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The Bridges of Madison County (1995) script

written by Richard LaGravenese based on the novel by Robert James Waller; more trailer
 
FADE IN

EXT. IOWA LANDSCAPE  - DAY

Rolling green hills, lush farmland, vast open space. Not a
house or sign of life in sight. On a long dusty road, a TRUCK
is driving across the screen. Clouds of dirt follow in its
tracks -- its motor, the only sound we hear.

INT. TRUCK - DAY

FRANCESCA JOHNSON is sitting in the front seat of the pick-up
truck. Her expression is distant. Her eyes are sad, as if
hiding a burden she can hardly bear. Her husband, RICHARD
JOHNSON, is driving.

		RICHARD
	You feeling better Franny?

		FRANCESCA
	Yes. I'm fine. It's just this heat I
	think.

He nods, satisfied. He turns on the radio as the VOICE OF
DINAH WASHINGTON sings a bluesy, haunting love song, "I'LL
CLOSE MY EYES."

		DINAH WASHINGTON
		(SINGS)
	"I'LL CLOSE MY EYES... TO EVERYONE
	BUT YOU... AND WHEN I DO... I'LL SEE
	YOU STANDING THERE..."
		(CONTINUES)

		RICHARD
		(surprised)
	What station is this?

		FRANCESCA
	It's a Chicago station. I found it
	the other day.

		RICHARD
	Kinda pretty. Is this uh... jazz
	kinda singing?

		FRANCESCA
		(nicely)
	I don't know. Can we turn it off? I
	have such a headache.

		RICHARD
	Sure.

Richard shuts it off. Francesca turns her face away from him
to look out at the vast expanse out of the countryside.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAY

The truck stops in front of an isolated FARM HOUSE. A wooden
gate stands twenty yards from the front door. A barn and a
hot house sits on either side, surrounded by acres and acres
of beautiful pasture.

CAROLYN JOHNSON, a sixteen-year-old girl, steps out from the
vegetable garden with an arm full of vegetable. She watches
her parents exit the truck.

Francesca carries her groceries, walking briskly through the
front gate and entering the house.

Richard grabs a bag of feed from the flatbed and strolls more
leisurely. When he walks through the front gate, he notices
something on the ground and picks it up. It is a BUTTON with
RED NATURAL surrounding it. As if it had been torn from a
piece of clothing. His daughter approaches him.

		RICHARD
	Your mother isn't feel well. I want
	you to help her out tonight with
	dinner.
		(she nods)
	Tell Michael to put this feed away.

He puts the feed bag down. She exits. He enters the house.

INT. FRONT HALL - DAY

Richard enters the front hall opposite the stairs to the
second floor. To his left is the living room. To his right,
through an archway is the kitchen. He moves towards the stair
when he suddenly hears the kitchen radio turned on and "I'LL
CLOSE MY EYES" continues. It puzzles him. He looks to the
kitchen. Francesca is obviously there but we can't see her.
He is about to call to her when his son, Michael, yells:

		MICHAEL (O.S.)
	Dad! You bought the wrong feed!

		RICHARD
		(irritated)
	What?!

He exits through the house to the back door.

INT. KITCHEN - LATER

The family-- Francesca, Richard, Carolyn and their seventeen-
year-old son MICHAEL -- are eating supper. No one speaks.

		FRANCESCA
	So what are you going to do with the
	prize money?

		CAROLYN
	I don't know. I might save up for one
	of those hi-fi stereo players like
	Peggy has.

Francesca nods. Silence again. She asks her son:

		FRANCESCA
	Are you seeing Betty tonight?

		MICHAEL
		(eating)
	Nah.

Silence. She is used to her son's one syllable answers.

		RICHARD
	Oh! Frannie, is this yours?

He places the button with red material on the table. Hiding
her surprise, Francesca takes the button.

		FRANCESCA
	You found it! I got my dress caught
	on that damn gate. You must have eyes
	like a hawk.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	You must all be tired. You got home
	so early. What time did you leave
	Illinos this morning?

		RICHARD
	'Bout 4:30.

		FRANCESCA
	Well you should all go to bed early.
	I'll do the cleaning up.

This last remark she addresses to her daughter. Everyone
returns to their silent eating.

INT. JOHNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

The house is asleep and dark except for a bright light coming
from the kitchen. Carolyn quietly exits her bedroom in her
nightclothes. She was awakened by noises coming from the
kitchen downstairs.

INT. KITCHEN -

She enters to find the lights are on. An empty cake pan and
a half-used bowl of frosting sitting unwashed in the sink.
She hears the motor of the truck being turned on. She moves
to the front hall and looks out through the door to see:

The truck driving away. She calls out:

		CAROLYN
	Mom!

But she gets no response. She stands there wondering where
her mother could possibly being going this time of night, as
we -

						DISSOLVE TO:

THIRTY YEARS LATER - SAME LOCATION

Carolyn, thirty years older, stands in the same doorway of
the same house thinking back to that evening her mother acted
so strangely.

A LAWYER is unpacking a briefcase in the living room off the
front entrance.

Carolyn sees a car with Florida plates driving up to the
house. She smiles.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAY

Carolyn steps out of the doorway and heads for the car, out
of which exit her brother Michael and his country girl wife
BETTY, a stout buxom chatterbox. Both boast Florida tans and
fashion styles.

		MICHAEL
		(to Carolyn)
	Explain to me again why we didn't do
	this in Des Moines in an air
	conditioned office?

		CAROLYN
	Mom's orders.

		MICHAEL
	Lawyer here?

		CAROLYN
		(nods)
	I have some sandwich fixings if
	you're hungry.

		BETTY
		(proudly)
	No, we just had lunch at the hotel
	with my brother and his new wife. She
	told me all the dirt. I forgot how
	interesting things can get around
	here. It was so good to see them. The
	last time we visited they were in
	Europe. He is doing so well. He
	ordered champagne. For lunch! I
	nearly died.

		MICHAEL
	I nearly died when we split the bill.

		BETTY
	Michael doesn't understand. People
	who make the kind of money my brother
	makes don't carry money on them. They
	keep it all in various accounts.

		MICHAEL
	Then we should have had lunch at the
	bank.

Carolyn tries not to laugh. Betty shoots him a dirty look,
then stops to take in the house and its surroundings.

		BETTY
	Boy. It sure has been a long time.

		MICHAEL
		(correcting her)
	We were here two Christmases ago.

		BETTY
	Well, that's a long time.

		MICHAEL
	It's not that long.

		BETTY
		(suddenly upset)
	Well, why don't I just say black so
	you can say white!
		(to Carolyn)
	Don't be surprised to find your
	brother hasn't changed an iota. He
	hardly ever talks and when he does
	it's in that tone! You should have
	heard him at lunch -- not two words
	until the bill came and then he says,
	"Worth every penny."

		MICHAEL
		(defensive)
	SO!

		BETTY
		(angry)
	You said it in that tone! Like you
	were angry at me, my brother, at
	the world for forcing you to eat a
	nice lunch!

		MICHAEL
	Oh Jesus.

		BETTY
		(staring to cry)
	I simply can not stand that tone!

		CAROLYN
		(sympathetically)
	Come inside. You're just tired from
	the trip.

She comforts Betty who indulges in the attention.

		BETTY
	I am so sick and tired of apologizing
	and not knowing what I've done!

		CAROLYN
	I'm sure you haven't done anything.
	Have some iced tea. How are the kids?

		MICHAEL
	He dropped them off at Betty's mom.
	Where's Steve?

		CAROLYN
		(uncomfortably)
	He's not coming.

Betty suddenly stops crying and abrasively focuses on
Carolyn's problems.

		BETTY
	Aw, is he still cheating on you,
	hon?

Carolyn suddenly hoses sympathy for her.

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY

The lawyer hands Michael a document.

		LAWYER
	Just sign here as having received the
	contents from the safe deposit box.
		(Michael does)
	And this one, which clears the bank
	of all further responsibility fo0r the
	contents.

Betty whispers to Carolyn.

		BETTY
	This is kind of exciting. You think
	we'll find out your mother had
	secret millions lying around?

Carolyn smiles weakly. Michael hands back the papers.

		LAWYER
	All right. Why don't we begin.

He takes out Francesca's Last Will and Testament.

		LAWYER (cont'd)
	Your mother has been interred at
	Lakeside Funeral Home until
	arrangements can be made.

		MICHAEL
		(to Carolyn)
	I thought everything WAS arranged.

		CAROLYN
	Well, there's a problem.

		MICHAEL
	What problem?

		LAWYER
	Your mother left explicit
	instructions that she wished to be
	cremated.

		MICHAEL
	Cremated?!

		BETTY
	Eeeww!

		CAROLYN
	I know. I don't understand it either.

		MICHAEL
	When did she decide this?

		LAWYER
		(reading will)
	Apparently just before her death.

		MICHAEL
	Well, that's crazy. I don't know
	anybody who gets cremated.

		BETTY
	My Jewish friend's grandmother did.

		MICHAEL
	Well, no one in my family did! Dad
	bought cemetery plots at Oak Ridge.
	One for him, one for mom.

		LAWYER
	It clearly states in the will --

		MICHAEL
	I don't care what it says! Maybe Mama
	was delirious, you know. She didn't
	know what she was saying. If she
	wanted to be cremated, why the hell
	did she let dad buy two plots, huh?

		LAWYER
	Well, she was very specific. She
	wanted her ashes to be thrown over
	Roseman Bridge.

		MICHAEL
	WHAT!

		BETTY
	How bizarre!

		CAROLYN
	Mr. Peterson, are you sure mama wrote
	all this?

		LAWYER
	Well, it was notarized, and witnessed
	by a Mrs. Lucy Delaney. Maybe you can
	ask her.

		MICHAEL
	Who the hell is Lucy Delaney?

		CAROLYN
	I remember a Mrs. Delaney but Mama
	told me years ago she died.

		MICHAEL
	Well, I don't care if it's legal or
	not, we're not cremating her and
	throwing her all over some bridge
	where we can't even go visit her
	because she's going to be blown all
	over the place like an ashtray.

		BETTY
	Not to mention people driving over
	her and doggies doing their business --

		MICHAEL
		(interrupting)
	We're not doing it! I'm not even sure
	it's Christian.

		BETTY
	Maybe it's an Italian thing. Their
	mother was Italian.

		MICHAEL
	Doesn't matter. Move on.

The women dare not object. The lawyer raises his eyebrows
and continues:

		LAWYER
	Well, we'll come back to that. Shall
	we open the box?

						JUMP CUT TO:

MOMENTS LATER

C.U. SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX

A key is inserted and the lid is opened. There are many
papers, deeds, et. Michael begins sorting through these.

Carolyn notices a manila envelope addressed to her mother,
postmarked 1965. She opens it up to find TWO LETTERS and A
PHOTOGRAPH -- FRANCESCA standing NEAR A COVERED BRIDGE, her
hair wind blown, her expression serene, beautiful and sad.
She wears a RED DRESS with buttons down the front.

		CAROLYN
	Michael, look -- I've never seen this
	picture of mama. Have you?

Betty and Michael look over her shoulder. He shakes "no."

		CAROLYN (cont'd)
	It was in this envelope from 1965.

		BETTY
	She's not wearing a bra.
		(takes bridge photo)
	This is Roseman Bridge in case
	anyone's interested.

Interested yes, but no one thinks anything of it. Michael
returns to the other papers. Betty takes the photograph for
further examination. Carolyn opens one of the letters and
begins to read.

The following dialogue is heard OS, as CAMERA ANGLES ON
CAROLYN reading one of the letters:

		BETTY (O.S.)
	It's a beautiful picture of her.

		MICHAEL (O.S.)
		(to lawyer)
	Why are there two deeds here?

		LAYER (O.S.)
	One of for the original parcel your
	father bought and this one is for the
	additional acres he purchased in '59.

		MICHAEL (O.S.)
	And this?

		LAWYER (O.S.)
	Those are bills of sale from the
	equipment your mother sold in ..
		(CONTINUES O.S.)

Throughout their conversation, we focus on Carolyn as she
reads and her expression sinks into one of shock and
confusion. She flips to the last page of the letter to read
who it is from. She can't believe her eyes.

		BETTY (O.S.)
	What's that?

Carolyn jumps a little, so engrossed in her discovery. She
lies.

		CAROLYN
	Oh, just a old letter from a friend.

		BETTY
		(laughs)
	No treasure maps, huh?

		CAROLYN
		(laughs nervously)
	No.

Betty starts inspecting knit knacks around the house she
might be able to take. Carolyn looks to Michael.

		CAROLYN (cont'd)
	Michael.

		MICHAEL
		(reading documents)
	Yeah.

		CAROLYN
	Michael.

		MICHAEL
		(irritated)
	What?!

		CAROLYN
	Come here a minute.

Michael crosses impatiently to Carolyn. Carolyn looks around
to the others, then guides him OS into the kitchen for
privacy. He protests.

		MICHAEL
	What? Where are we going?

They exit. Alone with the impatient lawyer, Betty examines a
vase as she pumps him for info.

		BETTY
	Did she say anything in there about
	me? Leaving me anything in particular?

		LAWYER
	No.

Betty prattles on as she examines each item, much to the
lawyer's dismay, hiding her resentment and hurt.

		BETTY
	I didn't expect so. She never liked
	me. It's okay. I always knew. Thought
	we married too young. Nobody broke
	his arm -- that's what I said but you
	know mothers and their sons. Also,
	she never liked the fact of us moving
	to Florida although what's where the
	opportunities were. Couldn't deny
	that. Suppose we should have visited
	more but you know she hardly ever
	made an effort to come to Tampa. Not
	even to see her grandchildren. She
	was a cold woman. They say Italians
	are hot-blooded but not her. She was
	cool as ice.
		(picks up a
		 candlestick)
	She leaves these to anyone?

Michael and Carolyn re-enter the living room. Michael's
expression now matches Carolyn in disbelief.

		BETTY (cont'd)
	What's going on?

		MICHAEL
	Um... we were just wondering how it
	might be better if me and Carolyn
	went over the stuff by ourselves. Not
	keep you two waiting around. I'll
	contact your office about the legal
	work.

Grateful, the lawyer packs up to leave.

		BETTY
	I don't mind waiting.

		MICHAEL
	Well, there's a lot of boring stuff to
	do. Lists of people we have to write
	to. Find mama's relatives addresses
	in Italy -- stuff like that.

		BETTY
	Well, I can help.

		MICHAEL
	I said NO!

That came out a bit aggressively. Betty is hurt.

		MICHAEL (cont'd)
	Why don't you go to your mothers. Or
	back to the hotel. Sit in some air
	conditioning. Take a bath.

		BETTY
		(near tears)
	I do not need instructions from you
	to bathe!
		(gets her bag)
	I knew you'd do this! I knew I'd come
	all the way here and be shut out as
	usual! I came to be here for you! I
	didn't have to come!
		(genuinely hurt)
	Lord knows I was never much welcome
	in this house before. Apparently dead
	or alive, nothing's changed.

		CAROLYN
	Aw, Betty.

Carolyn feels badly for her. An impatient Michael refuses
sympathy. Embarrassed, Betty starts to exit then stops at
the mantle.

		BETTY
	Carolyn -- you want these
	candlesticks?

		CAROLYN
	No. You can have them.

Betty grabs them both and exits. Carolyn looks at him
disapprovingly. Michael takes the letter from her hand.

		MICHAEL
	Now what's this about?

						CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN - LATER

Sitting at the kitchen table, Carolyn is in the middle of
reading the letter to Michael.

		CAROLYN
	"-- going over and over in my mind
	every detail, every moment of our
	time together and I ask myself, "What
	happened to me in Madison County?" I
	struggle to put it together in a way
	that allows me to continue knowing
	we're on separate roads. But then I
	look through the lens of my camera,
	and you're there. I start to write an
	article and I find myself writing it
	to you. It's clear to me now we have
	been moving towards each other,
	towards those four days, all our
	lives --

		MICHAEL
		(rises)
	Goddamn sonofabitch! I don't want to
	hear anymore! Sonofabitch! Burn the
	damn thing! I don't want to hear it!
	Throw it away!

Carolyn continues reading silently. Michael's curiosity gets
the best of him:

		MICHAEL
	What's he saying now?

		CAROLYN
	Well, he just gets on about how if
	mama ever needed him, she could find
	him through the National Geographic
	magazine. He as a photographer. He
	promises not to write again. Then all
	it says is...
		(beat)
	I love you... Robert.

		MICHAEL
	Robert! Jesus! I'll kill him.

		CAROLYN
	That would be some trick. He's
	already dead. That's what this other
	letter is.
		(takes letter and
		 skims)
	From his attorney. He left most of
	his things to mama and requested...
		(she stops)

		MICHAEL
	What?

		CAROLYN
	That he be cremated and his ashes
	thrown on Roseman Bridge.

		MICHAEL
	DAMN HIM! I knew mama wouldn't have
	thought of that herself. It was some
	damn perverted... photographic mind
	influencing her! When did the bastard
	die?

		CAROLYN
	'82.

		MICHAEL
	Wait a minute! That was thirty years
	after daddy. Do you think...?

		CAROLYN
	I don't know. I'm completely in the
	dark here. That's what I get for
	moving away.

