The Waiting Room

by Paul Rybak

Short Film
Email: p.rybak@bigpond.com

A haunting short ANZAC film that explores our deepest sorrows, desire, hope, loss, resurrection and the everlasting penance of memory.

The screen is in darkness. We hear the quick beating of a man’s heart.

Then the sound of Cockatoo’s.

The screen opens to:

EXT. 1915 TRAIN LINE - AFTERNOON
We see a steam train emerging from the fog and a sign on the platform, “Moss Vale”

Opening bars of Maurice Durufle Requiem, op 9, part 1 “Introit” plays.

 

We hear a womans voice.
WOMAN
I am whispers the snow to the stone. And the stone burns to white.

CUT TO:

INT. 2012 MOSS VALE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS NURSING HOME - MORNING

A very old man is staring into a mirror. He touches the mirror.

MAN
Nothingness. I am a mystery.
He places his hand on a desk and slowly places a “Collarino” the symbol of a Catholic priest onto his shirt. He is very precise.

MAN (CONT’D)
“Please restore to me the time lost,
giving me Thy grace, both now and the future,
that I may appear before Thee in...”

He is interrupted by a nurse.
NURSE
Father Sotheran you have another hour. The orderlies will then take you to Sydney.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Go to hell.
NURSE
You go there!
FATHER SOTHERAN
Villers-Bretonneux; The blood runs thick and freely tonight.

NURSE

Where?

FATHER SOTHERAN

What day is it?
NURSE
Anzac day. Nearly 100 years to the day in fact.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Who is Olive May? Who is Roy? 1,2 and 3 tell me what you see? Hit it back! Hit it back!

NURSE
Hit what back? Father you have early dementia we cannot look after you anymore.
(Pause)
Where were you born? Sydney?
FATHER SOTHERAN
None of your business.
We hear the voice of a young woman.
YOUNG WOMAN V/0
You are King of the universe would not my small request be easy for you?
Please can you tell me what a smile is like? What does it taste like?
Some say like the petals of a white rose in falling rain.
Some say it is like a man with a hat walking through mist and fog.

The NURSE and FATHER SOTHERAN look around startled. The NURSE walks out. FATHER SOTHERAN brings out an old bronze shoehorn and gently places his feet into black highly polished shoe.

He regards the shoe horn.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Whose were you?

CUT TO:

EXT. 1914 MOSS VALE RAILWAY STATION - DAY

As the steam train arrives we see the driver a young man of
20 smiling and waving to a signal man.
DRIVER
Best job in the world Clem!
CLEM
Roy, I reckon so mate.
ROY looks at the coal stoker and tries to jab him with a stick.

ROY
How bout’ you Clary?
CLARY
For me too! Makes me fit for football and cricket.

CUT TO:

EXT. OLD TERRACE HOUSE GOULBURN - AFTERNOON

ROY arrives on a bicycle.
ROY knocks on the door and appears nervous. It is opened by a beautiful young woman.

Yes?

WOMAN

ROY

I wonder Miss Olive May would you would allow me to take you to afternoon tea?

OLIVE MAY
Why certainly Sir.
She steps out and ROY gives her a bunch of flowers.

OLIVE MAY (CONT’D)
Thank you Roy. They look very familiar.

ROY
I sort of was in a hurry and borrowed them from your garden.

She walks to a shed and brings out her own bicycle and they ride off together.

CUT TO:

EXT. BELMORE PARK GOULBURN - AFTERNOON

They walk hand in hand and approach the Boer War Memorial.
ROY
Olive May...the cooeee march came by as you know and I signed up.

OLIVE MAY smiles and then tears arrive.
OLIVE MAY
Will you be one of the ones on the next memorial?

She brings out a book.
ANGLE ON: Title “ Great Expectations”
OLIVE MAY (CONT’D)
Roy, I think I have the new library job as Moss Vale.

ROY
Great! I can take my train to visit you!

OLIVE MAY
Will you forget me? And find another?

ROY
Never! I will get to see mother England, journey on a big ship, fight the hun and come back to marry only you!
(Beat)
And look after mum and my big sister Ruby.
(Beat)
(MORE)

ROY (CONT'D)
I wont be a bloke that runs out on his family like my Father.

He brings out a slip of paper.
ROY (CONT’D)
You know that Mark Twain bloke?
OLIVE MAY
Of course. “Huckleberry Finn” amongst others.

ROY
He wrote,
“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man.”

