Ten years ago, I was asked to remove the screenplay.
The reason is that a team of film makers were going to use the screenplay to make a film.
I was happy when Gordo agreed and let me put the text on my website two years ago.
I was proud too, because the story was very good and strong, impressive and exciting.
Many people could enjoy reading it during those two years.
Now, I have to remove it.
Something must disappear so that something better could be born.
A team in Canada is going to use the screenplay to make a movie.
I believe it will be a great movie.
See by yourself: http://wannabefilms.ca/ (it will open in a new window)
Thank you Gordo for writing the story.
Thank you Peter for making the film.
We are looking forward to seeing your WANNABE.
OK, that was ten years ago. Nothing happened. The film was not made, the website about the film is long gone. I tried to contact the people, who were supposed to make the film,
but I could not reach them. They seem to have disappeared. I think the story is nice. I looked for a copy of it all over the Internet. Nothing. I found nothing. So, I decided to put it back here,, were it used to be for about two years before it was deleted. Fortunately, I found a copy on my backup DVD.
Enjoy the reading:
Written by Gordo A. Gordon Wednesday, 20 August 2008
The idea for Wannabe came shortly after another movie called Quid Pro Quo came out, which dealt with similar issues. Both movies deal with a character that feels the need to be paraplegic, but what I tried to do with Wannabe is do everything that Quid Pro Quo failed to do. Quid Pro Quo touched on what it means to be a ďwannabeĒ but ultimately fails at showing the human aspects of the condition.
The wannabe character is shown as somewhat deranged, and not quite human in emotion. I have tried to counter that by telling the story from the point of view of Tracy, the hero of Wannabe, and showing her to be the same as any other person her age, minus the wannabe factor. I have tried to show both her happy times, such as when she is living the life of a paraplegic, and her sad times, when everything falls apart. I have tried to show that being a wannabe has its ups and downs, but ultimately, it is the downs that affect a person the most, and the downs are often caused by external factors rather than internal ones.
This screenplay is also meant to challenge the preconceptions that many people have towards wannabes, such as the notion that wannabes are attention-seekers or deranged individuals. I have incorporated aspects from my own life as well as some from other accounts available that contradict these notions.
Some of Tracyís actions also symbolize the wannabe community extending our friendship to the ďrealĒ disabled community. We know that many of them do not want to be associated with wannabes, but there are many ways we can help; we can help advocate for accessibility issues, since we can see problems from the same point of view, as well as be a sympathetic ear to common issues.
It is my hope that someone takes this screenplay and transforms it into a solid film. For amateur and student filmmakers, you may contact me at gordogordon (at) hotmail.com for a printable Adobe Acrobat version of the script. All I ask for is a writerís credit and creative input where deemed necessary. For professional and independent filmmakers, please use the same e-mail address to inquire about terms.
Special acknowledgement goes to Sean OíConnor and Sophie Smith, who have agreed to be the first distributors of the screenplay on their respective web sites, and Sean for providing the phrase, ďIt taints everything it touches,Ē which is by far my favourite line in the script. Another special thanks to Jay, whose input and experiences helped shape some pivotal scenes in the screenplay, for the support and friendship given to me over the years. Last, but not least, a shout out to Diablo Cody, who is more or less my inspiration when I write screenplays.
Gordo A. Gordon
Vancouver, BC, Canada (August 9, 2008 to August 19, 2008)
O.S. = off-screen
V.O. = voice over
INT. = interior
EXT. = exterior
Each scene is numbered.
EXT. PARK Ė DAY
It is 1993. Some children are playing at a public park. This is not a major city, nor is it a small remote town; this is squeaky-clean suburbia. About four kids, appearing to be between ages 4 to 6, are playing in a section of the playground, while their parents sit on a nearby bench conversing with each other.
MICHAEL: But I donít want to play House! House is for girls.
GRACE: Well, youíre the only boy here. Three against one Ė girls win. Weíre playing House.
MICHAEL: Canít we just play Cops and Robbers instead?
TRACY: Your mom said you canít play that game because you have asthma.
GRACE: And youíre terrible at that game anyway.
MICHAEL: (pouting) Fine. Weíll play House. But I get to be the dad. Iím not letting you girls make me the mom again.
GRACE: Well, WE thought it was funny.
MICHAEL: You know whatís funny? You being the mom.
GRACE: But youíre the dad!
MICHAEL: (with a sly grin) Exactly.
TRACY: And Iím the daughter then, I guess.
GRACE: Thatís right. And weíll start...now.
Michael opens an invisible door to the pretend home.
MICHAEL: Honey, Iím home!
GRACE: Oh, welcome back, dear! How was work today?
MICHAEL: It was great. The traffic was bad, but I earned lots and lots of money today. Whereís our daughter?
GRACE: Sheís doing her homework. Tracy, darling! Your dadís home!
Tracy comes up, using her hands to drag herself towards Michael.
TRACY: Daddy! Daddy!
GRACE: Sheís been a very good girl today - (off Michaelís look) - What? What are you looking at?
Grace turns around to see Tracy on the floor, with both her hands in front of her.
GRACE: What are you doing?
TRACY: I - I - Iím saying hi to Dad? Weíre still playing, right?
MICHAEL: She means, what are you doing on the floor, doofus? Weíre playing House.
TRACY: (nods cautiously and slowly) Yes. We are. So?
GRACE: Why are you dragging yourself on the floor?
TRACY: Because I canít walk.
GRACE: What? Yes, you can. Get up.
TRACY: No, I mean, Iím the daughter who canít walk. So Iím using my hands to get to you.
Michaelís mother appears behind him.
MICHAEL: What the hell is wrong with you, booger-face?
MICHAELíS MOM: Michael! Who taught you that kind of language?
Michaelís mother takes her son by the hand and drags him away from the girls. His playtime is definitely over.
GRACE: (shakes her head) Youíre crazy. Totally cuckoo bananas.
Grace walks away, leaving behind a confused-looking Tracy, who remains on the ground of the playground.
We hear the voice of the adult Tracy for the first time.
TRACY (V.O.): I donít remember when it started, really. As long as I can remember, Iíve always felt like I shouldnít be walking.
EXT. SHOPPING MALL PARKING LOT Ė DAY (FLASHBACK)
Tracyís mother is dragging young Tracy towards the entrance of the mall, but Tracyís legs continue to be limp as her mother Susan continues dragging her towards the entrance.
SUSAN: I am seriously sick and tired of your...
TRACY (V.O.): Itís not like Iíve ever encountered a lot of disabled people when I was younger.
EXT. HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL COURT Ė DAY (FLASHBACK)
A group of teenagers are hanging out. A fellow student hobbles by the group with a cane (or forearm crutches).
TEEN BOY: Look at him go! Seriously. I wouldnít want to be friends with that dude.
TEEN GIRL: Me either. I mean, talk about NOT cool. Iíd rather die than get caught hanging around that lame freak. Right, Tracy?
TEEN TRACY: (startled) What? Oh. Um. Right.
TRACY (V.O.): Hell, itís not like my parents ever have a good opinion of disabled people either.
INT. LIVING ROOM Ė NIGHT (FLASHBACK)
A teenage Tracy and her parents, Henry and Susan, are watching the news together.
HENRY: Look at that gimp! Thinking he can make it in the real world. I donít care how inspirational people say this is. If I ever turn lame, I might as well be dead!
Tracy rolls her eyes.
ADULT TRACY (V.O.): Did I get kicked in the head when I was born? Did I get molested as an infant or something? All I know is something mustíve happened when I was younger, because as far as I can recall, Iíve always felt that I am not supposed to feel my legs. They are part of me, but theyíre not supposed to WALK for me. I know what youíre all thinkingó
EXT. CITY SIDEWALK Ė DAY (FLASHBACK)
Tracy, as an adult, is rocking back and forth and muttering to herself in a crazed manner about the end of the world (or something along those lines).
TRACY (V.O.): óand I donít blame you for thinking that. The truth is, I know itís not normal. I know itís crazy. I know itís irrational. But thatís always been the case for me. But all these years, Iíve kept it inside, tucked away from view, so nobody else notices. Why? Because itís JUST NOT NORMAL. Sure, Iíve never been the ďnormalĒ type of person to begin with.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė DEN Ė DAY (FLASHBACK)
Young Tracy is at the computer, typing something. Her mother walks in.
SUSAN: What are you writing, hon?
TRACY: Itís a story about a little boy who earns lots and lots of money.
SUSAN: Wow, thatís great, dear. How does he do it?
TRACY: He sells leather bras and dildos.
Susan looks on with a deadpan expression, not sure what to say about that.
TRACY (V.O.): But thatís kid stuff, right? Every kid has a quirk, especially me. I mean, when your parents refuse to explain puberty to you, and instead expect you to figure stuff out on your own, you tend to learn by rather, um, unconventional means.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė DEN Ė DAY (FLASHBACK)
A young Tracy is staring wide-eyed at the computer screen as grunting noises and moans of pleasure are coming from the computerís speakers. The sound clip of a whip cracking can also be heard coming from the computer.
EXT. UNIVERSITY - STREET Ė DAY
We see a vibrant university, complete with nice stone buildings, students walking here and there, and even the occasional squirrel or two, living off whatever leftover pizza that students happen to toss in the garbage cans. Hey, students can be slobs too.
TRACY (V.O.): But even considering my ďinterestingĒ exposure to certain material, I am relatively normal. And no, I donít talk to myself on a street corner or look at internet porn every day, or even occasionally. Instead, Iím your everyday 20-something-year-old student majoring in Pop Culture Studies. Yes, there is such a thing, apparently.
We see the adult Tracyís face for the first time, making her way down the street on campus.
TRACY (V.O.): Some people say college contains the best years of your life. Most of the time, thatís just another way to say, ďCollege is where youíll wake up with a hangover 8 days a week.Ē But for me, my ďbest yearsĒ mean something else altogether.
We zoom out and see that Tracy was making her way down the street in a wheelchair, looking confident and strong.
TRACY (V.O.): My name is Tracy, and I am a student at the University of the Northwest Cascades. I am 23 years old, and am an amateur writer and artist. I am a big fan of hot guys, especially when kissing and making out are involved. I am also a wannabe.
EXT. UNIVERSITY Ė STREET (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy turns a corner and goes downhill down the street in her wheelchair.
TRACY (V.O.): Whatís a wannabe, you ask? Well, first of all, you shouldíve figured it out by now. I want Ė no, HAVE Ė to be a paraplegic. But obviously, thatís something you usually donít ask your doctor for. And unless you stage an accident where you may or may not get what you need, the only ways to become a paraplegic are rather...
INT. DARK DANK ROOM Ė NIGHT
An unshaven doctor with a stained doctorís outfit turns around and looks at the camera (the patient). He is putting on surgical gloves with grease marks on them.
DOCTOR: (heavy accent) You no need anti-bacteria, right? Have strong immune system?
EXT. UNIVERSITY Ė VARIOUS Ė DAY
We cut back to Tracy making her way through various parts of the university.
TRACY (V.O.): ...yeah, exactly. Itís frustrating, but unless I want to end up with fatal gangrene contracted in some third-world country, the best I can do is keep wheeling on. If I canít be a paraplegic, Iíll try to live my life as close to that as possible. Iíve tried to get rid of it for years, but if anything, the feeling has become stronger. Living my life in a wheelchair doesnít solve the problem, but ironically, it keeps me sane enough to function until a solution is found. Call me crazy if you want; I probably am. I am just describing how I feel and what my life is like as a result. You donít have to accept this; Iím just asking you to sit back and try to understand what my world is like Ė what I am like.
EXT. UNIVERSITY Ė PARKING STRUCTURE ROOFTOP Ė DAY
Tracy parks her car and looks around cautiously as she takes her wheelchair out of the trunk.
TRACY (V.O.): My routine is very simple. Get to campus early. Set up the wheelchair, and start wheeling. You never realize how fast your feet can take you until you force yourself to stop walking altogether.
Tracy looks around one more time, then sits down on the wheelchair. She activates her car alarm, and wheels off.
INT. UNIVERSITY - ELEVATOR SHAFT Ė DAY
Tracy is seen doing down in an elevator.
