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Not me, her

In 1987, I found myself trying to write about a high school girlfriend that had been molested by her father when she was a child. I was 19 years old, struggling to find my way through a screenwriting assignment about delivering character. The idea was to describe messy young love between two Sid and Nancy want-to-be's. But that failed, as I could not stomach oversimplifying her complicated past, events that shaped her life as a 16 year old with a mohawk, a smart mouth, a lingering stare. I understood that I had to start at the very beginning.

No one wanted to hear the story. When it was my turn to read in class, it even came to be that some of the other students asked to stand in the hallway before they heard another description of what happened in that lonely little house in the middle of nowhere. I was trying, and failing, and trying again to get things right, to explain how this happened, how it could happen to this girl, how this man found his way to acts of selfishness and d…

A peaceful song

E asks me to help her with some English homework. There will be a Christmas play, and she is singing Silent Night in it. I am working late, and am half-listening to her. She starts off fine, but then repeats part of the melody and veers off course.

All at once, I put the work aside for the day and find the chords to play. I pull out the orange Gretsch and we go at it. She is smiling now, eyes looking right into me.
"Do you want to sing it with me?" She asks.
I nod.
We go again, and she is laughing.
"What?" I ask.
"I was just thinking we should make a movie about us singing together and you could put it as your Monday story." She explains.
"That sounds like something." I answer.

We play it again, and N comes home.
She sits at the kitchen table, and we play it one more time for her to hear.
E skips around the kitchen afterwards, then into the hallway as she disappears.
"Is it very Serge and Charlotte Gainsbourg?" I ask her after a moment.
"Just enough.' She says, patting my knee. "Just enough."




Comments

liv said…
That was the BEST Christmas present EVER!!!!

What fun! Thank you so much and a very, very Merry Christmas to all of you!

bette wanderman said…
You are killing me gently of course with the amazingly beautiful performance. Looking forward to twinkle twinkle.
Suzette Sommer said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzette Sommer said…
You two put tears in my eyes.

So much love.

Hugs.

Suzette

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