		MICHAEL
	This happened way before we both got
	married. I... I can't believe it.
		(then, innocently)
	You think she had sex with him?

Carolyn cannot believe he is this dense.

		CAROLYN
		(sarcastic)
	My Lord. It must feel real nice
	living inside your head with Peter
	Pan and the Easter Bunny.

		MICHAEL
	Don't talk to me like that. She was
	my mother for Christsakes. And now I
	find out she was... She was a --!

		CAROLYN
	Don't say that!

		MICHAEL
	Well, what am I supposed to think?

		CAROLYN
	I can't believe she never told me? We
	spoke at least once a week. How could
	she do that?

		MICHAEL
	How did she meet him? Did Dad know?
	Anything else in that envelope?

		CAROLYN
	No, I don't think so. I --

She dumps it over and a SMALL KEY FALLS OUT. Pause, as
Carolyn and Michael look to each other -- they grab the key
and run out of the kitchen, almost comically falling over
each other in their obsession to put this puzzle together.

A SERIES OF JUMP CUT --

From one lock to another as they try to find the keyhole that
fits the key -- they try closets, attic doors, jewelry boxes,
night tables, vanity drawers... Finally --

INT. BEDROOM - DAY

At the foot of their parents bed sits an WALNUT HOPE CHEST,
covered with a tapestry. Michael and Carolyn look to each
other first, before one removes the tapestry and the other
tries the key. It fits. They open the chest to find:

Camera equipment, a chain with a medallion that reads
"FRANCESCA," three leather bound notebooks -- and a sealed
envelope with "Carolyn or Michael" written on it.

		CAROLYN/MICHAEL
	You read it!

Carolyn relents. She takes out the lefter and reads:

		CAROLYN
	"January, 1987. Dear Carolyn. I hope
	you're reading this with Michael. I'm
	sure he wouldn't be able to read it
	by himself and he'll need some help
	understanding all this, especially
	the parts about me having sex..."

Insulted, Michael pulls the lefter out of her hand and
defiantly attempts to read it aloud himself to disprove his
mother's claim. But after looking at a few lines, he
surrenders and hands the lefter back to his sister.

		CAROLYN (cont'd)
	"First, and most of all, I love you
	both very much and although I feel
	fine, I thought it was time to put my
	affairs, excuse that word, in order."

		MICHAEL
	I can't believe she's making jokes.

		CAROLYN
	Sshhh. "After going through the
	safety deposit box, I'm sure you'll
	find you're way to this letter. It's
	hard to write this to my own
	children. I could let this die with
	the rest of me, I suppose.
		(cont'd)
	But as one gets older, one fears
	subside. What becomes more and more
	important is to be known -- known for
	all that you were during this brief
	stay. Row said it seems to me to leave
	this earth without hose you love the
	most ever really knowing who you
	were. It's easy for a mother to love
	her children no matter what -- it's
	something that just happens. I don't
	know if it's as simple for children.
	You're all so busy being angry at us
	for raising you wrong. But I thought
	it was important to give you that
	chance. To give you the opportunity
	to love me for all that I was..."

Carolyn and Michael look to each other like two school
children about to take a difficult exam. They continue.

		CAROLYN (cont'd)
	"His name was Robert Kincaid. He was
	a photographer and he was here in
	1965 shooting an article for National
	Geographic on the covered bridges of
	Madison County. Remember when we got
	that issue and looked at those
	bridges we'd seen for years but never
	noticed? How we felt like
	celebrities? Remember when we started
	getting the subscription?

They don't remember.

		CAROLYN (cont'd)
	I don't want you to be angry with
	him. I hope after you know the whole
	story, you might even think well of
	him. Even grateful.

		MICHAEL
	Grateful!?

		CAROLYN
		(reads)
	"... It's all there in the three
	notebooks. Read them in order.
	If you don't want to, I suppose
	that's okay too. But in that case I
	want you to know something -- I never
	stopped loving your father. He was a
	very good man. It's just that my love
	for Robert was different. He brought
	out something in me no one had ever
	brought out before, or since. He made
	me feel like a woman in a way few
	women, maybe more, ever experience..."

		MICHAEL
	That's it!

Grabbing the letter, he starts putting everything back in the
trunk.

		CAROLYN
	What are you doing?

		MICHAEL
	This is crazy. She waits till she's
	dead to tell us all this. Well, I got
	news for you. She was my mother.
	That's enough for me. I don't have to
	know who she was.

		CAROLYN
	Well, I'd like to read them.

		MICHAEL
	No. We're going to lock this up and --

		CAROLYN
	STOP IT!
		(Michael freezes)
	I want to read them! If you don't
	want to, then just leave. But don't
	you push me around like I'm some mule
	you paid for -- I already GOT A
	HUSBAND!

Michael is stymied.

INT. KITCHEN - LATER

Carolyn opens the first notebook which is dated AUGUST 1965.
Michael sits beside her with a cup of coffee.

		CAROLYN
		(reads)
	"I suppose his coming into my life
	was, in many ways, prepared for
	weeks, maybe even months before.
	There was a restlessness I feeling.
	Out of the blue and for no apparent
	reason. There's nothing more
	frightening to a woman whose been
	settled down for almost twenty years
	than to suddenly feel unsettled. I
	don't know when it started ... I do
	remember one night in particular, a
	little over a week before Robert
	arrived..."

CAROLYN'S VOICE BECOMES FRANCESCA'S VOICE AS WE:

						DISSOLVE TO:

1965

INT. JOHNSON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Richard is fast asleep while Francesca sits up in bed reading.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	"It was late at night after a long
	day. Your father was tired -- fighting
	all afternoon with that new
	equipment Robert Harrison convinced
	him to buy. But I wasn't tired.
	Lately, I could hardly sleep more
	than two hours a night. I was reading
	some John O'Hara novel, skimming the
	words, turning the pages without
	absorbing what I was reading. My mind
	was far away. And no matter how I
	tried, I couldn't call it back."

Francesca closes the book and turns off the light. She
nestles into the bed and tries to sleep. After a beat, she
opens her eyes and turns on the light. As she gets out of bed
she awakens Richard.

		RICHARD
	What time is it?

		FRANCESCA
	Later. Go back to sleep.

		RICHARD
	Where you going?

		FRANCESCA
	I'm not tired. I thought I might
	finish Carolyn's skirt.

		RICHARD
	Now?!
		(checks clock)
	It's after eleven.

		FRANCESCA
	I can't sleep.

		RICHARD
	Again? Maybe you should see a doctor.

		FRANCESCA
	I'm not sick, Richard. I'm just not
	tired, now go back to sleep before
	you're up for the whole night too!

Francesca exits. Richard nestles under the covers, mumbling:

		RICHARD
	If you're not sick, how can it be
	contagious?

INT. ATTIC - NIGHT

Francesca sits at her sewing machine, working on Carolyn's
skirt. When the thread runs out, she checks her sewing box
for another spool of that color. Not finding it, she raises
and walks to an opened closet. She pulls on a light cord and
checks her supplies.

There are shelves of boxes, crates, old clothes and shoes all
crammed together. She pulls out one shoe box and an entire
stack of items tumble off the shelf onto her head.

		FRANCESCA
	Damn it! Shit!

She looks at the mess and decides it's time to re-organize.

LATER:

The clock reads 2:30 AM. The closet has been emptied.
Francesca rummages through box after box.

Two huge piles have been created -- one for items to be thrown
away, another for items to be kept. Francesca is wiping the
bare shelves down with a rag and some cleanser. Looking up to
the bottom of the next shelf, she notices A SHOULDER STRAP
hanging, wedged between the wall and the shelf. Pulling over
a stool, she steps up to be eye level with the shelf.

It is an OLD HANDBAG -- of a style not seen since the forties
when she was a young girl. She pulls it down to examine. It
is very dusty and worn, but the snaps still work. She places
it against her side to see if it would still be fashionable.
She opens it and finds an old lipstick -- reading the bottom
where the name of the shade is located.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Ha, they don't even made this color
	anymore.

She exits the closet and moves to an old mirror, trying the
lipstick on. As she decides whether or not she likes it, a
thought occurs to her... she remembers something.

She crosses back to the handbag and feels the inside for a
compartment hidden by a flap of material and a snap. She
unsnaps it and an old BACK & WHITE PHOTO slips out. She
looks at its image -- two young people against an Italian
background. Francesca is twenty years younger with her arms
around a handsome, black-haired charmer named --

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	"Niccolo. I couldn't remember the
	last time I had seen that face. And
	then the memories wouldn't stop.
	Like an avalanche..."

						CUT TO:

FLASHBACK -

EXT. NAPLES COUNTRYSIDE, 20 YEARS EARLIER - DAY

A hot, breezy summer day. A young vibrant Francesca is
storming through an open field, angry, while Niccolo calls
after her in pursuit.

The following scene is played in Italian with subtitles.

		NICCOLO
	Francesca! Francesca! Where the hell
	are you going?

		FRANCESCA
	Leave me alone!

		NICCOLO
	You play these games and I'm supposed
	to follow -- run after you like a
	schoolboy. Well, I'm not! I'm fed up!

Niccolo stops. Several yards ahead of him, Francesca stops
and turns. Suddenly, she storms back towards him until they
are face to face.

		FRANCESCA
	So that's it! You just give up!

		NICCOLO
	What "give up"? You agreed with them!
	Mommy and Daddy said stay away from
	me and you said all right. What am I
	supposed to do?

		FRANCESCA
	Fight for me!

Niccolo grabs her violently.

		NICCOLO
	ENOUGH! You don't know what you want!
	Stop looking for me to tell you! STOP
	IT!

Francesca knows he's right. He releases her.

		NICCOLO (cont'd)
	We can go back now and end it or we
	can go back and you tell them off.
	This is your choice! Not mine. But I
	won't do this anymore. This is for
	children!

Frustrated and sad, Francesca sits upon the ground. Niccolo
knows she cannot face her parents yet he looks sympathetic.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAWN 1965

Francesca sits on the back porch in her bathrobe, looking out
over the pasture as if she were watching the previous scene
happen right before her eyes.

In the pasture stands NICCOLO as he was twenty years ago.
Memories have overlapped. A field in Naples is now a pasture
in Iowa and Niccolo is as real to her as the grass. He is
staring at her seated on the porch of her Iowa home, a woman
twenty yards older than when he knew her. He smiles.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	"I had forgotten this. I had somehow
	remembered it being more his fault,
	his decision. Then I remembered we
	made love in that field before we
	left for home. And I remembered it
	was my idea. I remembered tearing
	his shirt and biting his body, hoping
	he would kidnap me. I had forgotten
	that too. And I wondered, as I sat
	there... how many other things I'd
	forgotten."

		RICHARD (O.S.)
	Frannie.

Startled, Francesca turns as if she were caught in the act.
Richard is fully dressed, prepared to start the day.
Francesca turns back to the pasture -- Niccolo is gone.

						CUT TO:

INT. JOHNSON HOUSE - EVENING

It is a week later. Francesca is making dinner. A COUNTRY
STATION is tuned in on the radio.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	"The following week was the Illinos
	State Fair. The two of you were going
	with dad to exhibit Carolyn's prize
	steer. It was the Sunday night you
	left. I know it sounds awful but I
	couldn't wait for you all to leave.
	You were going to be gone until
	Friday. Four days...
		(beat)
	Just four days..."

Francesca's expression looks as if she needs a break from her
family for more like four years.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Michael! Carolyn! Richard! Dinner!

She sets down a bowl of potatoes, a plate of sausages, coffee
and corn as one by one her family enters and sits down.

Michael enters through a screen door from the back, letting
the DOOR SLAM SHUT.

		FRANCESCA
	Michael, what did I tell you about
	that door?

Richard enters after Michael, letting the door SLAM THE same
way. Francesca is about to say something, but gives up.

Everyone begins eating -- in complete silence.

When Michel can't open the ketchup bottle, Francesca grabs
it, palms the top skillfully and twists it off. She hands it
back to Michael who makes no comment.

When Richard scans the table for something that obviously
isn't there, Francesca is up out of her seat before he can
ask, at the fridge, grabbing the sour cream, closing the
fridge and back at the table with incredible swiftness.

When Michel moves his big arm to reach for the salt, he
knows over his cup and saucer, which Francesca catches with
both hands before they hit the floor. Her reflexes are like
a trained athlete.

Finally, Francesca is able to sit and sip her coffee. She
watches her teenage daughter fill her plate with a blank
expression that lets nothing slip through -- no indication of
all the tempests of emotions that go through a teenage girl.

		FRANCESCA
	You excited about going, Carolyn?

Without looking up, Carolyn fakes a smile. Looking at her,
Francesca remembers Carolyn as a three-year-old girl:

FLASHBACK.

In the same kitchen, THREE-YEAR-OLD CAROLYN runs around her
mother's feet completely naked, squealing with delight as
Francesca flicks her water from the tap.

FLASHBACK ENDS.

Francesca watches as Carolyn eats in silence, distant, locked
in her own secret teenage thoughts and dreams.

Francesca then looks to her son, shoveling food into his
mouth at an alarming rate. She attempts a conversation.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	How was your date last night?

		MICHAEL
		(w/o looking at her)
	Okay.

		FRANCESCA
	What's her name?

		MICHAEL
	Betty.

		FRANCESCA
	What's she like?

		MICHAEL
	Okay.

Silence. Frustrated, Francesca has a fantasy -

FANTASY:

Francesca picks up a blunt butter knife, rises out of her seat,
grabs her son and shoves the knife at his throat:

		FRANCESCA
	Do you like her?

Michael finally reacts with more than one word -- frightened
for his life.

		MICHAEL
	Uh... Yeah. Yeah. She's real nice.

		FRANCESCA
	Well, what's nice about her? Tell us!

		MICHAEL
	Well, she's... she's real pretty and
	... and she's got a cute shape...
	she's a good sport, ya know, for
	laughs and
		(desperate)
	... she loves fried chicken wings and
	beer.

		FRANCESCA
	Isn't that nice? You should bring her
	home to meet us!

FANTASY ENDS.

Francesca looks at Michael in disgust.

		RICHARD
	We better get moving.
		(to Francesca)
	You sure you don't want to come?

Francesca looks at Richard with complete conviction.

		FRANCESCA
	I'm positive.

		RICHARD
	I'm going to miss you.

		FRANCESCA
	It's only four days.

He gives her a sweet peck on the lips. Francesca smiles,
anxious for them all to leave.

INT. JOHNSON HOUSE - LATER THAT NIGHT

Alone, dressed in her bathrobe, Francesca checks the front
door. She crosses to the living. Noticing two throw pillows
on the floor, she arranged them neatly on the couch. She sits
herself in an easy chair then flicks on a reading lamp and
opens her book. After five seconds, she closes the book. She
crosses to the TV and turns it on, then turns it off before
the picture tuned in.

She turns and leans on the TV, flicking the ON/OFF switch on
and off as her mind wanders. She gets an idea. She crosses to
the hi-fi and looks through several albums she got from her
Columbia Record Club. But nothing inspires her and she
quickly loses the desire for music. She's antsy. She has this
time alone and she doesn't know how to spend it.

She walks through the dining room, passing a china closet
filled with fancy dishes and glasses. She stops. Shoved in
the corner behind is an old, un-opened bottle of BRANDY. She
removes up, setting atop the dining table to open it.

But when she catches a reflection of herself in the window
opposite her, she stops. She sees a lonely, frustrated woman
in a tattered bathrobe anxious to open a bottle of liquor.
Deflated, she returns the brandy to the cupboard and exits.

EXT. BACK PORCH - NIGHT

Francesca sits on the porch with a book in her lap, gazing
out over the pasture. It's a hot night. She opens the top of
her rope a bit. Feeling the air against her skin, she decides
to open it a bit more. She gets an idea.

Standing, she looks to see if anyone is around -- though
rationally she knows there isn't a soul for miles. She turns
off the porch light. With a brave and daring impulse, she
sheds her bathrobe and stand naked under the night sky. The
air feels good against her body. She opens her arms up
against the night sky and moon like an Indian priestess.

Suddenly, she starts hitting her body as mosquitoes begin
attacking her bare torso. Thwarted, she quickly covers
herself with a robe and runs into the house.

						CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN - MORNING

Francesca trudges into the kitchen. As if on automatic, she
takes the coffee pot and fills it with water. She gets the
coffee and begins spooning it out. She stops. She gets the
idea of taking herself out for breakfast and dumps the coffee
pot out.

						CUT TO:

EXT. MAIN STREET; WINTERSET - MORNING

A one street town. On either side are rows of storefronts, an
old coffee shop/diner, a bank, a medical center, a newspaper
building, a courthouse and a movie theater showing CAT BALLOU.
The steeple of the local church is the highest structure,
towering over the town from the end of Main Street.

INT. COFFEE SHOP/DINER - MORNING

Dressed in jeans and a light summer blouse, Francesca sits
alone -- treating herself to breakfast and the paper. Some of
the gossip news includes rumors of Frank Sinatra, 49,
marrying Mia Farrow, 19: Cary Grant 61, marrying DYAN CANNON,
27. Francesca shakes her head in disbelief at such news.