TRACY (V.O.): I live at home with my parents while I try to finish school, whenever the universityís not screwing me over for more money or with surprise course requirements. Of course, my parents donít know that between the hours of 8:30am and 4:00pm, I am a disabled student.
We see Tracy exit an elevator shaft and wheel, to a place off-screen.
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė STUDENT LOUNGE Ė DAY
With a cup of coffee wedged between her legs, Tracy wheels towards a table in the lounge, where a fellow student, JANIE, is apparently studying with great frustration.
Janie slams her pencil down. It falls to the floor and rolls away; it comes to a stop right near Tracyís feet. Tracy picks up the pencil.
TRACY: Pencils flying. Thatís never a good sign. Rough morning?
JANIE: Itís this damn physics problem. Iíve been at it since last night and Iím still no closer to solving this stupid thing.
TRACY (V.O.): This is Janie. Sheís the only person who knows about me being a wannabe. She hates being a physics major, but itís the only thing sheís ever been good at. So naturally she decided to study something that makes her want to punch herself rather than study something she actually likes.
JANIE: Stupid fucking thing!
TRACY (V.O.): Although I think her courses have broadened her vocabulary more than her math skills.
TRACY: Hey, calm down, dude. Chill.
JANIE: (sighs) Alright. Iím calm. Iím calmly putting the physics book away. See? Putting it away calmly. Calm. Thatís me. Calm as a clam.
TRACY: Right. Now stop saying ďcalm.Ē
TRACY: So guess what. I got a call from the mall today.
JANIE: Really? What did they say?
TRACY: Well, it took a lot of whining and complaining, but I talked to them about that wheelchair ramp issue, and theyíre finally going to fix it next week. Itíll be less steep, and theyíre going to put in automatic doors as well.
JANIE: Thatís fantastic! Itís about time they did something.
TRACY: Totally. I mean, I donít normally use my wheelchair at the mall, but a lot of people do, and they deserve much better access than this.
JANIE: You know, you shouldíve gone in your chair and tip over on the ramp, and then threaten to sue them if they donít fix it.
TRACY: You think?
JANIE: Totally. Anyways, Iím gonna go and clear my head a bit. You wanna come with?
TRACY: Nah, I got some stuff to do before class. See you at lunch?
JANIE: Sure thing. If you canít find me, just look for the flying pencils.
Janie walks away as Tracy puts the cup of coffee on the table and starts drinking from it.
EXT. UNIVERSITY Ė VARIOUS Ė DAY
Tracy is wheeling through doors on campus; we see that people are holding doors open for her all the time.
TRACY (V.O.): When youíre in a wheelchair, people treat you differently. For example, you find that as long as there are people around, doors tend to be held open for you. Itís nice, since some doors are a pain in the ass. I know what youíre thinking Ė Iím using my wheelchair because I ďwant the sympathy.Ē I donít know why I have this need to be a paraplegic, but it sure as hell isnít so people can help me. Iíd rather do things myself. I actually canít stand it when people INSIST on helping me with things that I can still do. When people hold doors open for me, you see this.
A door is held open for Tracy.
TRACY: (grins) Thanks.
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė OUTSIDE A CLASSROOM Ė DAY
Tracy is wheeling towards a classroom. A classmate mutters a greeting and enters, but holds the door open for her again.
TRACY (V.O.): But inside, Iím practically screaming, ďI can open it myself!Ē If thereís one thing I hate about being in a wheelchair, itís how everyone feels the need to ďhelpĒ me. I am not living a double life as a wheelchair user because I want the help. Why does everyone seem to think I need help all the time? What they donít see is that I feel like a stronger person in my wheelchair.
INT. THERAPISTíS ROOM Ė DAY
We discover that the last voiceover from Tracy was actually her talking to her therapist, Dr. Tanabe.
TRACY: I want to feel strong and confident, but for some reason, I canít feel fully independent unless I am a paraplegic. When I walk, it feels like I am... Well, like Iím lacking potential. I feel like when I walk, I can only do so much in my life before I hit the ceiling. But when I live as a paraplegic, I feel like thereís so much left to do. And I feel PASSIONATE about everything.
DR. TANABE: But...?
TRACY: But I can never be fully complete. If I tell my parents, chances are high that they will kick me out of the house. I mean, my father hasnít even come to the point of accepting gays yet, let alone whatever is wrong with me. And I obviously canít make myself a paraplegic without risking my life.
DR. TANABE: Youíve said before that you know this isnít normal behaviour.
TRACY: I know this is totally insane! ďCuckoo bananas,Ē as a childhood friend of mine put it. But Iíve tried everything. I went against my better judgement and tried almost every medication and treatment I can think of, and nothingís worked. If anything, the feelings tend to get stronger.
DR. TANABE: And those feelings overwhelm you to the point of not being able to concentrate on anything at all?
TRACY: Unless Iím using my wheelchair. I mean, thatís the one thing thatís kept me from trying to do something to turn myself into a paraplegic for real.
DR. TANABE: So how would you describe your present situation?
Tracy ponders that for a moment.
TRACY: I donít know. Iíve always felt like something was a bit off with me. Walking has never felt natural to me. Iím a total klutz on my feet. But when Iím in my wheelchair, I feel like... me. Itís as if my body is capable of doing one thing, but me on the inside Ė my soul, if you will Ė is paralysed from the waist down.
DR. TANABE: Really.
TRACY: Itís as if... Well, the closest thing I can think of is that I am a paraplegic trapped in a walking body. So? Are you going to pick up the phone and have them institutionalize me now?
DR. TANABE: Why would you think that?
TRACY: I dunno. Maybe because all this stuff is completely insane?
DR. TANABE: What do you want me to do?
TRACY: (getting emotional) Whatever you can. Iíve dealt with this as long as I could, as well as I could. But itís not going away. Please, Doc. I want it to stop so badly.
DR. TANABE: You know what I think?
DR. TANABE: First, I will tell you what I donít think. I donít think youíre crazy. Yes, your feelings are irrational, but that doesnít necessarily mean youíre crazy. You are not delusional; you know that these feelings arenít normal.
TRACY: If Iím not crazy, then what am I?
DR. TANABE: I donít know. The truth is that what you have is something that hasnít been recognized by the medical community yet.
DR. TANABE: That doesnít mean thereís no hope, Tracy. Just because itís not recognized doesnít mean it doesnít exist. What you have is real.
Dr. Tanabe points to Tracy.
DR. TABANE: What are you feeling right now?
TRACY: Well, Iím feeling hurt. On the inside, I mean. And Iím mad that thereís nothing I can do to stop feeling this way.
DR. TANABE: What you are feeling is real. What you have is real. Iím sorry thereís no way to stop you from feeling this way. I really am. But you know what?
DR. TANABE: Youíre a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. How old are you?
TRACY: Iím twenty-three.
DR. TANABE: And when was your earliest memory of these paraplegic desires?
TRACY: When I was four.
DR. TANABE: Thatís nineteen years. Youíve been dealing with this for nineteen years, and youíve only been a wheelchair user for about four of those years. Before then, you coped without one. But you still survived.
DR. TANABE: How has life been ever since you started using a wheelchair?
TRACY: Better. I started feeling more like myself.
DR. TANABE: And physically?
TRACY: I feel stronger, and more powerful. I stopped lounging around my house all day and found the energy to go out, and meet people, and try new things.
DR. TANABE: So feeling the need to live your life as a paraplegic may be, as you said, ďcuckoo bananas.Ē Based on what you said, what are the downsides to living as a paraplegic, besides not actually being one?
Tracy thinks for a long time, but fails to come up with anything good. Dr. Tanabe nods knowingly.
DR. TANABE: Exactly. We canít cure you, but we can make you live a fuller and more meaningful life in the meantime. Whatís crazy about that?
Again, Tracy fails to find an answer.
INT. THERAPISTíS LOBBY Ė DAY
Tracy is wheeling out of the therapistís room after her session. There are a few patients waiting in the lobby, most of them reading magazines or briefly glancing at her nonchalantly.
TRACY: Thanks, Dr. Tanabe.
DR. TANABE: See you next week then?
TRACY: Sure thing.
Dr. Tanabe closes the door. Tracy spins around the corner and wheels towards the door. As she turns, we hear a soft clink, and see that her keys had fallen out and dropped onto the floor. One of the patients waiting, a 24-year-old male named CARL, notices this. He picks up the keys and goes after Tracy.
TRACY (V.O.): I said I really donít like people helping me. But sometimes, someone helping you can be a good thing.
CARL: Miss? You dropped this.
TRACY: (flustered) Oh my god, thank you. I wouldíve been in big trouble if I lost those.
CARL: Youíre welcome.
Tracy gives Carl a small smile and turns around, continuing her way to the door.
ANGLE: TRACYíS POV TOWARDS THE DOOR
TRACY (V.O.): Of course, some people try to be TOO useful. I was dreading this. The inevitable ďhelp the wheelchair girl with the doorĒ trick; the ultimate pity move.
Tracyís hand lands on the handle. We wait for the inevitable help.
TRACY (V.O.): But once in a while, that someone will surprise you.
Tracyís hand turns the handle and pulls the door open. She looks (almost in surprise) back at Carl, still standing there, as she pulls her wheelchair through the door and exits the room.
INT. LIBRARY MEETING ROOM Ė DAY
Tracy and a small group of people, some with very visible disabilities and some who look ďnormalĒ (but may have hidden disabilities) are talking in a room. We do not hear their conversation during Tracyís voice-overs.
TRACY (V.O.): As you can see, even though Iím not considered ďtrulyĒ disabled, there are a lot of things I face that many disabled people also face. But I realize because of what I am, Iíll never fit in. And the last thing I want is to show myself as a freak, or to make other disabled people feel like freaks. I donít want them to think Iím some deranged maniac who is trying to do this for sexual pleasure. But somehow, I get the feeling that I owe something to those with so-called ďrealĒ disabilities. I donít want to be the one to use a wheelchair and use things built for wheelchair users, like ramps and elevators, without giving back.
WOMAN WITH CRUTCHES: (fading in) And that is why we should let them know that, for a public institution, this is unacceptable!
TRACY (V.O.): I know at least half of them will be disgusted, or even angry, at the fact that people like me exist. But I canít ask for their tolerance. I canít ask for their forgiveness. I canít even ask for their friendship. But what I can do is try to give back something, whether it be helping with accessibility campaigns, or taking part in disability awareness events. I feel like I owe them SOMETHING.
James, a man in an electric wheelchair and the head of the group, is speaking.
JAMES: Thank you, Lucy. I agree that what happened is truly something that needs to be dealt with. Iíll give the list of concerns to the management company of that building, and see if we need to go from there. I think thatís all the business I have from my end. Tracy, is there anything new to add?
TRACY: The mall management replied to the ramp issue I mentioned last week. Theyíre going to fix it, and I quote, ďwithin the next seven days.Ē
The group applauds. Tracy acknowledges them politely, with a proud but flattered grin.
JAMES: You see that? Now that is a true hero, ladies and gentlemen. Who wouldíve thought a 23-year-old paraplegic in college would be one of the leading pioneers of disability access in the city? I canít be prouder of this girl.
James gives Tracy an appreciative tap on the shoulder; she just smiles back.
EXT. LIBRARY PARKING LOT Ė DAY
Tracy is wheeling in the parking lot towards her car. A man from the meeting, Scott, follows her as fast as his forearm crutches can take him.
TRACY: Oh. Hey, Scott. Whatís up?
SCOTT: Look, what you did in the mall ramp thing. That was amazing.
TRACY: Well, if we donít stick up for ourselves, who will?
SCOTT: Listen, I was wondering if you have a place to go tonight. Like, plans.
Tracy stops her wheelchair and turns to Scott, with a suspicious smile on her face.
TRACY: Are you asking me out?
SCOTT: Um, no.
Tracy starts to wheel towards her car again.
SCOTT: I mean, yes! I am.
TRACY (V.O.): I know this is tricky. I know I shouldnít get myself involved in this. What if he eventually finds out the truth about me? How will he react? But at the same time, I recall something I said in the group once, which MAY make me a hypocrite at a time like this.
INT. LIBRARY MEETING ROOM Ė DAY (FLASHBACK)
Tracy is shown in a previous meeting, getting rather passionate.
