Lake Halloway – Eastport South Manor High School (2014)
Lake Halloway by Sean Hanlon
(EXT. QUIET LAKE IN THE WOODS – SUNSET)
(The sun casts a fading glow through the late summer’s leaves.Water in the lake shimmers in a warm, goldish color. GWEN stands at the edge of the water, an occasional breeze lifting the hair off her face. She stares out at the lake, hands at her waist. CHRIS tries to look away as he timidly sits atop a log. Finally, he speaks.)
Chris: So when was the last time we were even –
Gwen: – Fall, slugger. Last Fall. You drove us up there and –
Chris: -Yeah, I know. October 16th, after we played Harborville.
(Gwen turns and smiles. Chris copies her.)
Gwen: If you know that why’d you ask?
Chris: Maybe I just wanted to know if you did.
(Her eyes linger on his for a moment before turning back again. The stare resumes.)
Gwen: Screw you, come in.
Chris: Pretty comfortable right here actually.
(Gwen shrugs with a smirk as she walks backwards toward the water. In a few seconds a splash is heard and his smile breaks up slowly.)
Gwen: I wouldn’t say this is warm.
(Her image standing in the water is almost silouhetted by the sun’s backlight.)
Chris: That what college girls act like?
Gwen: And what exactly would you know about college, Homecoming King?
Chris: Bout as much as everyone else.
Gwen: Good enough reason to leave, in my mind.
Chris: Well that’s just you I guess.
(She climbs out of the water and hurriedly runs over to her jacket. Chris calmly smiles.)
Chris: You’ll miss it and you know it. Here, I mean.
Gwen: (Sarcastically) Oh there sure is a lot to miss, too.
Chris: There’s gotta be something. C’mon.
(Chris half laughs in disbelief as she persistently refuses.)
Chris: Never know. Maybe it’ll turn out you miss the nothing we’re all used to more than anything.
(She looks away, almost shyly.)
Gwen: You see that’s the thing. I never really did get used to it after all.
(Silence. Chris fumbles quietly to think of what to say.)
Chris: Well, looks like you made it either way and congrats to that. (Beat.) You’ll do fine.
(Gwen slightly but gratefully nods. Chris’s smile is a veiled as they come. He looks down, torn.)
Gwen: Then there’s you…
Chris: What about me?
Gwen: Well, do you have any idea what you even want to do?
Chris: I guess I’ll –
Gwen: I swear to God, don’t say construction again.
Chris: Look, what do you really expect? I don’t know what you want me to say here.
Gwen: That doesn’t really matter…I just see someone who’s obviously unhappy and I try to get why –
Chris: – Really don’t see how that has anything to do with –
Gwen: – Believe me, it does. What is keeping you here like everyone else? I don’t get it, you’re like choosing to ignore that there can even be something else.
Chris: See what? Believe it or not I’m not all too heartbroken about this. There’s nothing for me out there compared to you. Not all of us can just up and leave like that, nothing around here.
Gwen: I don’t think you realize –
Chris: – No, I do realize, that’s the difference. Someone like me can’t afford not to be realistic.
Gwen: What’s the point then? You’re underselling yourself. I don’t get how someone so unhappy can just refuse to even try to change that?
(Chris stumbles for words, and momentarily gives up. He sighs out of frustration, lightly running his own hand through his hair. They lock eyes.)
Chris: – Because I already know the only thing that’ll make me happy.
(Gwen breaks the stare by focusing on her feet.)
Gwen: Chris I…you don’t understand.
Chris: No you’re right. I don’t.
Gwen: How else would it have turned out? There wasn’t another way I–
Chris: — It’s not gonna make sense. I’m not gonna sit here and try to get you to understand something that I’ll never understand either.
Gwen: I know what I did was awful, not a day goes by that I don’t feel guilty. But I didn’t know how else to –
Chris: – Yeah, I know. Where would it have even gone, I mean there’s a big chance this’ll be the last time I even see you.
(They both pause, as if this was something they realized but wanted to avoid.)
Gwen: There never was anything here for us…
(Chris stands. He longingly looks out at the lake.)
Chris: You’re wrong.
Chris: I said I think you’re wrong. You say there wasn’t anything here, but you’re wrong. We’re here. I had you.
Gwen: Nobody will ever have me. You can’t hold on to this forever…
Chris: It’s not that simple…what if we were somewhere else? Just a totally different situation? What about then.
Gwen: (shyly) You can’t put that on me.
(Gwen holds herself for warmth as she looks down. The sky has turned from a warm gold to a clouded blue as twilight emerges.)
Gwen: Not everything is so black and white. You think I left you because I don’t care about you?
(Chris shifts uncomfortably.)
Chris: Sure is the way it looks.
(Gwen stands up and slowly makes her way towards Chris. They stand side by side, still looking at the water. She tilts her head, and slowly puts her hand in his.)
Gwen: We don’t know where we’re going. Sometimes you just have to…
(He doesn’t look at her, repressed. She lets go and pats him on the back softly.)
Gwen: It was because I love you.
(We don’t see the smile on his face as she turns around and heads out of the beachfront into the woods. We’re left with Chris, staring out at the lake, both as still as ever. His head bobs in what could be a sign, or maybe a laugh. His hands come out of his pockets as he takes a deep breath, and a half step forward.)