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Handcrafted healing march 5 2013.scw

Handcrafted Healing
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423818/379-9940 (h)818/681-5192 (c)nancybeverly@sbcglobal.net LIGHTS UP on a living room in Bloomington, Indiana, filledwith homemade wooden furniture and a lot of books -- whichreflect the owners of these items: practical, down-to-earth furniture builder CAM -- short for CATHERINE MARY -- and herpartner of six years MEREDITH, a kind and generous high schoolEnglish teacher. Cam is in her mid-30s, as is Meredith. Right now they're entertaining Meredith's fellow teacherEVIE, 40s, who loves to hold forth. Evie is in mid-storyafter dinner.
. His wife had this AMAZING jobworking for a software company, ittook off like a rocket -- and shehad stock options -- Wait, what's her name, I want a nameso I can picture who this is.
. I don't even know if I should betelling this story.
Her name is Linda, just don't, youknow.
. Go around telling the story theway you are now? Okay, they're set for lifefinancially, so her husband Bob gotto -- -- Is it really helping you picturewho they are by knowing their namesare Bob and Linda? Bob got to quit his job as a scienceteacher. He stays home, fixes theplace up, plants petunias and thenafter awhile, he decides he wants topursue his life-long dream of beinga doctor. So he applies for medicalschool, and he applies all the hellover the place 'cause he's havingtrouble getting in. Meanwhile, theywant to have kids, and Lindamiscarries two or three times, theygo to doctor after doctor, they'reon the verge of giving up and then --here's the final piece -- Bob decidesto take flying lessons.
Uh huh. So when Bob goes out forhis final test to get his pilot'slicense -- the plane crashes and hedies. And then two weeks later,Linda finds out she's pregnant andBob got into medical school! Stunned silence. Cam and Meredith look at each other. Theyhad no idea this is where the story was headed.
I'm trying to figure out what thehell it MEANS.
Why did he die before starting medicalschool -- and before meeting his newbaby? Why did thousands die in the twintowers on 9/11? Evie, you'll drive yourself nuts ifyou -- -- But what if he was really afraidof being a doctor or Linda needed tolearn how to survive on her own or -- -- Stop, stop! You're way over-analyzing it.
Maybe it was simply time for him togo.
Or maybe he had a very unfortunateplane accident. Oops.
Cam, this is what gives life meaning! We draw conclusions, we figure outwhy we created -- -- And why are you doing it for Boband Linda? I'm going for another Corona with alime twist, which is fascinatingenough for me. And what if in the middle of it, Bobhad started paying attention: couldhe have changed the outcome?? Something in Evie's voice makes Cam stop on her way to thefridge. She turns and looks at Meredith. Meredith hangsher head.
Are you telling everyone my storythe way you're telling Bob andLinda's? No. I know Meredith told me that inconfidence. Okay. Fine. Now let's move on. I'll have your headboard finished bythe end of the month. Come backthen, I'll show you the differentfinishes we can put on it.
This chair has a satin finish, niceand understated.
You want me to talk about it. Well,I'm not going to. Because we'll behere til two in the morning dissectingit twelve ways from Sunday. I havefurniture orders to finish by theend of the year -- that's what Icare about.
Of course. I'm sorry. Thank youfor dinner, it was lovely. Iespecially enjoyed your artichokeheart dip.
See you Monday. Faculty meeting atfour.
They hug goodbye, Evie is almost out the door but first: My sister has a great oncologist upin Indianapolis.
I have a great oncologist here in Bloomington.
Evie nods "Of course." She exits. A beat.
Trying to read the tea leaves on Bob-the-plane-accident guy. Could hehave changed the outcome -- whoknows? Well, maybe he could've. Maybe hewasn't paying attention, maybe therewere red flags that he -- What are you saying? I'm not goingto do anything? Don't be ridiculous.
. Hear the options at my doctor'sappointment Tuesday. Then get goingon the Richardsons' table and chairs.
I'm not gonna over-think it. RememberEvie and her boyfriend Harold'srestaurant in Mooresville? She 'fengshui-ed' it into the ground.
Have you told your father and brotheryet? Cam looks at her as if it's obvious.
I'm sure they would love to sendtheir support.
Dad has his own issues with his highblood pressure. And you know Gary,he only wants to hear good news. Stocks are up! Sales are up! Did Itell you what he said when I hadtendonitis in my elbow a couple ofyears ago? 'Get a shot of cortisone,you'll be fine! Phil Mikelson playswith tendonitis all the time!' Yes. Evie and Melissa are the onlyones, though.
Melissa sends her love. She hasn'ttold Alan yet and certainly notBrooke. You're still Super Aunt.
I'm going to bed. Join me when you'redone leaping tall buildings in asingle bound.
They kiss, Meredith exits. Cam looks at the knickknacks intheir home, touches some of Meredith's books, rubs her handover the chair she referred to earlier, admiring its sleekfinish. She finally comes to a small, goofy box made ofPopsicle sticks. She picks it up. LIGHTS SHIFT.
Cam goes into a memory. She's 16 and turns to her brotherGARY, 18, who enters. He's cocky and full of himself, butoverall, a good kid.
Gary, can you show me how to useyour power tools? No, I'm gonna make something for Momfor Christmas.
She shyly produces the small goofy chest.
But bigger! And really neat, withreal wood. Like that skateboardramp or the Soap Box Derby car youmade. They were so cool.
So she can have some place to puther towels and tablecloths and stuff,like Grandma has.
Grandma has a cedar chest that weighstwo tons.
I can do it! I just need you toshow me how.
. I gotta do better than a robeand slippers like last year. Nothing lame. You know? He nods, hands her the chest and then exits. LIGHTS SHIFT. Meredith, who now has her purse, enters. She and Cam go toa couple of plastic chairs and sit. They're now in a waitingroom. They wait. Anxiously. They eye the other peoplearound them. Cam sees one in particular and stares forseveral seconds. . Her hair's gonna grow in andcover that scar, right? . Think she smokes? Maybe she atetoo much overcooked bacon. Or sheeats a lot of Twinkies -- they'reloaded with weird chemicals. If sheknew then what she knows now, wouldshe have chucked the Twinkies? Evie's not here, sweetie, she's notgetting the benefit of your razor-sharp commentary.
. She's got duct tape on hersneakers. I'll bet they can't affordbottled water and organic food.
. We won't be fine if I don't finishthe Richardsons' table. I won't beable to pay my health insurance nextyear.
. I could get a different job, onethat has domestic partner benefits.
I know, you hate it when I do thatin public.
A beat, Meredith kisses her back -- and then suddenly a VOICEfrom offstage: Cam and Meredith go home, Meredith pulls pamphlets out ofher purse and puts them on a table. . I'll be out of work for weeks --I can't be on chemo and use powertools.
My job isn't just slapping particleboard together. I can't concentrate if I'm throwingup.
It took me years to get this kind ofhigh-end work -- -- And if you want more years, takethe long view. Let the chemo do itsjob and you'll be back in your shopin no time.
Cam stares at the pile of pamphlets. She picks up one.
'Decadron. Aloxi. Cytoxan' --see it even sounds toxic. 'Adriamycin is a vesicant --' what's a vesicant? It doesn't come up a lot in SophomoreEnglish.
She grabs her reading glasses and a dictionary.
'Precaution must be taken so as notto miss a vein and send it under theskin, which can cause tissue deathand severe scarring.' She looks at Meredith for the definition.
'. Especially, such an agent, asmustard gas, used in chemicalwarfare.' Cam looks as if she's been punched in the gut. . Remember the woman across fromus, the one in the blue and whitestriped sweater? Well, she had this look of. peaceor something. Everyone else seemedanxious and tense. When you went to the restroom, I felt compelled to talk to her. Turns out she's a lungcancer survivor. Five years, andshe did chemo.
I told her you were really worriedabout it, and she said the sideeffects are just that, side effects. The big effect: She just got marrieda few months ago. She showed me herwedding ring.
. Meredith, you're in a room fullof cancer patients, of course someof them have had success with chemo. This is hardly Jesus in a tortilla.
Remember July 4th when you came infrom mowing the yard and said yourback hurt? I still think that was from liftingthe lawn mower.
