Remember Me As I Am: Part Two

THE NEW LIFE OF ED

FADE FROM BLACK TO CITY APARTMENT INTERIOR. WE SEE ED SITTING ALONE ON A LARGE GREY COUCH IN A LARGE (MOSTLY EMPTY) ROOM. ON THE COUCH IS AN OLD STAINED PILLOW AND MEAGER THROW BLANKET. IT IS APPARENT THAT THIS IS WHERE HE SLEEPS. THE APARTMENT IS SPARSELY DECORATED. THERE IS AN END TABLE TO HIS LEFT, A TELEVISION WHICH IS OFF SCREEN, BEHIND HIM IS A LARGE MIRROR MOUNTED ABOVE A GAS FIREPLACE. THE MIRROR IS THE ONLY THING MOUNTED ON THE WALLS. TO HIS RIGHT IS THE KITCHEN AND DINING AREA. WE CAN HEAR CITYSCAPE SOUNDS OF HONKING CARS, CONSTRUCTION WORK, AND DISTANT SIRENS. WE ALSO HEAR THE VOICE OF A YOUTUBER SPEAKING FROM THE TELEVISION OFF SCREEN. ED IS DRESSED IN A WHITE PIT-STAINED T-SHIRT AND FADED BLUE FLANNEL PAJAMA PANTS WHICH ARE FRAYED AT THE ANKLES AND TORN IN ONE KNEE. HE STARES IN THE DIRECTION OF THE TELEVISION WITHOUT REALLY WATCHING IT. HIS THICK BUT GREYING HAIR IS DISHEVELED AND THERE ARE DARK CIRCLES UNDER HIS EYES. HIS AFFECT IS DISTANT AND DISTRACTED UNTIL AN AUBURN KING CHARLES SPANIEL PUPPY ENTHUSIASTICALLY JUMPS INTO HIS LAP AND BEGINS LICKING HIS FACE.

ED: Hello Beau. I suppose I had better get you some breakfast.

A CLOCK ON THE WALL CHIRPS THE TIME – IT IS 2PM. ED GOES TO THE KITCHEN CUPBOARD AND PULLS OUT A DOG DISH AND BAG OF KIBBLE. HE FEEDS THE PUPPY AND RETURNS TO THE SAME WORN OUT SPOT ON THE COUCH WHERE HE STARES VACANTLY AT THE PUPPY EATING. THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN ON THE PUP EATING THE KIBBLE THEN FLIPS TO A ZOOM IN ON ED LOOKING BLANKLY AHEAD. WE HEAR THE CLOCK’S DIGITAL CHIME MARK THE NEW HOUR, BUT WE CANNOT BE CERTAIN WHAT TIME IT IS AS THE CHIRPS CONTINUE ECHOING LOUDER AND LOUDER INSIDE THE MIND OF ED. HE CLOSES HIS EYES. FADE TO BLACK.

CELL PHONE ALARM GOES OFF WAKING ED. HE GROGGILY SITS UP ON THE COUCH PICKING UP HIS PHONE AND SEE THE TIME IS 6AM. HE RUBS HIS EYES, YAWNS, AND STRETCHES AS HE STANDS. THE PUPPY ENTHUSIASTICALLY JUMPS ALL OVER HIM AS HE GOES TO THE KITCHEN TO FEED THE PUPPY KIBBLE.

ED IS STANDING IN THE BATHROOM. HIS SHIRT IS OFF AND WE CAN SEE GREY IN HIS CHEST HAIR TOO. HE LOOKS HAGGARD AS HE SHOWERS, BRUSHES HIS TEETH, APPLIES DEODORANT, AND PREPARES HIMSELF FOR WORK. ED DRESSES HIMSELF IN A PAIR OF KHAKI PANTS AND GREEN POLO SHIRT EMBROIDERED WITH THE LOGO OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY TECHNICAL COLLEGE WHERE HE WORKS. WE SEE A CLOSE-UP OF THIS LOGO ON HIS SHIRT WHICH TRANSITIONS TO THE MARQUEE AT THE COLLEGE CAMPUS WHERE ED DRIVES HIMSELF TO WORK AT THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT. 