She tries to continue reading, but is distracted by the loud
conversation in the booth beside her:

TWO MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN and ONE MIDDLE-AGED HUSBAND sit after
breakfast discussing the local gossip.

		ELEANOR
	Oh, this heat! Times like this I wish
	we took that offer from your brother
	and moved on up to Michigan.

		HENRY
	They got heat in Michigan.

		ELEANOR
	Not this kind of heat.

		HENRY
	Heat is heat.

		ELEANOR
	Heat is not heat! There's different
	kinds! And this heat is much hotter
	than what they got in Michigan. You
	go and call your brother and see if
	he don't say the same thing.

		HENRY
	I'll get right on it.

Mrs. Delaney, an attractive well-off woman in her forties,
enters the shop and heads for the counter.

		GLADYS
		(whispers)
	Mrs. Delaney.
		(Eleanor looks)
	Did you hear the latest?

		ELEANOR
	No, what?

		GRADYS
	Apparently, she caught them.
		(Eleanor gasps)
	Ran right into them in Des Moines in
	the middle of her shopping.

		ELEANOR
	Oh, what a horror. Poor woman. That
	Redfield girl's got no business
	showing her face in daylight.

		GRADYS
	I don't know how that tramp stands
	living here. No one can bear even
	speaking to her. She has no friends.

		HENRY
	Well, nobody put a gun to his head.

		ELEANOR
	Oh, shut up! It's the woman who's in
	control of these situations. Men
	don't know which end is up till a
	woman points.

Mrs. Delaney acts as if nothing is wrong. Yet, she knows
everyone knows and everyone knows she knows they know, yet no
one says a word. She sits at the counter.

		MRS. DELANEY
	Just coffee, please.

Francesca hears the gossip continue in hushed tones:

		GLADYS
	See. Money don't buy happiness. I
	must say, she's taking it well.

		ELEANOR
	I'd kill him. Him and that Redfield
	woman. Together. First one then the
	other. And then I'd laugh.

		GLADYS
	I'd laugh first then I'd kill them.
	Make sure they heard me laughing.

Eleanor nods. Not being able to stand it, Francesca rises.
She must pass them on the way to the counter, in order to
pay. Eleanor immediately stops her.

		ELEANOR
	Francesca! So, everybody got off okay
	last night?

		FRANCESCA
	Yes, thanks.

		GLADYS
	What you going to do all alone for
	four days -- a woman of leisure?

		FRANCESCA
	Oh, you know there's always something
	to be done. Have a good day. Henry.

Henry nods back. As she exits, they whisper.

		ELEANOR
	She's changed.

		GLADYS
	Oh, yes.

		ELEANOR
	She used to be so friendly.

		HENRY
	Maybe she's going through "the
	changes."

Eleanor hits him in the chest.

		ELEANOR
	What do you know about "the changes"?

		HENRY
	Well, I didn't know they was a secret
	club.

		ELEANOR
	Don't talk about what you don't know.
	Besides, she's too young for "the
	changes."

		GLADYS
	My niece had "the changes" when she
	was thirty-one.

		ELEANOR
	No. What a tragedy. What happened?

		GLADYS
		(wisely)
	She changed.

At the counter, Francesca pays up. She looks to Mrs. Delaney
and tries to smile, but Mrs. Delaney works hard at not making
eye contact with anyone. Suddenly, she rises telling the
waitress:

		MRS. DELANEY
	Excuse me for a moment, I left
	something in the car.

She exits quickly. Francesca pays up as the waitress adds:

		WAITRESS
	Poor woman.

EXT. COFFEE SHOP/DINER - MORNING

Francesca exits and heads for her truck. As she crosses from
one corner to another, she notices down the side street --

Mrs. Delaney sitting alone in her own car, sobbing. Unable to
bear the humiliation, she stole herself away to cry.

Francesca wants to help but feels useless. She quickly heads
for her truck.

						CUT TO:

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAY

Francesca sits on the front porch with some iced tea, trying
to cool herself off. It is a scorcher. She is barefoot, her
blouse hanging out of her jeans, her hair fastened up by a
tortoise shell comb.

Camera begins a slow move into close-up, as she sips her tea
and lets her mind wander. WE INTERCUT HER FANTASIES WITH HER
ON THE PORCH:

FANTASY: Back in town, Francesca slides into Mrs. Delaney's
car. She embraces the woman who cries into her arms.

-- Francesca on the porch.

FANTASY: Mrs. Delaney's car is surrounded by townpeople
 staring into it. Francesca hugs Mrs. Delaney closer to her in
 defiance.

-- Francesca on the porch.

FANTASY: Mrs. Delaney's car drives up to a train station. She
and Francesca exit with suitcases. They are surrounded by
news reporters as they make their way to the train.

		REPORTER
	Mrs. Johnson! Mrs. Johnson! Is it
	true Cary Grant has proposed to you?

		FRANCESCA
	Yes. And I've accepted.

		REPORTER
	What about his engagement to Dyan
	Cannon?

		FRANCESCA
	I said to him Cary you're being
	ridiculous. You're more than half her
	age. He said no one had ever been
	that honest with him and he falls in
	love with me.

		REPORTER
	What about your husband?

		FRANCESCA
	I'm very sad but Richard said that
	since it's Cary Grant, he completely
	understands. I'm also taking Mrs.
	Delaney away from this town. She'll
	be living with Cary and I in Beverly
	Hills.

She boards the train with Mrs. Delaney.

END OF FANTASIES.

Tired of her fantasies, Francesca looks up to the sun to
clear her mind. It is blinding. When she looks back out onto
the road, her vision is momentarily blurred. Until, slowly,
out of the blue, she sees:

A TRUCK driving toward her house, kicking up dust, like some
phantom appearing through the etheric plane. Francesca isn't
even sure it's real. She sips cool drink & blinks to
regain her vision. The truck slows down and turns into her
driveway. Francesca watches with suspicious curiosity as:

The truck stops and ROBERT KINCAID steps out. Flashing his
blue eyes in her direction, he smiles and says:

		ROBERT
	Sorry to bother you, but I've got a
	feeling I'm lost.

Francesca remains guarded.

		FRANCESCA
	Are you supposed to be in Iowa?

		ROBERT
		(laughs)
	Yeah.

		FRANCESCA:
	Well, you're not that lost.

He laughs. She puts down her tea and crosses to him.

		ROBERT
	I'm looking for a covered bridge out
	this way... uh... wait a minute --

He looks through a small notepad for the name. Francesca
finds herself scanning his body.

		FRANCESCA
	Roseman Bridge?

		ROBERT
	That's it.

		FRANCESCA
	Well, you're pretty close. It's only
	about two miles from here.

		ROBERT
	Oh, terrific. Which way?

Pause as Robert awaits directions and Francesca scans a sudden
impulse.

		FRANCESCA
	Well, I can take you if you want.

Robert is pleased, but a bit surprised as is Francesca who
anxiously recants:

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Or I can tell you. I can take you or
	tell you. It's up to you. I don't
	care. Either way.

Robert smiles finding her sudden nervousness charming.

		ROBERT
	Well --

Suddenly, from the opposite direction of the road, A CHEVY
barrels by. The driver, FLOYD, toots his horn.

		FLOYD
	Howdy, Francesca.

		FRANCESCA
	Hey, Floyd.

He drives off. Francesca knows they've been seen. Slightly
annoyed by Iowain neighborliness, she turns to Robert and
with some defiance says:

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	It'd be better if I show you, I think.

		ROBERT
	If I'm not taking you away from
	anything.

		FRANCESCA
	No. I was just going to have some
	iced tea then split the atom, but
	that can wait.
		(he smiles)
	I just have to get my shoes.

Robert watches her as she turns and heads back to the house.
He watches her lift her blouse and tuck it into her jeans,
revealing her shapely hips and buttocks. He turns back to the
truck and notices the mailbox -- MR & MRS. RICHARD JOHNSON. He
nods as if he knew all along and begins to make room on the
front seat for Francesca.

INT. JOHNSON HOUSE

Francesca is slipping on her boots when she suddenly stops.
"What am I doing?", she asks herself silently.

EXT. JOHNSON DRIVEWAY

Francesca approaches the truck. On the door, she reads:
KINCAID PHOTOGRAPHY, BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON.

Robert is clearing away paper cups, banana peels, paper bags,
photography equipment. In the back, Francesca notices a
cooler and a guitar case.

		ROBERT
	I wasn't expect company. Let me
	get this out of the way.

He hauls a case of film from the front to the back. Francesca
notices his tanned, muscular arm move in one graceful sweep.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Okay. All set.

Francesca smiles. They both get into the truck.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Now, where are we going?

		FRANCESCA
	Out, then right.

						CUT TO:

EXT. MADISON COUNTY ROAD - DAY

As the truck drives, we see no one else in sight.

INT. KINCAID'S TRUCK

They drive in silence. Francesca is enjoying the breeze against
her face.

		ROBERT
	Pretty country.

		FRANCESCA
	Hmm-mmm.

She looks out at the vast expanse. It depresses her.

		ROBERT
	There's a wonderful smell about
	Iowa -- very particular to this part
	of the country. Do you know what I
	mean?

		FRANCESCA
	No.

		ROBERT
	I can't describe it. I think it's
	from the loam in the soil. This very
	rich, earthy kind of... alive...
	No. No, that's not right. Can you
	smell it?

		FRANCESCA
		(shakes her head)
	Maybe it's because I live here.

		ROBERT
	That must be it. It's a great smell.

Francesca wants to know more about him.

		FRANCESCA
	Are you from Washington originally?

		ROBERT
	Uh-huh. Lived there till I was twenty
	or so and then moved to Chicago when
	I got married.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh. When did you move back?

		ROBERT
	After the divorce.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh.

		ROBERT
	How long you been married?

		FRANCESCA
	Uh... uh...
		(can't remember)
	Umm... long time.

		ROBERT
	You don't look like a native, if you
	don't mind my saying so.

		FRANCESCA
	No, I don't mind. I'm not from here.
	I was born in Italy.

		ROBERT
	Well, from Italy to Iowa -- that's a
	story!
		(Francesca smiles)
	Whereabouts in Italy?

		FRANCESCA
	Small town on the Eastern side no
	one's ever heard of called Bari.

		ROBERT
	Oh yeah, Bari. I've been there.

		FRANCESCA
		(surprised)
	No, really?

		ROBERT
	Oh, yeah. Actually, I had an
	assignment in Greece and I had to go
	through Bari to get the boat at
	Brindisi. But it looked so pretty I
	got off and stayed for a few days.
	Breathtaking country.

Francesca is overcome by the idea of such freedom.

		FRANCESCA
	You just... got off the train because
	it looked pretty?

		ROBERT
	Yeah. Excuse me a sec.

He reaches over with one arm, brushing slightly against her
thigh. He opens the glove compartment and pulls out a pack of
Camels and a Zippo lighter.

		ROBERT
	Like one?

Francesca, who doesn't usually smoke, accepts.

		FRANCESCA
	Sure.

She takes a cigarette out of the pack. Robert drops the pack
and, with the same hand, flicks open the Zippo and ignites it.
Francesca leans over. The road is bumpy and a breeze blows
through both windows.

She cups her hands around his to shelter the flame. She feels
his skin for a brief moment.

She sits back and enjoys the ride and her cigarette as Robert
lights up. Silence. They drive.

		ROBERT
	So, how long you've been living here?

		FRANCESCA
	Long.
		(changes subject)
	You just got off the train and stayed
	without knowing anyone there?

		ROBERT
		(laughs)
	Yeah.

EXT. ROSEMAN BRIDGE - DAY

The truck stops. They exit. Robert takes out some equipment.

		ROBERT
	This won't take long. I'm shooting
	tomorrow morning. I just need to do
	some prep work.

		FRANCESCA
	I don't mind waiting.

He smiles and takes his equipment to the bridge. Francesca
slowly follows. She watches his body move. Catching herself,
she stops.

Robert sets up a tripod in the small ravine beneath the
bridge, pointing a view finder up as he plans his shots.
Francesca walks through the bridge, noticing lovers names
scrawled on the inside: CATHY & BUDDY 4 EVER... ROSIE AND
HANK TILL THE END OF TIME. Through a crack in one of the
wooden planks, Francesca watches like a voyeur as Robert
works. She sees him take out a handkerchief and wipe the sweat
off his neck, then inside his shirt and around his chest.
Without knowing where Francesca is, Robert speaks aloud:

		ROBERT
	Is it always this hot?

Francesca moves quickly away from the plank, like a Peeping
Tom who's been caught.

		FRANCESCA
	This time of year.

		ROBERT
	Would you do me a favor and go to the
	truck? Inside that leather bag with
	the pockets is a package of lens
	cleaners. Would you grab me one?

Francesca obliges, grateful for something to occupy her.

Inside the truck, she scans for the leather bag. She sees it
next to a duffel bag. The bag' zipper is opened. She
glimpses inside as Robert's personal things -- clothes, socks,
underwear, shaving kit. Life magazines from July and August,
one depicting the death of Aldai Stevenson; the other a cover
photo of the Watts riots. She grabs the leather bag and
opens it.

At the bridge, Francesca looks for Robert in the raving but
he is gone. She looks through the bridge to the other end
and sees only the tripod. No Robert. She walks through the
bridge and out the other end. She finds Robert bent over,
picking flowers.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh there you are.

		ROBERT
	Oh! You caught me.

He rises with a bouquet of wildflowers for her.

		ROBERT
	Thanks for your help.

Francesca smiles, not knowing how to take this.

		ROBERT
	Men sill give women flowers, don't
	they? I mean, as a sign of
	appreciation? I'm not that out of
	date, am I?

		FRANCESCA
	No, not at all --
		(suddenly)
	except those are poisonous.

		ROBERT
	WHAT!

He flings the flowers down. He wipes his hands furiously.

		FRANCESCA
	I'm sorry. I was kidding.

Robert looks at her with a shocked smirk, secretly liking her
strange behavior.

		FRANCESCA
	I'm sorry. I don't know what -- I'm
	sorry. Really. They're lovely.

She begins picking up the flowers.

		ROBERT
		(smiling)
	Are you by nature a sadistic person?

		FRANCESCA
	No, I'm not.
		(trying not to laugh)
	I don't know why I said that. I've
	been in a very... strange mood all
	day. I've never done anything like
	that before. It's... I'm just...
		(looking for excuse)
	Well, you know, the whole world is
	just going nuts.

Robert looks at her like she's nuts. Francesca tries to dig
herself out of her hole. Robert enjoys offering no help.

		FRANCESCA
	What with those riots in Los Angeles
	and people burning draft cards and
	... Adlai Stevenson dying last month.

She rises with the flowers. Robert gives her a friendly pat
on the arm.

		ROBERT
	Shouldn't let things get to you so
	much.

He continues with his work. Francesca expresses relief and
embarrassment behind his back.

INT. TRUCK - LATER

Driving back, Francesca sits with her feet up on the
dashboard. Robert drives while he fiddles with the radio. All
he can find are country stations.

		FRANCESCA
	Looking for something in particular?
	There's not much of a selection.

		ROBERT
	I found this Chicago station before.
	Wait a minute...
		(he tunes it in)
	Here it is.

We hear a BLUES SINGER with a sax arrangement.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh, that's nice.

		ROBERT
	Want another cigarette?

		FRANCESCA
	Sure.

Francesca's having a great time.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAY

Robert's truck drives down the road and into the driveway.

		ROBERT
	Well, thank you for all your help,
	Mrs. Johnson.

		FRANCESCA
	Francesca.

		ROBERT
	Francesca. Robert.

Francesca nods, as if to say hello and goodbye in the same
moment. She gets out of the car, closes the door, then asks:

		FRANCESCA
	Would you like some iced tea?

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Robert fiddles with the kitchen radio, tuning in to the
Chicago station. Francesca is making iced tea. Robert sits
back down at the kitchen table.

		FRANCESCA
	Lemon?

		ROBERT
	Sure.

With her back to him, Robert never takes his eyes off her.
She turns and crosses to him, with the tea.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Thanks.

Francesca smiles and sips her own. She watches him gulp down
the tea so fast, some of it dribbles down the side of his
face and neck. Francesca finds it sexy. He empties it.

		FRANCESCA
	Would you like another one?

Robert nods and he pulls out his cigarettes.

		ROBERT
	Mind if I smoke?

		FRANCESCA
		(at the sink)
	Not at all.

Robert lights up as he watches her fix another iced tea. He
watches her slip off one boot, then the other -- never missing
a beat of her preparation. He can't help eyeing her body.
When she returns, she also has the flowers he picked for her
arranged in a Casper the Friendly Ghost jelly glass. She
places them on the table and sits.

		ROBERT
	Sure you want to keep those in the
	house?

		FRANCESCA
	I'm so sorry about that. It was
	rude. I think I just got nervous
	for some reason.

		ROBERT
	I thought it was funny.

She likes that.

		FRANCESCA
	Where are you staying while you're
	here?

		ROBERT
	A little place with cabins. The
	something-Motor Inn. I haven't
	checked in yet.

		FRANCESCA
	And how long are you here for?

		ROBERT
	As long as it takes, I might stay a
	week. No more I don't think. Where's
	your family?

		FRANCESCA
	My husband took the kids to the
	Illinos State Fair. My daughter's
	entering a prize steer.