From the park another pretty young girl on a bicycle arrives and hugs ROY and OLIVE MAY.

ROY (CONT’D)
Pretty red Ruby Belgrove the best sister a man can have!

They slowly walk away to thier bicycles and OLIVE MAY stops and brings out a shoe horn and adjusts her shoe.

CUT TO:

EXT. 1915 MOSS VALE KNOWLMAN’S CAFE - DAY

From the fog we see a young woman dressed in a fine dress and hat and a young Anzac in uniform holding hands enter the cafe. It is ROY and OLIVE MAY. They sit down and a given a menu from a girl.

ROY
Black tea and a steak please.
OLIVE MAY
Lemon tea and cucumber sandwiches please.

ROY
Olive May, today is the day.
OLIVE MAY
Roy it is only one of thousands for us.

ROY
I will die there. (Laughs)
The Doctor bugger had the hide to say I had varicose veins and nearly stopped me from signing.

She slaps him.

OLIVE MAY
Stop it! Stop it!
ROY
I need a souvenir.
OLIVE MAY
Please stop it.
ROY takes the menu and puts it into his tunic pocket.
ROY
If I survive this is the first thing I shall show you.

They look at the piano next to the wall and we hear the beautiful openingbarsofMozart'sPianoSonata331.

OLIVE MAY
And I will say at night, “So long, see you tomorrow.”

Their tea arrives and ROY brings out a small flask of whisky and pours it into the teapots.

ROY
For the road as they say. (Beat)
I will remember something else.

CUT TO:

EXT. RIVER BANK - AFTERNOON

ROY is casting a fishing rod into the river. He looks next to him and imagines.

ROY
That’s right son! Cast it with strength and assuredness. Yes! Just like that!

CUT TO:

EXT. 1915 MOSS VALE RAILWAY STATION - DAY

A steam train approaches.
ANGLE ON: The cabin as we see Roy smiling. He looks at the coal stoker man.

ROY
Clem this is the best job in the world!

They approach the staion and a STATION ATTENDANT is holding a newspaper.

ANGLE ON: Headline “War declared against Germany! England responds with thousands.”

ROY and CLEM hop down from the train and shake their heads.
ROY (CONT’D)
I’ll go now.
CLEM
None of us will mate. We will be called essential people and the boys will go.

ROY
I’m not a shirker....and either are you.

CUT TO:

INT. 2015 MOSS VALE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS NURSING HOME - MORNING

Father Sotheran is holding his small suitcase and makes a crucifix with his right index finger across the mirror and slowly walks out of the room. From the mantelpiece a tennis ball falls and bounces to the floor. He picks it up.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Being.
We see him walk hesitantly along the corridor, down the stairs and out the front door.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE NURSING HOME - MORNING

FATHER SOTHERAN is a the front door and looks at a timetable. He puts it back in his pocket and opens the door.

FATHER SOTHERAN
30 minutes to think through a lifetime.

From his POV we see the slight hill going down towards Argyle St the Central Hotel and Railway bridge.

He walks slowly but assuredly.
FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
I do not need fools to drive me.
He brings the tennis ball from his pocket and throws to it into the air where it makes an arc.

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
The ball that I have had since young has not yet reached the ground.

CAMERA NOTE: The ball is thrown through the air and seems to be suspended in mid air and does not make it’s descent to the ground.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE ST PAULS CHURCH - MORNING

FATHER SOTHERAN picks a flower and pulls it apart. He tries to open the door but cannot.   The womans voice is heard again.

WOMANS VOICE
I am admiring the scent a blue geranium, which I believe to be a mystery of nature.
I have scuffed my new red shoes in Argyle St for I have a date and cannot wait.
I now have crushed my geranium and it smells of death.
Perhaps better it was vermilion rose.
I am being visited by the everlasting penance of memory.
I wish to share something with you. (MORE)

WOMANS VOICE (CONT'D)
Please forgive me for I must first tell you my name.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Thomas what have you done with your life?

OLIVE MAY appears next to him bit he cannot of course see her.

OLIVE MAY
Call me Olive May.
We will open an ancient wooden door and listen to:
The  elegant  second movement of Chopin’s piano concerto number 1.

The music is heard and she disappears as FATHER SOTHERAN leaves the church gate.

CUT TO:

INT. DANCE HALL 1915 MOSS VALE - EVENING

OLIVE MAY and ROY dance a Foxtrot that was all the vogue in 1915.

