Over the past several days, I’ve found myself caught in several moments of cinematic irony or perfection, so much so that I keep waiting for someone to step out from behind the door or around the hall and tell me my scene’s over. I have to stop looking upwards to see the fuzzy grey mic’s suspended just out of the camera’s range.
Act 1, Scene 1
Alex came to pick me up, like the good sister she is, on Tuesday. Spent the night and hung out with my crazy friends for a bit after we traversed Chinatown in the cold looking for stocking stuffers. We bought mom an anchor-shaped cookie ornament, in keeping with the eternal nautical theme of the past 4 years; long live the Mariners’ Museum. Good times.
We hauled ourselves out of bed bright and early, and made the prerequisite stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast. As we walk in the door, cameras are rolling…
…Three cops in uniform with large midsections tease the ‘new guy,’ clad in tight fitting pants and long-underwear shirt which accentuates formidable arm muscles and pecs. All of the law enforcement officers order donuts while relating the ocurrences of the past night’s watch and intra-bureau gossip. Seasoned veterans indulge new pretty boy, brush powdered sugar off of their jackets, then pile into separate cars and head their own way down Lancaster Ave…
…cut to Scene 2
A pair of freckled blonde sisters on a road trip, racing through cold Thanksgiving air down country highways to meet the family. They catch up on the few months that they’ve been apart, interspersed with peals of laughter resulting from witty anecdotes of familial idiosyncracies. The younger one drifts off to sleep as Bonnie Raitt sings, the warm sun from the window too soporific for her to maintain consciousness.
Fade to black.
Family together at last, montage of 4 separate discussions of turkey cooking times, temperatures, and recipes. Reminiscence of Thanksgivings past….
Mom: Wasn’t that when he was on the 10,000 calorie diet for swimming?
Sibling: I read that women need a minimum of 1800 calories to stay alive.
Mom: Well, Weight Watchers had us on 1000 a day, and you lost weight.
Sibling: Yeah, and how well did that work?
Mom: it worked fine, but…you get kind of hungry with only 1000 calories a day.
Family Friend: [aside, with a knowing smile] She has the gift, doesn’t she?
Oh, for the gift of the obvious…cut to last dinner with group:
Dripping wet and disheveled, the sisters burst in the screen door with shopping bags and Spanish rioja. Dinner preparations begin, butter melted for garlic bread and pasta sauce bubbing happily on the stove while the assembled crowd breaks into small family groups enjoying a glass of wine before dinner. Three hours later, dinner finished, the “kids” (21-27) curled up on couches chatting, parents long gone to bed. Fade to black; End Act 1, ‘Thanksgiving.’
Act 2, Scene 1
A early winter night in Phildadelphia, bare hands hold chilled gloved ones tight strolling through Rittenhouse square on the way to the movies. Colored light spheres dangle from leafless trees, brightly lit traffic whizzes by on all 4 sides of the square and every once in a while a gust of wind comes by to stir up leaves on the sidewalks or dislodge her scarf.
cut to Scene 2
Animatedly discussing the movie, the pair enters the warm, crowded bakery only to find no open tables. Her glasses fog and she laughs as she takes them off. He suggests takeout, and she agrees [pan the dessert case: chocolate ganache, 3 different buttercreams top glossy cakes], they leave hand in hand: one with a box stamped with “Pink Rose Pastry,” the other with a hot cup of coffee. Steam curls up from the coffee cup as they cross 5th and Walnut, she looks around to check for camera crews, for the artifice that has to be hiding in the chilly shadows. Looks up at him, sips coffee, chuckles and says “it doesn’t quite seem real.” Fade to black
[male voice-over: “This is decidedly pleasant.”]