Heart of Clouds
EXT. BEACH. DRIFTWOOD HUT. AFTERNOON
Devlin Underwood is seen combing the beach looking for a shell. He finds the perfect abalone wedged in the rocks to leave for Teenie, hoping she will come back. He scoops a tiny hollow in the sand, and places her origami bird inside, as if it is swimming in a sea of beauty.
Maybe she’ll be back.
EXT. VILLAGE. AFTERNOON (Fall light, golden)
Teenie is seen walking home through the village, back to the dismal apartment. She passes ripening apples, the turning leaves of sycamores, passes Mr. Honeygarden’s old Victorian house and sees all the ripening apples hanging like jewels from the trees. She wants to cheer her mother up, by making a pie.
INT. APARTMENT KITCHEN. TEENIES.
Teenie enters through a rickety kitchen door.
Mom remember that pie I made one time?
Christina Alexander answers wanly from her tired perch in the living room, soaked in blue grey light. She hasn’t moved all day.
Can I make another one someday?
Mr. Honeygarten’s garden has lots of apples, Mom. Maybe I could help him pick some.
Okay, but you be careful if you go up on the ladder.
Mr. Honeygarten is a very old man that lives at the end of a lane in a Victorian surrounded by ancient apple trees he planted. Tumbling roses line his picket fence. Teenie knows him as a friend in passing, as he always gives her little bunches of flowers from his tangled garden. His has a formality that dates from the early 1900’s, style is antiques from that period. He is a father figure, filling in for her absentee father. *Importance of character is here.
I could ask him, Mom, tomorrow
We could share the pie with him
No, Teenie, I don’t feel like having him over
(sighs, audibly in frustration, voice trails off)
INT. DEVLIN’S GRANPARENTS HOUSE. KITCHEN (glossy warm beautiful light, golden)
Devlin’s grandmother is bustling about the warm kitchen fixing Dev’s favorite dinner. The kitchen is large, very old fashioned in a Craftsman type atmosphere, full of pots and pans and pottery vessels. Think stained glass warmth in the design, houseplants. Devlin’s grandparents are 1971 era grandparents, not hippies, just the warmth of the era. Stricken with grief over the loss of their daughter in law, and for their son and his child, they are determined to help the boy in this time of great loss. Making his favorite meal, barbecued chicken and baked beans with cornbread and a big salad. His grandmother has made a giant chocolate cake. The salad greens are from Devlin’s grandfather’s garden. Naturalism and simplicity.
*Importance of characters Grandma and Grandpa Jess is here
What did you do today, son?
Worked on the hut.
How’s it coming along?
Your dad called.
He wondered how you were getting along.
Tell him I’m fine, Grandpa.
Are you Devlin?
I miss mom a lot.
I know you do, son.
JESS pulls an old ukulele out from a pine hutch and begins to strum it. He hands it to Devlin.
I found this old thing out in the garage. It was mine when I was a boy.
You played that?
(his eyes are twinkling and smiling)
I think that’s how I won your grandmother’s heart. That, or my old harmonica.
(peals of rich laughter float from her)
I really don’t think you need to give that boy any ideas, Jess.
JESS hands DEVLIN an old HOHNER harmonica, as he smiles at his wife. DEVLIN blows into it, but it just squeaks a little.
(smiles warmly at her grandson)
Practice makes perfect, Devlin. Practice makes perfect, and we all know that. The two of you ought to have supper now.
The old oval pine dining table groans with the largesse of the dinner, and we see the centerpiece made of pumpkins and russet fall leaves, as they move to light the candles, Devlin smiles.
No reason every day can’t be a celebration, Devlin
INT. BATHROOM. TEENIE’S APARTMENT (cool grey light)
Teenie washes face and brushes teeth before the mirror, looks at herself, on the cusp of fourteen wondering if she is pretty. She tries different hairstyles, getting ready to ask Mr. Honeygarten for the apples. Her mother comes by the opened door, and sees Teenie applying a little tube of lip gloss.
Don’t be vain, Teenie. Pretty is as pretty does.
Teenie’s face falls, from smile to sadness. Her mother had given her the lipgloss not long before. Other girls at school discuss prettiness at bathroom mirrors. She had wanted to be like them. We see her choosing what to wear, baggy faded jeans and a sweater from her closet. Her mother returns to her perch on the couch in from of the TV.
Bye Mom. I’ll be back with the apples, and then we can do the pie.
Teenie rides a bike through the village, a rusty fat tire girl’s bike with a basket. She is heading back to the beach and the sea hut. She parks it and walks down to a brilliant morning full of fresh seaweed. A seal bobs and drifts in the waves barking at her, the driftwood hut in the distance. Teenie falls to her knees in the sand at the sight of her origami bird inside the abalone shell, wondering who might have done that. Devlin is standing watching her high on a dune, and she sees him, the wind ruffling his sandy curls. She calls out to him, but he bolts. Teenie holds the shell to the sunlight, like a brilliant jewel.
(whispering to herself)
He must have done this. he must have left this here for me.