CUT TO:

EXT. SAME DANCE HALL 2012 - DAY

It is now just a depleted barn, FATHER SOTHERAN walks by and the FOXTROT tune plays.

OLIVE MAY V/O
Come on Thomas my love dance with me in the never ending dance, “Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily,
merrily,
Life is but a dream.”
FATHER SOTHERAN stops, goes back and touches the old barn door with his hand and walks on.

CUT TO:

INT. CATHOLIC CHRUCH OFFICE - DAY

FATHER SOTHERAN is staring into space as the old telephone rings. He answers it and smiles.

CUT TO:

EXT. CORNER OF ARGYLE ST AND WATTLE ST - DAY

OLIVE MAY and ROY arrive on old bicycles and place them against a wall at the hotel.

OLIVE MAY
Don’t leave me to drink alone on the Ladies Lounge.

ROY
I’ll bring beer out here!
OLIVE MAY
We’ll be arrested.
ROY
They won’t arrest a soldier on his way to fight for King and country.

ROY goes inside.
We see FATHER SOTHERAN walking past OLIVE MAY and he takes out a small fishing rod. He stops to put it together as ROY walks out with the beer. They of course do not see each other as it is 1915 and 2012 in parallel, however ROY remarks.

OLIVE MAY
Olive May if our son was here next to me and we were having a beer with you and on our way to fish I would be the happiest human who ever lived.

The sound of their bicycles bells is heard and FATHER SOTHERAN stops and slowly smiles as if remembering something.

CUT TO:

EXT. OLD HOUSE - AFTERNOON

FATHER SOTHERAN pulls up on an old bicycle and rings his bell.

He knocks on the door and he hears “Come in friend or murderer”

Full shot as he walks down the hallway to an open kitchen where two old women are drunk and stare into space. Two candles burn on the mantelpiece.

FATHER SOTHERAN smiles and pours himself a drink. He then brings out his small Portable Communion Set and prepares to give the women communion. The first woman smiles and takes a photo from the mantelpiece. It is of a young man in Anzac uniform and she then takes it apart and unfolds an old yellow telegram.

WOMAN ONE
I am the golden virgin forever waiting at the railway station for a man who will never return.

She takes a book from the table.
ANGLE ON: Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam.
WOMAN ONE (CONT’D)
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and

lost
all.

Than never to have loved at

The second woman takes a hard slog of whisky,
WOMAN TWO
That’s why I hate that thing they call God.          Worse invention then the gun. Took my husband away.      Now
I am the rusted whore waiting outside the pub for 30 minutes of broken down love.

FATHER SOTHERAN brings them communion and they take it solemnly. The candles flicker.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Tell me a story.
WOMAN TWO
Later. Let’s play gin rummy.
The first woman brings out cards and they all play.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Quickly now tell me a story.
WOMAN ONE picks up the photo of the man in uniform.
WOMAN ONE
The day came when departed at the railway station. Father, even now forty years later, I do not like to watch a train moving out of a station and disappearing into the darkness.

WOMAN TWO
I have never left Moss Vale...trains to me mean death.

WOMAN ONE
Just sit with us for a while Father.

Just sit.

WOMAN TWO

CUT TO:

EXT. OLD DIRT ROAD - DAY

FATHER SOTHERAN is walking along the road.
FATHER SOTHERAN V/ O
They all tell me it is the silent parlors and cricket fields that torments the most. The boys’s are absent forever.

INT. OLD HOUSE - AFTERNOON

RUBY BELGROVE is on a lounge and an empty bottle of whiskey is on the floor. She has slit her wrist and blood is every where. Her crucifix necklace also has blood on it.

FATHER SOTHERAN is giving the “ Prayer for all the deceased.”

FATHER SOTHERAN
“By Thy resurrection from the dead, O Christ, death no longer hath dominion over those who die in holiness.
(MORE)

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT'D)
So, we beseech Thee, give rest to Thy servants in Thy sanctuary...”

He looks to the side table where a photo of her and Roy at a tennis court sits. Unknown to FATHER SOTHERAN he has given the last rights to his Aunt. He picks the photo and looks at ROY.

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
You look like a bloke I would have been happy to be mates with.

He walks out and at the parlor he sees RUBY’S old bicycle. He rings the bell.

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
Why do I feel as if I know you Ruby Belgrove?

EXT. OLD ROAD AND HOUSE- DAY

A middle aged woman with a apron walks for the door and onto an empty road.

