Away from Her (2006) Script

[Man] She said, "Do you think it'd be fun if we got married?"

[Woman] And what did you say?

[Man] I took her up on it.

I never wanted to be away from her.

She had the spark of life.

[no audible dialogue]


Careful.

When did we last wash that sweater?

Right after the war.

[chuckling]

Christmas.

In the '50s sometime or the '60s.

[laughing] Shut up.


I'll go make the fire.


"You climbed the bank and said, "'This is how you touch other women, "the grass cutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.

"And you searched your arms for the missing perfume and knew--"

Don't worry, darling.

I expect I'm just losing my mind.

Shh-shh.

"What good is it to be the lime burner's daughter, "left with no trace

"as if not spoken to in the act of love, "as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

"You touched your belly to my hands in the dry air

"and said, 'I am the cinnamon peeler's wife.

Smell me.'"


When I look away, I forget what yellow means.

But I can look again.

Sometimes there's something delicious in oblivion.

I think you're supposed to be able to put your fingers inside the curled petal and feel the heat.

[Man] Well?

I can't be sure.

I can't be sure if what I can feel is the heat or my imagination.

The heat attracts the bugs.

Nature never fools around just being decorative.

[car beeping]

[knocking]

Yes?

I don't quite know how to introduce myself.

I used to see your husband at Meadowlake.

I'm a regular visitor there myself.

Those are lovely flowers.

I've never seen those purple ones before.

Hmm.

The earth there must really appeal to them.

[chuckling]

What?

You could just open the drawers.

Remind yourself.

What?

Maybe all the labels and lists are defeating the purpose.

If you stopped thinking about things the moment you write them down, maybe that's the end of your need to recall.

I heard a story at a dinner party about the German soldiers on border patrol in Czechoslovakia during the war.

I heard it from that Czech student of yours.

Veronica.

We spoke once at a dinner party.

Don't be nervous.

It's a good story.

She told me that each of the German patrol dogs wore a sign saying "hund."

"Why?" said the Czechs.

And the Germans replied, "Because that is a hund."

It was one of those craft shows where you look around and wonder that the laws of supply and demand can allow for the production of so many macramé ducks.

[laughs] Oh, God, those things are everywhere.

What do you do with them? Oh, come on, Phoebe, you've got one of those.

You use it as a-- what do you call it-- a light fixture holder or som--

I do not. Phoebe, in the...

Oh, yes. Wait a second, I do.

Fiona gave it to me.

Yes, I did. [chuckling]

Would anybody like some more?

Mm.

Ween...

Wai-- Wain--

No, but I'll have a touch of wine.

Yeah, Fiona, that would be lovely.

Some more wain.

The thing is...

half the time I wander around looking for something which I know is very pertinent.

I can't remember what it is.

Once the idea is gone, everything is gone.

I just wander around trying to figure out what it was that was so important earlier.

I think I may be beginning to disappear.

[Woman] And what year is it?

2003.

Fiona, if you found a letter on the street, addressed, with a stamp on it, what would you do with it?

I'd mail it.

And where would you put it to mail it?

And if there was a fire in a movie theater, and you were the first person to spot that fire, what would you do?

Well, we don't go to the movies much anymore, do we, Grant?

All those multiplexes showing the same American garbage.

Have you seen my coat?

There it is, dear.

It's on your chair.

Oh, yes.

Fiona, would you mind if I asked you a few more questions?

Would you mind taking a seat?

I was just feeling a little cold, that's all.

[baby burbling]

[sotto voce] What an ugly baby.

When did we move into this cottage?

Was it last year or the year before?

[sigh]

No. It was longer than that.

It was when I left the university, 20 years ago.

Hmm.

Well, that's shocking.

[chuckle]

Let's just see how it goes, shall we, hmm?

Hmm?

[Grant] How is your husband doing?

Okay.

He and my wife struck up quite a close friendship.

I heard about that.

So, uh, I'd like to speak to you about something.

If you have a minute.

My husband did not try to start anything with your wife, if that's what you're getting at.

He did not try to molest her.

He's incapable of it.

And anyway, he wouldn't.

From what I hear, it was the other way around.

No, uh, that isn't it at all.

I didn't come here with any complaints.

Oh.

Oh, well, I'm sorry. I thought you did.

Maybe you should come in.

It's not as warm a day as it looks.

[Fiona] "Never let a person make you feel guilty for your anger with God."

Hmm. Random.

I can't even see what the point is.

We can't be certain this is what--

You're far too young.

"Should the patient afflicted with the disease

"remain at home... the caregiver will very often be the spouse."

"The caregiver must preside over the degeneration

"of someone he or she loves very much, "must do this for years and years

"with the news always getting worse, not better, "must put up sometimes with deranged

"but at the same time very personal insults, "and must somehow learn to smile through it all.

"Caregivers must be able to diagnose

"a wide variety of ordinary ailments

"under extraordinary circumstances.

"Imagine the person you love the most

"suddenly upset about something, "but completely unable to communicate the problem or even to understand it himself."

Sounds like a regular marriage.

[chuckle]


[sigh]


Hello, there!