		ROBERT
	Oh. How old?

		FRANCESCA
	About a year and a half.

		ROBERT
	No, your kids.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh. Michael's 17 and Carolyn's 16.

		ROBERT
	Must be nice having kids.

Francesca looks at him and FANTASIZES SAYING:

FANTASY:

		FRANCESCA
	Not any more. It's awful. They're
	awful. I can't stand them.

END OF FANTASY:

But in reality, Francesca chooses instead to say:

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	They're not kids anymore. Things
	change.

		ROBERT
	Everything does. One of the laws of
	nature. People are always so afraid
	of change. But if you look at it like
	it's something you can count on
	happening, it's actually a comfort.
	Not many things you can count on for
	sure.

		FRANCESCA
	I guess. Except I'm one of the people
	it frightens.

		ROBERT
	I doubt that.

		FRANCESCA
	Why?

		ROBERT
	Italy to Iowa? I'd call that a change.

		FRANCESCA
		(explaining)
	Richard was in the army. I met him
	while I was living in Naples. I
	didn't know where Iowa was. I only
	cared that it was America. And of
	course, being with Richard.

		ROBERT
	What's he like?

As Francesca thinks of an answer, she looks over to the
entranceway between the kitchen and the front hall and sees:

FANTASY:

Richard standing there in his underwear, reaching over his shoulder.

		RICHARD
	Franny, could you clean out my boil
	again?

END OF FANTASY:

Francesca answers Robert, half of her still in fantasy --

		FRANCESCA
	He's very... clean.

		ROBERT
	Clean?

		FRANCESCA
		(catching herself)
	No. I mean yes, he's clean but he's
	also other things. He's a very hard
	worker. Very honest. Very caring.
	Gentle. Good father.

		ROBERT
	And clean.

		FRANCESCA
	Yes. Very clean.

They drink. Francesca thinks she sounds like an idiot.

		ROBERT
	So you must like Oiwa, I guess.

Francesca looks at him. She wants to tell the truth, but
holds back.

		FRANCESCA
	It's... uh... uh...

She stops. Robert smiles.

		ROBERT
	Go ahead. I won't tell anyone.

Surprised, Francesca looks at him oddly -- as if he already
knows and is giving her permission.

		FRANCESCA
	It's...
		(tries again)
	I...
		(finally)
	I hate it!

She covers her mouth, like a reflex -- worried someone heard.
Robert just smiles and nods.

Francesca is so taken by his understanding and acceptance,
she lets the flood gates open, speaking faster than her mind
can keep up --

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
		(without a pause)
	I hate it! I hate it! I HATE IT! I
	hate the corn and the dust and the
	town and the cows and that SMELL that
	you love! I hate the people.
	Everybody knows everybody's business,
	I mean it's nice now and then,
	they're always there to help out, but
	that's just it, it's like they're
	waiting for something awful to happen
	to help out and when nothing awful is
	happening, then they just sit around
	and talk about what is happening
	which is none of their business. I
	want to kill them sometimes for how
	cruel they can be --

Camera begins slowly moving out to a wider angle...

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	-- everybody's talking about poor Mrs.
	Delaney whose husband is having an
	affair with that Redfield woman and
	"isn't it a shame," and "isn't it
	awful," and the truth is THEY'RE
	LOVING IT! Poor woman can't even be
	cheated on without the grocery man
	knowing about it -- no one respects
	anyone's privacy. You're not even
	safe in your own home! They think
	they can just walk right into your
	house because they BAKED you
	something. It's like they have a
	secret password and YOU CAN'T KEEP
	THEM OUT! I live in fear of that door
	opening and having a peach cobbler
	shoved at me...
		(CONTINUES MOS IF
		 NEEDED)

Throughout this rapid fire monologue, camera has moved to a
wide angle as Robert just sits and listens, letting her get
it all off her chest. She continues as we:

						DISSOLVE TO:

INT. LIVING ROOM

Francesca is lying on the couch as Robert places a cold cloth
on her head. Her "confession" took a lot out offer.

		ROBERT
	Feeling better?

		FRANCESCA
	Much.

		ROBERT
	Is the dizziness gone?

		FRANCESCA
	I think so.

She sits up. She feels exposed. But also, relieved.

		ROBERT
	I better go. You sure you're all
	right?
		(she nods)
	It's been a pleasure. Sincerely.

		FRANCESCA
	I feel so embarrassed.

		ROBERT
	Why? You uncorked a bottle. From what
	I can tell, I got here just in time.
	Any later and you'd have made the
	front page, running down Main Street
	naked, smoking Camels out of your
	butt.

		FRANCESCA
		(laughs)
	But I... We don't even know each
	other.

		ROBERT
		(sincerely)
	You have no reason to feel ashamed.
	You haven't said anything you don't
	have a right to. And if anybody tells
	you different -- you just send them to
	me.

She smiles. He turns to exit.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Better get my stuff.

Francesca surprises herself. She doesn't want him to go.

		FRANCESCA
	Would you like to stay for dinner?
		(he turns)
	There aren't many choices in town and
	... anyway, you'd have to eat alone.
	So would I.

		ROBERT
	That's very nice of you. I don't get
	many dinner invitations on the job.
	It would be a welcome change. Thanks.

						CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM - LATER

Francesca rushes in and starts to disrobe, getting ready to
shower and change for dinner. She glances out the window and
sees:

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE

Robert is at the water pump. His shirt is off and he is
washing himself. (WE INTERCUT THE TWO.)

Francesca finds herself staring, a bit open mouthed. He has
a muscular, firm body. She watches how the water cascades
over his body. How he seems so unashamed, so "in his skin,"
moving with such strength and grace.

Robert pauses and looks out over the open pasture. The cold
water feels good. Since the pump is the back of the house,
hidden from the road, no one can see him. He decides to take
off his pants and cool himself further.

Francesca begins watching this in shock until she has to
literally pull herself away from the window with such a force
that she rams herself into a chest of drawers, knocking over
an array of perfume bottles and a mirror. She deftly catches
a falling bottle and freezes. Taking a breath, she pulls
herself together.

		FRANCESCA
	This is ridiculous. Stupid!

She replaces the bottle and heads for the bathroom quite
composed, then, without warning, makes an immediate 180
degree turn and heads back to the window to sneak a peek.

Seeing him, she gasps.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Oh my God.

Watching him, she is possessed by some very frightening
feelings and runs from the window, into the bathroom, closing
the door behind her.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - EARLY EVENING

Francesca is gathering some vegetables for dinner, from her
garden. Robert is at his truck, in his pants, changing into
a fresh shirt.

INT. KITCHEN - LATER

Francesca is cutting up vegetables. Robert enters with some
of his gear.

		ROBERT
	I'm just going to put some of this
	film in your fridge. Heat isn't too
	forgiving out there.

He does. On the radio, TONY BENNETT sings "WRAP YOUR TROUBLES
IN DREAMS." Robert approaches Francesca.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Can I help?

		FRANCESCA
		(surprised)
	Help cook?

		ROBERT
	Sure. Men cook. We don't all eat
	bananas with our feet, ya know.

		FRANCESCA
		(laughs)
	Okay.

They stand side by side. Francesca hands him a stack of
carrots and a knife.

MONTAGE:

Tony Bennett's up-tempo tone plays over a series of images of
Francesca and Robert talk and prepare dinner.

-- Four hands side by side, cutting and chopping.
Occasionally, a hand brushes against another as it reaches
for something.

-- Robert's hand gently touching Francesca's waist as he
reaches around her for an onion.

-- Robert lighting Francesca a cigarette.

-- Robert brings in his cooker through the screen door. HE
MAKES SURE IT DOESN'T SLAM. FRANCESCA MAKES A NOTE OF THIS.

-- Robert opens the cooler and removes two cold beers, tossing
one to Francesca.

-- Francesca opening a new tablecloth and spreading it out on
the table.

-- Francesca handing Robert plates from the shelf, their
fingers only barely touching.

END OF MONTAGE

INT. KITCHEN - EVENING

Robert and Francesca are in the middle of dinner. But instead
of the usual silence that surrounds Johnson family eating,
Francesca is mesmerized by Robert as he manages to eat and
tell a story. The scene begins with a LAUGH FROM FRANCESCA.

		ROBERT
		(laughs)
	... No, wait, it gets better.

He stands up and acts it out for her.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	You have to get the full picture
	here. I have three cameras around my
	neck, a tripod in one hand and my
	pants down around my ankles. I
	thought this was a private bush. I
	look up and this gorilla, this female
	gorilla, is staring at me with what
	can best be described as the most
	lascivious expression I've ever seen
	on a female with so much body hair.
		(Francesca laughs)
	I freeze. 'Cause that's what they tell
	you to do. In this position. She comes
	towards me and... and she...
		(he stops awkwardly)

		FRANCESCA
	What?

		ROBERT
	She starts sniffing me.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh my God...
		(laughs)
	You're blushing.

		ROBERT
	It's still a very sensitive memory
	for me.

		FRANCESCA
	Then what happened?

		ROBERT
	We got engaged.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh you!

She throws a napkin at him.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	None of this is true!

		ROBERT
	No, it is. Except for the engagement
	part. She wouldn't have me, although
	I still get a Valentine every year.

Francesca is laughing so hard she can't breath. Robert loves
making her laugh.

		FRANCESCA
	You ought to write these stories
	down.

		ROBERT
	Nah. I've tried. My writing's too
	technical, I think. Problem of being
	a journalist too long is you stop
	giving yourself permission to invent.
	I better just stick to making pictures.

		FRANCESCA
	"Making pictures." I like that. You
	really love what you do, don't you?

		ROBERT
		(nods, smiles shyly)
	I'm kind of obsessed by it, actually.

		FRANCESCA
	Why, do you think?

		ROBERT
	I don't know if obsessions have
	reasons. I think that's why they're
	obsessions.

		FRANCESCA
	You sound like an artist.

		ROBERT
	No. I wouldn't say that. National
	Geographic isn't exactly the hub of
	artistic inspiration. They like their
	wild life in focus and without any
	personal comment. I don't mind
	really. I'm not artist. I'd faced that
	a long time ago. It's the course of
	being well-adjusted. I'm too normal.

		FRANCESCA
		(supportively)
	I don't think you're normal.

He looks at her in surprise. She catches herself again.

		FRANCESCA
	I didn't mean that the way it sounded.

		ROBERT
	Well, let's just call it a compliment
	and move on.
		(changes subject)
	Did you love teaching?

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Sometimes. When there was a particular
	student who made a difference. I know
	they're all supposed to, but it's not
	true. You tend to single out one or
	two you think you can contribute
	something to.

		ROBERT
	And did you?

		FRANCESCA
	I'd like to think so. I know one of
	them went on to Medical school.

		ROBERT
	Why did you stop?

		FRANCESCA
	My children. And Richard didn't like
	my working.

		ROBERT
	Do you miss it?

		FRANCESCA
	I don't know. I've never thought
	about it... what was the most
	exciting place you've ever been to?
	Unless you're tired of talking about
	it.

		ROBERT
	You're asking a man if he's too tired
	to talk about himself? You don't get
	out much, do you?

Francesca smiles, a little embarrassed.

		ROBERT
	I'm sorry. That was...

		FRANCESCA
		(overlapping)
	No. It's all right. I just meant, it
	might be a little dull for you,
	telling all this to some housewife
	in the middle of nowhere.

		ROBERT
	This is your home. It's not nowhere.
	And it's not dull.

Francesca smiles again, this time relieved.

		ROBERT
	Let's see -- my favorite place...

Francesca settles in to listen, never taking her eyes off of him.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Well, it's the obvious choice, but I
	think I'd have to say Africa. It's
	another world. Not just the people
	and the cultures but the land, the
	colors you see at dawns and dusks --
	and the life there. It charges every
	molecule of air.

Francesca is fascinated, being drawn into his imagery.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	It's tangible -- the moment to moment
	of life and death, the co-habitation
	of man and beast, of beast and beast,
	who'll survive, who won't -- and
	there's no judgement about it. No
	right or wrong or imposed morality.
	It's just life. It's a voyeurs
	paradise really because those animals
	don't want anybody in their business.
	You can watch but at a distance.
		(excited)
	I remember one time I was on a truck
	headed for the Niger.

Lights begin to dim as Francesca is so taken in by his story,
she begins to actually see what he is describing.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	We were driving north. The truck was
	old so I guess the sound of the motor
	muffled this kind of rumbling in the
	distance -- until finally, it was upon
	us like, like a hundred thunder claps
	all at once...

CU on FRANCESCA as WE BLEND THE SOUNDS OF AFRICA and --

						CUT TO:

EXT. AFRICA - DAY

Robert and a driver are in a truck driving north. Robert
turns to look out the window and sees:

A HERD OF GIRAFFES AND GAZELLES AND WATERBUCKS AND ZEBRA are
running in the grasslands to the right of the truck. Robert
excitedly instructs the driver:

		ROBERT
	Get us closer!!

The driver veers off towards the stampede as Robert opens his
door and makes his way to the flatbed part of the truck with
his camera. The truck takes its position within this
breathtaking force of wildlife, as giraffes, zebras and
gazelles surround it -- all going in the same direction.

Robert stands in the truck, shooting as fast as he can. The
truck races to keep up with the animals. Robert is so pumped
he can hardly catch his breath. Suddenly, the force and
beauty of these creatures causes him to lower his camera. He
is unable to film it because it overwhelms him. He just
stands there in awe and lets out a primal scream. The animals
gradually veer off to where the truck can no longer follow.
Robert watches them disappear into the distance.

						CUT BACK TO:

INT. JOHNSON KITCHEN - NIGHT

Francesca has seen all of this in her mind. Robert smiles at
her, sensing how in tune with the story she was.

		FRANCESCA
	My God. How I'd love to see that.

		ROBERT
	They have safaris for tourists now.
	Maybe you can convince your husband.

Francesca smiles. There is an awkward pause between them.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	It's a beautiful night. Would you
	like to go for a walk?

		FRANCESCA
	Well, it's kind of buggy out there.

		ROBERT
		(rises)
	Have no fear. This Shoshone Medicine
	Woman taught me how to make bug
	repellent tea out of tree root.

		FRANCESCA
	You drink bug repellent?

		ROBERT
	No, you rub it on you. I have some in
	the truck. Don't go away.

She shakes her head. He runs out the screen door, not letting
it slam. Francesca looks like a teenager with first date
excitement.

EXT. PASTURE - NIGHT

Francesca and Robert walk through the pasture. She sniffs her
arm.

		FRANCESCA
	Smells like dirt.

		ROBERT
	You get used to it.

		FRANCESCA
	When?

		ROBERT
		(laughs)
	You want to go back in?

		FRANCESCA
	No. I'm all right. It's working.

Silence. They walk. It is a beautiful night.

		ROBERT
	You've got it all right here, you
	know. It's just as beautiful as any
	other place I've seen. God, it
	knocks me out.

		FRANCESCA
	What?

		ROBERT
		(indicating the night)
	This "... Of what I call God and
	fools can Nature." Who wrote that?

		FRANCESCA
	Umm, I don't know. I can look it up.

		ROBERT
	I'd appreciate it. I like knowing who
	I'm stealing from. If you can't
	create art I think the least you can
	do is recognize it around you, don't
	you think? There is...
		(genuinely affected)
	... so much beauty.

She watches him with great appreciation. He smiles at her.
Instead of looking away, their eyes remained locked for a
moment. There is clearly an attraction. They simultaneously
look away and continue walking.

Francesca's heart is beating a mile a minute yet she can't
deny she is enjoying herself. Walking side by side in
silence, Francesca turns back occasionally to look at her
house as they get further away from it. Suddenly, the more
distant the house becomes, the more frightened she starts to
feel. Something inside her knows she's going too far with
this man -- too far from home. Although a part of her wants
it, she is surprised to find a larger part of her finds
too unknown. She stops.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	What's wrong?

Francesca looks confused for a moment, not knowing what she
wants. She can't move. She searches for a way out.

		FRANCESCA
	Would you like some coffee? Or maybe,
	some brandy?

Somehow Robert can sense her uneasiness. He obliges.

		ROBERT
	How about both?

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

Francesca moves about the kitchen preparing coffee -- dropping
the coffee pot basket, spilling the grounds. She acts tense.
Robert sits at the table opening the brandy bottle Francesca
almost opened the night before, aware of her mood.

Francesca gets the coffee going then sets the table with cups
and saucers.

		ROBERT
	You sure you won't let me help you
	with those dishes?

		FRANCESCA
		(coldly)
	No. I'll do them later.

		ROBERT
	Francesca?

		FRANCESCA
	What?

		ROBERT
	Are you all right?

		FRANCESCA
	Yes.

		ROBERT
	Francesca?

		FRANCESCA
	What?

		ROBERT
	We're not doing anything wrong, do
	you.

Francesca freezes. He has read her mind again.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
		(smiles)
	Nothing you can't tell your children
	about.

Once again, he relieves her of fear and anxiety. He hands her
a glass of brandy...

						CUT TO:

1995

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Carolyn and Michael have come to the end of a notebook.

		MICHAEL
	He's getting her drunk. That's what
	happened. Jesus, maybe he forced
	himself. That's why she couldn't tell
	us.