WOMAN
Steve! Tommy! Where are you! Stop playing cricket and come in and have dinner.

The woman looks for them. FATHER SOTHERAN rides his bike towards her and places his arm on her shoulder.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Edith come in now. Steve and Tommy are a long way away.

EDITH shakes her head.
EDITH
No Father your’e wrong. They’re just hiding.      They don’t like beans and stew.

FATHER SOTHERAN looks sad and escorts her back into her house.

FATHER SOTHERAN
I’m hungry Edith.

EDITH
Just sit with me for a while Father.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE RAILWAY YARD - AFTERNOON

FATHER SOTHERAN knocks on a door.
ANGLE ON: Coal being shoveled into a scoop by a middle aged man. He smiles, beckons him in and shakes his hand. He then looks glum as he regards the priests sooty hand.

MAN
Sorry Father I am always dirty.
FATHER SOTHERAN
It always reminds me of...
We see a steam train approach and the MAN and FATHER SOTHERAN walk towards it. They past the waiting room.

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
I somehow feel part of that room...yet do not know why.

MAN
I feel embarrassed when I go past it...I’m all sooty and the people inside immaculate.

They approach the train.
MAN (CONT’D)
I don’t know what it is Father but whenever I see a train I am happy.

FATHER SOTHERAN
And me too. What can I do for you?
The MAN whispers to him and FATHER SOTHERAN places his hand on his shoulder and the MAN is more relaxed and shakes his hand.

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
Relax Clem. God sees only compassion in you not guilt.

CUT TO:

EXT. CRICKET FIELD - AFTERNOON

A cricket match is in operation and FATHER SOTHERAN is batting and hits a six and beams as the crowd cheer him.

CUT TO:

INT. CATHOLIC CHURCH OFFICE - AFTERNOON

The phone rings and he answers it and smiles.

CUT TO:

EXT. CATHOLIC CHRUCH OFFICE- MOMENTS LATER

FATHER SOTHERAN sees a ragged man with a Childs suitcase walk out from a phone booth.

FATHER SOTHERAN
It would have been easier Lindsay for you to just knock.

LINDSAY
I would have felt to presumptuous.
They slowly walk down the street. LINDSAY then stops and sits down in the gutter.

LINDSAY (CONT’D)
Feet are killing me Father. How can I teach my class Maths today?

His hands also shake with the effects of undiagnosed shell- shock. He brings out from his case a small blackboard and chalk.

LINDSAY (CONT’D)
Two makes thirty eight?
FATHER SOTHERAN

What?

LINDSAY

Thirty eight dead boys in the Somme mud and two loving parents without.

FATHER SOTHERAN sits down with him.
FATHER SOTHERAN
How many years now? Lindsay?

LINDSAY
So many Father. I was the oldest to enlist and cam back...the young boys did not.

FATHER SOTHERAN
And you still remember them all?
LINDSAY
Right down to Billy Sheekey's soot covered face. He left the trains to die in the French mud. He was my best fractions student.
(Beat)
Cheeky bugger said see you later cobber!

LINDSAY draws a fraction in the dust and rubs it out.
LINDSAY opens his case and brings out a bottle of whisky and offers some to FATHER SOTHERAN.

LINDSAY (CONT’D)
I don’t want them to send me back to Kenmore Insane Hospital. Did you know the willows on the banks of the Wollindilly River pre-date the hospital period and were struck from a cutting of the willow which shaded napoleons grave on St Helena?
(Beat)
Father, I’ll wrap one around my neck and then drown myself.

FATHER SOTHERAN
No. You have faith and are still a valued human being.

LINDSAY
Just sit with me for a while Father. I am scared of been alone in this waiting room called life.

FATHER SOTHERAN smiles and brings out the tennis ball and bounces it gently to LINDSAY who cannot catch it. He repeats it a number of times till he does and beams a smile.

CUT TO:

EXT. KENMORE HOSPITAL - DAY

FATHER SOTHERAN walks towards the entrance. He enters and walks into the empty wards and the old beds and shock treatment apparatus.

EXT CATHOLIC CEMETERY KENMORE

FATHER SOTHERAN walks amongst the graves.
FATHER SOTHERAN V/ O
You all ended up here well before your time. Suicide, grief, alcoholism, the everlasting penance of memory.           Mostly women. Mothers, sisters, lovers. People so sick of being living ghosts.

CUT TO:

CUT TO:

INT. CENTRAL PUB - DAY

A man cries as he reads a telegram. FATHER SOTHERAN arrives and the man shows him the telegram.