TRACY: And just because weíre in wheelchairs or whatever doesnít mean weíre not sexual beings! We have feelings and desires just like anyone else. People always say they want to hear the concerns of disabled people. Well, hereís a message for them...
Tracy bangs her fist on the table.
TRACY: (shouting) MOMMA IS HORNY AND WANTS TO GET LAID!
Everyone else just stares back at her, caught off-guard by her approach to the issue.
EXT. LIBRARY PARKING LOT Ė DAY
SCOTT: So what do you say? You and me, tomorrow night?
TRACY (V.O.): Normally, I would do what my gut feeling tells me to do. But right then, I thought about my life. Iím already living my life as a paraplegic. Dr. Tanabe said that nothingís stopping me as long as Iím doing that. So is there really an excuse for me not going out for a night on the town like every other girl my age?
TRACY: Sure. Iíd love to.
EXT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė NIGHT
Tracyís car pulls into the driveway. She turns off the engine. Inside her car, she takes out a large black cloak. Her wheelchair is in the passenger seat.
TRACY (V.O.): When I pull into my driveway, I am transformed. I turn from Tracy, the girl in the wheelchair, to Tracy, the proud daughter of Henry and Susan.
She unfurls the cloak and effectively covers the wheelchair with it, so that nobody can see the chair. She gets out of the car and locks it.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė ENTRANCE Ė NIGHT
Tracy enters her house.
TRACY (V.O.): When I first started using my wheelchair, I was worried. I was worried that someone I know will see me using it. I was worried that people will ask questions. I was worried that people will see it as suspicious. Over time, I stopped worrying and just got on with it. I have run into some familiar faces, and many of them didnít ask much. Eventually, I stopped caring about what everyone thought; but I never got around to letting my parents know the truth.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė KITCHEN Ė NIGHT
Susan and Henry, Tracyís parents, are in the kitchen. Susan is chopping vegetables while Henry is at the stove.
HENRY: Oh. Hey, sweet. You are just in time. Iím cooking up my famous pot roast tonight.
SUSAN: There he goes with the pot roast again. Youíd think heís a grand chef just because of his whoop-dee-do pot roast.
HENRY: Hey, donít mock the roast. So how was your day?
TRACY: It was interesting. Janie got herself into a suicidal physics problem again.
SUSAN: Flying pencils?
TRACY: Flying pencils.
SUSAN: Youíd think that girl would learn by now to do things that donít make her into a bitchy banana.
TRACY: (smiles) Yeah. But then she wouldnít be Janie.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė DINING TABLE Ė NIGHT
Tracy and her parents are eating dinner at the dining table, with the television on in the near background. Henry is telling a story at work.
TRACY (V.O.): I know what youíre asking. ďWhy havenít you told your parents yet? They seem like nice enough people.Ē But the truth is, theyíre nice when everything is fine and sober.
HENRY: (fading in) ...and then he turns to me and said, ďI never knew bears could eat meat!Ē Anyways...
TRACY (V.O.): Whenever something out of the ordinary comes up, however, things tend to change, and then you see exactly why Iíve never told them about what I am.
HENRY: (fading in) ...and, of course, thatís what they always tell you!
TV REPORTER: Thank you, John. The 35th annual Northwest Cascades Pride Parade took place early this afternoon, and it was a sight to behold.
Henry suddenly stops and looks at the TV. The news is on, and is showing clips of the pride parade.
TV REPORTER: Thousands of people of all ages lined up on the streets of downtown to witness the diversity of this city. Ever since the 1990s, the local gay and lesbian population has exploded to unprecedented levels, and the pride parade is the perfect venue to reflect the change that makes our city what it is today.
HENRY: Itís a freaking disgrace. Thatís what it is.
TRACY: What do you mean?
HENRY: Before long, this city is going to be overrun by fags. First, itís going to be guys marrying guys, and girls marrying girls. Whatís next? Pretty soon, weíre going to have guys marrying chipmunks and siblings making babies with each other.
TRACY: I donít think it works that way, Dad.
HENRY: Thatís what you think. Weíll see how you react when you see your cousin Jake making out with a chicken on his farm in Kansas. Pretty soon, things will get so screwed up that youíll be begging to go back to the old ways.
TRACY: (looks for help) Mom?
SUSAN: Hush, dear.
TRACY (V.O.): Some say this is a horrible thing to wish for, but sometimes, I wish my parents would disagree with each other more often.
HENRY: Before you know it, your grandson will be married to a drag queen, your granddaughter will be dressing up in leather spandex, and your nephew will be married to an alpaca on a ranch. Then several generations down the road, your descendants will be either drooling retards or some half-human half-alpaca freaks of nature.
TRACY (V.O.): I figured if he couldnít grasp the concept of same-sex relationships, he probably wouldnít even come close to understanding my situation.
Tracy says nothing else and keeps on eating.
EXT. UNIVERSITY SPORTS FIELD Ė DAY
Tracy is back in her wheelchair, talking with Janie.
JANIE: Wait, so he thinks same-sex marriages will eventually turn to people wanting to make out with animals?
TRACY: Well, he did mention chipmunks and alpacas.
JANIE: Chipmunks, huh. I wonder where he came up with that.
TRACY: Quite honestly, I donít think I want to know.
JANIE: (after a pause) Are you okay?
TRACY: Yeah, Iím peachy. Why?
JANIE: You seem a little... out there today. More than usual, I mean.
TRACY: Just something that happened yesterday with Doc Tanabe.
JANIE: Did he say youíre crazy yet?
TRACY: Not yet, although itís probably just a matter of time. Actually, he said quite the opposite. He said that what I have is still pretty unknown because, well, nobodyís done much solid research about it. He also said Iím not crazy and that if using a wheelchair helps me get on with life, then I should keep doing it.
JANIE: Iím not seeing the problem here.
TRACY: You know I go to the disability support group after my appointments with Doc. Last night, after the meeting, Scott asked me out.
JANIE: The crutches guy?
TRACY: Thatís the one.
JANIE: (whistles) Wow.
TRACY: I know.
JANIE: You said no, right?
Tracy doesnít answer.
Tracy looks at her friend nervously.
JANIE: Oh, Tracy. No-no-no-no-no. Oodles and oodles of no. Danger, babe.
TRACY: I know. I normally would say no, but I thought about what Doc said. As long as Iím like this...
(gestures to wheelchair)
...whatís stopping me from living a normal life?
JANIE: Um, how about the fact that youíre dealing with something that 99% of the population thinks is completely wacko? Tracy, I love you and all, but you shouldnít do this. You CANíT do this.
TRACY: Why not?
JANIE: Well, what if you and him get serious? What if he pops the question one day? Are you going to be able to keep lying to him about what you are? What if he finds out by accident?
TRACY: You think I wasnít thinking about that all night?
JANIE: Well, if you had thought about it enough, you wouldnít be going through with this whole thing.
TRACY: I canít believe this. Out of everyone I know, I thought you were the only one who understood what Iím going through. I guess I was wrong.
JANIE: Maybe you are. Because what youíre doing right now is a bit reckless.
TRACY: Youíre one to talk. Iím not the one who is turning into a total bitch because of choosing to study something you absolutely hate.
Tracy suddenly realizes what she just said, but it was too late; Janieís face tells the story.
TRACY: Oh, shit. Janie, I didnít mean it like that...
JANIE: Get away from me. Just...donít.
Janie gets up and leaves. Tracy sighs, mad at herself for hurting her friendís feelings this way.
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė LADIESí WASHROOM Ė DAY
ANGLE: BOTTOM OF STALLS
This is what some guys dream about. We pan across the bottom of washroom stalls in the ladiesí room. We see legs. We see some stall doors open as some ladies have finished up their business. Eventually we reach the end of the row of stalls, where the wheelchair accessible stall is. We see the telltale wheel of Tracyís wheelchair and her legs in front of the toilet, her ankles twisted in a way that makes them look ďparalysed.Ē
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė LADIESí WASHROOM Ė STALL (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy is fully clothed, sitting on the toilet, deep in thought.
TRACY (V.O.): Sometimes Janie and I get into arguments, but weíve never had one about me like that before. Like I said, most of the time, I donít give a damn what people think of my condition.
ANGLE: TRACYíS POV OF HER TWISTED ANKLES
TRACY (V.O.): After all, wheelchairs arenít just for people who canít walk. Not everyone whoís in a wheelchair is also paralysed. There are countless possible reasons for using a wheelchair. Mine is just one of the millions.
Tracy lifts her right leg with her hand, letting it dangle there as if itís fully paralysed. She lets go, but leaves her leg dangling there in mid-air.
TRACY (V.O.): But my reason is in my head, not my body.
After a few seconds, Tracy lets her leg fall to the floor with a plop; her leg lands a bit awkwardly, as the ankle on that leg again twists in an unnatural looking ďparalysedĒ position. Tracy, used to her legs being this way, doesnít even flinch.
TRACY (V.O.): What if Janie is right? What if I get caught? What will people think of me? Will there be a witch-hunt against others like me? Will they throw me in an institution? Will they invent some anti-paralysis-faking crime so they can throw me in jail forever?
We see a pair of feet approaching the stall and jiggle with the lock.
GIRL: Shit, every stall is taken.
TRACY: Well, Iím in a wheelchair, so canít you choose some other stall?
GIRL: Oh. Sorry.
TRACY (V.O.): Maybe Iím being paranoid. Or maybe people just donít want to think about being disabled as a good thing. I mean, think of that girl. Why is it that people always apologize to people with disabilities? ďOh, Iím sorry this happened to you.Ē ďOh, Iím sorry, I didnít realize you were handicapped.Ē Whatís there to be sorry about? Iím not dead, and neither are the people with ďrealĒ disabilities. Just because youíre disabled doesnít mean your life is over.
We hear more toilets flushing in the background. Tracy has been in the stall for a while now.
TRACY (V.O.): For me, disability isnít an end of something Ė itís a beginning of a new world with new opportunities. And Iím not just saying that because of my situation. Without living as a paraplegic, I wouldnít be what I am today. I wouldnít be a big disability rights activist. I wouldnít be so aware of the challenges disabled people face. I wouldnít be so aware of what great people they are. I wouldnít have opened my eyes to their world.
Tracy, finally feeling ready to leave, transfers herself onto her wheelchair.
TRACY (V.O.): If I have become a better person because of all of this, then whoís to say my living as a paraplegic is something bad?
She exits the stall and goes to the sink to wash her hands.
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė OUTSIDE LADIESí ROOM Ė DAY
Tracy leaves the washroom and turns the corner, and nearly runs into
Carl drops his load Ė books and pens galore, crashing to the floor.
TRACY: Oh, shit. Iím so sorry.
Carl starts picking up his stuff. Tracy, from her wheelchair, does the same. Eventually, they lock eyes.
CARL: Hey. Itís you, from Doc Tanabeís place.
TRACY: Oh. Yeah. Hey. Fancy meeting you here.
CARL: Yeah. And this time, Iím the one dropping things.
TRACY: It was totally my fault. I wasnít paying attention.
CARL: Yeah, it WAS totally your fault.
Tracy looks at him. They both share a laugh.
TRACY: Itís not often that someone blames me for my stupidity.
CARL: Really? Why?
TRACY: Because Iím the one on wheels.
CARL: (with a friendly smirk) And people think that automatically exempts you from being a klutz?
TRACY: I guess.
They both pick up the last of Carlís things. At the same time, they both realize they should do something they didnít do last time...
CARL: Iím Carl. Freshman, English literature.
TRACY: Iím Tracy. Senior, local klutz.
CARL: So does the local klutz want to walk with me for a bit and chat?
TRACY: Sure, if Iím not too busy making nice guys literally fall head over heels over me.
EXT. UNIVERSITY Ė GARDENS Ė DAY
Tracy and Carl are walking through the gardens. Nobody else is around, so they are feeling comfortable talking with each other.
TRACY: I didnít expect to see you again so soon.
CARL: Neither did I. Iíve never seen you on campus before.
TRACY: Well, my classes are pretty close together, so I donít really need to go anywhere except to my car at the end of the day.
CARL: Ah, that explains it.
TRACY: I was surprised you mentioned how I could be a klutz.
CARL: Did I accidentally accuse you of being one?
