Heaven (Part II)
A Screenplay Based on Arthur Schnitzler’s Die Fremde
The same street as in scene 1. Night. Cathy enters the house. MP sits in the kitchen with a glass of wine in his hand (not the first) and a good view on the front door. As soon as it opens he asks loudly and a little unsteadily:
- Where were you?
Cathy enters, calmly and elegantly. She slowly removes her shoes, then her coat. She hangs up her bag, looks up and says indifferently:
- (in a sarcastic tone) Really? Who would have thought!
- It’s none of your business where…
- …WHO WHERE YOU WITH? WHO?
She just looks at him, moves up the stairs. A door closes. He swears loudly but doesn’t follow her upstairs. A piano starts playing.
Tate Britain. 1840s Room. The couple stands in front of John Singer Sargent’s “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.” As they look at the painting, the camera is fixed on Cathy’s face. She doesn’t seem to look at the painting, but somehow through it:
- I remember that.
- What do you mean?
- My sister and me lighting those Chinese lanterns in the summer. At grannie’s house. A long time ago…
- What are you talking about?
- The garden. Isn’t it beautiful? Just as I remember it. (in a singsong voice) “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.” (she laughs happily)
- Cathy, that’s not your grandmother’s garden! That’s a painting of two little girls from the nineteenth century…
- My grandpa would hang them on the trees all around us and at night, they lit the whole garden up in their orange light…
- I think we’d better go.
Pause. She doesn’t move and continues to stare absentmindedly at the painting. He tries again:
- How about some cream tea?
He starts to pull her along, she yields.
Fast changing scenes with Cathy flirting with different men in bars, cinemas and at work. Lively music turning slowly sadder. Back at the house, the mail arrives on the doormat. MP gathers the letters up and sorts through them. Most of them are bills with angry looking red stamps on top. He struggles to store them away in a drawer in the kitchen that threatens to overflow with the unopened mail it already contains. He pushes again and again with more and more force. The drawer won’t shut.
- Shit fucking thing! FUCK!
Silence. He sighs, leaves the drawer open, pours himself a glass of wine, and watches the light fading in the garden outside. He whispers somewhat defiantly:
- But I love her.
Outside. The wee hours of a Sunday morning. An English suburb, identical semidetached houses with carefully tended front lawns in the half-light. Close up of a house with a black door and a golden knocker. Birds begin to call in the background, no music. The door opens slightly, a woman, Cathy, slips out, suitcase in hand. She moves down the garden path, careful not to make a noise, when she’s at the gate she turns and looks back for a moment. A cab pulls up behind her – blackout – the doors of the car slam shut.
Inside. Dim light. The birds make a racket in front of the window. A phone vibrates. Once, twice. Shuffling noise of MP half-asleep grabbing for the phone without looking. Movement. Eyes open. The camera looks through them at a dark ceiling. Then the display of the phone flashes up above:
New message from Cathy.
Soft groan. The phone vanishes out of sight, MP stares at the ceiling: shadows move, light gathers, time passes. The phone vibrates again:
Two new messages from Cathy.
Press read. Message 1:
- i’m leaving. goodbye.
- don’t wait for me
MP is walking through the streets of London carrying a big but slender parcel wrapped in brown paper. He stops at a Costa and buys a cup of tea. It’s not raining, but it might start any moment. He walks swiftly, with a grim determined expression on his face. He walks into a house, two stairs up and unwraps the parcel which turns out to be a painting or print and leans it on the wall opposite the front door of the last flat along the corridor. He sets down the cup of tea next to it, presses the doorbell and runs down the stairs. Cathy opens the door. She looks around searchingly, then she notices the painting. It’s a high quality art printing of John Singer Sargent’s “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.” She falls on her knees, knocking over the tea that spills all over the floor, stretches out her fingers and gently touches the little girls’ faces.
Back at the house. MP sits at the kitchen table, wine in hand and the whole contents of the medicine cabinet in front of him. Neatly ordered rows of pills. Next to them his phone, Cathy’s Facebook profile picture flickering across the screen. He takes a pill, holds it up closely to his eyes and examines it. He moves it towards his mouth – Blackout. The voice of Fred Astaire starts singing:
- Heaven, I'm in heaven…