MAN
My brother.

BACH’S The third movement of the Capriccio in B Flat (on the loss of a beloved brother) plays.

CUT TO:

EXT. CARPENTERS SHOP - AFTERNOON
Father SOTHERAN walks towards a man sawing a log. The MAN looks at him.

MAN
Go to Hell Father. Tommy’s not coming back. Left on a bloody train and never returned.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Just wanted to see how you are going.

MAN
Bout’ to retire and whose going to take over? My daughter? I’ve never hurt a person in my life and your God decides to punish me for that.

As FATHER SOTHERAN prepares to leave The MAN touches him on the shoulder and cries

MAN (CONT’D)
Father what do I do now? Left on a bloody train and never returned.

CUT TO:

EXT. GOULBURN TENNIS COURT - DAY

This is the old clay court in Verner St.
OLIVE MAY and ROY arrive on their bicycles and start to volley.

ROY
Harder! Hit it back!
OLIVE MAY
Like this?
She aces him and they come together and embrace and then lie on the ground having a picnic. ROY brings out a book.
My Country by Dorothea MacKellar
ROY
“The love of field and coppice Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance, Brown streams and soft, dim skies I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.”

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE GOLF CLUB - DAY

FATHER SOTHERAN is sitting on an old wrought iron seat and staring into the distant bush.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Why did I become a Priest?

CUT TO:

EXT. ST JOHNS ORPHANAGE GOULBURN - AFTERNOON

We see the old abandoned house with broken windows etc. CAMERA NOTE: This is how it actually does appear now in 2012. He appears at the gate an old man.
FATHER SOTHERAN
The home is abandoned yet I am still strong. I was born to no person.     I grew up here and experienced love, hate, derision and purity.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE ARGYLE ST - DAY

FATHER SOTHERAN is at a corner and just observing the people passing by.

FATHER SOTHERAN
I loved to observe even as a young man. Somehow I knew that these people were suffering.
(Beat)
As I grew older I knew that many of thier problems came from World War One.
Loneliness...alcoholism...guilt, seeing life as senseless.
(Beat)
The past must be spoken of and not hidden.

CUT TO:

EXT. ST PAULS CATHOLIC CHURCH - DAY

He appears at the gate.
FATHER SOTHERAN
I always felt peace here.

He scuffs his shoes and puts it back with the shoehorn.
FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
A priest told me it belonged to my mother. Here I saw all of life.
Funerals, weddings, desperate men and women praying not to commit suicide, jealousy, greed and again purity.

Nest to him a beautiful young woman in green appears and hands him a rose.

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
Do not grieve for me as though I am an embittered loveless old man. I did love once. More than any other man.

He walks off hand in hand with the girl in green.

CUT TO:

EXT. 1939 MOSS VALE STATION - DAY

A steam train approaches. The girl in green waves and runs to him.

Montage

FATHER SOTHERAN
I have always loved steam trains. The girl was called Joan Mary and I met her also in the orphanage. We always loved...

  1. FATHER SOTHERAN and Joan Mary walking near the Wollondilly river.
  1. Watching the steam coming from a train locomotive.
  2. The fall of a stone in water.
  3. The lapping of waves on the beach.
  4. Water waves destroying a sand castle.

FATHER SOTHERAN and JOAN MARY are at either sides of platform one and two.

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
I left as a chaplain to France just like others did in 1915 yet it was now 1940.

JOAN MARY
I left Moss Vale to Sydney and became one of the first magazine models for beauty cream and clothes. It was to be only for a year till he came back.

CUT TO:

EXT. SEMINARY - DAY

FATHER SOTHERAN enters the doors.
FATHER SOTHERAN
I was not smart enough to he a medical healer as I loved sport more than study. So I decided...

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE RAILWAY WAITING ROOM

JOAN MARY returns to the town and looks at her watch.
JOAN MARY
He loved God more than me.
She walks out of the waiting room and along the platform.
JOAN MARY (CONT’D)
I hated Sydney...the crowds...the coldness of people. I returned and became a...

CUT TO:

INT. MOSS VALE HOME - AFTERNOON

JOAN MARY is busy making beautiful dresses.
JOAN MARY
A contented dress maker.
The door knocks and she walks to the door.

JOAN MARY (CONT’D)
And found love again.