TRACY: No, no, no. I really am a klutz. But normally, I tend to get away with it. But you just faced that head-on and didnít say something like, ďOh no, it was really MY fault.Ē
CARL: And that kind of response is... what, patronizing?
CARL: I donít know what to say, then. Because you could be a jerk, for all I know. You could be involved in the black market. You could be someone who tortures animals for fun.
TRACY: Gee, thanks.
CARL: The fact is, you canít tell what kind of person someone is by looking at them. And you sure as hell canít judge someone based on one tiny fact or fault. I mean, youíre in a wheelchair. Iím sure people judge you for that sometimes.
TRACY: You have no idea. Do you know how annoying it is sometimes? People treat you like youíre two years old, as if you canít do anything by yourself.
CARL: Exactly. They look at you and see one little thing about you, and suddenly they think theyíre experts on your life. I really donít like to see that, so I try not to do it.
TRACY (V.O.): Is this guy for real? I mean, heís saying everything Iíve been trying to tell myself. And heís not just saying it; he seems to really believe it. I was almost tempted to tell him, right there and then, the truth about what I am.
TRACY: You sound like one hell of a guy.
CARL: Iím really not that great of a person. Itís just Iíve known some people who were my friends for a long time but then when they found out something about me that they donít like, they suddenly looked at me differently, no matter how small that something is.
TRACY: I know exactly what you mean.
Carl and Tracy lock eyes for a while. They seem to be connecting, until a cell phone rings.
CARL: Oh, shit. Thatís mine.
TRACY: (as if a spell was broken)
I, um, have to go anyways. Maybe weíll see each other again?
CARL: Sure thing.
Tracy finds a crumpled receipt in her pocket, and writes her information down on it. Carl answers his phone. Tracy hands him the receipt and Carl, while still on the phone, writes down his information in return. Tracy rips the receipt in half accordingly, gives him the half with her number, and leaves.
EXT. VARIOUS DOWNTOWN STREETS Ė DAY
Tracy is wheeling down a busy street in downtown. She is noticeably shorter than everyone else on the street due to her chair.
ANGLE: TRACYíS POV
We see that her eye level is everyone elseís fly level. For most able-bodied people, this is an unusual view, but for Tracy, this is the reality of wheeling.
TRACY (V.O.): An estimated 450,000 people live with spinal cord injuries in the United States. Thatís more than the total number of residents in the City of Miami. Yet, when you head out to downtown, where there are usually more people than anywhere else on a given day, how many of those people do you see?
Tracy continues to wheel down downtown streets. She is the only wheelchair user in sight.
TRACY (V.O.): Itís no wonder that people, in general, are uncomfortable around people with disabilities. Itís because they never encounter them in everyday life. They see someone in a wheelchair, or with a missing arm, or with a blind cane, and they panic.
INT. DOWNTOWN CLOTHING STORE (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy wheels off the street and into a trendy clothing store. She starts to look through some nice-looking tank tops on a rack. A clerk approaches her.
CLERK (in a sweet voice, talking slower than normal) Hello there, can I help you with anything?
TRACY: (nonchalantly) Nope, just browsing.
CLERK: (still in the same type of voice) Alright. If you have any questions, Iíll be over there.
The clerk gestures and walks back to the counter.
TRACY (V.O.): And, of course, when they panic, they tend to assume weird things, such as your mind is like your body and isnít working properly either. They think theyíre being nice to you, but actually, I think theyíre just making fools of themselves.
INT. DOWNTOWN CLOTHING STORE Ė COUNTER (CONTINUOUS)
ANGLE: CLERKíS POV
The clerk behind the desk is reading a celebrity gossip magazine. We donít see Tracy anywhere, until suddenly her hand pops up; she is in front of the counter, but because of her chair makes her look shorter, we canít see her.
TRACY: (trying to get the clerkís attention) Hey. Hi.
The clerk stands up and looks over the counter and down on Tracy, who is holding about four tank tops.
TRACY: Hey. Yeah, I want to try these on?
CLERK: (caught off-guard) Oh. Um. Sure.
The clerk gets up and leads Tracy to the change rooms. The clerk unlocks one of the change room stalls and opens the door. The store, in its bone-headed design, has no accessible stalls. This becomes immediately apparent as Tracy stops right in front of the stall, her chair too wide to go any further.
CLERK: Oh. Um...
TRACY (V.O.): As someone who has been living life in a wheelchair, Iíve come to realize several things. The first thing: not everything is accessible. In that case, itís time to improvise.
TRACY: Do you have a small stool?
CLERK: Yeah, we do.
The clerk goes off and retrieves it. Tracy nonchalantly takes it and puts it inside the stall, and transfers herself into it. She closes the change room curtains, with the clerk still standing there, unsure of what to do (or what she just saw).
INT. DOWNTOWN CLOTHING STORE Ė CHANGE ROOM Ė DAY
Tracy is trying on the tank tops. This is another guyís dream come true, but the camera angles do not show anything overtly revealing. Sorry, guys.
TRACY (V.O.): The second thing Iíve realized: People donít expect girls in wheelchairs to worry about their appearance. So hence, a lot of people in fashion stores are bubbleheads when it comes to dealing with disabled customers. After all, when you canít get anywhere without lugging a large piece of metal attached to your ass, people donít expect you to try to look...
INT. DOWNTOWN CLOTHING STORE Ė OUTSIDE CHANGE ROOM (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy opens the curtains to reveal the tank top she tried on. She doesnít just look nice in it Ė she looks absolutely stunning.
TRACY (V.O.): ...amazing.
The clerk looks over and is just taken aback by the sight.
CLERK: Oh, wow.
TRACY: (nonchalantly) Hmm. This looks alright. Iíll take one of these, I guess. Let me just take it off.
She disappears back into the change room, as the clerk is still standing there, amazed at how a girl in a wheelchair can make herself look so damn beautiful.
EXT. SCOTTíS HOUSE Ė NIGHT
Tracy parks her car in Scottís driveway. She is wearing the tank top she bought from the store downtown. Using her rear view mirror, she puts on some lipstick; she wants tonight to be absolutely perfect.
EXT. SCOTTíS HOUSE Ė FRONT STEPS (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy wheels towards Scottís house and stops short. There are stairs in the way.
She looks around. Looking up, she sees Scottís outline; apparently his bedroom faces the front of the house. She picks up a small pebble from the steps and takes aim at the window.
SCOTTíS MOTHER: Can I help you?
Startled, Tracy drops the pebble. Unbeknownst to Tracy, Scottís mother had opened the front door and is looking right at her.
TRACY: Oh. Um. Yeah. Is Scott here?
SCOTTíS MOTHER: You must be Tracy. Iím Rebecca, Scottís mom.
TRACY: (shakes hands) Hi.
SCOTT (O.S.): Mom? Is she here?
SCOTTíS MOTHER: (calling) Yes, itís her. Haul some ass already. Sheís waiting for you.
Scott appears at the door. He looks embarrassed at the fact that his mother is the person to first greet Tracy.
TRACY: You ready?
SCOTT: Yeah, Iím all set. Letís go.
SCOTTíS MOTHER: Behave, you two! If youíre not sure how to make out, just think about how I would do it!
SCOTT: (under his breath) Good god, thatís disgusting!
INT. RESTAURANT Ė NIGHT
Tracy and Scott are at a table, waiting for their meals.
TRACY: ...and thatís how I eventually ended up as a Pop Culture Studies major. I have no clue what that degree would be good for. Maybe Iíll be a world-renowned expert on Britney Spears or something.
SCOTT: Man, this makes me wish I were studying anything else but physics instead.
TRACY: My best friend is studying physics too. Sheís at Northwest Cascades on a scholarship.
SCOTT: Wow. She must really love it then.
TRACY: No. Physics tends to make her suicidal.
SCOTT: And sheís still studying it? Silly girl.
The server arrives with their meals.
SCOTT: So you never really told us why youíre in a wheelchair.
TRACY: (ďoh really?Ē look) Do you usually jump from one topic to another so suddenly?
SCOTT: Well, itís just that youíre one of the more, letís say, prominent members of our little group. Youíve been so passionate about making things more accessible and so forth, but we donít know much about you personally. Were you born this way?
TRACY: (after a hesitation) I donít really like to get into it. Itís a... disorder. One of the quirky things about the disorder is that as long as I have it, I need my wheelchair to get around.
SCOTT: Really. Is that so? Can you walk at all?
TRACY: (hesitates) Well, my disorder turns me into a paraplegic.
SCOTT: Ah, I get it.
TRACY: Like I said, I donít really like to talk too much about it.
SCOTT: Thatís fair game.
TRACY: What about you? Whatís your story?
SCOTT: I was born this way. Cerebral palsy.
TRACY: (mimicking Scottís earlier reaction) Really. Is that so?
SCOTT: Well, Iím sorry to disappoint you. The fact is that people tend to expect a more interesting explanation.
TRACY: Same here.
SCOTT: We have a lot in common, you and I.
The two lock eyes for a moment before returning to their meals.
EXT. UNIVERSITY Ė PARK Ė DAY
The next day, Tracy is studying on a park bench, her empty wheelchair parked in front of her. Janie approaches, causing Tracy to look up.
JANIE: Look, Iím sorry about the other day. I kind of flew off the handle and I really shouldnít have.
TRACY: No, itís my fault. I really shouldíve thought ahead, but I guess I wasnít thinking too clearly.
JANIE: So weíre cool again?
Janie swings around and plops herself in Tracyís wheelchair. Tracy doesnít even bat an eye; the two are familiar enough with each other that this is not a big deal.
JANIE: (doing wheelies) Itís just that seeing you go on your first date before MY first date makes me a bit jealous.
TRACY: Really? Why?
JANIE: Well, come on, Tracy. You said it yourself many times: I look hot, and you look average. Add in the wheelchair factor, and suddenly Iím the hot girl in school that guys donít go after. Do you know how weird that is?
TRACY: (good-natured ribbing) Maybe the guys are scared of your sexy legs!
JANIE: (smirks) Like how guys are scared of your huge arm muscles? (slight pause) So how was it? How did your date with Scott go?
Janie releases the wheelie and starts to push back and forth on the hand rims.
TRACY: Alright, I guess. We talked about random things and had a nice dinner at the Red Lobster. It wasnít a big deal, really.
JANIE: Do you think heís the one?
Tracy ponders that for a while.
TRACY: Iím not sure. I mean, what you said when we had the big pow-wow? You were right in a way. What am I going to say to him about who I really am?
JANIE: Are you going to tell him?
Tracy doesnít answer.
INT. THERAPISTíS LOBBY Ė DAY
Tracy closes the door of Dr. Tanabeís office. Like the other day, Carl is among the patients in the lobby. Tracy doesnít notice him as she exits. Carl gets up and goes after her.
INT. OFFICE HALLWAY Ė DAY
Carl runs after Tracy, who is making her way to the elevators.
TRACY: Carl. Hey. Um. Not that Iím unhappy to see you, but arenít you afraid of missing your appointment out here?
CARL: Actually, I came to see you.
The elevator arrives and they both get on it.
INT. ELEVATOR (CONTINUOUS)
CARL: I donít want you to think Iím some crazy stalker, because Iím not. I told you I was an English literature major last time. Well, weíre having a poetry festival this weekend, and I was wondering if youíd like to come.
TRACY: Youíre asking me?
TRACY: Carl, you just met me.
CARL: I know. Iím asking anyway. Weíre allowed to invite one friend, and...
Suddenly he looks a bit sad. Tracy immediately understands why.
TRACY: And you donít really have any...
CARL: Look, Iím not looking for you to pity me, but I honestly donít want to be at this thing alone.
TRACY: Nobody else will go with you?
CARL: Ever since I started seeing Doc Tanabe, my friends have been avoiding me, like Iím a total freak or something. They donít even talk to me anymore. But you. Youíre nice. And friendly. And beautiful.
The elevator arrives. The doors open but Tracy doesnít get out. Instead, she turns to Carl with a smile.
TRACY: You think Iím beautiful?
Tracy considers that for a moment.
TRACY: Alright, count me in.
She wheels away. Carl, too stunned to move, remains in the elevator.
CARL: (calls after her) Great! Iíll see you there then.