Cam. We know it wasn't. I knowthey had to start with treating youfor a strained back, but all throughAugust I kept thinking, there'ssomething wrong here.
It wasn't a random thought and myconversation with that woman wasn'trandom, either.
They're random, Meredith, you'rejust labeling them after the fact.
Are you seriously considering notdoing chemo? Because if you are, Iwant to hear what Plan B is.
Meredith looks straight at her, Cam hears her.
BLACKOUT. As black as the theatre allows. Several beats.
LIGHTS UP. A few weeks later. Meredith quietly enters fromoutside. She carries a grocery sack, her purse, her satchelfrom work.
She quietly sets them down and takes her coat off. Shetiptoes over to peek at the couch, upon which rests a lumpof blankets. She goes back to the groceries and puts themaway. Then she brings a white to-go carton of soup and aspoon over to the couch.
She stands there, not knowing what to do. Despair creepsin. Finally, at a loss, she sets the soup down on a nearbytable. She looks around, straightens up a couple of things,then goes to a window and looks out. Moonlight streams in. A few beats and she begins to softly sing: 'By the light of the silvery moonI want to spoon To my honey I'll croon love's tune.' Meredith notices the lump of blankets moves ever so slightly. She comes over to the couch, gets on her knees so she's atcouch level.
Want to do the interactive versionthat you like? I got you your favorite soup. Butternut squash.
I heard your phone ringing thismorning. It was one of your clients,Mr. Richardson. What's his name? Lawrence? I called him Larry byaccident. He's not a Larry, is he? I said you were out of town on afamily emergency. I thought thatsounded good. A beat. A hand comes out from the covers and slowly pullsdown just enough of the blanket so that a face can be seen: Cam. In a knit hat. Meredith smiles at her.
Cam sits up a little but feels so nauseous that she shakesher head no.
Cam gestures "Who knows?" Then she pulls the covers backover her head. Meredith buries her head in her hands. LIGHTSOUT. A few beats.
LIGHTS UP, a few days later. Meredith and Evie are planningsomething at the dining room. They start out talkingquietly. and then get louder.
. God, Homecoming Queen, in thisday and age?? I'm staging a protest.
As a faculty sponsor, that should beinteresting.
Next you'll be wanting to eliminateMiss America.
I have a girl in fourth period, BeckyMcMahon, she confided to me she wantedto be nominated for Homecoming Queen. She's fairly good-looking, but shehas mousy, thin hair. I overhearthe other girls talking.
I didn't want to discourage her butI didn't want her to be ridiculed.
I said the yearbook could really usea go-getter like you. You can write,hit deadlines, be creative. Then Icapped it with: Homecoming Queen --a one-shot deal, but yearbook, you're building a career.
This is why you're going to beBloomington North Teacher of theYear.
No, Meredith, you know how to reachthem.
You have impact. And the nominatingcommittee is noticing.
. You want it you want it you wantit you want it you -- -- OKAY, I WANT IT! If Terry Mumfordcan be Teacher of the Year, so canI, damn it! And I've been thereeight fucking years! They laugh hysterically. The lump of covers on the couchstirs.
Now, can we make someone else, somemere mortals, work on Homecoming?? I can't believe I got roped intothis, I hate administrative work.
Is it the administrative work or thefact that it's Homecoming? Okay, let's do some arm twisting toget the float judges then meet againnext Monday and see where we are.
. There's a shadow on Sharon'slatest scan. We're getting a secondopinion.
Cam pulls the blankets off to hear better.
. But she's been in remission forwhat, a year and a half.
Yes, and she's been doing everythingI told her to do -- eating all-organic, no sugar, acupuncture,massage. I just wish I could talkher out of that damn job.
She sits up, still wearing a knit cap and still a littletired -- but much better than when we saw her previously.
She's head of an agency for seniorcitizens in Indianapolis. It'snothing but stress. She pulled anall-nighter last week getting somedamn report ready for the countyassessor. That can't be good foryou.
You think the universe looked atyour sister and said, 'She needs abreak. I know: Cancer!' That's the dark version. The lightversion: Sharon was out of balance.
You'll be delighted to know I work astress-free job. I'm doing exactlywhat I want and get to set my ownhours.
Cam reaches for the candy dish and plucks a little chocolatebar from it.
She unwraps the chocolate bar and pops it in her mouth.
Cam stares at her. Evie politely smiles.
Cancer cells need a lot of fuel togrow and they get very sensitive toinsulin. You're going to deprive me of this? Do you know how awful I've felt thepast -- -- I'm sure one Hershey miniatureisn't going to make or break -- -- How about two or three? Or adozen? And what about the lift weget from chocolate -- -- It has to be dark chocolate andnot the Hershey's fake dark chocol-- -- Meredith, these are fake, my God,what are we gonna tell the trick ortreaters!? I'll be going. I'll call when I'mback in town.
When Evie is at the door, Cam apologizes with: . Give your sister my best. Goodluck with the second scan.
Evie exits. They stare at the dish of little candy bars. . Should we feel guilty handingthese out? Evie's nuts. And, hello, there's ashadow on Sharon's scan, so it didn'treally matter if she cut back on thecandy bars or stocked up on organicpomegranates.
Precisely. We don't know. It's afuckin' crapshoot.
Cam snags a candy bar, unwraps it, pops it in her mouth andexits.
Meredith thoughtfully unwraps one and eats hers as.
LIGHTS SHIFT. Meredith exits, Cam comes back on carrying abeautiful handcrafted wooden headboard and sandpaper. Shetakes off her socks so she's barefoot. She sands the thewood, a sensuous, full-body operation. She keeps rubbingher hands over the wood, feeling it, feeling for slight bumps,then she looks at it closely, sands some more. inhales thewood smell, in love with it. She then wiggles her fingersand toes. something's wrong. She continues sanding toignore this, but it's tough. She stops and shakes her handsand feet, worried.
Gary enters, carrying a SkilSaw (which is plugged in via anextension cord offstage), a tape measure, a pencil, and aboard. He sets up the board between two chairs that willserve as saw horses. He looks at Cam, who looks blue.
C'mon over. Time for the SkilSawlesson.
Cam slips into flashback mode. She looks at Gary, hesitant.
I'll help you. C'mon. Stand infront of me.
Okay, the first rule is measure twice,cut once. Got it? Measure me out a foot an a half fromthe left end there.
He hands her the tape measure and pencil. She measures once. then twice, marking the wood again.
Left hand here, right hand on thesaw. and after the cut, the rightpiece will drop, so hold on to theleft piece. She nods. She's scared. He sees this and puts his righthand on top of hers on the saw, turns on the saw, they cutthe wood together, perfectly. He shuts off the saw.
I could feel it! The saw! In mywhole body! And I can smell thewood, too! Wow! Perks of the job. So how are wepaying for all the wood we're gonnaneed? I've already signed up a bunch ofpeople to rake their leaves and Icould shovel snow, too.
Good. Maybe Dad'll front us a little,in case it doesn't snow much beforeChristmas.
Exactly! I thought of asking himthat, too!! This is gonna rock. Mom's reallygonna like it. I was thinking wecould trick it out with brass hingesand a brass lock.
Cool! I was just gonna get somethingcheap.
I can pay for 'em. That'll be mycontribution.
He takes some sawdust and sprinkles it in her hair. Shestarts dancing around.
He rolls his eyes, grabs the wood and saw, exits.
Cam turns on a CD on the stereo, "Right Here, Right Now," byJesus Jones to commemorate that time with Gary. She goesback to sanding the headboard, dancing as she's sanding. Meredith enters, home from school. She's amused by Cam. Atsome point Cam sees her.
They both laugh, Cam grabs her, kisses her, and they dancetogether.
Yep. You need to dance more. Weneed to dance more.
After a few moments of dancing, Meredith brushes the sawdustout of Cam's hair and turns the STEREO OFF.
Evie's headboard is looking good. When will it be ready? Week or so. First coat of oil goeson tonight.
Did you get around to fixing thebathroom sink? A beat. Cam has a funny half-confused look on her face.
And where will we brush our teethtonight? In the backyard, like the pioneers. Or at the kitchen sink.
