The RemembeRed memoir assignment this week, from Write on Edge, was a little different. This week we were asked, in 500 words or less, to describe the opening scene of a film. The film made from our best-selling memoir. What does the camera see? Who speaks the first lines of our story? Is there music? Did we give screenplay formatting a try?
INT. BATHROOM – EARLY EVENING
An L-shaped master bathroom, with two sinks, a corner whirlpool tub and a small shower stall. The room is illuminated by a glass block wall above the tub. The door is closed.
Mismatched towels dangle from hooks on the wall. Sinks are crusted with toothpaste, walls are splattered with hairspray, and the toilet stinks. Long, dark hairs cover white tile.
EMILY sits on top of a toilet seat cover. Wearing pajamas and eating a bag of salt and vinegar chips, she brushes away falling hair from a messy knot on top of her head. She takes a swig of beer.
We see exhaustion in her makeup-less face as she stares blankly at her reflection in a dusty mirror. She digs deep into the bag, searching for a burnt chip. After devouring the chip, she licks salt off her fingers.
There is a soft knock on the door. CHILD 1 is standing outside.
EMILY freezes, holds her breath and waits.
Mom? Are you in there?
I’m about to take a shower. What do you need?
Sissy is being mean and won’t play with me!
(throws her head back, opens her mouth in a silent scream and stares at the ceiling)
Then go find something to do by yourself.
I can’t! I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.
(stares at the closed door, takes another sip of beer)
If you’re that bored, I can give you something to do, like cleaning your room.
NO! Never mind.
We hear feet running away from the door. EMILY sighs and continues to eat chips.
There is a more aggressive knock on the door. CHILD 2 is standing outside.
Are you done with your shower yet? I don’t hear the water running.
(shoulders drop as she mouths a very bad word directly at the dry shower head.)
I just finished. Why, what do you need?
I want to go to a restaurant. There’s nothing good to eat here.
I’ll take everybody out if you help me clean the bathrooms first.
Are you still out there?
Yeah, never mind. I’ll just have a frozen pizza.
EMILY moves to the shaggy brown carpet in front of the tub, stretches out her legs and leans back against the tile surround
In the distance, we can hear football and DW yelling at the TV.
Suddenly there is a persistent jingle bell sound and whimpering coming from downstairs.
The dog needs to go outside.
(rolling her eyes and yelling back)
I’m in the bathroom.
We hear heavy footsteps on a wood floor. The front door opens and shuts sharply. Dog bells clang loudly against the slammed door.
EMILY picks up a magazine from a wicker basket next to the tub; thumbs through the pages and smiles.
At last, a moment to myself.