In the attic. Christina is tidying up some boxes, searching for anything to feel connected with her mother. As she opens a box by box, going over all of her belongings, she finds an old photo album.She opens it. She traces the first photo of her mom.
Christina: “Mom, I miss you so much. What advice would you give me? I have changed majors several times already and I feel insecure with my current relationship. I have lost myself. I know I am young and maybe a little too spontaneous, never planning ahead, but I feel like I am not on the right track. It seems that things are just not working out for me. Everyone I know is successful and here I am- only having the basics which makes me lucky and I am very grateful for it. It is just that you are missing.”
Then she goes all over the pictures. She flips one particular photo of her mom and her best friend, Lilly.
Camera zooms in. “If anything happens, e-mail her: email@example.com”
Christina goes to the kitchen ” Dad, do you know Lilly?”
Her dad: “Of course, I do. She was your mom’s closest friend. She was Jordanian. They met while attending the same elementary school in Sharjah. She was your godmother too. The two of them traveled often together to different countries. Each year, they would throw a pin at a map and wherever it lands, they were meeting there the next year.”
Christina: “Do you know where she lives now?”
Her dad: “At your mom’s funeral, she flew from Costa Rica. I haven’t spoken to her since then. But we had her email address written on a photo..”
Christina: “You mean this photo?”
Her father nods.
End of scene.
Camera shows Lilly opening a letter.
Voice Over, Lilly.
Several years ago, your mother passed away. On our last trip, she handed me a scrap book asking me to give it to you on your twenty-first birthday.
Your mother was a special woman. She had her fair share of failures. She disappointed her parents often but she always wore a smile on her face. She never planned anything. She was always living in the moment, took opportunities as they came, and even in her mishaps she was laughing and joking with herself. She was going through some tough times trying to figure herself out (don’t know why- she was confused but she always seemed like she had a plan)”
Christina: “So, I do take after mother.”
Josh: ” Christina, don’t cry. All is going to be fine.”
Christina: “No, Josh, it won’t. She died. My mom died. And this-pointing toward the computer screen- I am not making my dad proud of me. I am changing my college majors for the third time in three years. I am getting kicked out again from the program.”
Josh exiles, then says: ” I never knew you were so vulnerable. You always seem confident in yourself, cheerful, always smiling…”
End of flashback.
Back to present.
Voice over, Lilly.
“She changed her universities and degree programs once, she experienced a delay in her study. She was not fitted for economics but she was determined to have such a degree. She did receive it after a year of struggles. Her second year was the hardest but she made it and only had to write her thesis before her exchange. She then went on to study Economic Psychology, body language, public speaking, and wrote a lot. Your mother was a very creative writer. She was always experimenting with various styles…”
Christina leaves the letter aside and opens the box. She grabs the black book. She runs her fingers across it. Then opens it. The first page has a photo of her mother with words such as “TCK, free spirit, curious, wanderlust, airports, many homes, interactions, moving homes, no commitment, traveling, stations, stops,languages, packing, always going home, almost never goes on vacation because going home, friends, family, home, acquaintances” spread all over the page.
Voice Over, Christina’s mom.
“When you know you can be a model but you would rather travel, mingle with the locals, become a local yourself, help the needy, learn from everyone you meet, and go home”
Christina starts flipping through the pages. She goes on a journey of her mother’s scrapbook/journal. She reads every page and looks at the pictures. Most of the pages are full of her mother’s writing and plenty of photographs from her childhood,teen hood, and college years.Some pages were written in English,Bulgarian,French,Russian,Spanish,Dutch,Greek,Arabic…
Christina: “She spoke eight languages?! She drew?! She wrote poems/short stories?! She was a journalist?! She knew so many people?!
Mom,why were you secretive? Nevertheless, thank you, mom, for being there for me even if it is through this journal.”
Then she picks up the letter and continues reading.
Voice over, Lilly: “She was always secretive. She would never tell anyone what exactly is going on in her mind.She was at all times travelling, searching, improving,persistent,experimenting…She was naturally curious. Christina, I hope you take after her.”
Christina puts down the letter, looks out of the window thoughtfully, sighs, smiles, and says, “This explains a lot about me. I guess like mother like daughter.”
End of scene.
Her father approaches her.
Her father: “Christina, where did you get this?”pointing toward the book
Christina: “Lilly sent it over.It contains mom’s memories.”
Her father flips through the pages. “Your mother is alive through these pages. Look at the photos. I never knew she valued me so much. She has a whole page dedicated only to me with photos from the towns I lived in and visited most often when we were college students. There so many beautiful photos from Breda, Leiden, Eindhoven,Tilburg,Nijmegen, Amsterdam, and your mom’s favorite city Utrecht.”
Christina: “So, you two went to college in the Netherlands?”
Her father: “Yes, and we met there. She had just arrived in the country. It was one of her first college parties she attended, and her first beer cantus. She was full of energy, ready to explore the world, so curious. She was nothing like the other girls. I never thought she would give me a chance, let alone marry me even though she always seemed to be eager to start a family with me. I never thought I deserved her. I also pushed her away many times. She never left me all those year until she died and I did her too many wrongs. You behave like her- your carelessness, confidence,smiles…”
End of scene.
Christina is leaning on a tree with the sun rays pouring over her.
Josh: “Hey, Christina. What are you reading?”
Christina: “My mom’s journal. Did you know she lived in the Netherlands or that she experienced a delay in her degree?”
Josh: “Did she give up trying?”
Christina: “No. She actually graduated from Leiden University. She seems to have traveled a lot and has been friends with many influential people.”
Josh: “So, you should not give up on yourself. Your mom seems to have been a strong woman who was determined and has never given up on her goals just like you.”
Josh kisses her.
Voice over, Christina. “Now that I have reconnected with my mother, I know that I should start living my dreams.” She leans on his shoulder and closes her eyes.
End of scene.