I went on a little one-mile jog. Real slow but I felt great. Maybe Ican get back to my running group ina few weeks.
Mmhmm. Did you get to the store forthe light bulbs? Ahhh, I got a bunch a stuff. Ibuprofen, Scotch tape.
I wrote out a little list: pens,tape, light bulbs -- -- I'll get 'em tomorrow. Promise. What do you want for dinner? Cam ambles to the kitchen cabinets to get out pots.
You're walking funny. And you'rebarefoot in November.
I dance better barefoot. You wantclam sauce or marinara? Cam pulls out ingredients. Meredith watches her, the wayshe moves.
The cool floor feels better on myfeet.
Back off, okay? By being in here Ican keep working.
Meredith runs a finger through the dust on the table.
All right, I'll take the headboard out.
She puts on her shoes, no socks. Meredith goes over to thekitchen. Something she sees causes her to stop.
It's a can of clam sauce. I toldyou I wanted marinara. That wasless than two minutes ago.
You shouldn't be working if you'rethis fuzzy-headed.
Sanding is a no brainer. Honey-babe,I had a great afternoon. Listeningto the tunes, feeling the wood. Itwas so. normal. Here, feel this.
Meredith rubs her hand over the headboard, nods, "It's good." They rub it together, a nice moment.
Meredith exhales, looks a litle worried, puts the clam sauceaway. Suddenly from way offstage: LIGHTS SHIFT. Cam enters and she and Meredith take a seatin the plastic chairs again. This time Cam has her handwrapped in a dishtowel; blood is leaking through. She's in pain and worried about something. Meredith fumes.
. Different crowd here than at theoncology unit.
We should've pretended this was agunshot wound, they'd have gotten tome by now.
Then they both suddenly look in one direction and "see" aman who stumbles through.
. I can smell the liquor all theway over here. I thought windshieldswere shatterproof. Maybe he fell through a store window.
You can't do that kind of damage ina store window, you need velocity.
How does someone think it's okay todrive like that? . First off, I'm not like yourmom, drinking myself into oblivion. Second, the saw slipped out of myhand. It was an accident.
What was the SkilSaw saw doing outin the first place? It was just. out. I decided spurof the moment to put it away.
Isn't it used to cut large pieces ofwood? Cam enters and goes to the kitchen to continue making dinner,Meredith follows on her heels. Cam takes the towel off, herhand is now bandaged.
And just then, Cam accidentally drops a very large cookingpan with a LOUD CLANG. Cam bends over to pick it up -- andit slips out of her hand again. The jig is up. Meredith picks up the fallen pan, stunned.
I'd been working on the Richardsons'dining room chairs. That's why Iwas putting away the saw.
Except for the fact that I dropeverything and I can't think, damnit!! Finishing the Richardsons' order isnot where you need to put your energyright now.
Well, where SHOULD I put it?? WhatSHOULD I be doing? Giving up sugar? Meditating? Taking vitamins made ofgreen stuff?? What's gonna buy me a clean scannext month? And what about Bob? What should he have done? Well,once the plane's going down, it's alittle late, but before that. Ifhe'd done the right things, could hehave lived to see his baby?? Cam, I don't know Bob and I don'tcare about Bob. I said MAYBE. And it's not time foryou to go.
Gary enters, Meredith goes to the kitchen. Cam goes into ateenage flashback.
Like Mom did? We could get her abucket, in case she throws up again. And we should clean up the mess.
LIGHTS SHIFT. Cam goes to Meredith in the kitchen.
You're only half way through. It'slike taking antibiotics, you have todo the full course.
Cam reluctantly exits. LIGHTS SHIFT.
A few days later. Meredith is sorting through some brochuresand flyers. Hey, sweetie, you got away todaybefore I could grab you.
I stopped by I.U., to, ah, look at afew things.
Meredith tries to hide the stuff but realizes it's futile.
The university has a great benefitspackage. So, something bigger than a phonecall could handle? Cam called me, my headboard is done --and yes, big news. Sharon's secondscan came back clean.
Cam enters, looking tired and out of it.
Evie brought over some good news: Sharon's second scan cam back clean.
Evie smiles, tries not too look too smug.
A few weeks ago I was in getting myoil changed and he was saying toanother woman, 'Always get a secondopinion.' I woke up in the middleof the night and heard him again,clear as a bell.
She doesn't but that won't stop her.
I've practically had to drag her tochemo. If she needs follow-up, likeradiation or more chemo, I don'tknow if wild horses could.
Remember when I was dating Haroldand he tried to open that restaurant --a Caribbean restaurant in Mooresville --not that we don't need diversityhere in the land of white bread --but there went two years of my lifeand his when he didn't listen to me. I know, but on the other hand, Haroldhad to live his own life, even if -- -- Honey, you are a part of Cam'slife and on top of that, we all haveblind spots, that's why another setof eyes is -- Cam enters with the now-finished luxurious headboard. I just want to run my hands all overit.
Evie runs her hands sensuously over the wood, they all laugh.
God, it's gorgeous! You do amazingwork.
So what lucky fella gets to sharethis with you? Oh, I have a few candidates in mind.
It didn't take long at all. It makesa beautiful Thanksgiving gift. Yep. Dykes with healthy and heartyvegetarian casseroles.
Yes, the saving grace. Sometimes weescape the relatives and go out tothe car between dinner and pie timeand smoke a joint.
Is that the only time you have ajoint or do all those freshmen paperson Romeo and Juliet make you reachfor -- -- No, no. It's something Sharonand I used to do when we were younger. Now it's an old time's sake thing. And it.
Well, it smoothes some of the edgeswe have now.
No, really, what kind of stuff doyou two tangle over -- -- So what's your plan of actionafter you get your pathology report? A beat, Cam decides not to dog Evie with that line ofquestioning. Instead: Wait and see what it says. Not muchelse I can do.
I know from Sharon's case, you'vegot to get ahead of the curve. Readthe signs, tune in to your body -- Yes. The second scan came out fine,no shadow. It re-affirmed the realityI put out there: a clean bill ofhealth.
I did a power grid for one thing. Nine squares, three across, threedown and I put Sharon's name in thecenter. Then I put power totems inall the other boxes -- things I knewwould support her -- a picture ofher boyfriend, the name of herfavorite song, her favorite book. Isaid a prayer over the grid everymorning.
I stopped short of driving to a Navajo shrine but I'm not above that.
But everything you did was irrelevantbecause that first scan was probably someone else's.
You originally said that eatingorganic and cutting back on candywas irrelevant because that shadowon the scan meant cancer. Now yousay what they're doing is irrelevantbecause the scan belonged to someoneelse. You can't keep sayingeverything is irrelevant! I choose to believe I had a positiveimpact. Cam, if we'd gone with thatfirst scan, they would've sent Sharondown the chemo road again -- fornothing. And you know how hard thatroad is.
So, if you'd done a power grid forBob and Linda would Bob not havecrashed his plane? . There were a lot of factors withBob and Linda. . I've since found out that Bobhad some accidents earlier in hislife. A near-fatal car crash. Abike crash when he was vacationingin France. Maybe those were warningsigns and he wasn't paying attention.
Well, it's all water under the bridgenow.
Okay then. What kind of choices areyou making now? I told you, I'm waiting to see whatmy scan says! Cam, are you in the driver's seat orthe fear seat? Cam hoists the headboard up over her head like a superhero.
I'm taking this to your car. I'mputting it in the back seat.
Good luck. I've got you both in myprayers.
. the plastic chairs in the oncology waiting area. Camand Meredith sit down and anxiously await test results. Camstretches her hand with the cut on it.
Cam nods, then uses her hand as it's a talking lobster.
"We come in peace. From the LobsterNation." Maybe we'll both get clean scanstoday.
My hand healed pretty easily. Whycan't cancer heal that way? Maybe it can. Maybe we just don'tknow the key.
I feel good. The fuzziness ispassing. My stamina is coming back. Maybe those are good signs.
You're going to finish theRichardsons' table and chairs byChristmas, aren't you? Don't be mad. Thanks to them myinsurance is paid up through the endof the year.
I think it's your best yet. I likehow the ends curve under.
