The giant bent down
"If this is but your dream little one, then please sleep a while longer.
Two men sit in a cell near the desert's edge.
They don't talk.
The man on the bottom bunk wonders if the man on the top is awake.
Without knowing it, they stare at the same spot on the wall, where the paint chips away into the sink.
They don't talk.
They haven't ever really. But after so much time, each thinks of the other as family, though they've never said it.
It's not remorse or regret that fills them. It's a different kind of sadness. A kind only men like them know.
They watched the paint crack and shed onto their toothbrushes and the comb they shared.
And though they didn't talk, in that moment both men did as so many others had already done, and quietly gave up on themselves.
Tom is sitting in the living room working on a small pink toy with a screwdriver. He’s 29.
The doorbell rings.
TOM Just a minute.
He walks over and opens it. It’s Megan, 28. He doesn't invite her in or take his hand off the door.
MEGAN (Timid) Hi.
TOM You’ve got a lot of nerve.
She grimaces and pulls at the threads on her sleeve.
MEGAN Did you get my message?
MEGAN The one I left yesterday? I called this morning but I didn’t want to leave another one. I mean I figured you wouldn’t want me to.
MEGAN I haven’t had a drink in a month.
TOM Is that supposed to make things okay?
MEGAN I know you’re angry.
TOM Angry’s a thin word.
MEGAN This isn’t easy for me.
TOM Don’t talk to me about things being difficult. I'm the one raising our daughter.
TOM You know she keeps asking me where mommy is, right? Take a fucking guess how that makes me feel.
MEGAN Tom, come on. I mean, a whole month. You know how hard that is for me.
He goes to shut the door.
MEGAN Wait, Tom. Please, god. Just wait.
TOM I guess this is the part where you tell me why you're actually here.
MEGAN No, it’s not like that.
TOM So you don’t need anything?
MEGAN I didn’t come here because I wanted something.
TOM But you do, right?
She slumps, humiliated.
MEGAN A ride.
TOM What happened to your car? Don’t tell me you wrecked it.
MEGAN I didn’t. I didn’t I swear.
TOM Then drive yourself.
MEGAN I can’t.
TOM Why the fuck not?
She draws a deep breath.
MEGAN Because I lost my license.
TOM Jesus Christ. Is that DUI number two or number three?
MEGAN You don't need to be cruel. I know I fucked up.
TOM Don't tell me how to react.
MEGAN Look I didn’t plan this. I didn’t mean for you to give me a ride. I only wanted to come by when Maggie was at school. Tell you I was trying to change. But the goddamn fucking bus was late. I missed the connection I’m sorry.
MEGAN (Whispering, pleading) Tom, it’s a probation officer. If I miss this meeting they’ll send me to jail.
TOM (Full volume) And that’s my fault?
MEGAN No, I didn’t say that.
TOM Well if it’s not my fault why do I have to deal with it? You have a funny way of making your problems, my problems.
MEGAN What do you want to hear? Tom it’s my fault. It’s all my fault. What do want me to do? Slit my fucking wrists? Because I’ll do it if that’s what you think you’re owed. But if not, I could really, really just use a fucking ride. God I’m not a piece of trash. I’m standing here, trying. I’m sorry you got this all pinned on you. I’m sorry I’m not on the other side of the door with dinner ready. I’m sorry you don’t have a partner. But I can be worthwhile. I am trying to be worthwhile. I'm just...I don't have anyone else.
MEGAN Tell Maggie I love her.
She turns to leave. He watches her take a step and winces.
TOM Probation officer. Does that mean you were in jail?
TOM How long?
MEGAN A month. I got out yesterday. But it was good, you know? Like it could be a good thing. I mean I started going to meetings in there. I’m trying to make it a positive thing.
TOM You were in there a whole month?
MEGAN You can’t make me feel any worse. But I don't blame you for trying.
TOM I’m not trying to make you feel worse. You could’ve called me. I would have been mad, but you could’ve called me.
MEGAN I didn't want you to see me like that. I didn't want to be around Maggie until I got sorted out. I wanted to show you I was serious this time. Didn’t work, I guess. First day out and I’m asking you for a favor.
Tom You do seem different.
Megan I'm trying to be.
Tom I'm sorry I was so harsh. I'm really mad at you.
Megan I understand.
TOM Are you okay?
She looks at him.
MEGAN Not really.
She smiles, briefly before looking down again.
TOM Hang on.
He walks into another room and comes back holding a piece of paper. He walks over and hands it to her.
TOM Here. Maggie drew it. They had them draw cowboy pictures. It’s you and her. She’s got a lasso and she’s roping you. Trying to tie you down.
Megan presses the paper to her chest and closes her eyes.
MEGAN Thank you.
Tom reaches inside to the table and grabs his keys.
TOM Look, it’s just a ride. It doesn't mean anything.
She opens her eyes and looks at him.
MEGAN Just a ride.
I want to build things
And I want to do it inside other people's heads.
A word like love.
I wish I understood.
Why the people who are the most kind to others,
Late night=feeling sentimental. I went around and cut bits and pieces from different RECords where people just looked happy and alive.
Update: finally was able to resource ppeppina's beautiful song.
*sojushots, were you near me, the hug I would give you might kill us both. And Joe, and Matt, and Wirrow, and everyone. I don't want to be dramatic, but...well this place means a lot to me.
All of you mean a lot to me.