Life as a family woman, reflected through a balcony garden
INT. STAIRWELL – DAY
A brightly lit stairwell with fresh, patterned wallpaper. Two paintings hang on the wall, one of a plantation house, the other of a flower. A simple light bulb dangles from the roof.
HUSBAND lumbers up the stairs, balancing a large ceramic pot in his wiry arms.
Moments later he labors up the stairs carrying a large sack of soil.
Carrying a second bag of soil his steps are heavier and slower and cause the paintings and light bulb to shudder.
HUSBAND pauses on the stairs and shifts the bag to one arm while he grabs a handkerchief from his pocket and wipes his sweating brow.
HUSBAND knocks his glasses off, catches them midfall and almost topples backward. He thrusts the soil forward to regain his balance and leans forward to clutch the sack of soil. After a few gasps and a sigh of relief he continues his trek.
The painting of the house slides aslant.
WIFE triumphantly carries two small packets of seeds in front of her heavily pregnant belly.
She stops in front of the skewed picture and pushes it upright, then leaves the frame.
The picture slides aslant again.
EXT. BALCONY – DAY
Husband empties soil into the pot.
Through the sliding glass doors behind him wife unpacks boxes in the kitchen. The living room, with a plush armchair, is also visible.
In fast time – tiny saplings sprout from the soil and grow into a small leafy shrug surrounded by large flowers.
A tiny hand reaches out and plucks a flower from the soil
Wife picks up her ringlet haired baby, DAUGHTER, who tries to squirm out of her mother's arms. She releases the flower.
Pull out to reveal the five story cement apartment building, with the balcony at the top beside a second balcony. The flower flutters to the street.
C.U. car tires crush the flower
A shower of water cascades over the now full pot. The shrub is much bigger.
The apartment front door slams (O.S) causing the apartment to shake and a few petals to dislodge and drift from their flowers.
WIFE puts the watering can beside the pot and we see her feet move off and into the apartment, where HUSBAND is heard grumbling and slamming things around.
In fast time – the watering can rusts, the flowers droop, some shrivel and die.
O.S. the front door slams, shaking the entire apartment again. The last petal falls from the last remaining flower and a tiny crack forms in the pot.
The stairwell is slightly dimmer. A stair is cracked, some of the wallpaper peeling, and the painting of the house still hangs askew.
HUSBAND, his hairline receding and stomach bulging with age, lugs an overflowing suitcase after him while his distraught WIFE attempts desperately to pull it back up.
She loses her grip and HUSBAND and the suitcase tumble out of the frame and land with a crash (o.S.)
WIFE slumps onto the steps and weeps.
DAUGHTER stands on her toes and peers over the rails at the street below.
Pan down through her feet to the street, where HUSBAND wrestles to push is bag into the back seat of a taxi.
DAUGHTER huffs and walks inside
WIDE SHOT of apartment building. In fast time – dilapidated houses and apartments crumble and skyscrapers grow around the apartment.
From the next door balcony a TEENAGE BOY emerges and leans casually on the rail, smoking a cigarette. He ashes into the pot. Although the building is now drenched in the shade of the skyscrapers, BOY wears sunglasses.
DAUGHTER emerges from her apartment, eating an apple.
BOY whistles at her.
DAUGHTER ignores him and continues eating her apple.
BOY then pulls up his shades and winks.
DAUGHTER smiles, throws her apple core in the pot, which now only boasts the bare shrub. She climbs over the rail and BOY and DAUGHTER both walk into BOY's apartment.
CU of the apple core as – in fast time – it rots and decomposes. A seedling sprouts from the area.
DAUGHTER and WIFE slamming things around and arguing inside (O.S.)
The hanging light flickers and sways violently. The steps are more cracked, the wallpaper more damaged.
DAUGHTER stomps down the stairs with tears streaming down her face and a tiny bump showing on her stomach.
WIFE follows her, carrying a small suitcase.
The painting of the flower falls from the wall and smashes onto the steps.
We see the top of the pot with the tiny seedling poking through, and below, WIFE ushering sobbing daughter into a taxi. The taxi drives off.
In fast time – the seedling shrivels. The Shrub looses all of its leaves, the cracks in the pot grow numerous and deeper. The scene darkens.
WIFE heaves her sagging body into the armchair. She sighs and goes limp.
The balcony sags slightly and creaks.
PAN OUT to view of entire apartment - now run down. Some windows are boarded up in other apartments, balcony's sag.
The fifth story balcony creaks again and collapses. The balcony and pot smash to the street below.