INT. JANIEíS HOUSE Ė BEDROOM Ė NIGHT
Janie is alone in her room, at the computer. She is looking at a website with the title ďLife and Disability.Ē She scrolls down and her eyes scan the pages. She clicks on a link, and a video appears.
WOMAN IN VIDEO: What do you do when a friend suffers a spinal cord injury? That is the question that many people donít want to ask, but since youíre watching this video, you may have to find out the answer.
JANIE: (to herself) Not quite, but close enough.
WOMAN IN VIDEO: The best you can do is listen to your friend. His or her life will be drastically different from now on, and the most you can do during this period of adjustment is try to understand life from your friendís point of view. Imagine what kinds of challenges your friend will face after the accident. Again: try to imagine life from your friendís point of view.
Janie stops the video.
JANIE: Maybe thatís it.
She minimizes the browser and leaves her computer.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė HALLWAY
Tracy is walking down the hallway in her house, in her pyjamas and holding a glass of milk. The phone rings.
TRACY: (calling) I got it.
She looks at the caller ID and picks up the cordless phone.
TRACY: Hey, whatís up?
JANIE: Are you in a safe spot?
TRACY: Not yet, but I will be.
Tracy looks around, and darts upstairs to her room.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė BEDROOM Ė NIGHT (CONTINOUS)
We get our first glimpse of Tracyís room. Everything looks normal (considering what we know about her); we see posters on the wall for her favourite movies, singers and celebrities. She enters her room and closes the door behind her.
TRACY: Yep, Iím safe now.
JANIE: Where can I get a wheelchair?
TRACY: (after a long pause, very slowly) Janie, Iíve lived with this for a long time, but as far as I know, whatís wrong with me isnít contagious. Therefore, I ask you this one question: are you feeling okay?
JANIE: Yeah, Iím fine. And Iím okay with whatever is wrong with you or whatever. Itís just that I was thinking... I want to spend a day in your shoes.
TRACY: (after another long pause) Why the hell would you want to do that?
JANIE: After our big blow-up the other day, I want to understand you better. I mean, if we can fight like that, I canít help but feel like I donít fully understand you, even though I think I do.
TRACY: You understand me better than anyone else.
JANIE: I know. But I just saw something on the internet, saying that it might help if I start seeing things from your point of view.
Tracy sits down on the bed and ponders what Janie just said.
TRACY: Are you sure you want to do this?
JANIE: I wouldnít be asking if I wasnít.
TRACY: Okay, then. Are you free this Saturday?
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė HALLWAY Ė DAY
Tracy is wheeling down the hall. She sees some people going into a room nearby. She approaches it, checks the room number, and enters.
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė CLASSROOM (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy enters the room. The crowd is just arriving at the poetry festival. Carl is standing alone near a window, and quickly spots her.
CARL: Hey, you made it!
TRACY: Yeah, I wouldnít miss this for the world.
CARL: You wouldnít?
TRACY: Well, no offence, but Iím not a big poetry fan.
TRACY: But then I said to myself, ďHey, if this guy is nice enough to ask me to come, there must be SOMETHING worth seeing in there.Ē
CARL: I hope so.
TRACY: So what happens? Everyone writes some poetry and read it aloud, and talk about it?
TRACY: Whatís your poem about, then?
CARL: Youíll find out. But Iím nervous as hell right now.
TRACY: Youíll do fine. Normally, Iíd tell you to imagine everyone naked, but thatís a clichť nowadays.
CARL: I think the saying should be ďImagine everyone in their underwear.Ē Not... naked.
TRACY: (surprised) Really? Now thatís just weird.
FESTIVAL ORGANIZER: (at the podium) Can you all please take your seats? The festival is about to begin.
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė CLASSROOM (CONTINUOUS)
A somewhat emo woman is on the podium, reading a poem. Tracy, seated next to Carl, is looking on.
TRACY (V.O.): When I was in high school, I absolutely hated English class. It all seemed so bland and boring. I mean, whatís ďRomeo and JulietĒ supposed to teach me, besides the fact that having a love affair with an under-aged minor will eventually lead to a double suicide? I just never got literature. Call me ill cultured, if you will, but thereís a reason why Iím majoring in something called Pop Culture Studies. And itís not because I bury my nose in books.
EMO WOMAN: (reading a very crappy but morbid poem)
My finger, I poked into his bullet-wound,
Finally feeling the substance of life.
His internal organs felt finely tuned,
So I stabbed him once more with my knife...
ANGLE: TRACYíS FACIAL REACTION AT THE POEM
TRACY (V.O.): Although I have to say, poetry festivals are a lot more interesting than English class.
FESTIVAL ORGANIZER: And I think thatís as good a time as any to stop. Thank you for that... um, insightful poem, Teresa.
EMO WOMAN: But I didnít get to the part where his skin peels off...
FESTIVAL ORGANIZER: I think we get the picture. Letís give a nice round of applause for Teresa Hardy, ladies and gentlemen!
The audience gives scattered applause combined with some stunned silence. Teresa walks off the stage and past Tracy.
EMO WOMAN: (mumbling to herself) But his skin peels off...
TRACY (V.O.): Wow. Maybe Iím not as crazy as I thought.
FESTIVAL ORGANIZER: Up next, we have Carl Fezzlebottom with his poem, entitled ďForbidden Love.Ē
TRACY: (to Carl) Fezzlebottom?
CARL: Shut up.
Carl gets up and makes his way to the podium.
CARL: This is a poem I wrote for someone Iíve noticed for a long time, but maybe she didnít notice me. I was afraid of what to say, but more importantly, more afraid of what others would say. This poem is called ďForbidden Love,Ē and is dedicated to Tracy.
TRACY (V.O.): Wait. What?
CARL: When I first saw you,
I knew you were the one.
My knees turned to goo,
As if my body weighed a ton.
Your eyes, your lips, your hair,
Everything about you was too much to bear.
TRACY (V.O.): Oh, crap.
CARL: I know how you make me feel,
But my family says, ďNo way.
This girl walks with wheels.
Her body does not obey.Ē
TRACY (V.O.): Not good.
CARL: But then, what is love?
Who said this girl canít be adored?
Society? Someone up above?
Why is love something she canít afford?
TRACY (V.O.): What have I done?
CARL: What if she wheels? What if she walks?
Quite frankly and either way, I donít care.
Let them snicker. Let them stare. Let them talk.
Wheelchair or not, no other girl is ever more fair.
Tracy, without much warning, starts to wheel out of the room, nearly bumping into several people on the way out.
CARL: (quickly) Thank you every much, youíve been a wonderful audience.
Carl chases after Tracy.
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė HALLWAY (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy wheels quickly down the hallway, sobbing and visibly upset. Carl chases after her.
CARL: (calling) Tracy! Wait!
Tracy wheels into a ladiesí washroom. Carl stops, then sighs and goes in anyway.
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė LADIESí WASHROOM (CONTINUOUS)
Carl enters the washroom to see Tracy, facing a wall, sobbing.
CARL: Tracy... Look, Iím sorry.
TRACY: (still facing the wall) ďForbidden Love,Ē Carl?
CARL: I can change the title if you want.
TRACY: Thatís not the point.
CARL: I know. Look, Iím sorry if that embarrassed you, but when Iím alone with you, I canít find the guts to tell you how I feel.
A female student opens the door and walks in.
FEMALE STUDENT: (upon seeing a guy in the ladiesí room) Hey, get out of here!
CARL: Itís okay! This is about love.
The female student isnít sure what to say, so she instead turns around and exits.
TRACY: Carl... Youíre a nice guy and all, but you canít possibly love me.
CARL: Why not? Youíre the most beautiful and charming girl Iíve ever met in my life.
TRACY: You canít... because of this.
Tracy slaps the wheels on her chair.
CARL: Look. I donít like you because youíre in a chair. This isnít a pity thing. And even without the chair, Iíll still love you. And I love you because Iíve never met anyone like you before. Tracy, I donít care if you can walk or not. I used to care that people said bad things about me because I have a crush on ďthe wheelchair girl,Ē but I donít care any more. There is nothing about you that can make me lose my love for you.
Tracy sighs. There is a long moment of silence.
CARL: Absolutely nothing.
TRACY: How about this?
Tracy, still facing the wall, stands up. She turns around, to see a stunned Carl.
TRACY: I donít even need this wheelchair to walk. I can walk just fine. There is nothing wrong with me. I need this wheelchair because Iím a psycho freak whose brain tells her she should be paralysed below the waist, when her body is actually fine.
Carl is speechless.
TRACY: Do you still love me now?
Tracy gets back in her chair, and wheels out of the washroom, with Carl still standing there, trying to devour what he just heard and saw.
EXT. RURAL FREEWAY Ė DAY
We see a long stretch of freeway heading out into farming areas.
JANIE (O.S.): Why are we going this far again?
INT. TRACYíS CAR (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy is driving, with Janie in the passenger seat, looking a bit bored.
TRACY: Do you want to do this or not?
JANIE: I do, but why do we have to go all the way out to Oryx Crake nowhere?
TRACY: This is what I used to do before I started wheeling full-time: go to a place a bit farther away where nobody knows you, so nobody will start asking questions back home.
JANIE: (grumbles) Youíre contributing to global warming.
TRACY: Probably. But remember which one of us is paying for gas.
EXT. PARKING LOT Ė DAY
Tracy pulls into a parking spot and turns the car off. She pops open the trunk and gets out. She takes her wheelchair out of the trunk and sets it up in front of Janie, who had opened her car door and is looking on.
TRACY: (gestures) Get in.
JANIE: What? In your chair? What happened to the other one? The one you keep in your closet?
TRACY: Iím walking today.
TRACY: Yeah, yeah, get over it. Get in the chair.
Janie starts to get up.
TRACY: Stop. Stop. Stop.
JANIE: Did I do something wrong?
TRACY: You said you wanted to see things from my point of view, right?
JANIE: Yeah, so?
TRACY: So from this point on, youíre not allowed to use your legs.
JANIE: Are you serious, Trace? Not even from the car to the chair?
Tracy doesnít budge; she is firm about this.
JANIE: All right, fine.
Janie attempts to transfer from the car to the chair, with great difficulty. She nearly falls to the ground several times, causing her to start the whole process over again. This happens several times, before she finally gets it right.
TRACY: (closing the car door and activating the alarm) Letís go.
EXT. TOWN Ė SIDEWALK Ė DAY
Janie is wheeling laboriously down the sidewalk, while Tracy is walking next to her; this is a strange sight.
TRACY: So how does it feel?
JANIE: (straining) Damn, this is harder than I thought.
TRACY: Do I make it look easy?
JANIE: Well, not exactly easy, but I didnít think it was that hard either. Youíre usually faster on your wheels than on your feet.
TRACY: (surprised) I am? Sweet...
INT. SHOPPING MALL Ė FOOD COURT Ė DAY
Janie and Tracy are at a food court, enjoying some milkshakes.
TRACY: I donít know why the hell we ordered milkshakes. The air conditioning is freezing in here.
JANIE: A bunch of morons - thatís who we are. But these shakes are so damn good.
TRACY: Well, thatís true.
JANIE: (after a pause) Is this about the attention?
TRACY: Whatís about the attention?
JANIE: (gestures to the chair) Everyone here is staring at me. You saw the look on peopleís faces when we were going down the street, and on our way here. They are all looking at me.
TRACY: (takes a sip) You know, Iím used to the staring by now, but I can tell you one thing; itís not about the attention. And Iím even appalled you would ask me that.
JANIE: Sorry, but I just had to make sure.
TRACY: I actually hate it when people stare at me, or when people pay attention to me. Iíd actually kill for the opposite. You just found out how annoying it is when people always look at you. Iíd do anything to just be able to use my chair without people giving me any ďspecial royal treatmentĒ or whatever.
JANIE: So you donít want the attention?
TRACY: No. Thatís the LAST thing I want. Iíve been living as an able-bodied girl for most of my life, but feeling so different on the inside. And I finally do something to feel normal, but then people start treating me like Iím a freak. Itís a weird little yin-yang effect.
JANIE: So either way, youíre different from everyone else.
TRACY: Exactly. I basically have two choices: feel different on the inside or look different on the outside. You can choose to ignore looks, but you canít choose to ignore feelings. I think the choice is obvious.