WE SEE HIM PARK HIS CAR IN THE PARKING RAMP, GRABS HIS TRAVEL MUG OF COFFEE, GETS A BLACK BACKPACK FROM THE BACK SEAT AND SLINGS IT OVER ONE SHOULDER, THEN WALKS ACROSS CAMPUS AND INTO AN OFFICE BUILDING WEARING THE SAME SKATER SHOES HE WORE TO DIVORCE COURT. THE WEATHER IS A SUNNY AUTUMN DAY AND ED WALKS AT A BRISK PACE WHICH CONTRADICTS THE TIRED EXPRESSION ON HIS FACE. HE WALKS INTO THE DEPARTMENT OFFICES AND BACK TO AN OFFICE AGAINST A SIDE WALL. HE WALKS INTO THE OFFICE AND CLOSES. AS THE DOOR CLOSES WE SEE “ED CAMPBELL WEB & APPLICATION DEVELOPER” ETCHED INTO THE FROSTED GLASS OF THE DOOR.

ED SITS AT HIS DESK AND PUSHES A BUTTON ON THE KEYBOARD. WE HEAR THE WINDOWS STARTUP SOUND AS HIS DESKTOP MACHINE WHIRS TO LIFE. ED LOOKS DEAD TIRED WITH RED AND SWOLLEN EYES. HE FLOPS INTO HIS OFFICE CHAIR AND PULLS A CONTACT CASE AND SOLUTION OUT OF HIS BACKPACK. HE REMOVES HIS CONTACTS AND PUTS ON A PAIR OF BLUE-LIGHT FILTER PRESCRIPTION GLASSES. HE PUTS SOME EYE DROPS IN AND THEN STARES INTO THE COMPUTER MONITOR. 

ON HIS DESK WE SEE PHOTOGRAPHS OF ED WITH TWO YOUNG CHILDREN – A BOY AND A GIRL. ALL THREE ARE SMILING AT THE CAMERA IN THE FRAMED PICTURE. HAPPIER TIMES DID EXIST – OR USED TO EXIST. THE CAMERA PANS ACROSS MORE FRAMED PHOTOS ON THE DESK. THERE IS A PICTURE OF THE TWO CHILDREN STANDING ON A DOCK HOLDING UP SOME SMALL FISH THEY APPARENTLY HAD CAUGHT. EACH CHILD IS GRINNING FROM EAR TO EAR. THERE IS A PHOTO OF THE TWO CHILDREN HOLDING A MOTTLED KING CHARLES SPRINGER SPANIEL WEARING A TAG ETCHED WITH THE NAME “HURLEY” ON IT. AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PHOTO, IT READS “RIP HURLEY – 09/04/2021.” NEXT THE CAMERA LANDS ON A SILVER FRAMED WEDDING PHOTOGRAPH OF ED AND BELLE LOOKING YOUNG AND HAPPY. THE CAMERA SNAPS BACK TO ED’S FACE AND WE SEE HIM CATCH A GLIMPSE OF THIS PHOTO. HE FROWNS, PICKS IT UP, AND CHUCKS IT INTO HIS RUBBISH BIN. WE HEAR THE GLASS SHATTER IN THE METAL BIN AND ED WINCES. 

SITTING BACK DOWN AT HIS DESK, ED PROCEEDS TO GET ON WITH HIS WORK DAY. THE HOURS FLY BY AND SOON IT IS TIME FOR HIM TO GO HOME. HIS BOSS PAUL KNOCKS ON HIS DOOR. ED PROMPTLY ANSWERS.

PAUL: You do know it’s five o’clock, right?

ED: Oh, sorry I must have lost track of time.

PAUL: Did you get those TPS requests I sent you?

ED: Haha, yeah I’ll get those test procedure specs to you first thing tomorrow morning.

PAUL: Sounds good, buddy!  Hey – are you doing alright since the uh… you know?

ED: Yeah, I’m doing alright. In fact, I got myself a dog!

PAUL: Oh yeah? You should bring her into the office here one of these days.

ED: HR wouldn’t have a fit about that?

PAUL: Not if you do it on a Friday afternoon.

ED: Oh cool.

PAUL: So if you’ve got a new puppy at home, shouldn’t you be getting back to check on her?

ED: Him – and yeah, I should go.

PAUL: Right. See you tomorrow.

ED: Right.

PAUL: ED, I hope you know that I’m here for you man. 

ED: Oh cool. Thanks.

PAUL: Anytime.

PAUL LEAVES AND ED PACKS UP HIS BACKPACK. HE LEAVES HIS OFFICE SWITCHING OFF THE LIGHT BEHIND HIM. THE REST OF THE OFFICE IS DARK AS HE IS THE LAST ONE TO LEAVE FOR THE DAY. A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET IS SEEN ON THE HORIZON, BUT ED DOES NOT NOTICE. HE WALKS BACK TO HIS CAR IN LONELY SILENCE AND DRIVES HOME JUST THE SAME.

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