Little Reminders

Scene 1:

(Ext. Afternoon. Market place next to a pier in Sandakan, Malaysia. Gwen, theatrical Grandmother, 60; Wendy, fitness fanatic Daughter, 40; and Tabitha, terminally ill Granddaughter, 20, on a holiday to Turtle Island.)

SOUND: Three panting women drag suitcases on wheels through a busy Asian seaside market. There’s a hiss from Tabitha’s oxygen tank.

MUSIC: Fast-paced Asian market music.


Oh, God. We’re going to miss the boat.


Here, Tabitha, give me your suitcase, Sugar. Or we’ll miss seeing these turtles lay their eggs tonight.


Thanks, Gran.

MUSIC: Fades.

SOUND: Boat horn signalling departure and labored breaths.


It’s too late. Oh my, the boat’s left the pier.

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You push with palms flat to my skin,

and it stings.


You push till my heels meet an edge,

and I think to step on air.


You push with the cruelness

of a lightning strike.


But, in that final second, I step aside.


And it is you who descends into the chasm,

dumbfounded, and scratching the air at my feet.