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Barn of Childhood Love Birds

by Eloise Robertson about a year ago in Script · updated about a year ago
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An important conversation to recapture happiness

“Hey! Jace, it’s freezing! Also – hello!”

“Hi, ‘Lizabeth.”

“Elizabeth? Really? I haven’t seen you in four weeks and already you’re calling me Elizabeth. Ugh, makes me shudder.”

“Sorry, Lily. I dunno why I said that.”

“Water under the bridge! Come on, like I would ever really be mad. Sorry I’m late, too; I took a wrong turn and ended up legit in the middle of nowhere.”

“I thought you’d remember how to get ‘ere. We walked this road a good few hundred times, after all.”

“Well, yeah, when we were kids. My memory obviously isn’t as good as yours. Apparently, my GPS also isn’t as good as your sharp sense of direction.”

“Ha, I might know where I’m goin’, but you’re better with words than me. C’mon, walk with me.”

“Okay.”

“…”

“Jace, why did you decide to meet here? I go on a short sabbatical, and disconnect my phone for a while and then when I return I have, like, 20 missed calls and texts from you.”

“I really need to talk to you ‘bout somethin’.”

“Well yeah, I get that, but a coffee shop or somewhere warmer or closer to home would have worked just as well! It took me two hours to get here.”

“You don’t even drink coffee.”

“I won’t turn down a hot chocolate, though!”

“You sure got a sweet tooth, Lil. Ah, there it is.”

“The old barn? I can’t believe that thing is still standing! Well, kind of standing.”

“Yeah I know, I came back ‘ere while you were away and didn’t expect to see it. Snow's settled since then. Won’t be long, though, ‘til it’s just a pile o’ wood in the mud.”

“Are your aunty and uncle home in town? I would like to see them again, it has been so long. I wonder if they will recognise me since I left?”

“Nah, they ain’t home. Dunno if they’d recognise me anymore, either. I left same time as you, remember.”

“Oh, true. I remember this barn being brighter…”

“Most o’ the paint’s peeled off. Ol’ girl’s seen better days. No animals ‘ere, anymore.”

“Shame, I used to like the chickens, how sad.”

“You hated the chooks! They’d chase you ‘cross the paddock till you made it to the homestead cryin’!”

“Yeah… well… I liked Roger.”

“I miss that rooster, too.”

“You know, it is kind of nice being back here. Good choice. It is too easy to get caught up in work and just get lost in our own bubble in the city. Maybe I should have come here while on sabbatical!”

“Absolutely, what’s mine is yours Lil – you know that.”

“Ah, you’re too sweet to me, Jace. Let’s go inside, this barn used to be so toasty.”

“Not the same without animals, not as much heat in ‘ere, but sure.”

“-increasing. Medical professionals have confirmed the disease is not contagious and continue to investigate the root cause of -”

“Oops – left the radio on. Hang on, lemme turn that off. Can you believe it still works? Took a while to tune it but it’s a bit crackly.”

“- the Midwest, urging loved ones -”

“That's better. Lily, I need to talk to you ‘bout somethin’. I wanted to be somewhere with just you an’ me, nobody else in the way or distractions, y’know?”

“Okaaay, no need to be nervous, stop pacing. We have been best friends since forever, you’ve been my rock ever since we left home and you know you can tell me anything. Lord knows I’ve unleashed a pile of stress onto you in the past. I am here for you.”

“I know you are, I know. I just don’t - I just dunno where to start.”

“…Hm, this place still smells like home to me, Jace. It’s funny. It used to smell strongly of sunshine with the musk and sweetness from the grain, straw and horses’ fur. It still lingers a little, making me feel so nostalgic! In the summer it was a cool refuge from the heat, the breeze through the open doors would rush right up to the loft where we sat. In the winter it was always toasty. Remember how we would pick an empty stable and put down some fresh hay and just lie down in our bed of straw and talk. I didn’t realize it since we have been so busy over the years, but I miss it.”

“…”

“…What’s wrong?”

“I miss it so much, too, Lil. I wish we could go back to the good ol’ days, when we had no worries and could live in the present rather than worry ‘bout the future. I – I really need that again.”

“Is there a problem back home or at work? You look stressed, upset, just talk me through what’s going on.”

“I quit work.”

“While I was away? Why, what happened?”

“Nothin’. Last few weeks I’ve been workin’ on the house ‘ere, thinkin’ I might move back ‘ere.”

“What!? Move? But your apartment -”

“Already broke my lease.”

“Okay, well what are you going to do here? Did you talk this through with anyone before you did all this? You don’t think you are being a little hasty? Sit down.”

“Lily -”

“I said sit down! Over here, join me. Ew, okay, not here.”

“There’s holes in the roof so it's been leakin', the straw’s all moldy.”

“Okay, up the loft then. Is the ladder safe?”

“Yeah, it is. Still gotta be careful, though. I’ll go first.”

“…”

“Don't look down, keep climbin' an' grab my hand.”

“Thanks. Oh, our decorations are still up here!”

“Sure are! Not surprised you’re an interior designer, now. You were always goin’ and doin’ somethin’ pretty with plain things.”

“Yeah, you were very creative too, though, Jace. We made a great team. Now, tell me, why did you need to see me so soon? What has you so worked up?”

“My parents passed away a couple o’ days before you left on your holiday.”

“Oh no… no… Nelly and Peter… Jace, I’m so sorry to hear that. If I knew you needed me I would never have gone-”

“I know. That’s not why we’re here, though. Y’know, you said that this barn used to be brighter, sturdier, filled with animals and life and smelled like sunshine, but now it’s just a shell, y’know, it’s startin’ to slant.”

“I’m not really sure what you’re getting at.”

“I just – Lil, I am the barn. My time has come, I'm fallin' apart and soon I'll just be a heap o’ dust on the ground.”

“You’re scaring me. You are more than what you think you are – you – you-”

“I’m sick. I’m dyin’.”

“Wh-what?”

“That disease that’s killin’ people, I’ve got it. Ma and Pa had it. I haven’t told anyone else yet, I really needed to tell you, first.”

“No… it’s like a one in a million -”

“Since you’ve been away heaps o' people ‘ave gotten sick. Once you’ve got it… it’s only a matter of time. Doc gave me four months.”

“Four… four months? But you look okay - don’t you dare shrug this away!”

“There’s nothin’ I can do to change it, Lily. I look fine now but as time goes on, I won’t. I’ll be just like this ol’ barn. Lil – Lil – Lily, you okay?”

“I can’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it. You can’t leave me.”

“Leavin’ is the last thing I wanna do.”

“But you don’t have a choice, right? Four months.

“Don’t cry, Lil, please. C’mon, you’ll make me cry!”

“How – how can I not? I can’t - I can’t - I CAN’T-”

“Please, Lil, just breathe. I wanted us to be ‘ere together again, like we used to, back 'fore we had anythin’ to stress about. Let’s live ‘ere for four months. Go on sabbatical again and stay with me. Let’s just be together, we’ll buy some fresh hay an’ fix up the barn. I’ll buy some chooks to chase you again!”

“Hah, stop, I look so ugly when I cry!”

“Liar. I wanna tell you that I love you.”

“…”

“Lily?”

“I promise I’ll love you for more than four months and we are going to spend every second together recreating happiness here. I am not going to leave your side.”

“I was wonderin' what you'd say. Even though I don't have long left, I'm already happy.”

“Oh, Jace, look. There's a bird's next here with some pretty blue eggs. You know what that means?”

“What?”

“It means this barn still have life.”

__________________

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Script

About the author

Eloise Robertson

I pull my ideas randomly out of thin air and they materialise on a page. Some may call me a magician.

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