Janie nods and devours more milkshake.
INT. SHOPPING MALL Ė CLOTHING STORE Ė DAY
Tracy and Janie are looking at clothes.
TRACY (V.O.): For someone whose wheelchair experience was limited to fooling around in my chair for about five minutes at a time, Janie did pretty well.
INT. SHOPPING MALL Ė CLOTHING STORE Ė CHANGE ROOM (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy is standing outside a closed change room stall. We hear Janie inside as she squeals and falls to the ground with a thud.
JANIE (O.S.): (from inside the stall) Iím okay! Iím okay.
TRACY (V.O.): Well, relatively speaking.
JANIE (O.S.): (from inside the stall) I think I... broke my butt...
TRACY: (after a beat) How can you break your butt?
INT. SHOPPING MALL Ė HALLWAY Ė RAMP Ė DAY
Tracy is at the top of a ramp, and Janie is struggling to push her way up, even though it isnít particularly steep.
JANIE: (labouring) Gahhh!
Tracy waits patiently at the top, watching Janie from a distance with an amused look in her eyes. A man appears behind Janie.
MAN: Need a hand?
JANIE: No, I want to do it myself.
MAN: Donít be silly. Here, let me help you.
JANIE: No, itís fine, really.
MAN: No, itís okay. Here.
The man pushes Janie up the ramp. At the top, Janie spins around and faces the man.
JANIE: (very slowly but angrily) Sir, itís not like I donít appreciate your help or anything. But when I said no, that was what I meant. Iím not trying to be a bitch, but I didnít want any help going up. Next time, remember that no means no. Okay?
MAN: (slightly embarrassed) Yeah. Sure.
He walks away. Tracy, who was watching from the sidelines, goes up to Janie.
TRACY: Bravo. You were WAY nastier than I wouldíve been.
JANIE: The guy just didnít understand the meaning of ďno.Ē
TRACY: That happens to me ALL the time. You take a little longer to go up a ramp or something, and suddenly someone has to play hero and help you, even though you donít want the help.
JANIE: Yeah, itís like, ďIf I want your help, Iíll ask for it.Ē
TRACY: So how did that make you feel?
JANIE: It made me feel useless. Like I have to depend on other people to survive. Just humiliating. I felt embarrassed. And ignored, because he totally ignored me when I said no. And that made me angry. And-
Janie stops and notices Tracy nodding along to everything she just said.
JANIE: This is sounding totally familiar to you, isnít it?
Janie thinks for a moment.
JANIE: Have I ever done anything like that?
TRACY: Not often, but yeah.
JANIE: (with realization) Oh my God, Iím so sorry.
TRACY: (gives a forgiving smile) Well, like you said, you canít really understand me until youíre in my shoes, right?
They continue down the mall corridor.
EXT. SHOPPING MALL Ė PARKING LOT Ė DAY
Tracy and Janie are making their way back to the car.
JANIE: God, my arms are going to DIE soon!
JANIE: Why the hell do you do this every day?
TRACY: Well, what else can I do? I donít feel normal when I walk, just like you donít feel normal in my chair right now. I wish I can walk around and feel like myself, but I canít. I donít know how to explain it.
JANIE: (still whining about her arms) Owwww...
TRACY: Come on, I can survive ten times more wheeling than that.
JANIE: But youíre used to it.
TRACY: Thatís what you think.
Tracy stops dead in her tracks. Janie stops wheeling, then forgets that she needs to stop completely, so she quickly grabs the hand rims and stops the chair.
JANIE: This isnít what it looks like.
SCOTT: It looks like Tracyís been lying to me all along, and she can walk fine. And it looks like youíre in her chair pretending to be disabled as well.
JANIE: Okay, then itís exactly what it looks like.
TRACY: Scott, I can explain.
SCOTT: (sarcastic laugh) Explain what? Explain why you lied to me? Explain why youíve been lying to everyone else around you? Explain why you were pretending to be paralysed to the whole group?
SCOTT: You know what? I thought you were different. I thought you were someone I can relate to, someone who understands exactly what I go through. I guess I was wrong.
Scott walks away.
TRACY: Wait, Scott!
Scott continues to walk away.
JANIE: Donít bother chasing him, Tracy. I donít think thereís anything you can say right now.
TRACY: (on the verge of tears) Letís just go.
EXT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė NIGHT
Tracy pulls into her driveway. She looks at her wheelchair in the passenger seat. She gets out of the car, and loads it into the trunk. She looks at it, covers it with a large black cloak, and closes the trunk.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė BEDROOM Ė NIGHT
Tracy is lying on the bed, looking up at the ceiling.
TRACY (V.O.): At some point, everyone asks the same question: why am I here? We all wonder what our place is in this world. Some people are meant to be great scientists, like Albert Einstein. Others are meant to be great artists, like Picasso. The list goes on. So what is MY purpose in this world? Why am I the one who has to go crazy? Why is MY body different from what my brain tells it to be?
Tracy closes her eyes.
EXT. PARK Ė DAY (FLASHBACK)
We see the first scene of the movie, where Tracy was playing House with her friends.
MICHAEL: Honey, Iím home!
GRACE: Oh, welcome back, dear! How was work today?
MICHAEL: It was great. The traffic was bad, but I earned lots and lots of money today. Whereís our daughter?
GRACE: Sheís doing her homework. Tracy, darling! Your dadís home!
Tracy comes up, using her hands to drag herself towards Michael
TRACY: Daddy! Daddy!
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė BEDROOM Ė NIGHT
Tracy opens her eyes.
TRACY (V.O.): What I am have affected everything Iíve ever done in my life. Everyone Iíve ever known. Everything thatís in my mind. Nothing is safe from what I am. What I have. Itís always there. It taints everything it touches. I want to get rid of it, but I canít. It turns me into a monster. And I hate that monster. I hate it. Iíd do anything to kill that monster inside me. Even if it means killing who I am in the process.
Tracy turns to her side, and sees the photos on her dresser; the photos have her looking happy with her family and with Janie. Her eyes get teary.
TRACY (V.O.): I hate who I am. I really want to be me, but how can you be someone you hate?
She closes her eyes, and turns out the dresser light.
EXT. STREET Ė DAY
Tracy is wheeling down the street. She turns the corner towards the library.
INT. LIBRARY MEETING ROOM Ė DAY
The disabilities support group is gathering for another meeting, which has not yet started. Tracy enters, but one by one, the members notice her and stop talking. Eventually, the whole room is silent, with everyoneís eyes on Tracy. James, the head of the group, pulls up in his electric wheelchair.
TRACY: Whatís going on?
JAMES: I donít know, Tracy. Why donít you tell me?
Tracy sees Scott among the group, and is hit with a sudden realization.
TRACY: James, I can explain.
JAMES: Oh, really? Because from what we heard, Scott has already told us all that we needed to hear.
He rolls up closer to Tracy.
JAMES: What do you have to say for yourself?
TRACY: I guess ďIím sorryĒ isnít enough to cover it?
Without warning, James reaches out and pinches Tracyís thigh. Tracy yelps in surprised pain.
JAMES: Can you feel that?
TRACY: (yelping) Yes.
JAMES: Well, I canít. But I know how I feel right about now. Right now, I feel like someone has slapped me across the face. I feel like someone has taken all our disabilities and spat on them, one by one. Youíve made a mockery out of us, Tracy. I donít know what your game is, but you are no longer welcome here. And if you ever come back, weíll call the police and have you removed from the premises. Who knows? Maybe theyíll even see what an insane nutjob you are and lock you up somewhere where you belong. Do I make myself clear?
JAMES: Good. Now roll your ass out of here before I do something I really regret.
Tracy quickly leaves, crying and clearly shaken.
EXT. STREET Ė DAY
Carl is walking down the street, eating a hot dog. Tracy is wheeling the opposite direction, crying. Carl stops and looks at her. Tracy doesnít notice Carl as she wheels past him. Carl just continues looking at her, mouth full of hot dog.
EXT. SUBURBAN STREET Ė DAY
Tracyís car drives down a suburban street. After a while, it pulls over and parks.
INT. TRACYíS CAR (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy turns off the engine. She sits there for a moment, and then starts sobbing. She bangs her fists on the steering wheel in frustration before calming down. After a while, she starts up her car again and drives away.
EXT. TRACYíS HOUSE
Tracyís car pulls into the driveway. As per her normal routine, she covers her wheelchair in the car with a black cloak before exiting her car and walking towards the house.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE
Tracy enters her house, which is unusually quiet tonight.
TRACY: Hello! Iím home!
There is no answer, so Tracy hangs up her jacket and peeks in the living room. Her parents are sitting, waiting for her.
TRACY: Hey, Mom, Dad. Whyís it so quiet tonight?
HENRY: Sit down.
Tracy finds an empty spot and sits accordingly.
TRACY: Whatís going on?
SUSAN: Honey, we have something to talk to you about, and we want you to be honest with us.
TRACY: Of course. Whatís going on?
HENRY: Have you or have you not...
Henry pauses for a moment, trying to get the words out.
HENRY: Have you or have you not been using a wheelchair at school?
There is a long silence as Tracy, stunned at this development, tries to find the words and fails.
HENRY: (shouting) Damn it, answer me!
TRACY: (murmuring) Yes.
TRACY: (a little louder) Yes. Um, I have.
Henry looks down and sighs.
HENRY: Why are you doing this to us?
TRACY: (appalled) Iím not trying to do anything to you. Iím trying to feel normal!
HENRY: (shouting) This is NOT normal! You do NOT become normal by masquerading around in a wheelchair pretending to be a damn gimp!
Henry stops and covers his head with his hands.
TRACY: I - I - I canít explain this. Iíve been seeing a psychiatrist, and even he says thereís nothing else I can do about this right now. Dad, you have to understand.
SUSAN: Tracy, donít. Just... donít.
There is a long period of silence. The ticking from the clock in the kitchen is clearly audible.
HENRY: (quietly) How long have you been doing this?
TRACY: Um. A year and a half. Almost two years.
HENRY: Good God.
TRACY: But itís helping. Iíve been feeling a lot better about myself since I started. Life feels a lot better in general. I feel like Iím finally who Iím supposed to be.
SUSAN: But this isnít the life we wanted for you. We want you to live a healthy, successful, normal life. We donít want you to be disabled.
TRACY: Mom, what Iím doing IS living a healthy, successful, normal life. Iíve never felt better, Iím doing things that matter, and I donít feel like a freak anymore. This is me, Mom. This is who Iím supposed to be.
There is another long period of silence. Finally, Henry sighs.
HENRY: This is really who you are?
HENRY: Are you sure?
TRACY: Iíve been sure since I was four years old, Dad.
Henry finally looks Tracy in the eyes.
HENRY: Tracy, you know Iíll always love you, right?
TRACY: Yes, Dad.
HENRY: Good. Now pack your things and get out.
EXT. JANIEíS HOUSE
ANGLE: HAND KNOCKS ON FRONT DOOR
Janie opens the door, to see Tracy there, standing with several duffel bags.
JANIE: What happened?
TRACY: Can I come in?
Janie steps aside, and Tracy enters the house.
INT. JANIEíS HOUSE Ė BEDROOM
Tracy had just told Janie what happened.
JANIE: So they just said, ďGet outĒ?
JANIE: How the hell did they find out?
TRACY: Honestly? I have no clue. Itís not like I keep stuff out in the open. The only thing I have hidden is my spare chair in my closet, but that was untouched when I packed my stuff. There was no way they couldíve just found out by accident.
JANIE: I didnít say anything to them.
TRACY: I know you didnít. But someone did.
JANIE: Where are you going to stay?
TRACY: I was wondering if I could crash here for a while, until I figure out what to do.
JANIE: Well, let me ask my mom first. Iím sure sheíll understand.
Janie exits the room, leaving Tracy alone to reflect on what had happened.
TRACY (V.O.): Everything I was afraid would happen, has happened. People I care about have started to stop caring about me. And it has nothing to do with the 90% of me that they know about, but rather the 10% of me that they donít. So what do they do? They stop caring because they donít like that 10% of me.
Janie re-enters the room.
JANIE: Mom says itís okay, and that you can stay as long as you like.
