(The audio fades out as another morning dawns over the small little farming town, it’s grain storage bins of old coffee cans, and the shabby apartments that house the migrant workers that gather the grain. The camera cranes down to the yellowish-orange hues that paint the sides of the whitewashed milk can, as RICHARD and HYACINTH are whispering over their breakfast.)
HYACINTH: Richard, you know it’s not right. He’s been here three weeks now, shouldn’t he at least…DO something?
RICHARD: The boy’s had a hard bit of time, Hyacinth, it’s best not to bother him!
HYACINTH: (flustered) But what if he never gets out of this house? What if we’re two ancient old bugs still working to support his broken heart?
RICHARD: I don’t think that will happen, love. You should know our son better than that.
HYACINTH: (Sadly) Sometimes, it’s like he’s not our son anymore.
RICHARD: Just give him some time, Hyacinth.
(a beat. HYACINTH stirs her tea daintly)
HYACINTH: (prissy) I suppose you’ve been talking to him, then?
RICHARD: (buttering toast) Yes.
HYACINTH: (still prissy) Well, that’s nice.
(more stony silence. HYACINTH is now agitatedly stirring the tea. No doubt any sugar that was in there has long since dissolved.)
HYACINTH: Don’t know why he couldn’t tell his own mother what’s wrong, as if I’m some graymalkin…
RICHARD: (mumbling around his toast) Perhaps he didn’t want it to be front page news…
HYACINTH: What was that?
RICHARD: (reaching quickly for his tea) Oh, nothing…
(There’s a few rumbles and thumps heard from upstairs.)
HYACINTH: (still grumpy) Looks like he’s up before noon today.
RICHARD: Hyacinth, please!
(HENRY stumbles down the stairs, looking disheveled and particularly uninterested. He sits down and helps himself to a cup of tea. With one of those “let’s get down to business” sighs, his mother starts in.)
HYACINTH: Good morning, Henry.
HYACINTH: Can you bring a few things to the post office for me?
HYACINTH: And are you going to look to the garden this afternoon?
(a beat. RICHARD crunches toast, HENRY drinks tea and blinks at a magazine, HYACINTH continues her effort to stir her spoon into oblivion.)
HYACINTH: Have you put any thought into finding a paying job?
HYACINTH: It’s a perfectly reasonable question!
HENRY: (flatly) I’ve put in for my two weeks at Driscoll’s. Safe to say I’m not going back.
HYACINTH: Well, I’ve talked to Regina down at the greengrocer’s. She said there might be a bit of work for you there.
HENRY: I’ll call her, then.
(another small pause.)
HYACINTH: Millicent says she might have some work for you to do, as well…
HYACINTH: Have you tried talking to anyone in the city about work?
HENRY: (ignoring her) Dad, how come you and Mum didn’t have to have a fake wedding like the mantises in the city?
RICHARD: To put it frankly, son, we don’t have the time or the money out here to worry about scoffing each other on the wedding night. You love who you love, and you get on with life.
(he goes back to the magazine. HYACINTH is upset at being ignored, naturally.)
HYACINTH: For goodness’ sake, Henry, you’re like the walking dead!
RICHARD: Hyacinth, please…
HYACINTH: I know you’ve had some tough times, but we all do, and you’ve got to DO something! You can’t just sit around the house all day!
(Henry stands up from the table wordlessly and exits the room. RICHARD sighs.)
HYACINTH: I just don’t know what to do about him!
RICHARD: He doesn’t know what to do about himself, pet. He never wanted to come back here, you know that, and to have him all bruised like that…something bad must have happened. He wouldn’t tell me, he just said that he got in a fight. Think about that, love…our son, in a fight!
HYACINTH: (unwilling to look foolish) It does seem…odd…
(the camera follows HENRY up the stairs to his room on these lines.)
RICHARD: So just let him be for a while longer. I’m sure if we just give him a little more time, things will work themselves out. He’s a strong boy, Hyacinth, we both know that… but sometimes the world is hard to understand for a young bug like him.
(the camera zips back to the kitchen as HENRY closes the door to his room.)
HYACINTH: Well, I know I was never THAT morose when I was his age…
RICHARD: (standing up from the table and dusting bread crumbs off his collar.)
Come on, you. We’re going out.
HYACINTH: What the devil for?!
HYACINTH: We just HAD tea!
RICHARD: Then we need some fruit, or something. Just stop your whinging and come out with me.
HYACINTH: Why, Richard? I demand to know why!
RICHARD: Because you’re a right little pill and I love you to death for it! Now, come on, we’ll take in the matinee.
HYACINTH: (stars in her eyes) A movie? Oh, Richard, we haven’t done that in ages!
RICHARD: And maybe I’ll steal a kiss from you when the projectionist changes the reel…
HYACINTH: Oh, you old dog!
(they leave the kitchen and pass by the long, narrow staircase that leads up to HENRY’s room. HYACINTH just has to say something.)
Henry, dear, we’re heading out for the afternoon! Make sure you call Regina and…
(RICHARD jabs her grumpily in the side)
Ow! Richard, you bully, what was that for?!
RICHARD: (calling up the stairs) Have a good day, son! We’ll see you tonight!
(the two leave, still squabbling a bit as RICHARD fairly forces his wife out the door. The front door closes and the camera once again turns and inches up the staircase, except this time it fades through the closed door into HENRY’s room: little of it has changed since HENRY was a student: there are still posters of rock ‘n’ roll bands, or sports stars on the walls, a bed crammed into one corner, a desk, a bookshelf overstuffed with books, and a general air of the disarray that is usually a young man’s life. On the desk, however, is a particularly copious stack of crumpled papers, each reading “DEAR CECELIA” and having different, rejected iterations of a clumsy apology mixed with a profession of true love. The camera swivels over in the half light of the late morning, drawn drapes room to see HENRY once again passed out, this time on his bed, sleeping fitfully, a grimace on his face as he tosses and turns.)