[shivering] Oh!

Hello, there.


We are at that stage, Grant.

We are at that stage.

[sigh]

Well...

if we do think of it... if we do... then it must be as something that isn't permanent.

A kind of experimental treatment or... a rest cure of sorts.

All right.

All right.

We can think of it that way.

We have to sit in the kitchen, where I can hear Aubrey.

Well, you might as well have a cup of coffee.

Thank you.

My son put him on the Sports Channel a year ago Christmas.

I don't know what we'd do without it.

Must be a struggle.

Well, you know.

You know what struggle is by now.

You're sure? I'm sure.

You don't want to just get a sense of the place?

I don't want to make this decision alone.

What place?

Just kidding!

Fuck off.

You're not making this decision alone, Grant.

I've already made up my mind.

Okay.


[Woman] It's time to go home now.

[Man] No, no. Mrs. Taylor--

Hi. Is this your son? Yeah. I'm her son.

Hi. I'm Betty. It's time for your bath.

Bath. Yeah.

You have to have a bath now.

Mama.

Mr. Andersson? Madeleine Montpelier.

I'm the supervisor here at Meadowlake. Hi, there.

I'm just going to take you on the quick tour of the facility, and then we can sit down and discuss Mrs. Andersson's condition and the appropriate time for admitting her.

As you can see, we get a lot of natural light.

Yes, I can see that.

This is my favorite room.

Look, over there, as you can see, they have a puzzle on the go.

They always have a puzzle on the go.

This works. You know, it's real important to us here that our residents maintain social function, so a lot of our activities and our whole layout is really geared toward--

Hello, there, Miss Madeleine.

Hello, Michael.

Now, as you can see, we're coming into our common room, and again, we're really emphasizing everybody being social.

So you can bring the family.

Everybody can come and visit.

We have a state-of-the-art entertainment system so the residents can gather and watch together.

Hi, Madeleine. Hello, ladies.

Hello, Madeleine. I got a Christmas sweater.

Aren't you festive!

And this is our quiet corner for crafts and reading and reflection.

We have a lot of activities for physical activity.

Balloon badminton and sit and fit.

And here we have our lovely new dining room.

We can accommodate any dietary preferences or restrictions.

We're just serving up a little Christmas dinner early for the families.

The old Meadowlake is just next door, and that's a day center now, but, um... this for the permanent residents.

This is brand-spanking new.

So let's go upstairs, shall we?

Just taking my tea for a ride.

Oh, look at this one, Flo.

He's a real charmer, isn't he?

Would you say, are you a charmer?

I think you could say I was kind of a charmer.

[chuckles] You're a rascal.

Mr. Andersson is here about his wife, Eliza. Behave yourself.

Ahh. I should have known it.

At this age, it's--

What do the kids call it, Flo? It's--

It's a real clusterfuck.

All the charmers are taken.

Or dead. Mostly dead. [elevator dings]

You're kind of charming yourself, sweetheart.

Shall we?

This is our second floor, the extended care wing.

The elevators, of course, have the lockdown system, and this is where the patients can move to once they become more progressed.

Interesting choice of words.

Why don't I show you some of the rooms here, while we're at it?

Then we can go back down and see the regular rooms where Mrs. Andersson will be living.

No, that will not be necessary.

My wife will not be progressing to this floor.

All right.

♪ [Muzak]

Who chooses the music?

I'm sorry?

I'm assuming it's not the residents.

I don't see any of them singing along.

Yeah, well. You know the rooms on the regular floors all have their own stereo systems so the patients can listen to whatever they like.

How kind.

Now, we don't admit anyone during the month of December, so Mrs. Andersson will have to wait till January to make the big move.

Just December, Christmas, you know, too many emotional pitfalls.

Right. Sorry to interrupt, Madeleine.

I'm looking for those documents on Aubrey Burke.

Sure. Go ahead.

Mr. Andersson, this is Kristy, our new managing nurse.

Against some people's better judgment.

Now, now. [chuckles]

Mr. Andersson is here about his wife, Mrs. Andersson, who will be joining us in January.

Hi, there. Hi.

We also have a policy, which I'm sure you saw in the brochure, that our new residents are not allowed visitors or receiving phone calls during the first 30 days, just to give them a chance to settle in.

What sort of visitors?

Everyone. Even close relatives.

I couldn't just leave her here.

We understand, it is very difficult to leave a loved one in a new environment for so long, but most people need that time to settle in.

Before we had this rule in place, residents would forget again and again why they were being left here.

Whereas we find, you give them the month to settle in, and they're happy as clams.

And after that, a little visit home every now and then, perfectly fine.

We'll take good care of her, I promise.

Knock-knock. Oh, no! Not again.

Knock-knock. Boo.

[general chatter]

She's bringing two babies. Two babies?

She's got a new baby, four months old.


♪ [guitar]


Smells good.

I was going to go for a ski, but I thought I shouldn't chance it, what with the Alzheimer's and all.

Why didn't you wake me?

What are these, Grant?

Those are the documents you're supposed to sign if you decide to go to Meadowlake.

That is exactly what I have decided.