CUT TO:

EXT. HOUSE MOSS VALE - AFTERNOON

JOAN MARY is sitting in the sand reading a letter.
JOAN MARY
Do not come back to Moss Vale...live your life...for I cannot love anymore...from what i have seen...love is just a purity called death.

She cries and burns it int the fireplace.
JOAN MARY (CONT’D)
Love will never be a souvenir tacked to a wall.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE ROAD - DAY

We see OLIVE MAY and ROY ride their bicycles along the road.

We heart the Opening bars of Chopin’s Ballard Number 4.

ROY
One day I shall show you Paris.
OLIVE MAY
What is it like?
The fog envelopes them and we hear.
WOMANS VOICE
“Last night I dreamed of Matisse immaculate with top hat and cane wandering near paths along the seine.
Surrounded by windows of memory he tips his hat as people sit and watch glancing over chrysanthemums, smiling, asking for Perrier and Moet.
He decorates them in blue, white and black.
Black, that Renoir said, "Only you can use with success"
(MORE)

WOMANS VOICE (CONT'D)
Redeemed in mild blue thought, he paints twice, Once for the Gentleman.
Once for the filtered out act of love.
He stops.
The world begins.”
ROY
I felt the beautiful sensation of silence.
We strolled under the old trees and felt the ghosts of lovers past whishing to speak.
The wind disturbed their voices and I could not hear them.

CUT TO:

EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

From behind a grave appears a woman.
WOMAN V/0
“My beloved raised his voice and said to me, 'Arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away. For behold, the winter has passed; the rain is over and gone. “

ROY appears from another stone.
ROY
Often during my time on the Somme a German shell would land and destroy some old cemetery. We would wander over and look at the now broken ancient dead and know that we would soon be the freshly made dead. For we were just in a waiting room.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE CHURCH - DAY

WOMAN VOICE
I will show you desire, jealousy, bravery cowardly acts and above all The unknown.

CUT TO:

INT. ST PETER AND PAUL’S CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL GOULBURN - NIGHT

FATHER SOTHERAN has just finish mass and is putting his vestments away. Mozart's          LaudateDominiumplays. A middle aged woman appears to him.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Yes Miss Mitten?
MRS
I must complain Father. We St Vincent’s ladies cannot stand seeing so many cripples men here.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Ah at last someone wants to help them!

MISS MITTEN
Not us. They are horrid and affect our prayerfulness at Mass. We want you to hold another Mass separately for them!

FATHER SOTHERAN turns white with rage.
FATHER SOTHERAN
What did you say you barren old bitch!

Father!

MISS MITTEN

FATHER SOTHERAN

Go to hell! I will never have a separate Mass for any afflicted person!

MISS MITTEN
I will go to the Bishop!
FATHER SOTHERAN
Go then!
She leaves in a huff.
FATHER SOTHERAN is shaking and kisses the crucifix.
CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE HOME - DAY

ROY is putting on his heavy army boots. He grins.
ROY
A soldiers feet always hurt.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE ROAD - DAY

FATHER SOTHERAN walks with his hat and bag along the road and approaches another home to give solace.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE ROAD - DAY

He exits and we see him walk with a slight limp and approach a small running stream. He sits down and takes off his shoes and place his feet in the running stream and smiles.

WOMANS VOICE
Mary Magdalene emblem of penitence, washing the feet of Jesus with her copious tears.

CUT TO:

EXT. RIVER BANK - CONTINUOUS

FATHER SOTHERAN looks across the rive and sees an evil looking man glare at him.

MAN
Just wait for I will be back tomorrow where with my minions who will gorge themselves with blood and flesh.

The MAN disappears.

FATHER SOTHERAN
I did not know what he wanted.
He went away leaving the smell of crushed blue geraniums.
(MORE)

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT'D)
No one knows the future.
Beware for life is full of evil.

CUT TO:

INT. ST PAULS CATHOLIC CHURCH - DAY

FATHER SOTHERAN in his mind is marrying OLIVE MAY and ROY

Bach’s The Agnus Dei from the B Minor mass plays.

WOMANS VOICE
the first miracle of Jesus at Cana. “On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding”
This is gentleness and beauty. The miracle of flowing water, the flowing miracle of life.
I often wonder who will be at my wedding? Would jealousy be there? Would happiness be there?                   Would joy be there? Perhaps it is better to be married in secret and run away.

CUT TO:

EXT. 1915 MOSS VALE KNOWLMAN’S CAFE - DAY

ROY and OLIVE MAY finish thier meal.
ROY
It’s time to go.