		CAROLYN
	Oh, he did not. He's such a nice guy.

		MICHAEL
	Nice? He's trying to sleep with
	somebody's wife.

		CAROLYN
	I don't think so. Not yet anyway. And
	besides, something like that doesn't
	make you a bad person. He reminds me
	of Steve in a way. Steve's weak,
	immoral and a liar but he's still a
	real nice guy. He just shouldn't be
	married.
		(laughs)
	At least not to me. You getting
	hungry? I'm hungry.

Michael nods, then speaks with sincere compassion.

		MICHAEL
	I had no idea it's gotten that bad,
	sis.

		CAROLYN
	Oh, don't feel sorry for me. Please.
	No one's forcing me to stay.

		MICHAEL
	Then why do you?

		CAROLYN
	And do what? Live alone? Go back to
	school? Find someone else? Start a
	magazine for confused woman? ... What
	if I can't do any of those things?

Michael can't answer her. Carolyn looks through the cabinets.

		CAROLYN (cont'd)
	There's not much here to make.

		MICHAEL
	Let's go into town and get a bite.
	We'll take the books with us.

Carolyn nods. Michael looks for the next notebook, checking
the dates.

INT. CAR - EARLY EVENING

Michael drives as Carolyn opens the next notebook and reads:

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	"We sat sipping brandy. I thought if
	anybody walked through the door now
	there'd be no explaining it. But I
	didn't care. And I loved that I
	didn't care. I almost wanted it to
	happen. Then there'd be no turning
	back. I wanted to be like him. I
	lived this life of his. We talked
	about his wife and I was jealous --
	not of her -- but of his leaving. His
	fearlessness. He knew what he wanted.
	How did he do that.

						CUT BACK TO:

1965

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Francesca sips her brandy. Robert sits in the easy chair.

		FRANCESCA
	Do you mind if I... ask you why you
	got divorced?

		ROBERT
	Not at all. I wasn't around much...
	So why did I get married? Well, I
	thought it was a good idea at the
	time. Have a home base. Roots. You
	can get lost moving around so much.

		FRANCESCA
	So what happened?

		ROBERT
	I never got lost. For some reason,
	I'm more at home everywhere than at
	one place. So I decided I'll think of
	myself as some kind of world citizen.
	I belong everywhere and nowhere. I'm
	kin to everyone, and no one in
	particular. See, once you get into
	the habit of not needing anyone, it's
	kind of hard to break.

		FRANCESCA
	You must get lonely at times.

		ROBERT
	Never touch the stuff. I've got
	friends all over the world. Good
	friends I can see when I want, if I
	want.

		FRANCESCA
	Woman friends, too?

		ROBERT
	I'm a loner, I'm not a monk.

Francesca averts her eyes, before continuing her investigation.

		FRANCESCA
	You really don't need anyone?

		ROBERT
	No, I think I need everyone! I love
	people. I want to meet them all!
	I just think there are too many out
	there saying "This is mine." or
	"She's mine." Too many lines have
	been drawn. World's breaking apart
	because of man's weakness for some
	testosterone conquests over territory
	and power and people. He wants
	control over what deep down he knows
	he has no control over whatsoever and
	it scares him silly.

		FRANCESCA
	Why doesn't it scare you?

		ROBERT
	I embrace Mystery. I don't know
	what's coming. And I don't mind.

		FRANCESCA
	Do you ever regret it? The divorce,
	I mean.

		ROBERT
	No.

		FRANCESCA
	Do you ever regret not having a
	family?

		ROBERT
	Not everybody's supposed to have a
	family.

		FRANCESCA
	But -- how can you just live for what
	you want? What about other people?

		ROBERT
	I told you, I love other people.

		FRANCESCA
	But no one in particular.

		ROBERT
	No. But I love them just the same.

		FRANCESCA
	But it's not the same.

		ROBERT
	That's not what you're saying. I know
	it's not the same. What you're saying
	is, it's not as good. Or it's not as
	normal or proper.

		FRANCESCA
	No, I'm just saying --

		ROBERT
		(interrupting)
	I'm a little sick of this American
	Family Ethic everyone seems to be
	hypnotized by in this country. I
	guess you think I'm just some poor
	displaced soul doomed to roam the
	earth without a self-cleaning oven
	and home movie.

		FRANCESCA
		(irritated)
	Just because someone chooses to
	settle down and have a family doesn't
	necessarily mean they're hypnotized.
	Just because I've never seen a
	gazelle stampede doesn't mean I'm
	asleep in the world.

		ROBERT
	Do you want to leave your husband?

Francesca is completely stunned and thrown off guard.

		FRANCESCA
	No. Of course not.
		(rising, upset)

Beat. Awkward silence. Suddenly there is tension between them.

		ROBERT
	My mistake. I apologize.

		FRANCESCA
	What made you ask such a question?

		ROBERT
	I thought that's what we were
	doing -- asking questions.

		FRANCESCA
		(defensive)
	I thought we were just having a
	conversation. You seem to be reading
	all this meaning into it. Meanings I
	must be too simple to, uh...
	interpret or something.

		ROBERT
	I already apologized.

Silence. Robert remains seated. Francesca remains at the sink.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	It's getting late.
		(rises)
	Thank you for dinner.

Pause. Francesca feels badly.

		FRANCESCA
	Listen, I'm sorry I --

		ROBERT
	No, no. Forgive me. I made a mistake.
	It was an inappropriate thing to ask.

		FRANCESCA
		(shrugs it off, then:)
	... I feel like something's been
	spoiled now.

Robert smiles and crosses to her. He takes her hand into both
his hands.

		ROBERT
	It's been a perfect evening. Just the
	way it is. Thank you.

Francesca smiles. The possibility of a kiss hangs in the air
between them until Robert turns to get his film out of the
fridge. As he exits through the screen door, he stops.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	One thing though -- don't kid yourself,
	Francesca. You're anything but a
	simple woman.

He smiles and exits, catching the screen door before it
slams.

Francesca doesn't move for a moment, then crosses to the door
as if to run after him when she is stopped by the PHONE
RINGING. She picks up.

		FRANCESCA
	Hello?

		RICHARD (on phone)
	Franny?

		FRANCESCA
	Richard, hi.

		RICHARD (on phone)
	How are you?

		FRANCESCA
	Fine. Everyone settled in okay?

		RICHARD (on phone)
	Just fine. We're all in one room.
	Michael's on the couch and
	Carolyn's...
		(continues...)

She hears Robert's truck door open and close. She hears the
motor being turned on. She half-listens to Richard.

		FRANCESCA
	Uh-uh... good... Hmmm...

She hears the truck driving away as Richard continues:

		RICHARD (on phone)
	We got our position in the Fair. Not
	bad although I would have liked to be
	third which is not too early and not
	too late. But I told Carolyn not to
	worry...
		(continues, if needed)

						CUT TO:

INT. FRANCESCA BEDROOM - NIGHT

Francesca exits her bathroom, in her bathrobe, shutting the
light. She is brushing her hair and thinking of Robert. She
sits on the edge of the bed. She sees her reflection in a
mirror on the closet door.

She stands and takes her robe off. She steps forward to look
at her body -- running her hands gently around her curves, her
neck, down the side of her thighs, her face, her breasts.

She shuts off the lights and gets into bed under the covers.
She closes her eyes and tentatively begins to explore her
body. It is awkward for her but we can see her trying to let
herself go. Until she opens her eyes in frustration. It's no
good. She can't do it. She feels ashamed. The shame turns
into anger.

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Francesca sits at a writing table with two large books opened
before her containing literary quotations. She searches for
the line Robert mentioned in the pasture.

A note sits before her as well. On it reads: "Robert. Again,
I'm sorry for last night. Would you like supper again tonight
after you're finished. I'd like it very much if I were one of
those good friends you have in the world. Anytime is fine --
Francesca... P.S. By the way, "Of what I call God and Fools
call Nature" was..." She writes the name BROWNING.

						CUT TO:

EXT. ROSEMAN BRIDGE - NIGHT

Francesca is tacking a note for Robert to the bridge. She
considers taking it down a moment later, but decides not to.
She gets back into her truck and drives away.

WIDE ANGLE OF BRIDGES - DAWN

						DISSOLVE TO:

The view of the bridge goes in and out of focus until we
realize we are seeing it through Robert's camera lens.

Once the focus it sets, Robert notices something is tacked
onto the bridge. He crosses to it hurriedly -- time for the
perfect shot is running out -- pulls it down, thumbtack and
all, and shoves it into his pocket, unread. He returns to
his camera to take his shots.

						CUT TO:

INT. JOHNSON BEDROOM - MORNING

Francesca is making her bed when she hears a truck driving
down the road. She looks out the window to see:

Robert's truck. However, it passes right by her house.

Francesca's spirit sinks. She feels silly, ashamed and
rejected. She sits on the bed.

FANTASY:

Inside the truck, Robert drives by the house and chuckles to
himself at the foolishness of some boring, frustrated
housewife. Francesca's note has been crumbled and stuffed
into a dirty ashtray.

END OF FANTASY:

Francesca enters her bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

INT. KITCHEN - LATER THAT MORNING

Francesca sits at the kitchen table in her bathrobe with a
cup of coffee -- a comic portrait of shame and self-pity. Her
hair is a mess, she hasn't showered or dressed and she stares
into space while listening to the bluesy Chicago radio
station.

The sink is full of dirty dishes she refuses to clean. Beside
it is an ashtray of butts from the night before. She carries
it over to the table and begins fingering for a butt to
smoke in desperation. She lights up and stares into space.

FANTASY:

Robert is in Africa talking to TWO ZULU TRIBE MEMBERS. THE
DIALOGUE IS SUBTITLED IN SWAHILI:

		ROBERT
		(laughs)
	... and then she tacks this note on
	the bridge asking me to have dinner
	with her again!

One Zulu turns to the tower and remarks.

		ZULU
	How pathetic.

END OF FANTASY:

Francesca put out her cigarette and suddenly gets an idea.
She goes to the phone, reads a number off of a slip of paper
and dials.

		FRANCESCA (on phone)
	Hello? Is Richard Johnson staying
	there?... No, I don't want to leave
	a message. Maybe you can help me --
	I'm his wife and I live in Winterset
	Iowa -- I wanted to surprise them by
	driving up tonight. What would be the
	fastest route, the Interstate?... Huh-
	huh... Hold it, let me get a pen.

						CUT TO:

EXT. PAY PHONE, GAS STATION - LATE MORNING

Francesca's note is opened in Robert's hand. Her phone number
is written after the "P.S." He stands in the pay phone
getting a busy signal from Francesca's line. He hangs up.

						CUT TO:

INT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAY

Francesca, dressed and packed, prepares to leave. She checks
her purse to make sure she's got everything. She grabs her
bag and exits.

A few beats later, the phone rings. But she doesn't return.
It rings again. We hear Francesca's truck door open and
close. It rings again. We think Francesca is on her way,
until:

We suddenly hear her burst into the house and see her leap
for the phone.

		FRANCESCA
		Hello?

INTERCUT --

INT. SLOW BEND SALOON/RESTAURANT - DAY

Robert is at another pay phone.

		ROBERT
		Francesca?

		FRANCESCA
		(out of breath)
	Yes! Hi.

		ROBERT
	Am I interrupting anything?

		FRANCESCA
	No. I was just... No.

		ROBERT
	I'm sorry I didn't call sooner, but I
	just read your note. I stuffed it
	into my pocket. The light was fading
	and I had to get my shot.

		FRANCESCA
		(relieved)
	The light was fading. Huh-huh.

		ROBERT
	I would love to come for dinner.

		FRANCESCA
		(smiles)
	Wonderful. Uh...

		ROBERT
	Listen, I have to shoot Cedar Bridge
	until a little after sunset. I want
	a few night shots. Would you like to
	come with me? If you're interested...

		FRANCESCA
	Oh, sure. Great.

		ROBERT
	I'll pick you up.

		FRANCESCA
	No. I'll drive myself. I have a few
	errands. I'll meet you there.

		ROBERT
	Okay. See you later.

		FRANCESCA
	Yeah. See you later.

Francesca is thrilled. Her mind races with a list of things
she must do before tonight. She opens a cabinet, removes a
coffee can and empties it of her house money. She quickly
counts it, then shoves it into her purse.

EXT. ON THE ROAD - DAY

Francesca drives past a sign marking Des Moines as the next
town.

INT. SLOW BEND SALOON/ RESTAURANT - DAY

The second of two eating establishments in Winterset. A
lunch time crowd fills the place. Robert is seated at the
counter. He can sense their eyes on him, wondering who this
stranger is and what's he doing here. He knows the whispered
conversation is about him.

A MIDDLE-AGED COUPLE talk at table.

		WIFE
	Thelma told me he checked into the
	Motor Inn and the bill goes to
	National Geographic Magazine.

		HUSBAND
	National Geographic? What the hell's
	he doing here? We ain't got no naked
	pygmies to take pictures of.

		WIFE
	He's taking pictures of the bridges.

		HUSBAND
	Ain't no pygmies there either.

Robert wants to finish his lunch as quickly as possible. At
that moment, someone enters the restaurant and all the
conversation stops. He overhears one waitress turn to the
other and whisper --

		WAITRESS
	God. It's Lucy Redfield.

Both the Waitress and Robert (though more subtly) turn to see:

THE REDFIELD WOMAN. But instead of being the harlot we might
think, she's actually a rather plain, demure looking woman --
not nearly as fancy or pretty as Mrs. Delaney herself.

As she crosses the counter, Robert immediately picks up on
the vibes in the room. He notices all the patrons stare then
turns away to whisper. The waitress behind the counter ignores
her. A customer eating at the counter places a bag on an
empty stool beside her, so the Redfield woman can't sit down
near her.

Robert and the Redfield woman's eyes meet. She is clearly
uncomfortable. She turns, about to leave, when Robert clears
his cameras off of a stool next to him and offers:

		ROBERT
	Got room right here if you like.

She is surprised at his courtesy. Others are astounded. Some
disgusted. She accepts his offer and sits beside him.

		REDFIELD WOMAN
	Thank you.

		ROBERT
	Hot out there today.

She nods and smiles. The waitress tosses a menu at her and
slams down a glass of water, then moves on down the counter.
The Redfield woman tries to act casual, glancing through the
menu. Robert subtly scans the room as all eyes are on them,
then turn away.

Robert returns his glace back to the Redfield woman who is
now only pretending to read the menu. She is so embarrassed.
She wants to leave but can't move.

		WAITRESS
	Well, are you ordering anything!?

Her harsh tone startles the Redfield woman as well as Robert.
Gathering her dignity, she responds.

		REDFIELD WOMAN
	No. Thank you. I've changed my mind.

She politely nods to Robert, gathers her things and exits.
Robert looks to the waitress, as a SECOND WAITRESS enters.

		SECOND WAITRESS
	I'd've thrown that water right in her
	face.

		WAITRESS
	Poor Mrs. Delaney.

The waitress walks O.S. leaving the second waitress facing
Robert, who looks at her curiously. The second waitress looks
back as if to say, "What business is it of yours?" and exits.

						CUT TO:

EXT. DES MOINES - DAY

A metropolis compared to Winterset.

Francesca exits a liquor store with a bottle of wine in a
paper bag. She also carries a bag of groceries as she heads
down the street to her parked truck. She passes a DRESS SHOP
and stops.

						CUT BACK TO:

EXT. WINTERSET - DAY

Robert enters a general store. He buys a six pack of beer
for his cooler and approaches the counter for the Cashier.

		CASHIER
	That all?

Robert nods. He decides to have some fun and test the waters a
little bit.

		ROBERT
	Isn't it awful about poor Mrs.
	Delaney?

With this, the damn bursts -

		CASHIER
	Tragic is more like it. The pain that
	woman has been subjected to by that
	no-good husband. I never liked him.
	Known him for years. People say he's
	quiet. Well, it's the quiet ones that
	can sneak up behind you and stab you
	in the back. I heard yesterday, that
	she confronted him. Gave him the
	ultimatum and you know what he did?--
		(CONTINUES AS NEEDED)

Robert stands astounded, listening to this diatribe of gossip.

						CUT BACK TO:

INT. DES MOINES DRESS SHOP - DAY

Francesca sits in her slip, alone in a dressing room, with
several dresses strewn about. The panic of indecision has set
in. She looks at herself in the mirror and begins to doubt
that seeing Robert is a good idea. Or perhaps she's imagining
something that isn't there. And what about Richard?

MEMORY:

A few years back. Francesca is dressed up for some formal
affairs. She heads down the stairs. Richard is waiting in the
hall, in a suit and tie. He looks at her admiringly.

		FRANCESCA
	Ready. You have the keys?

But Richard doesn't answer. He's just staring at her.
Francesca stops. Richard looks at her like a little boy.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	What's the matter?

Richard is obviously impressed by how she looks, but he can't
say anything. He just smiles shyly and shakes his head to say
nothing is wrong and opens the door for her.

END OF MEMORY:

Francesca feels guilty when a SALESWOMAN enters with a pretty
summer dress.

		SALESWOMAN
	How about this one?

Francesca examines it. She likes it. But the guilt...