I kept running my hand over it. Where did you get that idea? Cam gestures to the heavens, the ethers.
Do you always trust you'll get designideas? The Richardsons recommended me tosomeone. A gay guy, named Klint. With a "K." He does and I know I can't get histable order done by his Christmasparty, so stop fishing. You're sobad at it.
I'm hoping for late January. If today's scan.
. I'm good. I have everything Ineed.
. The new Anne Tyler novel. Someof that muffin mix from the Homegrownrestaurant.
Now, c'mon, I want to do somethingreally nice.
We have to figure out what to getNiece Brooke and Nephew Andy.
C'mon, I want to get you a big ticketitem, give me a big, crazy dream.
Last year it was dump trucks, thisyear it's robots.
They're hard-wired to want that stuff,aren't they? . I was thinking of making Andy awooden chest to keep his toys in. God, I don't think I can finish itby Christmas.
There's always his birthday, that'snot til summer, right? Catherine Mary Vogel.? We havesome good news. Your tumors haveshrunk.
They stagger home, deliriously over the moon.
Oh -- Mona's husband must've leftit.
Hey -- here's that wine your sistersent from their trip to Napa Valley! Yeah! Meredith gets glasses, Cam uncorks the wine, pours a lot forMeredith and a sip for her.
You know what? I'd like to go on anice trip next summer.
Then I shall take you on one. Wherewould you like to go? . Oregon -- I've always wanted tosee Oregon.
The whole coast of Oregon! Greenforests, waves crashing on rocks --and Crater Lake, we have to see CraterLake! They laugh. They raise their glasses. The laughter is gone. Silence. They look at each other. Tears well up for bothof them.
They clink glasses and take a sip. Then Cam raises her glassagain.
They clink glasses and take another sip.
Dipped in fuckin' battery acid fromthe inside out.
And Evie kept trying to wave redflags. 'What's your gut say??' Well, it said I felt good. So there.
Don't be so hard on her. She's beenthrough a tough three years withSharon.
Yeah, but c'mon, Sharon's scan? Asimple mix-up in the lab. I don'tcare how many chants and grids andspells Evie did.
. So maybe it wasn't just the chemoand your kick-ass attitude.
And it's no more airy-fairy than yougetting a table design from.
She gestures to the heavens. Point taken.
What do you care, you don't believein it.
It's done its job, so let's move on. Are you going to keep going with thechemo to finish off the tumors? -- Ablation -- Radio FrequencyAblation.
Yeah. I liked how the doctor usedthe word 'kill.' Gonna burn thetumor and KILL it. Not shrink it. . You had good luck with the chemo. And the R.F.A. thing is a littleexperimental.
I can have good luck with the R.F.A.,too. Yeah, the woman in the waiting roomdid great with chemo, but the doctorsaid the chemo next time would bestronger -- plus harder on me. Andthe neuropathy and fog brain nearlydrove me nuts. Three tumors, three needle zaps. And a few days after each burn, I'llfeel fine. Cam, it's not like you're havingmoles removed. And may I add thedoctor said R.F.A allows patients to'aggressively continue chemotherapy.' C'mon, today's too good of a day tofight. I want to celebrate. Infact, you know what, I want to callJillian and Gary -- that's how goodI feel.
Gary! Cam! Yeah, long time! Hey,the Pacers are on fire, huh? Yeah, me, too. I've had some of mybiggest orders yet this year. She'sfine -- she's in the running forTeacher of the Year at her school,how about that? Yeah. Hey, we weregonna get Andy a robot for Christmasand I was gonna make him a big chestto put his toys in, how's that sound? Great, great. So we have to workout the timing for Santa to deliverthe goodies. The robot's no problembut I haven't started on the toy boxyet and, uh, I'm, uh, trying a newtreatment in December.
No, not a furniture sealant, a medicalthing. Ah, my immune system isdown. Oh, gosh, it's, I might aswell tell you, Gary, it's cancer. . No, no, uh, lung cancer. It's afreak accident non-smoker thing. But, thanks to chemo, my tumorsshrank, so we're jumpin' up and downover here. And like I said, I'mabout to start a second treatment,so by Christmas I should be feelin'pretty good and could get goin' onthe toy chest. Y'know, Gare, it's been real crazy,what's the Grateful Dead song? 'Whata long, strange trip,' trying tosort through everything, all thetreatments, and remember how brutalit was with Mom -- ah -- yeah, I canhear him in the background -- what'she doing? Can you put him on thephone? Well, yeah, don't let himtear up the sofa. Okay. Okay. Give him a hug for me. Tell JillianI said hi. Okay, bye.
Could he have gotten off the phoneany faster? 'That's awful. Andy, put that down!! Well. Good luck.' I'm sorry. Honey, don't let it throwyou. You got some good news today. We're celebrating. You call in thepizza order and I'll go pick it up. Okay? Okay? She exits. After a few beats, Cam, zombie-like, speed dialsa number.
Uh, yeah. a large pepperoni andmushroom. and a large salad, nogarbanzo beans. Uh, Meredith. Okay. Thanks.
LIGHTS SHIFT. Cam brings on cut pieces of wood. She triesto assemble them by bringing ends together to make a cornerbut things aren't going well.
Get off my friggin' back! This isnot friggin' bootcamp! I'm not oneof your EMPLOYEES you can orderaround! Cam looks up to where the basement door would be. She waitsa moment, the yelling is done, so she calls out: A beat, then Gary storms on, distracted.
'Pull your weight!' Jeeze, I go toschool, I'm a starter on thebasketball team, I'm in the chessclub and I'm building this friggin'chest.
Change the sheets or towels or somedamn thing.
No. What's the friggin' problemdown here?? Don't yell at me. The slats aren'tfitting together, we have to do thatmitre box thing. You promised to -- -- Hand me the wood that needs thecorners done.
You pick the angle you want and thenput the wood in here and the saw in -- -- Stop! You're going too fast. I'm not a math whiz.
Well, whatever it is, I'm not anexpert like YOU.
And I'm not an expert in taking careof sick people, so why am I gettingdragged into it? You put the piece of wood in here,you calculate the angle by turningthis. That's all there is to it. Mark the angle, cut, boom, you'redone. And I'm outta here.
Gary, wait, let me cut the firstpiece to make sure I -- Gary!! It's only a week tilChristmas, I gotta get this done andI don't want to just slap it togeth -- -- Look, I'm gone. If Dad asks youwhere I went, just say you don'tknow.
Meredith, now in a sweater, enters with her purse, grabs hercoat. Cam can't quite snap out of the flashback.
Hey. you okay? Cam? Cam? Honey,forget the call with Gary.
I. I don't know. focus on thegood news. We got good news. You'regonna be okay.
Meredith isn't sure how to answer that.
The chemo, maybe the grid. Honey,just go with it. . Okay. Maybe we're Wiley Coyoterunning off the cliff and there'snothing holding us up. But SOMEpeople have beaten cancer and whynot go with the idea that you'regonna be one of them. And you knowwhat, the alternative SUCKS. I'mgonna go get the pizza.
She exits. Cam stands there lost as ever. She looks aroundas if the answer is somewhere here. She sees the littlemodel chest made out of Popsicle sticks. She holds it again.,puts it down, sad. She goes to a wooden chair. rubs it.
then holds on tightly to it.
A well-built chair will never letyou down.
Look at that. Like everyone else Isay "God." Speak up. I need some help here! Ineed some input! Maybe I can get some of Andy's toychest done before Christmas. andwhatever god damn treatment I picknext.
Resolved, she puts back the little chest, pulls out a CD,puts it on the stereo. Christmas MUSIC PLAYS. She goesoff. a few beats. she comes back on carrying a SkilSaw.
She goes to the lumber of the half-finished "Mom" chest whichwill now serve as Andy's toy chest.
Let's see. maybe two and a halffeet by one and a half.? She plugs the SkilSaw in. hits the "on" button. nothing. Tries it a few times.
She unplugs it, tries a different plug, wiggles the cord,tries the "on" button again. and this time there's an ARCand SPARK and it knocks Cam on her ass.
The LIGHTS go eerie and bluish. Cam's no longer 100%conscious.