You were to go an sign these and leave them there.

I wouldn't be allowed to visit you for 30 days.

30 days isn't such a long time after 44 years.

I don't think I like the place.

I don't think we should be looking for something we like, Grant.

I don't think we'll ever find that.

I think all we can aspire to in this situation is a little bit of grace.

Hmm?

♪ Come a little bit closer ♪

♪ Hear what I have to say ♪

♪ Just like children sleeping ♪

♪ We can dream this night away ♪

I suppose I'll be dressed up all the time.

It will be sort of like... in a hotel.

How do I look?

Just like always.

Just as you've always looked.

And how does that look?

Direct and vague... sweet and ironic.

Is that how I look?

[on radio] ♪ Because I'm still in love with you ♪

♪ I want to see you dance again ♪ Oh. Remember?

Surprised, Grant?

No, I'm not surprised.

I'm just grateful you can remember that.

I'm not all gone, Grant. Just...

[sigh] going--

There are things I wish would go away.

But won't. You know. Things we don't talk about.

You never left me.

You still made love to me, despite disturbing demands elsewhere.

But all those sandals, Grant. All those bare female toes.

What could you do but be a part of the time you were a part of?

All those pretty girls.

Didn't seem like anyone was willing to be left out.

I think you did all right, compared to some of your colleagues.

Those who left their wives.

And the women who wouldn't put up with it.

I think people are too demanding.

People want to be in love every single day.

What a liability. And then that silly girl.

That silly girl Veronica.

Girls that age are always going around saying they're going to kill themselves.

But that was that.

Promised me a new life.

We moved out here, that is exactly what you gave me.

How long ago was that?

20 years.

[shuddering]

God, that's shocking.

So you see, I'm going... but I'm not gone.

♪ And we were lovers ♪

♪ I loved you with all my heart ♪

Fiona. Grant.

Don't go.

That's what is happening, Grant.

It's happening...right now.


Fiona.

Hello. I'm checking in today.

My name is Fiona Andersson.

Yes, Mrs. Andersson.

We have your room all ready for you.

Perfect. We'll have our supervisor, Mrs. Montpelier, show you.

I'll go fetch her. She's expecting you.

Thank you.

Fiona.

Grant.

I can't go away from you like this.

We had nothing to tie us down, Grant.

You could have just driven away and forsaken me.

But you didn't.

I thank you for that.

Mrs. Andersson. Oh, hello.

How do you do? I'm Madeleine. Hello.

Should I give you two a moment?

No, thank you. Yes, please.

All right, then, well, we'll get you settled in your room, and then I'd like to give you a tour of the facility.

That'd be lovely. Thank you. Right this way.

So, as you can see, we get a lot of natural light.

Here we go.

Yes. This'll do just fine.

Good. I'm so glad you like it. Now, is-- is this all you brought with you today?

For now. We'll see how it goes.

Well, if you need any help arranging things, you just let me know.

Thank you, Mrs. Montpelier.

Now, if you wouldn't mind, I-I'd like to say good-bye to my husband.

We haven't been apart for a month for the last 44 years.

It could be quite something.

Please, Fiona.

[sigh] Grant.

Fiona--

You know what I'd like?

I'd like to make love, and then I'd like you to go.

Because I need to stay here, and if you make it hard for me, I might cry so hard I'll never stop.


Go now.

Go now.


[Woman] "All of the officers

"were from outside the local area, "and it probably had not entered their minds

"that almost all of us were named McDonald.

"Nobody moved except for the shuffling of feet.

The red roo"-- Hey.

Hello, there. Kristy. We met on your tour.

How's Mrs. Andersson? Has she settled in?

I'm wondering if I could have a moment of your time to ask your advice?

Oh, sure. I was just reading to Mr. Burke here.

Maybe when we finish this chapter, I can come find you in the dining room?

Sure. That's fine.

Mm-- "The red roof lights revolved in the afternoon sun, and even the dogs were temporarily quiet."

Hi, there, Mr. Andersson. Now, how can I help you?

Going down the center of the dining room--

That's Frank. He used to be the play-by-play guy for the Winnipeg Jets.

Really? Yeah.

He loved his job too much to retire.

Frank's on the second floor.

I just-- My wife has always been sort of a different sort of person.

I've been told that Alzheimer's can't be confirmed until after--

And on our way here today, we passed this conservation area where we went for a walk last spring.

And there were these gorgeous flowers. The skunk lilies.

Oh, those are beautiful, aren't they?

Yes, they really made an impression, see?

And even though the whole place was covered in snow, she said, "Oh, remember?"

Now, that was-- that was...quite recently.

And isn't the short-term memory the thing that goes first?

Well, yeah, but not all at once.

And what's comforting is the long-term memory sometimes stays for quite a long time.

Yeah, her long-term memory seems quite intact.

But when she mentioned that, about the skunk lilies, it was all I could do not to turn the truck around.

What if this is just her just being herself?

She's far too young to--

She is young.

And it is hard.

No doubt about that.

A month is a real long time.

I mean, between you and me, I don't know about the policy myself.

