothschilds’ today! I do hope she hasn’t made those ghastly cucumber sandwiches again, I’d rather eat cardboard!

(RICHARD sighs and, with a little grunt, raises himself off the sofa. He turns to HENRY as HYACINTH continues to blather on in the background with her high, ululating voice.)

RICHARD: You’re home for a while, right? Take a load off, relax a bit, and–

HYACINTH: Richard! Hurry, if you please! My word, you’re always making me late, do you know that? Just the other weekend at croquet, I…

(her voice fades as RICHARD follows obediently behind, his face a mix of bemusement and dread. There is a faint smattering of silence where HENRY leans back on the sofa and sighs contentedly, only to be shattered by HYACINTH returning in her full glory.)

HYACINTH: Oh, my! Look at me, what a terrible mother I am! You’d think I’d strand you in the Gobi! Give Mumsy a kiss, do!

(she pulls HENRY’S head close and lays a ridiculously big kiss on his head. HENRY sighs like a particuarly vexed housecat, but HYACINTH doesn’t hear him, naturally. She wheels around again, swinging her gaudy handbag in a deadly arc and neatly knocking the teacup off its saucer, off the coffee table, and into the far corner of the room, tea spraying as it flies.)

HYACINTH: RICHARD! Get that car running! I don’t want to be late!

(she bustles off, leaving HENRY a little shell-shocked. It’s been a while since he has endured a full-on Momslaught. Plus, he never got his tea. This scene slowly fades into a montage of events showing HENRY back at home: he sits about, he goes to the store with his mother who trumpets him as God’s gift to the insect kingdom, as mothers do, he sits about and reads, he helps do some of the yard work around the farm house, which is really an old milk can, he sits about and watches telly, he helps his father tend to crops, and he sits about, all while wearing a similarly deadpan and emotionless expression, with the joy seeming to be slowly draining from his life. For this scene, I would ideally use “the Sounds of Silence,” but Herman’s rendition of “End of the World” would work as well. At different points, HENRY sees different bits of injustice among bugs, but ignores them: he sees two younger beetles picking on a shield bug, and continues walking, he sees an ant being bullied into working late in a cafe, he simply drinks his coffee and gazes dead-eyed at the paper. He sees another mantis get tossed from her shabby, run-down apartment, and says nothing. At one point, we see him dialing CECELIA’s number, a faint glimmer of hope and determination in his eye. However, as the camera cuts to her end of the conversation, she hears only a dead line, and the camera shows that HENRY has hung up, and is lazily staring at the telly again. He just can’t be brought to care anymore. He eats dinner with his parents, but is no longer his gregarious, unflappable self.)

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said,
“The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence

or…

Why does the sun gone shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
When you don’t love me anymore?

Why has my heart gone beating?
Why do these eyes of mine cry?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when you said goodbye.

I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything’s the same as it was.
And I can’t understand, no I can’t understand
Why life goes on the way it does.

Why do the birds gone singing?
Why do the stars shine above?
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when I lost your love.

Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?
It ended when you said goodbye!

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