After a few beats, a man appears. This is BOB. He could beplayed by the same actor playing Gary. His clothes are torn,his face black and blue. he's barely holding it together. He looks at Cam for a few beats.
Uh, Bob, wait. I've got somequestions. What happened with theplane crash? Did you see it coming? Could you have prevented it? Uh, okay, forget the plane crash fora sec -- which treatment should I donext? Chemo, R.F.A., and then there'sthe nutrition angle -- like no sugar -- Well, chemo and the R.F.A. needlething -- they're both pretty good,right? Well, I don't believe in God, I don'tbelieve in miracles, I don't believein angels, I barely believe inscience! Tell Linda and Shawn hello. Tellthem I love them.
Wait, wait, what do I do? Wh-whatshould I have faith in?! Bob, COMEBACK!! BOB!!! He's gone. Cam collapses on the floor. The Christmas MUSICcomes back in: a simple, understated version of "Oh HolyNight" by Karan Casey from A Christmas Celtic Sojourn. LIGHTSFADE, MUSIC FADES. A few beats.
LIGHTS UP. It's now a short time later. Cam is sitting onthe couch or at the table still woozy, Meredith is holdingher hand, the pizza box and salad box sit unopened. Severalbeats, finally: Meredith gets her cell phone, speed dials someone. Then: . Hi, Evie. We're fine. Uh, I'llexplain why I'm asking this later,but remember Bob and Linda? What'stheir son's name? Okay. Thanks. Yeah, I'll explainlater, promise. Thanks. Bye.
In the dark: the sound of a BLENDER. LIGHTS COME UP on theliving room that now has some Christmas decorations added toit. Cam is in the kitchen tossing veggies into a blenderwith great delight.
Meredith enters from the bedroom, all dolled up. Cam shutsoff the blender.
Good enough to eat. Oh, wait, wedid that earlier.
I won't miss anything. You'll begetting tanked on spiked eggnog anddiscussing homeroom politics,MacBeth, Principal Ed. oh, wait,Principal Ed IS MacBeth.
My immune system will be ready torock by New Year's Eve, we'll bedancing on the roof.
Absolutely. I'm skipping the roofpart.
I'm gonna market this. 'Cam's Cancer-Fighting Concoction.' Meredith smiles and then passes by the dining room tableupon which sits a stack of wooden plaques.
They're square pieces of wood withshellac on 'em. 'Best Scarlet Letter Essay,' 'FunniestHalloween Story.' Think this'llhelp you cinch Teacher of the Year? C'mon, I do this every year. Thisis not a ploy or a campaign strategy.
You've been there eight years. You'dthink they'd have given it to you bynow.
They give it to. it's more politicsthan merit sometimes.
Do you fantasize doing your acceptancespeech? No. Except for the evil eye thatI'm shooting at Principal Ed.
'Meat and potatoes, we need to beteaching meat and potatoes, not froufrou stuff.' He throws that at meevery semester. When did literaturebecome frou frou? The stuff we getfrom The Grapes of Wrath or To Killa Mockingbird is hardly fr -- A KNOCK at the door, Cam answers it, it's Evie. She's alsodressed for the holiday party. and golly, she's alreadydowned a cocktail or two.
Say, Santa's been sippin' the eggnogalready.
You're the designated driver, it'smy turn to be the lush.
I just. it was a long day. nothorrible, just longish.
. It started this morning. andended about a half hour ago.
That sounds more long than "ish." I'm taking your car keys and leavingyou here with Cam and her tools oftorture.
Oh, there's Meredith's annual awards. "Most Likely to Dethrone MacBeth." I'd never come up with somethinglike this.
It's the Christmas season, Cam, let'shave Peace on Earth.
Well, not exactly. She wants tostop taking Tamoxifen as her follow-up. She hates the side effects. Ouraunt, her boyfriend, two cousins anda niece are backing her up. ThankGod I have a lot of cell phoneminutes.
She's got blind spots! She's notthinking clearly! She's in denial! Yeah, but if she doesn't believe ahundred percent that Tamoxifen isgonna help her then -- He's Bob. Not God. My R.F.A. thing'srisky, too, and so far so good.
Maybe Bob'll come visit Sharon. Orme.
I nearly got electrocuted in theprocess. I don't recommend it.
So-so. I've only talked to her oncesince I told her.
I don't know. All I know is I askedfor help.
That's probably a plus. It was freakyenough as it was.
Stop looking at me as if I'm special. I'm still stumbling through this.
Which I'm grateful for but don'tcompletely understand.
Don't yell at me 'cause you're madat Sharon! My gut said go with theR.F.A., so I did. I started eatingmore veggies -- -- 'cause when I couldn't sleep thatnight Bob stopped by, I turned onthe TV, and boom, I saw this doctorwho specializes in treating cancerpatients. She was talking about howloaded with micro-nutrients certainfoods like kale and cauliflower are.
Oh, crap, you were mad at me cause Iwouldn't listen to you, now you'remad at me anyway. Stop judging me. Stop judging Sharon.
YOU bring her into this -- and I AMrooting for her but why can't youlet her make her own decisions? What's eating at YOU? C'mon, Miss New Ager, Miss Get Aheadof the Curve & Read the Signs, putit on the line, what's going on withYOU? She's my little sister! I can't lether die! Our mama left and I was incharge and by God, she's not dyingon my watch! Silence. Cam nods she gets it. Several beats, then: O-kay. ah, I haven't had any adultbeverages yet, why don't I driveyour car to Fran's and then you'llbe sober for the drive home, soundgood? The two women exit. Cam looks longingly out the window atthem. Then she takes her drink and goes to work on theplaques. She looks up after a bit. Mighty lonely and quiet. She tosses a plaque aside and goes into a flashback.
LIGHTS SHIFT, as a teenager, Cam goes to the dimly litbasement and works on her mom's storage chest. 4 a.m., wow, I've never stayed upthis late before.
She's having trouble getting the pieces of wood to stay inplace so she can put the nails in.
I could use a third hand. Maybe Icould grow one. great project forbiology class.
I need a vice. Gary, why don't wehave a vice?! Uh, hi, Dad. Nothing. Really? I haven't looked at a clock. Makingsomething. No, it can't wait, it'sa Christmas present. It's Fridaynight, I don't HAVE to. I'M NOTGOING TO BED. I'M GOING TO FINISHTHIS! GO AWAY, I CAN DO IT MYSELF! The LIGHT upstairs GOES OUT. A few beats, Cam whispers inthe dark: Silence. She looks at the pieces of wood, in despair. Flashback ends, LIGHTS SHIFT. Cam comes back into thepresent. She goes to the window and looks out, still lonely. She looks at the plaques. her heart's not in it. She eyesher phone. temptation. she gives in and speed dials anumber.
Klint, hey, it's Cam. And to you aswell. I thought I'd confirm ourappointment: Monday, ten o'clock, Ihave some table designs to show you. Great, great. Well, I wanted tocatch you before you headed out 'causeI know you're the kind of guy whoheads out on a Saturday night.
Oh -- that's tonight? Oh, I'm justputtering at home. Meredith has herteachers' party.
Gosh, thanks, Klint, that's so sweet,I'd love to. What time? Perfect. All right, see you soon! LIGHTS FADE as "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" plays.
MUSIC OUT, a few beats in DARKNESS. Then LIGHTS UP. A fewdays later. Cam and Meredith sit in the plastic chairs. Meredith has changed clothes. Cam is having trouble breathingand occasionally holds her side, which prompts: . I should've put salt on the frontstoop. I noticed it when Evie and Iwent out.
You keep beating yourself up. It'swater, well, ice, under the bridge. A broken rib is a piddly-ass nothing. Let's focus on positive mojo for theR.F.A. results today. Okay? Then we're gonna go watch littlekids try and remember the words to'Away in a Manger.' Okay? I changed the windshield wipers onyour car, they were really old. It's supposed to rain and sleettonight.
Even though you're in pain. Whenare you going to get over the wholelone-wolf self-reliant thing? A BRIGHT LIGHT COMES ON in front of the women, startlingthem.
They stand up and lean in to look at a "scan." The black holes are where the tumorsused to be in your lungs.