		FRANCESCA
	I don't know. I haven't bought a
	dress for myself in so long.
		(saleswoman nods)
	I mean, I'm just buying a dress. It's
	not a special occasion or anything.
	I'm just shopping. Just shopping for
	a new dress, that's all.

		SALESWOMAN
		(completely
		 understands)
	That might work. And if he's still
	mad, just tell him you could have
	done better but you married him out
	of pity. That's always works for me.

						CUT TO:

INT. JOHNSON HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON

Francesca enters with her new dress, groceries and wine as
the PHONE RINGS. She puts everything down to answer.

		FRANCESCA
	Hello?

Intercut ROBERT at a pay phone.

		ROBERT
	It's Robert.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh, hi. Look, I'm running a little
	late, but I'll still...

		ROBERT
		(w/difficulty)
	Listen, don't take this the wrong way
	but, I'm wondering if this is such a
	good idea.

Francesca's heart sinks.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh.

		ROBERT
	I uh... I had lunch in town today.
	Happened to cross paths with "that
	Redfield woman." I apologize. I
	thought you were half-joking about
	that.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh. I guess you got the whole story.

		ROBERT
	The cashier at the general store was
	very dangerous.

		FRANCESCA
	I think he's running for town crier
	next year.

		ROBERT
	I now know more about their affair
	than I remember about my marriage.
		(seriously)
	Francesca, the last thing I want to
	do is put you in any kind of
	situation that would... even though
	we know it's just -- I mean, it's
	nothing like that, but if anybody saw
	us or...
		(can't finish)

		FRANCESCA
		(disappointed)
	I understand.
		(touched)
	That's very kind of you.

Silence. Both want to meet. Both experience the idea of not
seeing each other even again in this brief moment. Someone
has to say something to save it -- but who will it be?

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Robert?

		ROBERT
	Yeah?

		FRANCESCA
	I want you to come.

Robert is relieved.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	I'll meet you at the bridge just like
	we planned all right. Don't worry about
	the rest of it... I'm not.

		ROBERT
	All right. See you there.

Francesca smiles and hangs up. In that moment, Francesca
realizes consciously what she is doing and what she wants.

						CUT TO:

EXT. CEDAR BRIDGE - DUSK

Robert is already there, working. He checks his watch,
anxious for Francesca to arrive, when he hears a truck
driving up. He looks to see Francesca stop and get out. By
their expressions we can tell how glad they are to see each
other.

		FRANCESCA
	Sorry I'm late. Richard called.

		ROBERT
	Oh, how is he?

		FRANCESCA
	Fine. They're all having a good time.
	How many more shots do you have?

		ROBERT
	Couple. Want to help?

She nods. He extends his hand. She pauses, then takes it. He
leads her to the bridge. Walking away from camera, they say:

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	I should stop off at the motel to
	clean up before dinner.

		FRANCESCA
	Well, I have plumbing at my house.

						CUT TO:

INT. JOHNSON BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING

Francesca enters. Robert is in the bathroom, in the shower,
with the bathroom door slightly ajar. His clothes are laid on
the bed with his bag beside them. A fresh shirt is folded.
Francesca takes his dirty shirt and decides to clean it. As
she exits, her eye can't help roaming toward the bathroom
door. For a moment, she pauses to listen to the sound of the
water as it hits his body.

INT. KITCHEN - LATER

Francesca is busy preparing dinner. Robert enters, cleaned
and dressed.

		ROBERT
	Can I help?

		FRANCESCA
	Actually, no. I've got everything
	under control. I'd like to clean up
	myself a bit. I'm going to take a
	bath. Dinner'll be ready in about a
	half hour.

		ROBERT
	How about if I set the table?

		FRANCESCA
	Sure.

		ROBERT
	Would you like a beer for your bath?

		FRANCESCA
		(surprised)
	Yes, that'd be nice.

Robert gets her one.

INT. BATHROOM - LATER

Francesca lounges in a tub with a beer poured into a wine
glass. She finds it very elegant. She takes a deep breath,
thinking "What's going to happen tonight?"

INT. KITCHEN - LATER

Robert is at the radio when Francesca enters in her new
dress. She looks beautiful. And it's all over Robert's face.

		FRANCESCA
	What's wrong?

Unlike her husband, Robert has an answer.

		ROBERT
	Absolutely nothing. You're just sort
	of a knockout in that dress.

She smiles and crosses to the stove.

		FRANCESCA
	Table looks beautiful.

He can't take his eyes off of her. On the radio we hear DIHAH
WASHINGTON begin to sing "IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO" -- a
beautiful, blusey lovesong. Francesca pulls out a pan of hot
rolls as THE PHONE RINGS. Francesca moves toward it with a
roll, which she tosses to Robert. He burns his fingers and he
smiles at her joke. The song plays throughout.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Hello? Hi, Madge?

Francesca and Robert do not take their eyes off of each other
throughout the call. Robert takes a bit of the roll.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Huh-huh. Nothing, just making
	myself some dinner... No what?...
	Oh... I heard about him. Yeah, I hear
	he's some kind of photographer.
		(Robert smiles)
	No, I didn't... Huh-huh... Hippie?
	I don't know, is that what hippies
	look like?...

Robert steps closer to her, purposely reaching across her
body for a napkin.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Oh he is, huh? Well, don't tell Floyd,
	he'll be out with a shotgun...

She notices a crumb on Robert's mouth and wipes it off.
Robert takes her hand and holds it, lowering it to his side.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	Well, listen, I have a pot boiling.
	I've got to go... No, they don't get
	home until Friday morning... Well,
	maybe I'll give you a call. Okay. Bye.

She hangs up. The two are now almost face to face. Robert
raises her hand up and slips his free one around her waist.
They begin to dance to the song. The kitchen lights have not
been turned on since the sun went down. The sky, a dark
orange and magenta, illuminates the room through the window.
They never take their eyes off of each other. Suddenly,
Robert stops.

		ROBERT
	You're shaking. Are you cold?

Francesca shakes her head. They dance a bit more, but
Francesca is shaking which makes it difficult. They both
stop. Robert places his huge hands on either side of her
face, gently stroking her hair away from her cheek. He
whispers.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	If you want me to stop, tell me how.

He brushes his cheek and face softly against hers. Francesca
rubs hers against him. She can barely breathe.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Francesca, I won't be sorry. I won't
	apologize for this.

		FRANCESCA
	Nobody's asking you to.

They kiss. Hands gently explore. Their bodies touch. Their
lips never spend more than seconds away from each other.
Robert gently slide his hands down her breasts and torso,
exploring every inch of her. Francesca grips his massive
back, sliding up to his neck and hair. Robert lifts her leg
and presses it against his hip, kissing her neck and
shoulders. Francesca starts to lose herself, clutching his
head at her breast then pulling him up to her mouth once
again.

						CUT TO:

1995

INT. SLOW BEND CAFE - PRESENT DAY - EVENING

The same saloon/restaurant of twenty-five years ago has been
turned into a modern cafe yet the original charm is still
there.

Carolyn and Michael sit in a booth, with half-eaten dinners
before them. Carolyn has been reading the book to Michael
when she looks across from her to find -- Michael looking like
a little boy who is fighting not to cry.

		CAROLYN
	What's the matter?

Michael shakes his head. He can't or won't explain. He's too
upset. His eyes tear up. Carolyn feels badly for him.

		MICHAEL
	I'm going to get some air.

He exits. Carolyn smiles sympathetically. Somehow this last
passage of their mothers doesn't affect her in the same way.
She returns to the book but first asks a passing waitress,
with great urgency.

		CAROLYN
	Can I smoke here?

The waitress nods. Carolyn needs a cigarette for the rest of
this. She opens her bag to get her pack. Inside her bag she
notices a BUSINESS CARD. She picks it up to read IRA NEWMAN,
attorney. Divorce. Pre-Nuptials. Marital Litigation. She
pauses for a moment. Then, tossing the card back inside, she
lights her cigarette and takes a drag. We follow the curls of
smoke up as we:

						DISSOLVE TO:

1965

INT. JOHNSON LIVING ROOM

Camera moves down curls of smoke, to reveal:

Robert and Francesca in each others arms, under a blanket on
the living room floor on a bed of couch pillows, smoking a
cigarette after lovemaking. Francesca seems miles away --
feelings of regret and guilt creeping in.

		ROBERT
	Are you comfortable?
		(she nods)
	Do you... want to move to the
	bedroom?

		FRANCESCA
	No. I can't. Not yet.

She can't bring herself to go into her husband bed.

		ROBERT
	You want to eat something?

		FRANCESCA
	Are you hungry?

		ROBERT
	No.

Silence. Robert shifts his body to face her.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Honey. Are you all right?

She looks at him and starts to cry, shaking her head. The room
is filled with memories of her family. She nestles in his arms.
He folds her. She closes her eyes.

		FRANCESCA
	Take me somewhere.

		ROBERT
	What?

		FRANCESCA
	Right now. Tell me someplace you've
	been -- someplace on the other side
	of the world. Anywhere but here.

		ROBERT
		(thinks, then:)
	How about Italy?

		FRANCESCA
	Yes.

		ROBERT
	How about Bari?

		FRANCESCA
	Yes. Tell me about the day you got
	off the train.

		ROBERT
	Have you ever been to that station?

		FRANCESCA
	Yes.

		ROBERT
	You know that little place nearby
	with the striped awning that sells
	sandwiches and little pizzas...

The two transport themselves together to another place, where
there is no familiar memories surrounding them to interfere.

						CUT TO:

EXT. JOHNSON PORCH - NIGHT

The two sit in bathrobes on the porch looking out over the
pasture. They have plates of dinner on their laps. They eat
voraciously.

		ROBERT
	Do you have anymore of the stew?

Chewing, Francesca nods and leans over, picks a pot off the
porch and ladles some more onto his plate. Too much falls out
and it spills onto the robe.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh, I'm sorry.

		ROBERT
	It's okay. It's not that hot anymore.
	Thanks God.

Francesca hands him a dish rag. Robert wipes off the food
revealing his bare leg. She reaches over and touches it. He
looks at her and smiles. She leans over and kisses him
passionately until, suddenly, she pulls away. She looks
upset. She rises and moves away to look out to the pasture.
Robert can sense what is wrong.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	You think too much, you know that?

		FRANCESCA
	I just feel like I'm getting a little
	... out of control that's all. It's
	kind of frightening.

		ROBERT
	Why?

		FRANCESCA
	Why!? Because, I'm having thoughts I
	hardly know what to do with. I...
	can't seem to... stop them.

		ROBERT
	Nobody's asking you to.

		FRANCESCA
		(excited)
	And arraccinos and zeppolis. Yes! I
	know it!

		ROBERT
	I sat outside and had coffee.

		FRANCESCA
	Where? Near the doorway or the near the
	front of the church?

		ROBERT
	Near the church.

		FRANCESCA
		(closes her eyes)
	I sat there once. It was hot. Like
	today. I'd been shopping. I had all
	these bags around my feet I kept
	having to move every time the waiter
	came by...

						DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. SANDWICH CAFE - BARI - DAY

Francesca sits at the outdoor cafe in Bari with shopping bags
around her feet. She re-arranges them as the waiter passes
by, mumbling something vulgar under his breath. When she
looks up -- Robert is standing there. She smiles. He offers
her hand. She takes it and rises. They leave the cafe.

MONTAGE:

Francesca and Robert together against the breathtaking
backdrop of the Italian countryside.

EXT. BARI COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

On a lakefront, Robert and Francesca make love.

WE INTERCUT WITH:

INT. JOHNSON LIVING ROOM - EVENING

FRANCESCA AND ROBERT MAKING LOVE ONCE AGAIN.

Francesca looks at him and understands he is giving her full
permission to explore whatever she wants. Hesitantly, she
crosses to him and takes his plate away. She stands before
him, leaning him back into his chair. She slowly,
tentatively, opens her robe. She strokes his hair, then
caresses his head and gently guides it between her legs.

1994

INT. SLOW BEND RESTAURANT - NIGHT

C.U. on an ashtray filled with cigarette butts as Carolyn
anxiously lights another. These last entries have over
stimulated her. She calls to the waitress abruptly.

		CAROLYN
	Can I get another cup of coffee,
	please?

When she looks up, she sees Michael has returned. He sits.

		CAROLYN (cont'd)
	Where did you go?

		MICHAEL
	Bar across the street.

		CAROLYN
	Have you called Betty?
		(she shakes his head)
	Maybe you should.

		MICHAEL
	I found out who Lucy Delaney is.
		(she looks interested)
	Remember the Delaneys from Hillcrest
	Road?

		CAROLYN
	Yeah. But I thought she died.

		MICHAEL
	He remarried. Apparently they were
	having an affair for years.
	Apparently the first Mrs. Delaney was
	a bit of a stiff.

		CAROLYN
	You mean -- she didn't like sex?

		MICHAEL
		(nods, then simply:)
	I bet mom could've helped her.

		CAROLYN
	Boy. All these years I've resented
	not living the wild life in some
	place like Paris and all the time I
	could've moved back to Iowa... Are
	you drunk?

		MICHAEL
	Not yet. You want to go?

		CAROLYN
	I think I better. Between the book
	and the coffee, I'm this close to
	raping the busboy.

EXT. IOWA LAKEFRONT - NIGHT

Michael and Carolyn have parked in a secluded area near a
lake. Some place where the moonlight and the scenery create
a beautiful backdrop. They sit on the ground, leaving the
headlights and the radio on. They are getting drunk sharing
a bottle of whiskey.

		MICHAEL
	I used to love this place. I used to
	take Kathy Reynolds down here.

		CAROLYN
	You never dated Kathy Reynolds!

		MICHAEL
	Not officially. Her and Steve Kendall
	were pinned at birth. But I was crazy
	about her. And for about three months,
	I managed to catch her during her
	"exploring" stage.

		CAROLYN
	I never knew that.

		MICHAEL
		(sadly)
	Nobody did.

		CAROLYN
	Was this during Betty?

		MICHAEL
	Everything was during Betty. God we
	were so young. Why did we think we
	had to do it all so fast? I've never
	cheated on Betty. Not once we were
	married, I mean.

		CAROLYN
	Did we want to?

		MICHAEL
	Only about a thousand times. What do
	I do now? "What's good enough for mom
	is good enough for me?"

		CAROLYN
		(pissed off)
	What gets me is I'm 46 years old.
	I've been in this crummy fucking
	marriage -

		MICHAEL
	Carolyn!

		CAROLYN
		(ignores him)
	-- for over twenty years because
	that's what I was taught -- you stick
	with it! Normal people don't get
	divorced. I can't remember the last
	time my husband made love to me so
	intensely that he transported me to
	Europe, for Christ's sake -- quite
	frankly, I don't think he ever did!
	And now I find out in between bake
	sales, my mother was Anais Nin!

		MICHAEL
	What about me! I feel really weird.
	Like she cheated on me, not dad.
	Isn't that sick? I don't mean I
	wanted to sleep with her or anything
	but -- ya know -- being the only son.
	You're sort of made to feel like
	you're the prince of the kingdom, ya
	know? And in the back of your mind,
	you kind of think your mother doesn't
	need sex anymore because she has you.

		CAROLYN
	You're right -- that is sick.

They drink.

		MICHAEL
	If she was so unhappy, why didn't she
	leave?

They look to each other without an answer. Then simultaneously
they reach for the notebooks.

		MICHAEL (cont'd)
	Can I read it now? I think I'm ready.

Carolyn offers him the book then lays back in a relaxed
position in order to listen. Michael flips to an ear marked
page.

		MICHAEL (cont'd)
	What paragraph were you up to?

		CAROLYN
		(casually)
	She just made him perform oral sex on
	the porch.

Michael freezes. He loses his nerve. Carolyn helps.

		CAROLYN (cont'd)
	Go ahead, Michael. You've got to do
	this. Just think, "Today I am a man."

Michael nods and takes another swig. He reads:

		MICHAEL
	"I'd never had a man make love to me
	that way before."
		(stops)
	Oh Jesus.
		(continues)
	"I couldn't believe the feelings
	bursting inside of me. As if I had
	opened some forbidden Pandora's box."

Camera begins to move to wide angle as Francesca takes over.

		FRANCESCA
	"It seems, thinking about it now,
	that in those few days I lived a
	completely different life as a
	completely different woman. What was
	recognizable as me before Robert was
	gone. We decided to spend Wednesday
	away from Winterset. Away from
	Madison County. Away from pastures
	and bridges and people too familiar
	and reminders too painful. We let the
	day take us where it wanted..."

1965

INT. DES MOINES MOVIE THEATER - DAY

VIVIEN LEIGH is walking down a ships stairs in the 1965 film
"SHIP OF FOOLS." She is alone on screen. She walks, slightly
intoxicated. Suddenly, Charleston music plays out of nowhere
and she begins to dance, by herself, without any self-
consciousness.

In the movie theatre, Robert sits with his arm around
Francesca like teenage lovers. Her head is nestled in his
chest as she eats from a bag of popcorn. Robert barely keeps
his eyes on the screen, staring at Francesca and stroking her
hair.

EXT. DOWNTOWN DES MOINES STREET - DAY

Francesca and Robert walk hand-in-hand, window shopping and
taking in the sights. For Francesca, it is as if she is
seeing everything for the first time.