TRACY: Thanks. I mean it.
JANIE: (after a beat) Are you okay?
TRACY: (starting to cry) I donít know.
Janie says nothing more, and embraces Tracy, who cries in her best friendís arms.
INT. THERAPISTíS ROOM Ė DAY
Tracy is once again talking to Dr. Tanabe.
DR. TANABE: This is basically your worst nightmare.
TRACY: Basically. I mean, I knew that one day, Iím going to have to let the truth out, but I prayed for everything to end much more differently than this.
DR. TANABE: You know, if you donít mind bending our doctor-patient confidentiality, you can always ask your father if he would like to talk with me. I can explain the situation to him, and tell him that you are not crazy and are going through a transitional thing.
TRACY: I could, but heís not answering my calls right now. I donít know, maybe he just needs some time to cool off.
DR. TANABE: Tracy, if I can just go from being your psychiatrist for a second, I want to say something from the heart.
DR. TANABE: When you first came here, you were freaking out. You had no idea what was going on with you, but you knew that something wasnít right. After a couple of sessions and some research, when I told you that there is no known cure or solution, or even a treatment option, you were angry.
TRACY: I remember that.
DR. TANABE: But you got over that. You realized that it was up to you to find a way to deal with this, so you did. And I supported your method. Ever since, you have grown a lot as a person and turned from a young woman who had no idea what her life was about to a young woman who knows how she wants to live her life.
DR. TANABE: Definitely. And the mere fact that you faced something face to face like that and still found a way to cope despite the shoddy prognosis is nothing short of amazing. I just want you to know that.
Tracy says nothing else. There is nothing to say.
EXT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė DAY
Tracyís car pulls into the driveway. She walks up to her front door, and takes out her keys. She stops and sees:
ANGLE: A BRAND NEW LOCK ON THE DOOR
She throws her keys down in frustration as Scott appears behind her.
SCOTT: Interesting how the tables have turned, isnít it?
Tracy turns around. As soon as she sees Scott, she gets angry.
TRACY: What the hell do you mean by that?
SCOTT: It was interesting how, after you spent so long tricking us all and turning us into fools, now itís your turn to play the clueless one.
TRACY: (teeth clenched) They kicked me out of the house. Iíve got nowhere to go, and everything I once cared about are gone.
SCOTT: I know. How does it feel to get what you deserve?
TRACY: What I deserve? In what way do I deserve ANY of this?
SCOTT: I donít know, let me think! How about taking all our struggles and turning them into a joke? How about just being a horrible person?
TRACY: You donít know ANYTHING about me.
SCOTT: Apparently not.
Tracy starts to walk away towards her car.
SCOTT: Just feel lucky that I told your parents about you before anything bad happened.
Upon hearing that, Tracy turns around and punches Scott in the face.
TRACY: (shouting) You stay the hell away from me! You hear?
Tracy gets into her car and speeds away.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė BEDROOM Ė MORNING
SUSAN: Tracy, dear, wake up!
Tracy opens her eyes.
SUSAN: Well, I prefer to be called Wonder Woman, but thatíll do as well.
TRACY: Oh, wow. I just had the weirdest dream.
SUSAN: Really? How weird?
TRACY: I dreamt that I had this weird need to be a paralysed, but in fact I was perfectly fine. And then everyone found out, and you and Dad kicked me out of the house, and...
SUSAN: (embraces Tracy) Oh, honey. You know my and Dad wouldnít do that.
TRACY: I know.
SUSAN: Well, hurry up and get dressed. We donít want to be late to Aunt Kristyís party.
TRACY: No, we donít.
SUSAN: (as she exits the room) And donít forget you have physio afterwards, so donít have TOO much fun!
We zoom out to see a wheelchair next to Tracyís bed. Yawning, Tracy transfers herself onto it.
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė WASHROOM Ė DAY
We see various shots of Tracy getting ready. She brushes her teeth. She cleans her face. She catheterizes (which we do not see, but we can guess that, via sound and her body language; sorry, guys).
INT. TRACYíS HOUSE Ė BEDROOM Ė DAY
Tracy, in her chair, dresses herself in a cute tank top and jeans. She checks herself in the mirror once more before exiting the room.
EXT. AUNT KRISTYíS HOUSE Ė DRIVEWAY Ė DAY
A car pulls up the driveway. Henry and Susan get out. Henry takes Tracyís wheelchair out of the trunk and sets it up in front of her. Tracy transfers onto it and wheels up Aunt Kristyís front steps.
EXT. AUNT KRISTYíS HOUSE Ė FRONT DOOR (CONTINUOUS)
The front door opens, and Aunt Kristy rushes out with her arms outstretched.
AUNT KRISTY: (hugs) Susan! Henry! So nice to see you two again!
HENRY: Hello, Kristy. Howís everything?
AUNT KRISTY: Super! Super. Everythingís set up around the back, so, um, why donít you all meet me there in the backyard?
SUSAN: Sounds great.
EXT. AUNT KRISTYíS HOUSE Ė BACKYARD
This is quite the party. There are kids playing in the backyard, food served and refreshments aplenty. Kristy, Tracy, Henry and Susan are sitting at the same table, talking.
HENRY: And then I said to him, ďWell, maybe you look like a penguin because youíre wearing it backwards!Ē
The foursome shares a laugh.
HENRY: Oh, look. Itís Darien. I havenít seen him for ages. Iíve got to say hi. Excuse me.
He stands up and walks away.
AUNT KRISTY: (to Tracy) So Tracy. I havenít seen you since you were a little girl.
TRACY: Yeah, itís been a long time.
AUNT KRISTY: And this is the first time Iíve seen you since... um, the accident.
TRACY: Mm hmm.
AUNT KRISTY: It must be so hard for you.
TRACY: I get by. I mean, I go to physio three times a week. Weíre still trying to see what parts of my body are still working. But Iím getting used to it all.
AUNT KRISTY: So what do the doctors say?
TRACY: Not much, actually. Just told me that Iím completely paralysed below the waist and that I probably wonít get any function back.
AUNT KRISTY: Poor dear.
TRACY: Come on, Aunt Kristy. Itís not that bad.
AUNT KRISTY: I just canít imagine how Iíd feel if it was my own daughter. Susan, your kid is something else.
SUSAN: (smiles) Yeah, she is. Iím so proud of her.
AUNT KRISTY: (notices something) Oh, shoot. The kids are playing too close to my tomato plants. Excuse me, Iíve got to rein them in a bit...
TRACY: Itís okay, Aunt Kristy. Iíll get them.
AUNT KRISTY: You sure?
Tracy wheels off towards the kids.
AUNT KRISTY: (to Susan, admiringly) Sheís so capable.
EXT. AUNT KRISTYíS HOUSE Ė BACKYARD (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy wheels towards the kids. She stops in her tracks when she hears their conversation.
LITTLE GIRL 2: Well, youíre the only boy here. Three against one Ė girls win. Weíre playing House.
LITTLE BOY: Canít we just play Cops and Robbers instead?
TRACY: (whisper to herself) What the hell?
LITTLE GIRL 2: Sheís doing her homework. Jane, darling! Your dadís home!
Little Girl 1 comes up, using her hands to drag herself towards Little Boy.
LITTLE GIRL 1: Daddy! Daddy!
The three small kids look at her.
TRACY: Stop playing this game right now!
LITTLE GIRL 2: Weíre just playing House.
LITTLE GIRL 1: Why do you want us to stop, Tracy?
TRACY: Because I canít handle this anymore.
LITTLE BOY: Tracy, this is who you are. This is the life youíre meant to live.
LITTLE GIRL 2: Donít you feel happier here?
LITTLE GIRL 1: Donít you feel normal for once?
TRACY: (screaming) Stop it!
INT. TRACYíS CAR Ė MORNING
Tracy shakes herself out of her sleep. It was just a nightmare. She looks down at her legs. She moves them, as if to confirm everything. Sighing, she lies back on the car seat and stares into space.
INT. UNIVERSITY Ė STUDENT LOUNGE Ė DAY
Tracy wheels towards Janie, who is sitting at a table reading a novel.
JANIE: Hey. You didnít come in last night.
TRACY: Yeah, I was dealing with some things.
JANIE: (off Tracyís look) Are you okay?
TRACY: I donít know.
JANIE: Whatís wrong?
TRACY: Well, I found out that my parents changed their locks.
JANIE: What? No way.
TRACY: They did. And as I was leaving, I ran into the person who tipped them off.
JANIE: Who was it?
JANIE: That weasel.
TRACY: Janie, what do you do if you feel like you donít belong anywhere?
JANIE: Well, normally I would suggest dying your hair all black and start listening to Marilyn Manson, but I donít think thatís exactly what this is about.
TRACY: I donít know. I just feel like maybe things are falling apart because everything about me just doesnít belong.
JANIE: I donít follow.
TRACY: (after a beat) Never mind. Look, Iíve got to get to class. Iíll see you later, okay?
JANIE: Um, okay.
Tracy wheels away, with Janie looking at her suspiciously.
EXT. HIGHWAY AWAY FROM THE CITY Ė DAY
Cars are traveling on a highway away from the city, leading to the forests.
TRACY (V.O.): When someone contracts cancer, and the cancer threatens the patientís life, a decision can be made to amputate a limb.
INT. TRACYíS CAR (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy is driving.
TRACY (V.O.): That limb, whether it is an arm or a leg, is still functional, but there is still a decision to remove it for the good of oneís physical health. So why is it that when something needs to be done to an otherwise healthy body, for the sake of mental health, doctors hesitate?
EXT. ROAD (CONTINUOUS)
Tracyís car takes the off-ramp leading to a forested road.
TRACY (V.O.): If you canít sacrifice one healthy thing to save a currently non-healthy thing, then what other choice is there?
EXT. PARKING LOT (CONTINUOUS)
Tracyís car pulls into a parking spot and she gets out. She starts walking towards a point off-screen, with a purpose.
EXT. LARGE DAM
Tracy walks atop a large dam. She looks over the edge, and sees that itís a long drop.
TRACY (V.O.): Sometimes, the only choice might be to sacrifice both the healthy and the unhealthy parts. Because what else is there?
Tracy raises one leg and prepares to climb the dam.
ANGLE: TRACYíS LEG PREPARING TO CLIMB
Suddenly, a pair of arms wraps around Tracyís waist and pulls her well away from the edge.
CARL: Tracy, donít do this!
CARL: Donít do this.
TRACY: (getting angry) What the hell, Carl! What the hell are you doing! You ruined everything!
CARL: Tracy, there has to be another way. Just donít do this!
Tracy breaks free of Carlís grasp.
TRACY: Thereís another way? Then tell me what it is. Iíve been living like this for over twenty years, and I canít take this anymore! Iím sick of being a freak. Iím sick of living a lie. Iím the biggest lie in the world, Carl. Canít you see that?
CARL: What about Janie, huh? She was worried about you. She was so worried that she called everyone she knew, trying to track me down.
TRACY: And what, you decided to chase after me?
CARL: I got her call, and then I saw you drive by in your car. What was I supposed to do?
TRACY: You couldíve let me go through with this.
CARL: Tracy, I canít.
TRACY: And why not?
CARL: Because I care about you, Tracy.
TRACY: Right. Thatís why you invited me to your poetry thing and then embarrassed both of us in front of everyone.
CARL: Thatís not what I was trying to do.
TRACY: Look, forget it. Just forget it.
Tracy runs away back towards the parking lot, leaving Carl standing there, watching her disappear.
EXT. JANIEíS HOUSE Ė NIGHT
Tracy pulls to a stop outside Janieís house. She gets out of the car, and leans on the passenger door for a while, looking at the stars.
TRACY (V.O.): When youíve just been to a very dark place in your soul, itís hard to crawl your way out of it. Itís even worse when someone sees you in that very dark place, with his own eyes, because then, whatever move you make is going to be closely monitored. What do I do? Where do I go from here? Do things ever get better? Those are just some of the questions that are going through my mind right now. And the fact that I have to ask these questions at all scares the hell out of me.
Tracy gets up and walks towards the front door.
INT. JANIEíS HOUSE Ė FOYER (CONTINUOUS)
Tracy takes off her shoes and hangs her coat on a hook beside the door. She turns around to see Janie waiting for her.