The women quickly turn to face the voice again.
We looked more closely at your X-rayfrom a few days ago.
Yes. There are some irregularitiesin your ribs.
The BRIGHT LIGHT CUTS OUT. They go home.
Fuck, fuck, fuck. I thought I washome free! . I know the doctor mentionedfreezing the rib, but she was reallystressing chemo again. The tumorsreared their ugly little heads withoutthe chemo.
Okay, driver's seat, driver's seat. What do I believe in?? I believedin the R.F.A.! And it worked! Iplayed by the rules! They consider the lunacy of that concept.
Do you not believe in chemo? It didwork.
I'm just getting started on Klint'stable and then.
. He liked my table design so much he wants a dresser and a couple ofnight stands for his bedroom.
I knew you'd say something. Meredith,I can do it, plus those extra pieceswill pay a lot of my health insurancefor the second half of the year! When were you going to tell me aboutKlint's new order? I wanted it to be a surprise. I wasgonna tell you.
Jeeze, I was going to tell you onChristmas! You hear the siren call of your woodshop and then finesse everythingincluding your health to do the work.
If we weren't standing here talkingabout your rib tumors, I really doubtthat Klint's new order would've comeout until the dresser and end tableswere well under way.
I don't appreciate being called aliar.
Oh, thanks a million, Meredith! Andyou know what? You're missing theTwilight Zone good side to all this: They wouldn't have found the ribtumors without that X-ray, and Iwouldn't have had an X-ray withoutfalling on the ice out front.
Not any more than you doing a powergrid and taking credit for whatevergood that brought.
. Okay. So let's start with aclean slate: Anything else you'dlike to tell me, any other furnitureorders. health issues.? . I wasn't getting a CD out of mytruck that night. I fell comingback from Klint's Christmas party,which I went to spur of the momentthe same night as your teacher party. The lone-wolf was lonely. I had acouple of beers and before you knowit, Klint and I were yammering away, and then, boom, he placed the extraorder.
You went to a party and put yourimmune system at risk?? How dareyou! You're not the only one onthis slog through hell. Tell youwhat. You pick whichever fuckingtreatment you want! I don't care! Meredith exits to the bedroom, slamming a door if possible. Cam is crushed. After a few beats, she gets her cell phone,takes a few moments to muster her courage and then speeddials.
Get off the plane before it crashes.
Hi, Klint. Good, fine, it's comingalong. I've ordered the big piecefor the table top. Yeah, I've neverworked with Japanese Maple before,it's gonna be a real treat.
During the following, Meredith eventually comes to the doorwayto listen.
Uh, listen, I was being overlyoptimistic thinking I could get thetable done by mid-January. It'll bemore like mid-to-late February. No,nothing's wrong, I, I just have somestrained ribs that are taking timeto heal. No, I'm doing all the rightthings so healing is underway. Ah,yeah, the other order, I'm gonnaplay it by ear. Klint, I have tosee how the healing goes. I promise,I will get to -- no, I'm not workingon someone else's order. Klint,bear with me. Your furniture willget done and it'll be beautiful. Give me a little time. Okay. Okay. Bye.
I've put off Klint. I'll call thedoctor's office and have them set upthe napalm drip at their earliestconvenience.
. At the holiday party, Fran'shusband mentioned there's anunexpected opening in the ComparativeLit department at I.U. this comingsemester. The woman's having a rockypregnancy. Her doctor just told herrecently to do bed rest. Is it full time? Does it havedomestic partner benefits? Well, if you don't get the benefitsfor being a part-timer, what's thepoint? It's a foot in the door. Then Icould go for a full-time position. Why not wait and see if the nextround of chemo works? We won't know that for months. Thisjob opening is now.
Cam hesitates, doesn't follow her. Instead she lights someChristmas candles, stares at them for several moments. Meredith re-enters, wearing a nice sweater. She gets hercoat.
If you can go to Klint's party, youcan go hear six-year-olds sing 'Awayin a Manger.' . I feel like a hypocrite. I don'tgo to church the rest of the year. That hasn't stopped you before onChristmas Eve.
. This year I'll look like I'mtrying to curry favor, get in goodso I'll get some good health inreturn.
What if God is bigger than that? The lung tumors are gone. Let's go give thanks for that.
Why do we have to say thank you in achurch? We don't. But I want to. Let's gofeel we're part of something bigger. Something grander.
Meredith blows out the candles, exits out the front door.
Flashback, as a teenager, Cam enters with a Polaroid picture. She pauses, looks anxious.
Nervously Cam comes into her Mom's hospital room.
Hey, Mom. Merry Christmas. It'sgonna snow tonight, eight inchesthey said.
Good for my shoveling business. Uh,I made something for you. Dadwouldn't let me bring it so weborrowed a Polaroid camera from theMillers and I took a picture.
Can you see it? It's a chest, likeGrandma has -- well, not as big, butit'll still hold a lot.
Thanks. Not completely, Gary helpedme. I finished it on my own, though.
. The cops found him in OklahomaCity. He called Uncle Herb's andasked for Kevin. Uncle Herb figuredout who it was and called the cops. Gary had told Kevin he was at aMcDonald's and the cops found himthere.
When can you come home? I hate Dad'scooking. She exits. Meredith enters and sits in a plastic chair.
Bill and Fran mentioned you do asuper job of engaging the students.
Well, Fran's great, too, and allthree of us collaborated on a fundraising project last year forunderprivileged kids.
Hearts for Arts, I went to that --you should be proud.
I don't see Comp Lit on your resume.
I looked at the syllabus for theclass and I've actually taught a fewof the books that are required readingin it and I'm familiar with the rest.
That's great. I, uh, noticed youdon't have your Masters.
I have a few classes towards it andI've already picked out what I wantto take this summer.
My life's a little full right now. Summer will be much better.
Wonderful. Well, let us know whenyou've got that degree in hand.
Meredith leaves the "office" and goes home. Cam has crawledonto the couch.
Meredith gets Cam a blanket and tucks her in, then goes tograde papers at the table.
Meredith gets up, turns the lights down, sits back down.
Meredith gets up, brings an iPod to Cam.
Meredith tries to fit the ear buds in for Cam but Cam can'tget comfortable.
Meredith doesn't know what to do except for perhaps weep.
Meredith is torn between helping Cam walk and running forthe bucket. She goes for helping Cam.
Cam gets to the kitchen but misses the bucket and throws upon the floor.
Meredith grabs paper towels, mops up. Cam stands therelooking forlorn. Cam tries to get a drink of water, Meredithstarts to help her.
Cam drops the plastic cup or water bottle.
Meredith picks it up, hands it to her, Cam drops it again,Meredith picks it up and throws it in the sink hard: CRASH.
A beat. Meredith puts the cup or bottle in Cam's hands andhelps her take a few sips. They put the cup down together.
She toddles off, Meredith walks behind her to make sure shedoesn't fall. LIGHTS SHIFT.
It's now late afternoon several days later. Evie takes downChristmas decorations and hangs up a "Welcome Home, Cam"banner. Meredith enters.
She turns and sees Cam isn't with Meredith.
. They wouldn't let me bring herhome. She has no white blood cells.
Well, I also brought dinner that youcan still enjoy: Chinese chickensalad and chocolate cake from theUptown Cafe.
Not throwing up as much. And withthe I.V., she's not dehydrated now.
It worked before. That's notpressure. That's playing the odds. You aren't personally responsiblefor the side effects.
What if I mess this up, what if Italk her into or out of something --and I'm wrong? Meredith, you don't have that kindof power.
But you've had such amazing successwith your sister -- and I'm not sayingit's in your hands alone -- -- It's not, Meredith. I'm a verysmall piece of it.
I don't know. She's not speaking tome at the moment.
Now that she's off Tamoxifen, shewants to drive the car all by herself. And now she can run it into the ditch.
Maybe. Our aunt had dinner withher. She said something was fishy.
Well, that's going to be tough sinceshe won't return my calls. Maybe your aunt can get through toher.
