Adaptation of my book Heart of Clouds for film.
Heart of Clouds
by Adrienne D. Wilson
(for Walter Halsey Davis, of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference)
*page 55 – Chapter “Fog Banks”
EXT. MORNING, CREEKBED/BEACH. FOGGY LIGHT
Teenie wanders down the creek edges, a secret path to the beach, plucking Nasturtiums, that she tucks into the breast pocket of her jacket, like bright suns. Excited to see what Devlin has done, but shy. The fog is so thick she worries she won’t be able to find the driftwood hut.
(softly, into the mist)
I wonder what he did after he read my note. What if I can’t find it? What if it got washed away?
Teenie makes her way down the beach over the rocks, keeping to the edges of the cliffs, high tide. Excited she finds the hut, climbs inside, sees the two feathers Devlin left, and his note peeking out from under the stacked stones. She pauses staring at it, before opening. Unfolds, marveling at his handwriting.
This is his handwriting, so different from mine
His name is Devlin
Devlin your Mom died
*establishing sound for Devlin
(pondering how difficult life must be for him, having lost his mother)
(lets out a long sigh)
Devlin your Mom died. You must be so sad. Maybe that’s why you didn’t say anything the other day. Maybe you were too sad to talk or something. I can’t believe you are my age
(embarrassed he had seen her crying)
A gull lands on the top of the seahut, screeching loudly
*gull and wave sounds
I’m totally embarrassed you saw me crying Devlin
(rubs her hands together and blows on them to warm up)
You left me a magic feather
Teenie lies down on the sand in the hut, cups her face, thinks about what she will write next.
INT. DEVLIN. BEDROOM. MORNING. Foggy light.
Devlin wakes to the sound of a crow’s harsh calling, just outside his window.
Hello crow, what are you up to?
(tips head and looks at Devlin seeming to say)
Nothing. Nothing at all.
Devlin remembers Teenie’s notes in his pillowcase, and decides to move them to a box he keeps talismans in. He hides the box in the back of his dresser.
(his voice floats up the stairs)
Devlin are you awake son? Come on down we’ve got pancakes this morning
Here I come. Just give me maybe five minutes
I’m filling in for Grandma. She’s going to town with some of those Ladies Society friends of hers. I’m never sure what they have in mind on their jaunts but more than likely she’ll be gone all day, so it’s just you and me Dev.
INT. KITCHEN. GRANDPA JESS HOUSE (Warm golden light)
Grandpa Jess is cooking stacks of pancakes in the golden light and close in on drizzle of maple syrup and butter on stacks of them. He flourishes the spatula, grinning to himself about the day he has planned for Devlin and himself.
Isn’t this a swell little spatula?
Breakfasts for pioneers, my boy
(secretly thinking about seeing Teenie again)
Grandpa do you mind if I go to the beach today?
(carries two mountainous plates of steaming pancakes to dining room table)
Eat up now
(fiddles with his pancakes)
Well Devlin, I thought we could spend the day together what with your Grandma gone and all
(lost in thoughts about what he would rather do, head to beach)
It seems like you spend every minute down on that beach, son. I thought we might take the truck up into the hills, get out of this fog. It’s warm in the backcountry and besides I wanted to show you something special
(heart not really in it)
Okay Grandpa. When are we going?
Right after you finish those pancakes, son
*establishing Devlin as a young teen, in a warm Family System who will do anything to try and help him – but expressing true feelings not okay, Devlin feels he can’t really talk, as with Teenie he can, in the little letters they have left for each other – (not okay for boys to cry)
INT. DRIFTWOOD HUT. BEACH (sun, breaking through fog)
Teenie has been in the hut, trying to think of a way to answer Devlin. She begins to write to him, close in on her hand writing this long letter:
I really think you have a cool name. I don’t think I ever met anyone with that name before.
You said I was a sad girl, but I’m not all the time. You know how you said your mom died? Well that day you saw me crying it was because of my dad.
He’s gone away and I really, really miss him.
So I guess, like, I can understand a little bit about how you feel.
Sometimes, I just feel really alone since he’s been gone and most of the time it’s really hard to talk to my mom. She is just always watching TV and she always talks about the Wave and the extinctions and about tuna fish sandwiches she used to eat when she was little and stuff and about how people have ruined the planet and there aren’t going to be any more fish in the sea and stuff like that.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for that feather and for this beautiful shell because that was like a totally bad day for me.
Remember that day I saw you running up the dunes? I wanted to say “hi” but then you were just gone.
Bye, Teenie Alexander
Teenie sighs at the close of the writing, feeling as if the words just poured out of her. She hunts down the beach until she finds a turret shell, to weight the note down. As she leaves, she whispers on the wind, close in on her face
Bye, Devlin. I’m glad I met you.
*to page 61, in the novel Heart of Clouds
*establishing the kids can communicate through written word and by hand, also teen years of breakaway into puberty, innocence.