I think it makes it easier for the staff is what I think.

Look. I'll give you my pager number.

You can call me whenever you want.

You can call me every day if you feel like it.

I don't know what to do.

Mr. Andersson, your wife wrote you this note, and she asked me to pass it along.

Okay.

Thank you so much.

[no audible dialogue]

[Grant reading] "Throughout much of the thinking brain, gooey plaques now crowd neurons from outside the cell membranes."

"And knotty tangles mangle microtubal transports from inside the cells."

"All told, tens of millions of synapses dissolve away."

"Because the structures and substructures of the brain

"are so highly specialized, "the precise location of the neuronal loss determines what specific abilities will become impaired."

"It is like a series of circuit breakers in a large house, flipping off one by one."


That's a great-looking coffee maker.

I always meant to get one of those.

I saw they had them on sale at Canadian Tire.

They gave it to us, my son and his wife.

They live in Kamloops, B.C.

They send us more stuff than we can handle.

Wouldn't hurt if they spent the money to come see us instead.

I suppose they're busy with their own lives.

Not so busy they couldn't go to Hawaii last year.

I mean, you could understand it if there was someone in the family closer at hand, but, uh... he's the only one.

People do get lonely, especially when they're deprived of seeing someone they care about.

Fiona, for instance.

My wife.

I thought you said you went and visited her.

I do.

No, that's not it.

[Kristy] She's really settling in well.

Good. Good.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, Mr. Andersson.

Right. So I'll see you tomorrow morning, then.

Now, remember, she may be a little surprised to see you.

Don't be shaken by that.

Just-- She hasn't seen you in a while.

She's sort of settled in here.

[Grant] I understand.

There you are. I'll walk you down to her.

Wow. Narcissus this early.

You must have spent a fortune.

We brought it back here. Hi, Mr. Andersson.

It's great to see you.

I'm gonna help you find your sweater, Mrs. Albright.

All right. Here we are. There is her room, right over there.

You remember from last time you were here, don't you?

Her nameplate's right on the door. I'll leave you to it.


There she is. Now you just go over and say hello, and try not to startle her-- Remember, she may not--

Well, just go ahead.

Bridge. Deadly serious.

Quite rabid about it.

I can remember being like that at college for a while.

My friends and I would cut class and sit in the common room and smoke and play like cutthroats.

One's name was Phoebe.

I don't remember the others.

Phoebe Hart.

Oh, you knew her, too.

Can I get you something? A cup of tea?

I'm afraid the coffee's not up to much here.

I don't drink tea.

Oh.

I brought you some flowers.

I thought they might do to brighten up your room.

I went to your room, but you weren't there.

Well, no, I'm here.

So you've made a new friend.

Oh, that's just Aubrey.

The funny thing is I knew him years and years ago.

He used to work in the store, the hardware store where my grandpa used to shop.

He and I were always kidding around, but he never could get up the nerve to ask me out.

Until the very last weekend, he took me to a ball game.

But my grandpa showed up to drive us home.

I was up visiting for the summer.

Visiting my grandparents.

They lived in a cottage on a lake.

Fiona, I know where your grandparents lived.

It's where we lived. We live.

Really?

I'd better go back.

He thinks he can't play without me sitting there.

It's silly. I hardly know the game anymore.

I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me.

Will you be through soon?

We should be. I mean, it depends.

If you asked that grim-looking lady over there nicely, she'll get you a cup of tea.

No, I'm fine. I can leave you, then?

You can entertain yourself? Must all seem strange to you.

But you'll be surprised how soon you get used to it.

You'll get to know who everybody is, except that some of them are pretty well off in the clouds, you know?

Hmm. Can't expect them all to get to know who you are.


Hey, I've been thinking of dying my hair. What do you think?

Do you think I'd look good with red hair?

You caught her at sort of a bad moment, involved in a game.

She isn't even playing.

Well, but her friend's playing, Aubrey.

Now, who is Aubrey?

That's who he is, Aubrey.

You know, they get these attachments.

That kind of takes over for a while.

Best buddy kind of thing.

Sort of a phase.

Does she even know who I am?

No, she might not.

Not today, and then, tomorrow you never know.

Things change back and forth all the time.

You'll see the way it is once you get used to coming here.

You'll learn not to take it so personal.

Learn to take it day by day.

[inaudible dialogue]

Oh, I'm sorry.

I'll have to go and fix that now.


[Man, TV] Here's Yung Menenikenaha, desperately clinging to his one-stroke lead.

Here's the swing.

It doesn't look good.

Looks like he's pushed it out to the right.

It lands 25 feet from the green.

This must be disappointing.

It doesn't look good for Yung Menenikenaha.

He was three strokes on the happy side of par until these last three holes.

Look at you, Mr. Andersson.

I think you might be one of our most frequent visitors.

Hi, Fiona.

Oh, you are persistent, aren't you?

I brought you some books.

They don't seem to have an awful lot around here.

Letters from Iceland by Auden.

We always meant to read that together, didn't we?

Do you think it'd be possible to talk alone?

Well, I don't know.

