Leaving Home

Open on a forest clearing near a dirt road. It’s a sunny day. Off-camera we hear a screen door slam shut and a voice shouting, “Nothing to say, huh? How dare you! That’s it, I’m outta here!” A man angrily enters the scene from off to the right and storms down the road.

Cut to the wind in the trees. Cut to rain in a puddle. Cut to another sunny day.

We see the man coming back up the road, still angry. He’s wearing the same clothes, is a little dirtier, and his beard has grown. The weeds in the road are taller. From the road, he put his hand on his hips and shouts off to the right, “Are you ready to apologize? I thought not!” He then storms back down the road.

Cut to bees buzzing, flowers swaying. Cut to the withered mailbox. We hear a train in the distance.

We hear steps. It’s our man, a little worse for wear. “I hope you’ve thought it over!,” he shouts this time. He sits down in the clearing in a huff, tormented. He breaks the stick he’s carrying with his foot. He stands up and storms back down the road.

Cut to dark rain falling in the clearing. Cut to dark clouds in the sky, bare trees. Cut to fallen leaves in the clearing.

The man is sitting there, eating a sandwich. Next to him is a small backpack and a thermos. His beard is longer, his clothes dirtier. He looks off to the right a few times, hoping to hear something. “In case you’re ready to apologize, I’m right here,” he says. He looks down.

Cut to falling snow. Cut to a deer in the woods, chewing. Cut to the clearing, covered with snow.

Our man is there, in an old coat with mittens and a hat with earflaps. He’s moving around, to keep warm. He pretends to not care, but often looks over to the right. He raises his hand, about to say, “hello,” but changes his mind.

Cut to winter wind. Cut to ice in the dirty road. A boot breaks the ice, walking past.

In the clearing we see our man, in full winter clothes. Around him are a few empty food cans. He’s built a fire in the middle of the clearing, is keeping himself warm. He pushes a stick into the fire, then breathes warm air into his hands.

Cut to first flowers growing in the forest. Cut to birds singing.

Cut to the clearing. It’s springtime, and the clearing is now a camp. There’s a yellow tent in the corner, a grill over the fire, and clothes hanging on the line. There is trash everywhere, and the man enters from the forest, beard now long. He’s dragging a branch, which he begins to break into smaller pieces and sort next to the fire pit. He looks off to the right, longingly. We hear him talking to himself, “I wanna see you again. Is it so hard for you to apologize?”

Cut to the bees again. Cut to yellow flowers.

The man has cleaned up the trash from the clearing, is standing there a little embarrassed. He leans against a walking stick, cleaning something from his boots. “I miss you, ok? I really want to see you.” He says off towards the right. He’s about to cry. “Why won’t you forgive me?”

Cut to the clouds opening up. The sun hits the tops of the trees. Cut to sun in the clearing.

Our man is still in his tattered clothes, is kicking a can, but seems happier. The camp has been cleaned up completely. The tent and fire pit are gone, there’s a backpack against a tree in the background. He’s shaved his beard, somehow. We see him kicking a stone, unsure of himself, then he finally decides something in his heart. He starts weeping softly. “I’m so sorry!” he cries. He runs out of the frame to the right.

The camera stays on the clearing, as we hear off-camera a screen door open and a few raps at a wooden door. Pause. Then a few more raps. Pause. We hear his voice, “Please open up!” Then some pounding. “Please!” he screams, his voice choking. Then softer, “please.”

After a pause, we hear a heavy wooden door being opened, Crrrrrriiiiiiiikkkk! Then we hear laughter, joyful laughter, great happiness. Thank goodness you opened up,” the man’s voice says, “I couldn’t wait another moment to see you again.”

Then we hear only silence and crickets on this summer day, and the camera slowly slowly pans to the right (for the first time in the whole film).

Where we expected to see a house, we see only a lovely hill covered with green grass, with our man sitting there in the sun, as happy as he can be. “Ahhh,” we hear him say. As the camera gets closer to him, we see him hugging his knees, smiling… “Ahhh, such joy!,” he says.


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