I was the one sweating the details. I did all the research, I collaredthe doctors and nurses in the hallway. Yeah, I can pray and pray and ifSharon chooses to skip her treatmentor work 22 hours a day, well, then,why bother?! Silence. Meredith nods, then considers long and hard beforeshe shares this story: . When I was in college I got acall from my sister Melissa, who wasstill at home. Our mom had gone ona bender and fallen and cracked herhead open. The latest in five millioncrises. I always went back. Thistime. I figured, why bother. Shedied from that head injury.
Meredith shakes her head no. They stare at each other and contemplate the ramifications of coming to that moment intheir lives. Finally: Evie nods, exits. A few beats, then LIGHTS SHIFT.
Cam slowly enters, takes off layers, looks around.
She brought it last week. It's herpeace offering from when you twowent at it a few weeks ago.
You just got home, you need to rest.
I won't rest if I think you'reworried, so.
I don't want to talk about it. Ineed to grade essays, I'm so behind.
They're giving her just a few weeksto live.
Mere, I'm not Sharon. I'm not Bobcrashing his plane. I did chemo --twice -- I did the R.F.A., I'm gonnado the rib freeze, I changed my diet,I've done acupuncture.
This doesn't penetrate Meredith's fatalistic outlook in theleast.
See. Right here, right now. Huh,my name goes in the center -- right? And then, number one support --Meredith -- put her there, top a thechart. Then.
She writes that in. And what started out as a semi-flipexercise has turned serious.
Miss you. Love you. Wish you werehere.
Music. Gotta have tunes. Rememberdriving back from that trip to Utah --what we played til the grooves woredown? Live from Madison Square Garden. 'My Love Will Not Let You Down.' Okay. My furniture. Think I can get the dining room table on one of thesesquares? She's got her sense of humor back,folks.
Cam looks around at the knick knacks scattered around theirhome.
It's from so long ago. It doesn'treally count.
Well, I think it's adorable, Popsiclesticks and all.
I'm just gonna write in "woodworking,"that can stand for all of the stuffI've made. Oh -- and my runninggroup.
Judy. Jo. Gena. Oh -- I couldadd your sister and her family,they've always been great. Most of the same things. I put NephewAndy on there.
Gotta get going on your toy chest,buddy.
. You know, it's kind've funny,but without Gary, there's no Andy. And I know Gary's not Mr. Supportivebut without him having taught youwoodworking, would you be who youare today? LIGHTS SHIFT, Cam goes into a flashback.
Gary, who is now more clamped down and edgy, is looking atthe chest Cam made for their mom.
He shrugs that off as if it was nothing.
It doesn't even have brass hingeslike you promised.
Uh, listen, I know I didn't get youany presents but since I'm going offto Northwestern next fall, I'm nottaking my tools with me to the dorm. You can have 'em.
He wants to say something else but can't quite humble himselfenough for a mea culpa. instead: LIGHTS SHIFT. Cam comes back into the present, back to thetable, still distraught.
. Sweetie, it's your grid. Youput anything or anyone you want onthere. How 'bout I rustle us up somethingeasy for dinner? Meredith angles for the kitchen, Cam stares at the grid forseveral moments, then finally puts the pen down, undecided. As a distraction, she rifles through today's mail and findssomething interesting, opens it. She's stunned.
Look at this. From my running group:a gift certificate for Judy's acupuncturist.
Meredith comes over, reads a card plus a gift certificate.
Five hundred dollars. You run witha good crowd. Cam, did you see, there are two ofthese in here.
Eventually they both find themselves staring at the grid.
. Are you going to say it doesn'tcount since they mailed it yesterday? Cam exits. Meredith straightens up the table and finds anunopened official-looking letter. Uh oh. She takes a deepbreath and then opens it. Reads it. Looks horrified.
Meredith hustles over to a plastic chair.
Ah, yes, at Bloomington North. Sixbefore that in Indianapolis.
So you've never had an administrativejob before? No, but I set up a Hearts for ArtsProgram, to help under-privilegedkids. It was a lot of administrativework. I've also spent a lot of timeguiding students and this seems likean extension of that.
Well, this isn't counseling. It'slining up seminars, programs,training, staying in contact withdifferent employers from all overthe Midwest. It's about paperwork,details, follow-through.
Yes, I-I knew that. I just meant.
it's all connected. helpingstudents. I'll get you our start-upplan from Hearts for Arts.
I need a new challenge. It's timefor a change.
I'm sure I would at first. But Idon't want to be one of those teachersthat doesn't know when to exit.
You seem fairly young, I can't imagineyou've overstayed your welcomealready.
Okay, well, we have a website whereyou can download the applicationform. Candidates need to submit itby March 30th.
This job has the same benefits asfaculty positions, yes? Meredith stands, looks as if she has the weight of the worldon her shoulders, exits and heads for home. LIGHTS SHIFT.
Associate Director at I.U.'s CareerCenter. I'd be making sure programsare up and running and serving thestudents.
. I found your new power grid. For Teacher of the Year. I saw iton your desk when I was putting aphone message there. I didn't meanto pry.
Cam, that letter from the insurancecompany. Your rates are going up by35 percent! Fuck the insurance company -- youshouldn't have to give up your job! Cam picks up the insurance letter from the table and throwsit.
Nothing. Just threw too hard. Iworked on Klint's table yesterday,my back muscles aren't used to gettinga workout.
How do you know I.U.'s insurancecompany won't deny me coverage? Ihave a pre-existing condition. It's possible. But so is you notearning enough to pay your insuranceand hospital bills. I've got to atleast try to -- -- Why don't we see if the chemo andrib freeze work before you changejobs? I can't wait. The Career Center wants the person to start in May.
What about our trip to Oregon to seeCrater Lake in July?? I know, honey, I thought about that. And I want to go more than you know. I was thinking we could postpone ittil next summer -- -- No, I'd have to change the planeand hotel reservations. This was myChristmas present to you! Meredith nods, her heart in her throat.
Don't you think the chemo and therib freeze will work?? A tiny beat of hesitation from Meredith, which speaks volumes. Nevertheless, she says: I'm sure they will help. But thecancer has been a moving target.
Well, okay if not chemo and freezing,then look at what just came in themail. Your sister and her familysent a care package! Monty Pythonmovies from Alan, a goofy book ofriddles from Brooke, and a packet ofbasil seeds from Melissa -- and Iwas assigned a great new massagetherapist today -- her name's Helen --that was my mom's name -- so twomore squares on the grid -- the gridis working! I have faith. It's just not blindfaith. I don't want to be devastatedfinancially if you can't do yourjob. Don't take this as me notbelieving in you.
LIGHTS SHIFT as Cam leads her over to the plastic chairs. She pulls one out for Meredith, angling it so it'll be facingher chair. Then she takes a seat and begins her wooing.
Deepest lake in the entire U.S. Practically the clearest water anywhere in the world. And we'regonna do the whole scenic drive --33 miles and 20 overlooks. Smellthat pine air -- it's gonna takeyour breath away. Huh? A glass of Chardonnay and a cranberryjuice, thanks.
What if you need some kind oftreatment this summer, like radiation? Let me tell you about Crater LakeLodge. It's been completelyrefurbished, and as you walk intothe Great Hall: Craftsman style oakfurniture, big stone fireplaces,bark on the columns, high ceilingswith wood beams. The lodge sits ona thousand foot cliff above the lake,which we'll able to see as we'redining on fresh grilled trout drippingin sweet butter.
Road trip. God. Yes. Okay. I'mthere. I so need this.
They kiss. The unseen waiter comes back.
What are your specials this evening? We were hoping for that wild mushroomravioli.
The rib tumors have shrunk. buthow long has your back been in pain? We really should take a look at yourvertebrae.
The women head for home. LIGHTS SHIFT.
You need to get a scan of your spinenow.
I need to get ahead of the curve. Remember Sharon's first scan, theone that turned out to be wrong. I'm skipping that step and goingdirectly to them saying I havestrained back muscles and NOT that Ihave cancer in my vertebrae.
Meredith can only look at her in shock.
She gets her cell phone, speed dials a number.
Hey, Klint, how's it going? Good. Yes, the table and chairs, almostdone, looking very classy. I'mthinking a couple of weeks. Look, Istill have a rib issue and healingneeds to be on the front burner. So, I need to cancel your secondorder. Okay. Very good. Thankyou. Bye. Meredith looks pretty stunned. BLACKOUT. A few beats.