Um, Aubrey's card game starts in a few minutes, and then we usually go walking, and then he does his drawing--

Or perhaps you can find a bit of time later on.

Um, I'll stay here.

Or I'll come back in a few hours.

Oh, you are persistent, aren't you?


[Man, TV] Up comes Kapanen-- Boy, oh, boy!

[Frank] Here we are at the Spectrum in Philadelphia.

It's sudden-death overtime. They're tied 2-2.

Here are the Leafs again, led by Andreychuk.

He carries it over the blue line, winds up a shot right on!

The bounce, the rebound comes back behind the net.

McCabe couldn't get to it.

It goes back on the left wing and here come the Flyers led by Roenick again.

Roenick and Mitchell, what a twosome this two has been.

A shot right on! Oh, it just went wide.

Go for it, Frank. Over to the right side.

Here we go again. The Leafs again.

Here's Sundin carrying it up over the line.

Can't get a shot away and it's cleared away by Philadelphia.

A loose puck grabbed by Philadelphia over on the left wing--

I just came down to say Aubrey is having his nap if you'd like to, um, talk.

Oh, sure.

Can we go somewhere a little more private?

[Frank] ...the side with Mitchell. He shoots, he scores!

If-- If you'd like.

[Frank] And Philly wins this series by a score of 3-2.

That's it this season for the Leafs.

Look at Phil Hitchcock. Is he a happy coach.

Philadelphia wins 3-2.

The game is over in sudden-death overtime.


Y-You said you had some books for me?

This.

Letters from Iceland.

Yes, yes. You said by Auden.

Yes. That's right.

Now...where is Iceland?

Well, Iceland is in the middle of the Atlantic.

It's an island.

Youngest country in the world.

It's constantly erupting.

Volcanoes, earthquakes.

It's always shaking itself off.

Wouldn't it be nice to come from a young country?

You do. That's where you're from.

That's where your people are from.

They immigrated here in the late 1800s.

But that's where you're from, Fiona.

And I teach-- Well, I taught the myths from there.

Norse mythology.

I-I must have been there, then.

Have I been there?

[sniffs]

No.

Oh.

Why not? Wasn't I curious?

You were very curious.

Very curious.

You always said there ought to be one place that you knew about and you thought about and maybe even longed for, but you did never did get to see.

Did I say that?

Yes, you said that.

Well, I'd better go and see to Aubrey.

He'll be wanting a little walk around, I suppose.

It was nice chatting.

You'll be back again tomorrow, I suppose?

Fiona, what are you doing--

What are you doing with Aubrey?

He doesn't confuse me.

He doesn't confuse me at all.

Well, it's been nice chatting.

I'll see you again tomorrow, I suppose.

[door opens, closes]

[Grant] These affections between residents, do they ever go too far?

[Kristy chuckles]

Well, that depends on what you mean.

The problem we have here, it's funny.

It's actually often the ones who haven't been friendly with each other at all.

I mean, they maybe don't even know each other beyond knowing, like, is it a man or is it a woman?

And you'd think it'd be the old guys trying to crawl in bed with the old ladies, but half the time it's the other way around.

It's the old ladies going after the old men.

It could be they aren't so worn out.

[chuckling]

Now don't get me wrong. I don't mean Fiona.

Fiona is a lady.

She's a real lady.

I sometimes wonder--

You wonder what?

I wonder if she isn't putting on some kind of...charade.

A what?

Some kind of act.

Maybe some kind of punishment.

Why would she do that?

Oh.


[Fiona] Are you getting tired?

[Aubrey] No. [Fiona] Are you certain--

Excuse me.

Yes, Mr. Andersson?

How can I help you?

Fiona's wearing someone else's sweater.

[Madeleine] Well, it's pretty, isn't it?

No, it's not pretty. It's tacky.

She would never wear it. Well, I'll tell you what.

You can talk to the duty attendant on Mrs. Andersson's wing.

Boy, it's a marvel, really, the way she's getting him up and out of that chair.

Can you manage?

Will you be all right?

I'll be back in a second.

Fiona, I'm your husband.

Fiona, it's Grant.

We've been married for 45 years.

Look at me, Fiona. That is not your sweater.

We had a good life together.

Those are your words, Fiona, not mine.

That is not your sweater.

[Aubrey groaning]

It's all right.

It's all right. It's all right.

I'm coming straight back.

I'm coming straight back.

It's going to be all right.

I'll see you again tomorrow, I suppose.

Please... don't.

Please, please don't.

You're very persistent, aren't you?

I wish I--

Wish I knew what--

[sniffles]

We'll see you again tomorrow, I suppose.


You're not doing too well, are you?

Well, no big surprise.

What we're handling isn't so easy.

I thought when I married, I'd be with someone to the final stretch.

I'm betting you thought the same.

Well, didn't work out.

[Aubrey groaning]

So, I, uh, think you're here for a reason.

I'm the kind of person you can say things flat out to, so shoot.

[sigh]

I wonder if you would consider taking Aubrey back to Meadowlake, maybe just for a visit.

Or I suppose I could take Aubrey out there myself.

I wouldn't mind that at all.

[sigh]

Homemade.