No.

Time.

OLIVE MAY ROY

OLIVE MAY and ROY stand up and as they go to pay their bill OLIVE MAY slips out of her shoe.

OLIVE MAY
Bloody shoes!

She opens he bag and brings out the shoe horn that now belongs to FATHER SOTHERAN and places her feet back in the shoe.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE BELMORE PARK WISHING WELL - MORNING

ROY and OLIVE MAY sit at the rotunda and then walk to the wishing well.

ROY
Say something silent.
They than walk towards the railway staion. OLIVE MAY goes to a bed of flowers and picks out a small twig of Rosemary. She places it on ROY’S lapel.

ROY (CONT’D)
What’s this?
OLIVE MAY
Rosemary. The Virgin Mary is said to have spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting, and the flowers turned blue. The shrub then became known as the 'Rose of Mary’ I want you to take this with you to remember me by.

ROY
I’ll keep it forever.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE HOME - MORNING

OLIVE MAY is reading “Great Expectations” One day the door bell rings and she is handed a telegram she opens it and is from the War Office,

Angle on: The telegram “We regret to inform you... She collapse to the floor.

OLIVE MAY
Killed in the machine gun company at Villers-Bretonneux...I cannot even pronounce the place where you were killed.

CUT TO:

INT. MOSS VALE RAILWAY WAITING ROOM - AFTERNOON

OLIVE MAY is sitting in the room and traces her finger along the seat. She brings out from her bag a package wrapped in blue silk. She places the contents on the bench. A water logged wallet; 2 photos; A leave pass and a cigarette case.

She opens the wallet and finds a piece of the menu from the last meal from Knowlman's cafe.

OLIVE MAY
Roy, Roy come back to me.
She touches her stomach.
OLIVE MAY (CONT’D)
How can I bring up a child alone?
(Beat)
Do you know your mum died of a broken heart last month? And your sister Ruby just shut herself away and drinks to much?

She then walks along the platform and crosses the tracks, drops the book and as she picks it up is hit by a shunting goods train and dies.

CUT TO:

INT. MOSS VALE RAILWAY WAITING ROOM - DAY

A DOCTOR is trying to save OLIVE MAY.
DOCTOR
The lady is dead but her baby may survive.

CUT TO:

EXT. MOSS VALE ARGYLE ST - AFTERNOON

FATHER SOTHERAN walks down past the same old wishing well.
FATHER SOTHERAN V/O
I am tired. I am alone. An old man in a modern world. Lately though I have been hearing a young woman’s voice.

Angle on: Opposite the road from a cafe OLIVE MAY waves to him.

OLIVE MAY V/O
Thomas, to what forever will be known, unknown; love, unloved. May silent light tell your tale through time regained.

CUT TO

EXT. 2012 MOSS VALE RAILWAY STATION WAITNG ROOM- AFTERNOON

It begins to rain and we see emerging from the fog the figure of FATHER SOTHERAN. He moves into the waiting room. He sits down alone and fingers his Rosary.

FATHER SOTHERAN
The joyous mystery.

CUT TO:

INT. 1915 MOSS VALE RAILWAY WAITING ROOM - MORNING

ROY hugs OLIVE MAY

ROY
If the resurrection is true and we really do live again let’s meet here again in around 100 years time to commemorate our love.

OLIVE MAY
If it is true let it be.
The steam train arrives.
ROY
It is time Olive May.

OLIVE MAY V/O
The crisp new morning smell of burnt death.

The GUARD a friend of ROY’S flags the train off and approaches OLIVE MAY.

OLIVE MAY
He’ll be back...I just know it.
The steam train leaves and OLIVE MAY walks to the old water fountain.

Strength.

OLIVE MAY (CONT’D)

Gentleness. Early death. Late smiles.
God did you accept him?
Why could you not let him appear to me one last time?
Perhaps in a dream?
Perhaps in a street and then disappear?
You are King of the universe would not my small request be easy for you?

An elderly woman walks by and touches her on the shoulder.
WOMAN
He will return.
She walks off.

OLIVE MAY
From the dead or life? (Beat)
So long Roy, see you tomorrow.
She shakes her head and walks away.

CUT TO:

EXT. 2012 MOSS VALE ARGYLE ST- EARLY MORNING

We see an Anzac Day flag being hoisted on the memorial pole opposite the railways waiting room.         A flag says 1915- 2012

CUT TO:

EXT. 2012 MISSION AUSTRALIA LIFELINE SHOP- MORNING

ROY is in a hurry and enters in his uniform.  He looks confused. An VOLUNTEER smiles at him.