LIGHTS UP on their home. A few days later. Cam's cuttingout magazine and comic book pictures. Meredith enters, nowin a black blazer. She's tense as she looks around forsomething.
. I found these cool robot comicbooks. I think Andy'll get a kickout of 'em.
You're cutting them up -- not givinghim the whole comic book? Gonna decorate his toy chest withthem. When, y'know, I eventuallyhave the strength to build it. Fornow -- She snips the air with the scissors.
No, frankly, the clock's ticking andI can't find my reading glasses.
You could buy some more. Cheap onesat the drugstore.
I need my winter coat. It's supposedto sleet later. Why can't springjust COME. It's cold, it's hot,it's sunny, it's snowing.
She has her coat, continues hunting for the glasses, isthrowing things like pillows and books thither and yon.
Honey, what in the world do you needto read at the funeral?! I need to read the directions! Afterwe leave Southport we're going to East Bumfuck where the cemetery is.
Cam gets up and grabs Meredith by the shoulders.
I talked to a woman up at the Mayoclinic who had the hot melt gluething done on her vertebrae. Shecan barely walk now.
When are you getting the scan of your back? The longer you wait, themore the cancer can spread! I'll make a decision tonight. Ijust. I.
Give Evie my best. Tell her. tellher thank you. And I mean it.
Meredith exits. Cam looks unsteady. She calls to theheavens.
Bob, God, whoever is listening, Ineed some help here. Got some bigdecisions to make! A few beats, she marches to the dining room table, picks upthe scissors as if to attack something. She glances down. Sees the grid. Picks it up.
LIGHTS SHIFT as Meredith enters with her purse, holding aroad map and directions. She's angling for the plasticchairs. Evie enters, also in a winter coat, maybe with anumbrella. Of course. Didn't see you followingme.
At my mother's funeral, it was 25below. I don't know how they dugthe earth, it was so frozen. . Cam sends her best. She said totell you thanks.
Evie doesn't know that to say to that.
She's really in the driver's seatnow. You inspired her to do that.
In the middle of the rib freeze rightnow. She let go of a work order soshe can concentrate on healing. I'm. I'm so proud of her.
Going back to Southport for the familygathering and the casseroles? I need a break. They don'tunderstand.
. Want to come with me? I'm takingthe scenic route home.
Remember the teachers' retreat wewent to, Fran had it at her uncle'sfarm near Anderson? Mounds State Park is practicallynext door. Native Americans used tolive there. Fran would findarrowheads in the cornfields whenshe was a kid. She pointed to a sacred mound at theedge of the property. She went outthere when Bill had that melanomascare.
. I don't know. But I'm going todo something. And then. that'sit.
A beat. Evie comes over to join her and they both sit inthe plastic chairs as a "car." Meredith hands her the mapand directions.
You get to be navigator. I don'thave my glasses.
Evie unfolds the map and looks at the directions, Meredithmimes starting the car and pulling out. SOUND OF RAIN starts.
LIGHTS SHIFT to Cam, stewing, pacing, snipping the air withscissors.
She paces some more, and then finally in frustration, tossesthe scissors high in the air, letting them land hard on thetable. She blinks. That triggers a memory for her. Flashback. Gary enters, wearing black pants, a dress shirtand a funky tie.
We're leaving in a couple of minutes. You're not going dressed like that,are you? Gary rolls his eyes. Then he notices the wooden chest. Oh, please. Don't suck up just toget me to go to the funeral.
The corners are shitty 'cause youdidn't use the mitre box but otherthan that.
It's a good chest and it's the firstthing you've ever made.
Well, it doesn't matter 'cause itwas a complete waste of time.
No, it wasn't. You didn't know howthings were gonna turn out -- -- Oh, sure, like everything wasgonna be -- -- You didn't know. You did things'cause you wanted to -- it was theright thing to do -- No. It. Wasn't. I didn't place atthe Soap Box Derby, all I knew wasthat I wanted to make a car. Andyou know what? I ended up putting abunch of stuff in my collegeapplication essays like how I madethat car -- and I ended up gettingin to Northwestern.
Cam makes a sound like she's blowing him off. Gary grabs ahammer from the toolbox and takes one big swing at the chestCam made for her mother, SMASHING it. Cam looks as if she'sbeen shot. Cam doesn't know whether to cry or hit him.
LIGHTS SHIFT to the "car," Meredith mimes pulling over. Sound of POUNDING RAIN. She and Evie look out the window.
Kinda like life. Get to be 35, 40,45, drive all that way. and whereare you? Well, we're here. We could prayright here. Right on the highway. We don't need a holy site. We don'tneed some place special. How aboutthat? Meredith closes her eyes, Evie does, too.
Please let Cam heal. In whateverway she needs to. I've done all Ican and I'm turning it over towhatever sacred energy is around us. Please help her.
Please guide me to make the rightdecision about my job.
Please watch over Sharon's spirit onthe next leg of her journey. Pleasewatch over Evie and let her know shedid the best she could and she'sprofoundly changed my life and Cam's. Thank you.
Eyes open, they hug. A few beats, then Evie exits as theLIGHTS SHIFT to Cam.
The present, Cam goes back to the dining room table, gets apen and writes on the grid.
Dear Andy: Happy birthday from yourAunt Cam. This chest is to holdwhatever treasures you have.
She gets up, leaves pen and paper behind and walks downstageas she continues reciting the letter.
Your dad helped me with a chestkind've like this when we were kids.
He taught me a lot about woodworking. He gave me my first set of tools. He showed me how to use the mitrebox. I started my very own companybecause of him. He taught me to payattention to the details. to giveeverything my best shot. and thathow I craft things actually matters.
She stops. Cam's now standing next to Meredith, who's stillsitting in her "car." After a moment, Cam sits next to her.
They sit quietly looking forward. We don't know where theyare. Back at the oncology ward? The great beyond? A WHITELIGHT shines in front of them.
Meredith reaches in her big purse and pulls out a thermos. She pours coffee into the thermos's cup-lid; Cam takes thefirst turn drinking it, then hands it back to Meredith. TheLIGHT has been subtly shifting from the white to now pink.
. I can't believe I'm up this earlyon vacation.
. I can't believe the Career Centergave you an advance on your vacationtime so we could do this. They're Good People. And the Directoris so much more fun to work withthan Ed. Who knew? Farewell Jane Eyre, fuck you PrincipalEd.
He did give you Teacher of the Year.
He handed me the plaque. Thecommittee gave the award.
Meredith smiles broadly, takes a drink.
Do you have the map? I want to checkout the scenic route to Mt. Hood.
Cam digs. and pulls out. two maps, one of which is foldedopen. She looks at it.
. A little side trip I took withEvie.
A sacred Indian site on a farm nearthere.
A healing site. Fran had told meabout it. It was pouring rain whenEvie and I got there and just as wewere about to leave. it stopped. So we got out -- in our dress shoesand slogged our way to the sacredmound. We laughed ourselves silly. Boy, we both needed that. Then Ipicked up some dirt there. Well,mud.
She grins, Cam stares at her, amazed.
. Your vertebrae are fine. Youmust have strained your back muscles.
I thought it was the grid. And meadding Gary's name. I brought some back in a bag. Andput it on your garden.
. Well, no wonder the basil grewso tall.
They smile. The sun is rising now, the light is GOLDEN andGLOWING.
It's not always perfect weather here. The guy at the visitors' center saidsometimes there are big clouds andthe lake looks ominous or it's coveredin fog.
I wonder if you can see all the wayto the bottom.
We could get out of the car and see.
In a bit -- maybe the sun'll warmthings up.
A beat, as the SUN RISES and they look at the magnificentview: Mile one. Thirty-two to go. Nineteenmore overlooks.
They hold hands. LIGHTS BRIGHTEN. First we hear John Hiatt's"Have a Little Faith in Me." (For the curtain call, we get Bruce Springsteen doing "MyLove Will Not Let You Down.")

Source: http://laplaywrights.org/pdf/excerpts/Handcrafted%20Healing%20March%205%202013.pdf

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