Really?

No. No, I can't do that.

And the reason is I don't want to upset him.

But wouldn't he understand it was just a visit?

He understands everything.

Now, if I go to all that trouble, I'd prefer to take him someplace that'd be more fun, hmm?

It would make more sense to take him to the mall where there are kids and whatnot.

And then I'd have to get him all ready, maneuver him into the car.

He's a big man. He's not that easy to manage.

Even if I agreed to do it?

You couldn't do it. You don't know him.

You couldn't manage him.

And he wouldn't stand your doing for him.

And after all that, what would he get out of it?

Uh...

Hmm.

Smoke?

No. No, thanks.

What, did you never, or did you quit?

I quit.

How long ago?

Oh, 30 years, maybe more.

I quit quitting.

Just made a resolution to quit quitting, that's all.

So your wife's depressed, huh?

What's her name again? I forget.

Fiona.

[Kristy] And how old were you when you met?

She was 18.

Holy, that's pretty young to get married, eh?

[chuckling]

Wasn't my idea.

You mean she proposed to you?

Well, that's lovely, that's what I think.

How'd she do it?

She hadn't planned it necessarily.

We were in Tobermory waiting for the ferry to Manitoulin, and it was miserable and rainy, and she was in a good mood.

She didn't want any part of my sour mood.

[chuckles] And what'd she do, what'd she say?

Well, she said, "Do you think it'd be fun--

Do you think it'd be fun if we got married?"

And what did you say?

I took her up on it.

I shouted yes.

I never wanted to be away from her.

She had the spark of life.

[Kristy] You know, nothing can take away what's happened to you and what you've experienced.

I don't think so, anyway.

Even if it goes away somehow, it's still there.

It's still what you are.

[Grant] It's curious.

What's curious?

All of that "madly in love" business.

The beginning.

I hear myself tell the story, and it all sounds so crucial.

I suppose it is.

But compared to what we ended up with, until recently... all of that seems so superficial somehow.

[chatter, plates clinking]


♪ [heavy metal]

Not such a fun place to visit, eh?

Excuse me?

Not such a fun place to visit.

Fucking depressing.

No offense.

None taken.

No one came to visit you, huh?

That must suck huge.

Well, it would suck huge, but I don't live here.

I'm just visiting someone.

Who? Which one?

Beautiful woman with the shock of hair.

The one sitting with her husband?

You might say that. Why wouldn't you?

I wouldn't say that because I'm her husband.

So why aren't you sitting with her, then?

Just learned to give her some space.

She's in love with that man she's sitting with.

I don't like to disturb her.

I just like to see her, I suppose.

Make sure she's doing well, you know?

I suppose that must seem rather pathetic.

I should be so lucky.

Come on.

[chuckles]


She's not here.

She's sick.

He's not here, either.

[laughing]

[knocking]

I brought you a book.

It's all about Iceland.

Thought you might like to take a look at it.

Why, thank you.

[crying]

Oh, what is it, dear heart?

[Aubrey sniffling] What is it? Oh, I see.

Here. Here. Here.

Here, here, yes.

Do you by any chance have any influence around here?

I've seen you talking to them.

Oh.

We'll get to see each other.

[groans] You'll see. We have to.

I'll come and see you, and you'll come and see me.

You know, I just wish his wife would hurry up and get here.

I wish she'd get him out of here and cut the agony short.

Should I stay?

Don't worry. She's not sick, you know.

To keep her company.

Well, they have to learn to get over these things by themselves.

They've got short memories, and that's not always so bad.

Okay?


[Woman] Fiona. Her name is Fiona.

And what's yours?

I don't think I was ever told that.

Oh, I'm sorry. It's Grant.

Hmm.

Hello, Grant.

I'm Marian.

Well, now that we know each other's name, I can tell you straight out what I'm thinking.

I don't know if he's still so stuck on seeing your-- seeing Fiona.

I don't ask him, he doesn't tell me.

But I don't feel like putting him back in there in case it turns out to be more than that.

I don't want him getting hard to handle.

I don't have any help. It's just me here.

I'm it.

It is very hard for you.

Did-- Did you ever consider his going in there for good?

No. I'm keeping him right here.

Well, that's very good and noble of you.

Oh, you think so?

Well, noble is not what I'm thinking about.

No, but it isn't easy.

No, it isn't, but I don't have a choice.

If I pay to put him in there, I won't hold on to the house, and the house is the only thing we own outright.

And it means a lot to me, this house does.

It's very nice.

Well, I guess it's all right.

I've done a lot on it, fixing it up, keeping it up.

Yes, I can see that you have-- you do.

I don't want to lose it. No.

I'm not going to lose it. I see your point.

See, the company left us high and dry.

In the end, they said he owed them money.

What do I think? Well, he was pretty stupid.

[sigh]

But I'm not supposed to ask, so I shut up.

You've been married, huh?

I mean, you are married. You know what it's like.

And then, in the middle of all this, he gets sick from this virus, and he goes into a coma.

So that pretty much takes him off the hook, hmm?

It's bad luck.

It's, no, just life.

Can't beat life.