INT. BOOK STORE - DAY

Robert introduces Francesca to the photography section,
showing her a book of one of his favorite photographers,
Walker Evans. Francesca admires one photograph in particular
-- a mother and child during the depression.

		FRANCESCA
	On that one is beautiful. Look at
	their expressions. As if the camera
	weren't on them at all. As if they
	had no strength left to hide what
	they were feeling.

		ROBERT
	He's a genius. They're not
	photographs -- they're stories, entire
	histories captured in moments.

		FRANCESCA
	I bet you could do a book.

		ROBERT
	No. I couldn't.

		FRANCESCA
	Why do you say that?

		ROBERT
	Because I already tried once.

Francesca is surprised. She senses his disappointment.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	It's no big deal. I know how to work
	a camera, how to make it "make
	pictures" -- but I don't know how to
	make it make art.
		(laughs)
	At least that's what six publishers
	said. To take what we see of this
	world and give it back with a bit of
	ourselves in it. It's a mystery to me.

		FRANCESCA
		(smiles, supportive)
	But you don't mind.

		ROBERT
		(smiles)
	No, I don't mind.

She brushes his hair away from his face affectionately. As he
looks at another book, she notices their reflection in a
mirror. She puts her arm through his. They look like a couple
to her -- two people who belong together.

INT. FANCY RESTAURANT - DAY

Francesca and Robert have an elegant lunch.

		FRANCESCA
	What were you like when you were
	younger?

		ROBERT
		(smiles)
	Trouble. Why?

		FRANCESCA
		(laughs)
	I just wondered. Why were you trouble?

		ROBERT
	I had a temper.

		FRANCESCA
	What were your parents like?

Pause. Robert doesn't reply. She looks at him curiously.

		ROBERT
	I can't do this, honey.

		FRANCESCA
	What?

		ROBERT
	Try and live a lifetime before
	Friday. Cram it all in.
		(shakes his head)

This is the first time either has mentioned their time clock.
Francesca nods, understandingly.

Across the room, Francesca notices A MOTHER having dessert
with her FIVE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, a pretty little girl in a
fancy yellow dress. The mother rises and exits to the ladies
room while the little girl continues eating a large sundae.

Francesca smiles. As the girl licks a spoon of fudge, she
sees Francesca looking at her and smiles back. Robert watches
the silent exchange as he eats. Francesca makes a funny face
at her. The little girl giggles as she spoons more ice-cream.
Unfortunately, she spoons too much and the ice-cream falls on
her pretty dress. She tries to take it off her, but she slips
through her fingers and stains her even more. She looks at
Francesca as if she's about to cry. Francesca smiles.

		FRANCESCA
	Excuse me a minute.

Robert watches her cross to the little girl and kneel beside
her. He sees her consoling the little girl while taking a
napkin and dabbing it in the water glass.

She helps the girl carefully wipe away the mess, all the
while calming her. The mother re-enters the scene and shakes
her head at her daughter. The daughter is afraid of being
reproached but the mother is smiling. She and Francesca begin
talking. She thanks Francesca. Robert sees the two mothers
exchanging a moment of common experience and brief
friendship. The mother and daughter take their leave as
Francesca says goodbye and returns to the table. Robert looks
at her lovingly. Francesca returns to her meal, but suddenly
she is no longer hungry. Robert senses something is upsetting
her.

		ROBERT
	You're somewhere else, where?

		FRANCESCA
	Just that it's been a perfect day and
	that I'd like to skip my fancy
	dessert and go home after this.

		ROBERT
	Uh-huh. And?

		FRANCESCA
		(beat)
	You're right, you know. We don't have
	much time.

Uncomfortable silence hangs between them. A waiter passes by.

		ROBERT
	Check, please.

OS, as the MOTHER YELLS:

		MOTHER
	REBECCA! REBECCA!

Both Robert and Francesca look to the voice.

EXT. RESTAURANT - DAY

The mother stands on the street frantically calling for her
daughter.

		MOTHER
	REBECCA!

The Maitre'd, Francesca and Robert exit the restaurant.

		MOTHER
	Oh my God...!

		FRANCESCA
	What happened?

		MOTHER
	I was paying the check. She ran
	outside. I told her to wait for me
	right here! Oh God, where is she?
	Rebecca!

The sidewalk is filled with people. Francesca looks to
Robert. He recognizes the concern in her expression. Going
home will have to wait.

		ROBERT
	I'll check down here. Someone call
	the police.

The Maitre'd goes back inside. Francesca comforts the mother.

		FRANCESCA
	Think for a second. Is there
	someplace she said she wanted to go?

		MOTHER
	I don't remember!

EXT. STREET

Robert searches through the street, poking in and out of
storefronts, looking across the street.

EXT. RESTAURANT

Francesca and the mother search in the opposite direction.

EXT. STREET

Through the crowd of people, Robert looks across the four
lane Main Street to a LARGE CITY PARK. He crosses to it.

INT. RESTAURANT - AN HOUR LATER

Francesca sits with the mother as TWO POLICEMEN take down a
description. The mother is crying. A waiter brings over some
water for her. The Maitre'd stands by.

		MOTHER
	She was right outside. I turned my
	head for a second.

		POLICEMAN
	When was this?

		FRANCESCA
	About an hour ago.

		MOTHER
	They're not going to find her!

		FRANCESCA
	Yes, they are.

At that moment, the mother looks up and cries.

		MOTHER
	REBECCA!

She jumps out of her seat as all turn to see:

Robert holding the little girl in his arms, entering the
restaurant. He carefully hands her over to the mother. The
two wrap their arms around each other. Francesca looks to
Robert, loving him even more now.

		FRANCESCA
	Where was she?

		ROBERT
	Across the street. She went into the
	park and got turned around and didn't
	know her way out.

		MOTHER
	You crossed the street by yourself?!

		REBECCA
		(crying)
	It was a green light.

The mother is too relieved to be mad. Robert sits down.

		MOTHER
	Thank you so much!

		ROBERT
		(frazzled)
	I need a drink.

Everyone laughs out of relief. Francesca wraps her arm around
his shoulder and kisses his forehead. He kisses her back.

INT. TRUCK - DUSK

Robert drives as Francesca sits inside his arm. Neither speaks.

INT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DUSK

Francesca calmly leads Robert up to her bedroom.

INT. JOHNSON BEDROOM

Naked, Francesca guides Robert into bed beneath the covers.
They begin to make love -- softly, lovingly -- like a couple
that are beyond the erotic, discovery stage; a couple that
have been together and in love for years.

LATER -

Francesca puts her arm around him as he nestles his head to
her breast. Francesca strokes his hair as Robert closes his
eyes.

		ROBERT
	I don't know why I'm so tired all of
	a sudden.

		FRANCESCA
	Long day. Go to sleep.

		ROBERT
	Am I too heavy for you?

		FRANCESCA
	No.

Robert settles into her. But Francesca is wide awake.
Something is on her mind -- "Tomorrow? What happens after
tomorrow?"

INT. KITCHEN - MORNING

Francesca is serving Robert breakfast, then sits down beside
him. Silence. We can sense some tension between them -- this
being their last day together.

Francesca seems ingeniously friendly. Robert is suspicious.

		FRANCESCA
	Sleep all right?

		ROBERT
	Yes, thanks.

		FRANCESCA
	Good. More coffee?
		(he nods, she pours)
	Robert, I hope you don't mind my
	asking, but I feel like I should.

		ROBERT
	What?

		FRANCESCA
	Well, these... women friends of
	yours... all over the world. How
	does it work? Do you see some of them
	again? Do you forget others? Do you
	write them now and then? How do you
	manage it?

Her facetiousness startles Robert.

		ROBERT
	I... What do you want?

		FRANCESCA
	Well, I just want to know the
	procedure. I don't want to upset your
	routine. Do you want any jam?

		ROBERT
		(insulted)
	Routine! I don't have a routine. And
	if you think that's what this is -

		FRANCESCA
	Well, what is this?

		ROBERT
		(upset)
	Well, why is that up to me? You're
	the one who's married. You told me
	you have no intention of leaving your
	husband.

		FRANCESCA
	To do what? Be with someone who needs
	everyone and no one in particular? I
	mean, what would be the point. Would
	you pass the butter?

		ROBERT
	I was honest with you. I told you who
	I was.

		FRANCESCA
	Yes. Absolutely. You have this habit
	of not needing and that it's hard to
	break. I understand.
		(beat)
	Of course, in that case, why sleep --
	you don't need rest or for that
	matter eat, you don't need food.

She takes his plate away from him, rises and throws it into
the sink.

		ROBERT
	What are you doing?

		FRANCESCA
		(sarcastic)
	Gee, I don't know. I guess I'm not
	cut out to be a World Citizen who
	experiences everything and nothing
	at the same time.

		ROBERT
	How do you know what I experience?

		FRANCESCA
		(angry)
	I know you! What can this possibly
	mean to anyone who doesn't "need"
	meaning -
		(mocking)
	"Who goes with the Mystery" -- who
	pretends he isn't scared to death.

		ROBERT
	Stop it!

		FRANCESCA
	You have no idea what you've done to
	me, do you? And after you leave, I'm
	going to have to wonder for the rest
	of my life what happened here. If
	anything happened at all! And I'll
	have to wonder if you find yourself
	in some... housewife's kitchen in
	Romania if you'll sit there and tell
	her about your world of good friends
	and secretly include me in that group.

		ROBERT
	What do you want me to say?

		FRANCESCA
		(nonchantly)
	I don't want you to say anything. I
	don't need you to say anything.

Robert rises, knocking his chair aside.

		ROBERT
	STOP IT!

		FRANCESCA
	Fine. More eggs or should we just
	fuck on the linoleum one last time?

		ROBERT
		(grabs her)
	I told you! I won't apologize for who
	I am.

		FRANCESCA
	No one's asking you to!

		ROBERT
	I won't be made to feel like I've
	done something wrong.

		FRANCESCA
		(angry)
	You won't be made to feel! Period.
	You've carved out this little part
	for yourself in the world where you
	get to be a voyeur, a hermit and a
	lover whenever you feel like it and
	the rest of us are just supposed to
	feel so incredibly grateful for the
	brief time you've touched our lives!
	Well, go to hell! It isn't human not
	to feel lonely -- it isn't human not
	to afraid! You're a hypocrite and
	you're a phony!

		ROBERT
		(cries out)
	I DON'T WANT TO NEED YOU!

		FRANCESCA
	WHY?

		ROBERT
	BECAUSE I CAN'T HAVE YOU!

		FRANCESCA
	WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH IT?

He throws a cup at the wall. It breaks apart. Covering his
face, Robert turns away from her as he holds onto the sink.
Francesca reaches for him but he pulls away, embarrassed.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
		(softly)
	Don't you see, I've got to know the
	truth, Robert. I've got to know the
	truth or I'll go crazy. Either way.
	Just tell me. But I can't act like
	this is enough because it has to be.
	I can't pretend I don't feel what I
	feel because it's over tomorrow.

Robert, keeping his face from her, tries to tell her:

		ROBERT
	If I've done anything to make you
	think that what's happened between us
	is nothing new for me -- is some
	routine -- then I do apologize.

		FRANCESCA
	What makes it different, Robert?

Robert turns to face her. He is so hopelessly in love he can
hardly find the words. His eyes fill up with tears.

		ROBERT
	Because... if I even think about
	tomorrow -- if I...
		(voice cracks)
	even think about leaving here without
	you -- I'm not sure I can... that I -
		(he shakes his head)

He can't even finish. He kneels down before her wrapping his
arms around her and burying his face into her body. Francesca
starts to cry -- out of happiness, out of pain -- holding onto
him as if for dear life.

		FRANCESCA
	Oh God... what are we going to do?

She kisses him -- over and over, not wanting to be even an
inch apart. As if any space between them might separate them
forever.

Suddenly, OS, they hear a CAR DRIVE UP to the house. They
panic. Francesca runs to the window to see:

MADGE, a girlfriend, has come for a visit. Madge is holding
a homemade dessert.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd)
	No. No. Where's your truck?

		ROBERT
	Behind the barn. I better go.

Francesca turns to him -- speechless -- not wanting him to go.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Don't worry. I meant upstairs.

He exits. Francesca gathers herself and heads for the front
entrance, quickly cleaning up the plates.

INT. FRONT HALL - DAY

Francesca opens the door to Madge.

		FRANCESCA
		Madge?

		MADGE
	Hi. I made some brown betty. I sent
	Floyd off to town with the boy. I said -
		(entering)
	"Floyd, I'm going to visit my
	girlfriend and spend the afternoon
	and that's all there is to it. He
	said who's going to make lunch? I
	said I'm taking a sick day. Eat at
	the dinner." Isn't that hilarious?
		(MOVES INTO KITCHEN)
	He didn't dare raise an eyebrow -- I
	don't even want to tell you how late
	he was out last night with those good
	for nothings from the Sandford ranch.
	I am so sorry, honey, I let two days
	pass before I came by, but with the
	boy home the time just escapes me.
	Have you heard from Richard? How's
	the fair? God, it's hot.

Following her into the kitchen, Francesca doesn't know which
question to answer first.

EXT. PORCH - LATER THAT DAY

Madge and Francesca sit facing the pasture beside a table
with coffee and brown betty. We parachute into the middle of
the scene.

		MADGE
	... I said to her, "what's the point
	of summer school if all he's going to
	do are these art projects. The boy
	needs so much work in math and his
	spelling is a nightmare...
		(continues)

Francesca isn't listening. Her mind wanders.

FANTASY:

		FRANCESCA
	Madge. Please. Something's happened.
	I've met someone. I've fallen in love
	in a way I've never thought could
	happen my entire life. It's our last
	day together. I feel like I'm going to
	die when he leaves. Please. Help me.

		MADGE
	Oh, honey. I'm so sorry. But you've
	got to be grateful for even feeling
	the little you've be given. Believe
	me. Go to him. Don't let him leave
	without these new precious hours
	you've got left. And if you need
	anyone to cry on, you know where I am.

END OF FANTASY:

Madge shoves a plate at her.

		MADGE (cont'd)
	More brown betty?

Francesca takes the plate. She can't think straight.

		MADGE (cont'd)
	... Anyway, I'm glad that's over
	with. Sara doing so well though.
	Everyone thought I was crazy having
	them so far apart, but...
		(CONTINUES...)

FANTASY:

Francesca stands behind Madge, as the latter chatters on MOS.
She calmly picks up the brown betty and, from behind, shoves
it into Madge's face and holds it there, trying to suffocate
her with it. Madge struggles.

END OF FANTASY:

Francesca's mind races as Madge continues.

		MADGE
	... without one lesson. The
	instructor couldn't believe it. So,
	who knows -- she may have talent.
	How's Carolyn doing? What are her
	plans for next year?

Francesca realizes this is her moment. She holds her head and
leans over, unsteadily.

		MADGE (cont'd)
	Honey, what's wrong?

		FRANCESCA
	I don't know. I woke up a little
	dizzy. I didn't sleep well. I think
	I need to lay down.

		MADGE
	You want me to call the doctor?

		FRANCESCA
	No, no. I just didn't sleep well.
	I'm not used to sleeping alone. And
	this heat. Would you mind?

		MADGE
	No, of course not. I'll just clean up.

		FRANCESCA
	No, leave it. I'll do it later.
	Listen, maybe you and Floyd can come
	for dinner on Saturday. I'm sure
	Richard'll have so many stories to
	tell you both about the fair and all.

		MADGE
	Oh, that'll be nice.

						CUT TO:

INT. BEDROOM - LATER THAT DAY

Francesca enters to find Richard, laying on the bed fully
clothed. She sits beside him. He strokes her arm, then guides
her to lay down. Once she's in his arms, he speaks.

		ROBERT
	Come with me.

Francesca knew he was going to say this. Either answer she
gives frightens her.

		FRANCESCA
	Hold me.

She turns to him and they embrace. Robert, however, fears
only one response. On the soundtrack, we hear the song "DARN
THAT DREAM."

						CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN - EVENING

The song continues over the next few images. Camera slowly
pans from the radio, upon which the song is playing, to a
beautifully set table and candles. It arrives on Robert
preparing dinner.

INT. BEDROOM

Camera pans the room from two OPENED SUITCASES, as Francesca
packs to leave. She moves about the room as if with blinders
on -- focused on her task, refusing to take in any sign or
memories that might hinder her. She is wearing a RED DRESS,
with BUTTONS down the front.

INT. KITCHEN

Robert stands at the sink rinsing out some utensils. Waiting
for the water to turn hot, he looks out through the window
above the sink. He sees a beautiful view of beautiful night.
He pauses as it strikes him that this is a view Francesca has
seen a million times -- that soon she would not see ever again.

INT. SECOND FLOOR LANDING

Camera follows her as she exits the bedroom with her
suitcases, then walks down the hall to the stairs, then down
the staircase to the front hall.

She quietly sets the suitcases down, hearing the radio and
Robert in the kitchen. She pauses, then enters the living
room. One of the throw pillows has fallen off the couch. She
replaces it then takes a moment to look about the room. She
slowly sits down on the couch.