VOLUNTEER
You look so real.
ROY
Where are the tables and the sign.
VOLUNTEER
What sign...tables.
ROY
Isn’t this Knowlman’s cafe.
VOLUNTEER
No...it is a charity store.
ROY
Never needed charity in my life. I’m here for lemon tea and a steak sandwich.

He walks to a wall which has loose nails.
ROY (CONT’D)
The sign was here. Never mind.
He walks out and dons his hat as FATHER SOTHERAN enters and borrows a magazine.

VOLUNTEER
Hello Father.
FATHER SOTHERAN
Just to keep my mind from wandering.

VOLUNTEER
Keep it Father.
He exits and she goes to the wall and moves the old covering and sees the rusted sign, “Knowlman’s Cafe.” She shakes her head and runs outside to the street.

VOLUNTEER (CONT’D)
Impossible.
FATHER SOTHERAN regards her looks confused.

VOLUNTEER (CONT’D)
Where is the soldier?
FATHER SOTHERAN
What soldier?
She goes back inside.
FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
(Smiles)
And they think I am the mad one.

CUT TO:

EXT. ARGYLE ST - DAY

It rains. FATHER SOTHERAN stops for a moment and leans on a shop wall.

FATHER SOTHERAN V/ O
Don’t complain. I know! I’ll have a conversation in the rain. I am tired, the world sleeps but not me.

CUT TO:

EXT. BELMORE PARK - AFTERNOON

FATHER SOTHERAN is very tired and sits on the steps of the rotunda, He leans down and picks up a small twig of flowers and smells them.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Rosemary...for memory and remembrance.

He bounces the tennis ball on the steps and it rolls to the same area where OLIVE MAY picked it for ROY back in 1915.

FATHER SOTHERAN (CONT’D)
People do remember...all over Australia.

EXT. ROCKY HILL WAR MEMORIAL - DAY

ANGLE ON: Road leading to the famous stone and concrete tower which is on the highest part of Goulburn. We see a panoramic shot of the Goulburn and in the middle the famous Rail bridge and then

 

CLOSE UP: SEPIA SHOT: ROY in his railway uniform is inspecting the bridge for damage of faults. He smiles, opens his bag and takes out a beer, drinks it,    sits down and admires the view.

ROY
Last night Olive May said she would marry me!
I reckon one day when I am an old man and I’ll come back and remember this! I’m unbreakable!
(Laughs)
Unless I land up over there.
PAN shot to see the famous old stone Gaol next to the railways line.

ROY throws the beer can in the air and catches it.
ROY (CONT’D)
I’m unbreakable!
We then see a tennis ball lying on the ground beneath the bridge.

CUT TO:

EXT.  2012 MOSS VALE RAILWAY STATION - DAY

ROY and OLIVE MAY approach the waiting room. They enter, sit down and ROY brings out the old faded menu from Knowlman’s cafe in 1915.

ROY and OLIVE MAY appear to FATHER SOTHERAN. OLIVE MAY has
the tennis ball and throws it into the air where it completes it’s arc from where FATHER SOTHERAN threw it 30 minutes ago on his final journey it bounces on the platform and he catches it.

FATHER SOTHERAN
Being. Hit it back.
ROY
It is time Thomas.
FATHER SOTHERAN
Who are you?
OLIVE MAY
Thomas, White rose of love bring me desire one last time.
Bring me a Happy New Year. (MORE)

Shh..Shh..

OLIVE MAY (CONT'D)

I hear the voices of the dead wishing to speak and proudly they stand and affirm their presence.

ROY
Come on now mate...I am your...

Opening bars of Maurice Durufle Requiem, op 9, part 9 In Paradisium plays.

A steam train and a modern train arrive at platform 1 and 2 simultaneously. FATHER SOTHERAN moves towards OLIVE MAY and ROY and he dissolves into them in a sepia tone.

OLIVE MAY V/O
I am, whispers the stone and the snow unravels the sun from night.

IN SILENCE we see
On screen an Anzac Day march. In the street we see old LINDSAY, RUBY BELGROVE, The two old lonely women who FATHER SOTHERAN played cards with and the soot laden coal shoveller.

We hear the quick beating of a man’s heart and then it ending.

The screen fades to black.
CREDITS

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