No.

[knocking at door]

Oh. Hello.


Perhaps you'd like me to read to you.

I don't have any books.

Oh, there are some.

Letters from Iceland.

"Isn't it true, however far we've wandered

"into our provinces of persecution, "where our regrets accuse, we keep returning

"back to the common faith

"from which we've all dissented, "back to the hands, the feet, the faces?

"Children are always there and take the hands, "even when they are most terrified.

"Those in love cannot make up their minds to go or stay.

"Artist and doctor return most often.

"Only the mad will never, never come back.

"For doctors keep on worrying while away, "in case their skill is suffering and deserted.

"Lovers have lived so long with giants and elves, "they want belief again in their own size.

"And the artist prays ever so gently, "'Let me find pure all that can happen.

"'Only uniqueness is success.

"'For instance, let me perceive the images of history.

"'All that I push away with doubt and travel, today's and yesterday's alike, like bodies."

[George W. Bush] To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you.

How could they forget Vietnam?

[Woman] The air strike started again at 5 A.M. this morning and lasted for three hours.

Roadside explosions have killed eight Iraqi civilians and one U.S. soldier.

Hmm. Hmm.

Here you go.

Next time you do it, just go pick it up, okay?

Her muscles are deteriorating.

If she doesn't improve soon, we're going to have to put her on a walker.

I keep trying to get her walking, but she doesn't seem to want to go anywhere.

But, you know, once they get on a walker, they start to depend on it, and then they don't want to walk much anymore, just get wherever it is they have to go.

You're going to have to work at her harder.

Try and encourage her.

Sorry.

Here you go.

Mrs. Andersson.

How would you like to go on a field trip?


They've kept it so like it was.

Who has?

The people who live here.


But everything...

Everything just reminds me of him.

It wasn't enough, I suppose.

Who, Fiona?

Who does everything remind you of?

I'd like to go home now, if you don't mind.

[Madeleine] Now, as you know, we don't do extended care on the first floor.

I mean, we do it temporarily if someone isn't feeling well.

But if they progress too far, we have to consider moving upstairs.

[sigh]

Do you happen to have Aubrey's address?

I'm sorry?

Aubrey and his wife.

Where do they live?

[Marian] Well, it was probably a mistake putting him there in the first place, but I wasn't going to get another chance to get away, so I took it.

Well, so...

[chuckles] Now I know better.

Did your husband ever work in a hardware store in the summers when he was going to school?

No, I never heard about that.

But I wasn't raised here.

No. I didn't think so.

Thank you very much for your time, Miriam.

It's Marian.

Sorry.

[sigh]

What a jerk.

Hmm.

[car engine starts]

Yeah, maybe someone could just drop in on her, like, if the nurse is around.

All right.

No, I don't think there's much to it, but I'd like you to call me back.

Okay.

Thanks a lot. Bye-bye.

Hey. Hi.

[punching keypad]

Uh...

I think I want to ask you about the second floor, just to know a little more about it.

Well, it's for people who've really lost it.

What do they do, then?

What happens after that? After they've...lost it?

You don't really want to know.

But, you know, sometimes they get it back.

They go into their room for a year, they don't know you from Adam, and then one day, it's, "Oh, hi. When are we going home?"

I mean, all of a sudden, they're back to normal.

But it doesn't last for long.

You think, "Oh, wow, back to normal," and then they're gone again--

[snaps fingers] like so.

I haven't even asked you about yourself.

You married?

Well, technically, yeah, I guess.

Got three kids.

Their dad lives in Alberta, I think.

He's making it rich, maybe. I wouldn't know.

Must be quite a struggle.

It, uh...knocks the wind out of you every now and then, but you just pick yourself back up like everyone else.

I suppose our lives must seem easy to you.

We got through life without too much going wrong.

What we have to suffer now, when we're old, hardly counts, I suppose.

That's what you must think.

Well, how would you know what I think?

To tell you the truth, I'd rather be the one that stayed than the one that left.

I'll bet you weren't always the doggedly devoted husband.

Am I right?

I mean, you said that you wondered if maybe she was punishing you for something?

I'll bet you had something pretty specific in mind, didn't you?

You know, you see a lot of things in this job.

You see the end of things all day long.

And in my experience, at the end of things it's almost always the men that think that not too much went wrong.

I wonder if your wife feels the same way.

I wonder that, too.

I bet you do.

[phone ringing]

[answering machine beeps]

[Marian] Uh, hello, Grant.

I hope I got the right person.

I just thought of something.

There is a dance here in town at the Legion on Saturday night, and I am on the supper committee, which means I can bring a free guest.

So I wondered whether you would happen to be interested in that.

Call me back when you get a chance.

555-3457.

[click]

[answering machine beeps]

[Marian] I just realizedI'd forgotten to say who it was.

[chuckles]

Well, you probably recognize the voice, the accent.

It's Marian.

I'm still not so used to these machines, and I wanted to say I realize you're not single and I don't mean it that way.

I'm not, either.

But it doesn't hurt to get out once in a while.

Anyway, now I've said all this, I really hope it's you I'm talking to.