We hear voices of the past, auditory memories conjured up by
each stick of furniture Francesca sees.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	Michael, get off the back of that
	chair! What did I tell you!

WE HEAR HIM FALL AND BEGIN TO CRY.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	All you all right, honey. Let me see...

A sound of Christmas music... of toddlers running and
laughing... A birthday party for Carolyn...

		CAROLYN (V.O.)
	Mama, look -- look at the dress Aunt
	Patty sent!

		RICHARD (V.O.)
	Franny, BONNAZA's on!

		ROBERT
	Francesca?

Francesca snaps out for it and turns to find Robert.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	I've got dinner.

She smiles.

INT. KITCHEN

They eat by candlelight. Neither speaks. Neither is very
hungry.

		ROBERT
	Would you like a beer?

She smiles and shakes her head. Robert opens a bottle and
takes a sip.

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	You know what I'd like to do before
	we leave? I'd like to take a picture
	of you -- at Roseman bridge. Maybe
	just as the sun's coming up.

		FRANCESCA
	Yes. I'd like that.

Pause. Robert smiles back and takes another sip. Then,
knowing full well what hangs heavy between them, he asks:

		ROBERT
	Tell me why you're not coming with me?

Francesca stops pretending to eat. She looks at him, having
forgotten how well he can read her.

		FRANCESCA
	No matter how I keep turning it
	around in my mind -- it doesn't seem
	like the right thing.

		ROBERT
	For who?

		FRANCESCA
	For anyone. They'll never be able to
	live through the talk. Richard will
	never be able to. He doesn't deserve
	that. He hasn't hurt anyone in his
	life.

		ROBERT
		(getting aggressive)
	Then he can move! People move!

		FRANCESCA
	His family's lived for almost a
	hundred years. Richard doesn't know
	how to live anywhere else. And the
	kids...

		ROBERT
	The kids are grown! They don't need
	you anymore. You told me that. They
	hardly talk to you.

		FRANCESCA
	No, they don't say much. But
	Carolyn's 16. She's just about to
	find out about all this for herself
	-- she's going to fall in love,
	she's going to try and figure out
	how to build a life with someone.
	If I leave what does that say to her?

		ROBERT
	What about us? What about me?

		FRANCESCA
	You've got to know deep down that the
	minute we leave here. It'll all
	change.

		ROBERT
	Yeah. It could get better.

		FRANCESCA
	No matter how much distance we put
	between us and this house, I bring
	with it with me. And I'll feel it
	every minute we're together. And I'll
	blame loving you for how much it
	hurts. And then even these four days
	won't be anything more than something
	sordid and... a mistake.

		ROBERT
		(desperately)
	Francesca, listen to me. You think
	what's happened to us happens to just
	anybody? What we feel for each other?
	How much we feel? We're not even two
	separate people anymore. Some people
	search their whole lives for it and
	wind up alone -- most people don't
	even think it exists and you're going
	to tell me that giving it up is the
	right thing to do? That staying here
	alone in a marriage, alone in a town
	you hate, in a house you don't feel
	apart of anymore -- you're telling me
	that's the right thing to do!?

		FRANCESCA
	We are the choices we've made, Robert.

		ROBERT
		(rises)
	TO HELL WITH YOU!

He turns his back on her.

		FRANCESCA
	Robert. Please.
		(desperate to explain)
	You don't understand -- no one does.
	When a woman makes the choice to
	marry, to have children -- in one way
	her life begins but in another way it
	stops. You build a life of details.
	You become a mother, a wife and you
	stop and stay steady so that your
	children can move. And when they
	leave they take your life of details
	with them. And then you're expected
	move again only you don't remember
	what moves you because no one has
	asked in so long. Not even yourself.
	You never in your life think that
	love like this can happen to you.

		ROBERT
	But now that you have it -

		FRANCESCA
	I want to keep it forever. I want to
	love you the way I do now the rest of
	my life. Don't you understand -- we'll
	lose it if we leave. I can't make an
	entire life disappear to start a new
	one. All I can do is try to hold onto
	to both. Help me. Help me not lose
	loving you.

She embraces him. He wraps his arms around her. He whispers.

		ROBERT
	Don't leave me. Don't leave me alone.
	Please.

This breaks her heart, knowing how hard it is for him to say
this. She holds him tighter, until -

		ROBERT (cont'd)
	Listen. Maybe you feel this way,
	maybe you don't. Maybe it's just
	because you're in this house. Maybe
	... maybe when they come back
	tomorrow you'll feel differently.
	Don't you think that's possible?

		FRANCESCA
	I don't know. Please...

		ROBERT
	I'm going to be here a few more days.
	I'll be at the Inn. We have some
	time. Let's not say any more now.

		FRANCESCA
	No. Don't do this.

		ROBERT
	I CAN'T SAY GOODBYE YET! We'll leave
	it for now. We're not saying goodbye.
	We're not making any decision. Maybe
	you'll change your mind. Maybe we'll
	accidentally run into each other and
	... and you'll change your mind.

		FRANCESCA
	Robert, if that happens, you'll have
	to decide. I won't be able to.

She cries in his arms. He kisses her as if for the last time.
Then, quickly, separates himself and leaves the house.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE

Robert walks briskly towards his truck not wanting to look
back. He gets in, starts it up and drives away.

Francesca exits the house and watches the truck recede into
the distance. She stops when she reaches the front gate,
leaning against it. She murmurs to herself -

		FRANCESCA
	Keep going. Please.

The truck drives away. Then, suddenly, stops. Francesca's
heart quickens. She watches as the truck stands on the road
in the distance. As if Robert was deciding to turn around or
keep going. Francesca waits. Suddenly, the door to the truck
flies open and Robert exits. Francesca loses all restraint.

She opens the gate but her dress is caught on it. Robert
stands by the truck. Francesca tears at the dress, ripping
off a button which falls to the ground. She runs down the
road. Seeing her, Robert runs towards her as well.

They grab each other furiously. For these few moments, all
considerations are gone. As he kisses her, he murmurs:

		ROBERT
	I forgot to take your picture.

She laughs through her tears as they continue to kiss. Camera
pans up to the road beyond Robert's truck.

WE SEE RICHARD'S TRUCK DRIVING TOWARDS THEM. For a moment it
seems as if they will be caught until we realize RICHARD'S
TRUCK IS BEING SUPERIMPOSED as the LIGHT GRADUALLY BRIGHTENS
TO REVEAL:

MORNING.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE

Richard, Michael and Carolyn drive down the road toward the
house. Robert's truck, and all traces of him, are gone.

Francesca steps into the doorway in a house dress to welcome
her family home -- wondering how this will feel.

JOHNSON KITCHEN - EVENING

The Johnson family has dinner as Francesca narrates:

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	You all came home. And with you, my
	life of details.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE

Everyone is doing various daily chores.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	A day or two past and with each
	thought of him, a task would present
	itself like a life saver, pulling me
	further and further away from those
	four days.

INT. LIVING ROOM - EVENING

Francesca is reading. Richard watches TV.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	I was grateful. I felt safe.

						CUT TO:

EXT. WINTERSET - MAIN STREET - DAY

Richard and Francesca drive up to the general store to buy
groceries. Francesca heads for the store as Richard crosses
the street.

		FRANCESCA
	Want anything special for dinner?

		RICHARD
	Hmm. How about that brown sugar meat
	loaf you make?

		FRANCESCA
		(smiles)
	Okay.

She enters the store.

INT. GENERAL STORE - DAY

Francesca makes small talk with the grocery lady as she buys
what she needs.

EXT. MAIN STREET - DAY

Francesca places a bag of groceries on the front seat of the
truck, then gets in herself to wait for Richard. She takes a
deep breath and removes a handkerchief from her bag to wipe
the sweat from her face. She freezes -

Through the windshield, she sees ROBERT standing beside his
truck across the street, staring at her. Her heart stops.
For a moment, she isn't even sure he's real.

The town moves about its business around them. But neither
notice or care. Whatever safety or forgetfulness she felt is
gone. Her feelings burst through. She sits there helpless
before him -- willing to go or stay depending on what he did.

He begins walking towards her. She prepares herself. Her life
will change -- it has to. There's not turning back.

But the closer Robert gets, the clearer he can see that she
is crying. And he stops.

Without any words, he realizes what taking her with him would
mean. With just a glance, he sacrifices her. With their eyes
locked in the middle of Main Street -- in front of the whole
town -- they smile and say goodbye.

Robert returns to his truck. He drives off down Main Street,
taking the first left.

Moments later, Richard throws the feed bag into the back of
his truck and gets in. Francesca is wiping her eyes.

He doesn't notice. He drives off in the same direction as
Robert.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	For a moment, I didn't know where I
	was. And for a split second, the
	thought crossed my mind that he
	really didn't want me -- that it was
	easy to walk away.

As they pass the corner where Robert made his left turn,
Francesca turns to look and sees:

ROBERT'S TRUCK IS PARKED just off the corner. As if he had to
drive away to get out of sight, but couldn't bring himself to
drive any further.

The sight of him hiding there breaks Francesca's heart, she
turns away from her husband to hide the tears.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAY

WE REPLAY THE OPENING SCENE FROM THE MOVIE:

Carolyn is in the yard picking vegetables. Her parents drive
up in their truck. She steps out with her bag of groceries
and walks briskly into the house. Richard follows more slowly
with his bag of feed, stopping at the gate to pick up the
button from Francesca's red dress.

INT. KITCHEN

Francesca enters and places her groceries on the counter. She
tries to compose herself. She sees the radio before her. She
turns it on. The Dinah Washington song "I'LL CLOSE MY EYES"
evokes every feeling of love and loss within her. She begins
to cry.

She hears Richard enter the house. She stands out of sight,
holding her hand to her mouth to muffle her crying. She hears:

		MICHAEL (O.S.)
	Dad! You bought the wrong feed!

		RICHARD
	What!?

She hears Richard exit the house.

EXT. LUCY REDFIELD'S HOUSE - NIGHT

A hand knocks on a door. Lucy Redfield opens it to find
Francesca standing there with a cake.

		FRANCESCA
	Hi. I'm Francesca Johnson. I just
	feel awful I haven't come to visit
	sooner. I hope I'm not interrupting
	anything. Is it too late?

Lucy is shocked and moved at the same time.

		LUCY
	No. Not at all.

		FRANCESCA
	I was wondering if... maybe you'd
	like some company.
		(almost manic)
	I baked a cake!

Lucy looks at the cake. She's a little dazed by all this.

		LUCY
	Uh... sure. Please. Come in. I'll
	make coffee.

Francesca enters. Lucy closes the door.

						CUT TO:

EXT. IOWA LAKEFRONT - DAWN

Michael continues reading beside Carolyn as the sun rises.

		MICHAEL
	"We became inseparable, Lucy and I.
	The funny thing is, I didn't tell her
	about Robert until years later. But,
	for some reason, being with her
	somehow made me feel it was safe to
	think about him. To continue loving
	him. The town loved talking about the
	two of us but we didn't care. And
	neither did your father. Which I
	thought was a lovely thing. I
	received Robert's letter and my
	photograph soon after. I always
	wondered if your father found them.
	I was never quite sure..."

INT. KITCHEN - EVENING

At dinner, Richard remembers the button he found.

		RICHARD
	Oh, Franny, is this yours?

Francesca sees the button. She speaks her original lines MOS
as HER NARRATION is hard:

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	I almost told him. In that moment I
	felt as if I couldn't hold it back.
	If he really loved me maybe he'd
	understand.

She returns to her meal. The family eats in silence.

		FRANCESCA (cont'd; V.O.)
	But love won't obey our expectations.
	Its mystery is pure and absolute.
	What Robert and I had, could not
	continue if we were together. What
	Richard and I shared would vanish if
	we were apart. But how I wanted to
	share this. How would our lives have
	changed if I had? Could anyone else
	have seen the beauty of it?

INT. JOHNSON KITCHEN - NIGHT

Francesca moves about the kitchen with a frantic pace as she
puts the finishing touches on a cake. Placing the frosting
bowl in the sink, she hears someone upstairs exiting their
bedroom. She quickly gathers the cake and her bag and exits
through the screen door.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

Fighting tears, she walks to the truck from around the house.
She gets in and starts it. She vaguely hears her daughter
from the front door.

		CAROLYN
	Mom?

But she doesn't acknowledge it and drives away.

EXT. MOTOR INN - NIGHT

Her truck approaches and then speeds past the Inn where
Robert is staying. We can see his truck in the parking lot.

1979

INT. JOHNSON BEDROOM - NIGHT

And older Francesca cares for a sickly Richard. He lies in bed
beside an array of medicines and tonics. She wipes his
forehead with a cool cloth as he takes his pills.

		FRANCESCA
	Better?

He nods. She smiles. She shuts off the light and lays beside
him.

		RICHARD
	Franny?

		FRANCESCA
	Hmm?

		RICHARD
	I just want to say... I know you had
	your own dreams. I'm sorry I couldn't
	give them to you. I love you so much.

Francesca turns to him. She is so touched, tears fill her
eyes. She nestles close to him, wrapping her arms around him.

1982

EXT. DES MOINES

Francesca eats at the same restaurant she shared with Robert.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	After your father died, I tried to
	get in touch with Robert but found
	out he had left the National
	Geographic soon after the Madison
	County. No one seemed to know where
	he was. My only connections to him
	were the places we'd been to that one
	day. And so each week, I'd re-visit
	them.

EXT. JOHNSON HOUSE - DAY

Francesca greets a UPS man with an envelope and a package.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	And then one day, I received the
	letter from his attorney, with a
	package.

INT. JOHNSON LIVING ROOM

Francesca reads the letter informing her of Robert's death.
She then unwraps the package to reveal a MEDALLION with her
name inscribed and A PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK; a published collection
of black and white photos by Robert Kincaid entitled "Four
Days." Beautiful, dramatic black and white representations of
love and passion, loneliness and pain, and union. On the
front page there reads an inscription "FOR F."

		ROBERT (V.O.)
	"There is a pleasure in the pathless
	woods... There is a rapture on the
	lonely shore... There is society
	where none intrudes... By the deep
	sea and music in its roar... I love
	not man the less, but Nature more...
	From these our interviews, in which
	I steal... From all I may be, or
	have been before... To mingle with the
	Universe and feel... What I can
	ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal."

The quote is Byron's. She smiles with pride as she cries.

						CUT TO:

EXT. IOWA LAKEFRONT - EARLY MORNING

Michael sits with his arm around Carolyn as they look out
over the lake. The notebooks are closed, but Francesca's
narrations continue over the next few scenes.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	There has not been a day since that
	I have not thought of him. When he
	said we were no longer two people, he
	was right.

INT. JOHNSON BEDROOM

Carolyn, looking through her mom's closet, finds the summer
dress she bought in Des Moines to wear for Robert.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	We were bound together as tightly as
	two people can be. If it hadn't been
	for him, I don't think I would have
	lasted on the farm all these years.
	Remember that dress of mine you
	wanted, Carolyn -- the one you said I
	never wore. Well, I know I was silly.
	But to me, it was as if you were
	asking to wear my wedding dress to go
	to the movies.

Carolyn smiles as she holds the dress before her.

INT. MOTEL - DAY

A tired Michael finds his way through the motel to his room.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	After reading all this, I hope you
	can now understand my burial request.
	It was not the ravings of some mad
	old lady. I gave my life to my
	family. I wish to give Robert what is
	left of me.

INT. MOTEL ROOM

Michael enters to find his two children watching TV and an
angry Betty folding clothes.

		CHILDREN
	Hey, Dad!

He looks at them lovingly, then at Betty who angrily motions
for him to follow her into the bedroom.

She slams the door behind him and talks in a irate whisper.

		BETTY
	You have been out all night long! Do
	I have a right to ask where you've
	been or is this a family secret?

Michael just looks at her. He gently takes her hand.

		MICHAEL
	No. No more secrets.

He kisses her hand. Betty is floored.

		MICHAEL (cont'd)
	Do I make you happy, Betty?
		(she is stunned)
	Because I want to. I want to more
	than anything.

He gently kisses her cheek then embraces her. Betty -- for the
first time in her life -- is utterly speechless.

INT. JOHNSON BEDROOM

Wearing her mother's dress, Carolyn sits on the bed holding
the phone, waiting for Steve to pick up. In her other hand,
she holds the divorce lawyers card.

		CAROLYN
		(on the phone)
	Hi, Steve? It's me. Good. You?...
	Listen, we have to talk... Well,
	how about you?... Uh, no -- I've
	decided I'm going to stay for a
	while... I don't know how long...
	No, I won't be coming back...
	I'm not angry, Steve. I'm not angry
	at all.
		(smiles)

						CUT TO:

EXT. ROSEMAN BRIDGE - DAY

Michael and his family stand beside Carolyn and a Priest.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	"I gave Lucy his photography book. If
	you're interested, take a look. If my
	words still leave something unclear,
	perhaps his pictures can illuminate.
	After all, that's what an artist does
	best... "

Michael receives the urn from the priest. He and Carolyn walk
away from the group towards the bridge. They stop. Carolyn
removes the lip. Michael sets his mother's ashes free.

		FRANCESCA (V.O.)
	"I love you both with all my heart.
	Do what you have to, to be happy in
	this life. There is so much beauty."

		THE END

 
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