It did sound like your voice.

If you're interested, you can call me.

And if you are not, you don't need to bother.

I just thought you might like the chance to get out.

It's Marian speaking.

[chuckling]

I guess I already said that.

Okay, then. Good-bye.

[Grant] "The desires of the heart

"are as crooked as corkscrews.

"Not to be born is the best for man.

"The second-best is a formal order.

The dance's pattern: dance while you can."

Fiona?

Is there any way to let this go... do you think?

If I let it go, it'll only hit me harder when I bump into it again.

Okay.

"Dance, dance, for the figure is easy.

The tune is catchy and will not stop."

[Grant] "Dance till the stars

"come down from the rafters.

Dance, dance, dance till you drop."

[phone ringing]

[Marian] Yes?

Hello, Marian.

So...

There you are.

Here I am.

Thank you.

♪ [slow jazz]


What are you thinking?

Not an awful lot, really.

Skiing.

Downhill?

Cross-country.

I'm more a thrill-seeker, I guess.

What are you thinking?

I'm thinking you never know how things are going to turn out.

You almost know... but you can never be quite sure.


Mr. Andersson?

Mr. Andersson?

Now, as you know, we're, uh, we're going to have to think about moving Mrs. Andersson upstairs fairly soon, I'm afraid.

She hasn't been out of that bed for two weeks now, and--

I'm quite aware of your policies.

I'm more than aware of your bloody policies.

[Frank] Well, once again, Nurse Kristy is taking me back to the second floor.

The area to my right are the elevators, and as we go on down the hall, there's a man with a broken heart, broken in a thousand pieces.

Well, we'll go to Madeleine's office, past the lunchroom.

Hopefully, they're serving right now.

The cannelloni was cold yesterday, but let's see what it's doing today.

Let's have-- I gotta have some Cokes again.

That's what I'm going to do.

Wouldn't it be better if... when we go out again, to put Aubrey back into Meadowlake?

Just for a day?

What do you think?

I'm thinking that sometimes you... just have to make the decision to be happy.

Just decide.

Things aren't ever what you hoped they'd be.

Not ever, for anybody.

The only thing that separates one kind of person from another is there are some who stay angry about it and there are some who... accept what comes their way.

And which kind of person are you?

I was pretty mad about it.

But now... looking at what came my way...

I think I could be the other kind of person.

Quite the philosopher, huh?

Look, why don't you pull over here?

Just... pull over, could you?

Ahem.

I know what you're doing.

It would be easier for me if you could pretend a little.

Do you think you could do that?

Now, what were we talking about?


She was the only one in her family who bothered to learn sign language.

Now she can't remember how, or maybe even who she is.

Her daughter?

Yeah.

It's left her pretty stranded.

Marooned.

You know, I thought of you the other day.

You know that billboard out in front of the United Church in Bradford, they post all that biblical-type stuff?

The other day, it said, "It's never too late to become what you might have been."

Doesn't sound all that biblical.

Well, maybe they're getting creative on us.

[ding]


[ding]


See you soon, Aubrey.


Oh, yeah.

Thanks.

Thanks.


Would you mind if I had a moment alone before you come in?

To explain things to her?

I found this beautiful book about Iceland.

You wouldn't think they'd leave valuable books lying around.

People who stay here aren't all necessarily honest.

And I think they got the clothes mixed up.

I never wear yellow.

I seem to remember you reading this to me.

You were trying to make me feel better.

You tried so hard.

You're a lovely man, you know?

I'm a very lucky woman.

Fiona? You've been gone a long time.

Are we all checked out?

I have a surprise for you.

Do you remember Aubrey?


Names elude me.

I'm happy to see you.

You could've just driven away.

Just driven away without a care in the world and forsook me.

Forsooken me.

Forsaken.

Not a chance.


♪ [folk rock]

[Woman] ♪ There is a town in north Ontario ♪

♪ With dream, comfort, and memory to spare ♪

♪ And in my mind ♪

♪ I still need a place to go ♪

♪ All my changes were there ♪

♪ Blue, blue window ♪

♪ Behind the stars ♪

♪ Yellow Moon on the rise ♪

♪ Big birds flying across the sky ♪

♪ Throwing shadows on our eyes ♪

♪ Leaves us helpless, helpless, helpless ♪

♪ Helpless, helpless, helpless ♪

♪ Baby, can you hear me now? ♪

♪ The chains are locked and tied around my door ♪

♪ And, baby, will you sing with me somehow? ♪

♪ Helpless, helpless, helpless ♪ helpless ♪ ♪ Helpless, helpless, helpless ♪ ♪ Helpless, helpless, ♪ Helpless, helpless ♪

♪ Blue, blue windows ♪

♪ Behind the stars ♪

♪ Yellow moon on the rise ♪

♪ Big birds flying across the sky ♪

♪ Throwing shadows on our eyes ♪

♪ Leaves us helpless, helpless, helpless ♪

♪ Helpless, helpless, helpless ♪

♪ Helpless, helpless ♪

♪ Helpless, helpless, helpless ♪ helpless ♪ ♪ Helpless, helpless,