JANIE: (quietly) Are you okay?
TRACY: (just as quietly) Yeah.
She starts towards the stairs.
JANIE: Thereís someone here to see you.
TRACY: Tell Carl I donít want to talk to him right now.
JANIE: Itís not Carl.
Tracy looks at her in surprise, and follows Janie into the living room.
INT. JANIEíS HOUSE Ė LIVING ROOM (CONTINUOUS)
Janie and Tracy both enter the living room, to see James, the head of the disability support group, waiting.
TRACY: (slightly surprised) James.
JAMES: (solemn) Hello, Tracy.
TRACY: I didnít think youíd want to see my face again.
JAMES: Quite frankly, I didnít think so either.
TRACY: So why are you here?
JAMES: Someone came by our meeting today and was looking for you. She was a bit disappointed to find out that you werenít there, but she wanted to present you with this.
James turns over the picture frame he was holding in his lap, and hands it to Tracy. Tracy looks at it.
JAMES: Itís the National Disability Associationís award for Outstanding Advocate. This is the highest honour that can be given to a person with a disability.
TRACY: (after a beat) Throw it out.
JAMES: (sighs) Tracy. I donít agree with what you did or understand it, nor am I happy about it. But after you left, and after that woman dropped this off, I got to thinking. Sure, you donít have a disability. But in my twenty years of being an advocate in this field, Iíve never seen anyone so determined and so hard-working as you.
TRACY: But I donít deserve this. Throw it out.
JAMES: Donít be silly. Listen. You got me thinking. We always talk about inclusion, and how society needs to open the doors to people with disabilities. How society needs to include us in everyday life. When Scott told us the truth about you, we panicked. So we excluded you. Then I realized that is how society feels about us disabled folk; they get scared, so they slam the door.
TRACY: Yeah. So, whatís your point?
JAMES: Well, after discussing that in our last meeting, it seems a bit hypocritical for us to tell you to leave, because you understand our issues a lot better than any other able-bodied person. You donít have to accept what I have to say, Tracy, but I just want to tell you that if you want to come back in our group, you are more than welcome.
TRACY: Iíll think about it.
JAMES: Thatís all we can make you do right now. You have a good night. Think about what I said.
JANIE: Iíll show you out.
Janie and James both leave the room. Tracy, still a bit stunned, heads upstairs.
INT. JANIEíS HOUSE Ė BEDROOM Ė NIGHT
Janie enters the room.
JANIE: Wow, I didnít see that coming.
TRACY: Me either. I thought he was here to rip into me again.
A long beat goes by before someone speaks again.
JANIE: Are you okay? Carl told me what happened.
TRACY: I donít know. Things arenít really looking up for me right now.
JANIE: Why did you want to do it?
TRACY: Things were getting shitty. I mean, they were shitty before, but this was bad. I felt like there was nothing left for me here. I donít belong anywhere, and everything just seemed to shut me out. My own parents arenít talking to me, and I canít even get back in my own house. This... thing that I have is tainting everything and everyone I love, and thereís nothing I can do about it.
JANIE: You have me.
TRACY: I know I do, and Iím grateful for that. But the way all of this happened really got to me. I mean, the problems all started with Scott. You were right; I never shouldíve gone out with him.
JANIE: None of us knew that he would turn out like this.
TRACY: I know, but if I had never gone out with him, he wouldíve never told the group, or my parents. All my life, I imagined myself as a paraplegic, and meeting someone like that with a disability was a dream come true. Finally, we could be a pair who would understand each other, and what it means to live with a disability. But it turned out to be a living hell.
There is a long pause as both friends absorb that thought for a moment.
JANIE: You know what Scottís problem is?
TRACY: Heís a big booger-face?
TRACY: Never mind. Go on.
JANIE: Scottís problem is the same one you have. Both of you, living as disabled people, keep imagining your future lovers as someone who also has a disability. I mean, isnít that a bit superficial?
TRACY: I guess.
JANIE: When you want to love someone, whatís more important? How someone looks, or what a person is like inside?
TRACY: I guess... inside?
JANIE: (triumphant) Exactly. Youíre attracted to him because he has a disability, and he seems to be thinking the same about you. And when you accidentally showed that you DONíT have a disability, he started treating you like roadside trash.
JANIE: So forget about Scott. If youíre going to go after a disabled guy, make sure you know that person very well before going on a first date. I mean, you remember how he asked you out. You didnít know the first thing about him.
Tracy thinks about countering that claim, but realizes that Janie was right.
JANIE: So he has a problem with who you are. Great! Let him have that problem. You deserve a better guy than that. You deserve someone who loves you, whether youíre a walker, a paraplegic, or a wannabe paraplegic. Someone who loves you for who you are, not what you are. I know itís a total clichť, but itís true.
Tracy stares at her wrists, thinking about that for a moment.
TRACY: Yeah. Yeah, I think I know someone like that already.
JANIE: Then hold on to that person, no matter what it takes.
Tracy and Janie look at each other, in a moment of mutual understanding.
INT. THERAPISTíS LOBBY Ė DAY
Some patients are sitting in the waiting area of Dr. Tanabeís office.
RECPTIONIST: Carl Fezzlebottom?
Carl gets up.
RECEPTIONIST: Dr. Tanabe is ready for you now.
CARL: Thank you.
He goes over to Dr. Tanabeís door, knocks and enters.
INT. THERAPISTíS ROOM (CONTINUOUS)
Carl enters. Dr. Tanabe motions him to sit.
DR. TANABE: How are you today, Carl?
CARL: Iím great.
DR. TANABE: Before we start, I received a note today in my office, addressed to you.
CARL: (surprised) Me?
Dr. Tanabe hands Carl an envelope. Carl opens it and reads it.
ďROOM B213, WOODWARD BUILDING, 3PM TODAYĒ
DR. TANABE: All right. Now that weíve got that out of the way, shall we get started?
EXT. JANIEíS HOUSE Ė DAY
A car pulls up. Henry and Susan get out and approach the front door.
ANGLE: SUSAN KNOCKING ON THE DOOR
Janie opens the door. Once she sees who it is, she turns to ice.
JANIE: (coldly) Can I help you?
HENRY: Janie, we need to see our daughter.
INT. JANIEíS HOUSE Ė LIVING ROOM Ė DAY
Henry and Susan are sitting on a couch, opposite Janie in another couch. Cue to music of awkwardness!
JANIE: You know she wanted to see you two.
HENRY: I know.
JANIE: And she tried to stop by.
SUSAN: We know sheís furious at us.
JANIE: And quite frankly, so am I.
HENRY: I donít blame you.
JANIE: I mean, what kind of parents are you when you would just kick your daughter out onto the street without a place to stay?
Tracy enters the room.
TRACY: Janie, Iíll take it from here.
Janie looks annoyed; she was just getting started. But at her best friendís wishes, she exits the room. Tracy sits down.
TRACY: So why are you here?
HENRY: Look. Your mom and I have been talking, and perhaps we overreacted a little bit.
TRACY: A little? You changed the locks and stopped answering my calls.
SUSAN: I know. And that was wrong of us.
HENRY: We can apologize all we want, but that doesnít make things right. But we still care about you, and we realized that we want our only child home.
Tracy sits back and ponders that for a moment.
TRACY: Well, you two know who I am now. Or, rather, WHAT I am. Are you telling me that suddenly, youíre fine with it?
HENRY: I donít think we can ever be FINE with it, hon. But thinking back, weíve seen the signs. This didnít come out of nowhere. And if thatís the way you feel like you should live your life, then I donít know if we have any right to deny you that right.
SUSAN: Youíre growing up, Tracy. Youíre an adult now, and pretty soon, youíre going to graduate with a degree and go out into the real world. We need to learn to let go and let you find yourself, and let you find out who youíre meant to be.
A long beat goes by.
TRACY: I think I know who I am. Iím willing to move back home, but Iím not going to live a lie anymore. I donít want to. This lie has been hurting everyone I care about, and itís been hurting me too. I donít want to hurt people anymore.
HENRY: So youíll come home?
SUSAN: Oh, honey.
Tracy and her parents embrace in an emotional reunification.
UNIVERSITY Ė HALLWAY Ė DAY
Carl is walking down the hallway. He is glancing around, trying to find the room number on the piece of paper. He sees a crowd of people ahead, and finds out that they are filtering inside the room that he was looking for. He enters.
UNIVERSITY Ė CLASSROOM (CONTINUOUS)
Carl wanders around the room, looking around curiously. He tries to find a familiar face, but fails. A tall blonde girl walks up to a podium at the front of the room.
BLONDE GIRL: Guys, weíre about to begin. Can we all please take our seats?
Carl sits down. He locks eyes with the stoner-type guy next to him.
CARL: So... Are we expecting something special today?
STONER: Uh... Maybe. I donít know, man. Iím too stoned to care.
Carl simply nods and decides that this guy is going to be no help, since he does indeed seem to be high.
UNIVERSITY Ė CLASSROOM Ė A WHILE LATER
A Chinese girl is at the podium, reading her poem in extremely bad and broken English.
CHINESE GIRL: I go from supermarket today.
Vegetables cost too much.
When I go to pay,
Man ask me, ďNice boobs. Can I touch?Ē
She stops, and takes a bow. The audience applauds. Carl looks on uneasily, not sure what he just got himself into.
STONER: (to Carl) Iíd love to get high with HER.
Carl gives a half-smile and nods nervously. The blonde girl takes the podium again.
BLONDE GIRL: Ohmigosh, that was soooo awesome. Thank you, Ching Lin, for that fetch poem. All right, next... We have a newbie in our group. She says she has never written a poem before...
BLONDE GIRL: Oh, yeah! This is soooo cool, right? She calls herself the Wheeled Angel, and her poem is called ďWhy.Ē
She steps off the stage. The door at the back of the room opens, and we hear the voice start to recite the poem. Carl pays no attention at first.
TRACY: Why do people like perfection?
Is it ego? Is it fear?
Why is it so dear?
What do we see in each otherís reflection?
Carl perks up, realizing who the voice belongs to. Tracy continues to wheel slowly from the back of the room towards the front.
TRACY: Why do I want to be defective?
Is my mind going nuts?
Am I losing my guts?
How is my body not effective?
Tracy locks eyes with Carl for the first time.
TRACY: Why is it wrong to be this way?
Is it stigma? Is it fear?
People just donít want to hear.
What are they afraid weíd say?
Tracy stops completely and spins her chair to face Carl for the next stanza.
TRACY: People were scared, so they left.
Or they sent me away, turned their backs,
Treated me like a psycho to the max,
Wished me nothing but pain or death.
Tracy resumes her journey to the front of the room, with Carl looking on.
TRACY: But you, there was something about you.
With or without wheels, you didnít care.
You possessed an attitude that was rare.
Dating a freak was something you could do.
She motions towards the blonde girl, who grabs the back of Tracyís wheelchair. Tracy pushes back on the rims, effectively rising to the stage in her chair.
TRACY: When things turned bad, you stuck around.
But in my anguish, I treated you like dirt,
You were my saviour I couldnít see through the hurt.
Yet you stuck by me, like a faithful hound.
Tracy looks up and locks eyes with Carl again.
TRACY: As things calmed down in my own safari,
I dug deep, and finally it was clear.
Through all my crap, you still held me dear.
I hope youíll still do so, because deep down...
Tracy pauses for a long time.
TRACY: ... I want to tell you Iím sorry.
Carl, after a pause, stands up.
CARL: That poem really fell apart at the end.
TRACY: (getting emotional) Iím sorry.
CARL: (approaching Tracy) For what? Being you?
TRACY: You saw who I really am, but you still stuck by me. But I treated you like shit. You donít deserve it. Youíre the most amazing person Iíve ever met. And I hurt you.
CARL: You can hurt me whenever you like, because thereís nothing that will stop me from caring about you. I donít care what everyone else says about you, or what everyone else thinks. Tracy...
Tracy looks up, teary-eyed.
CARL: I love you.
TRACY: And Iíve never loved anyone else so much in my whole life.
They embrace. The audience, some teary-eyed as well, explode in applause. The stoner is standing up and pointing both arms at the couple.
STONER: (hollering like crazy) Dude! Wooooo!
TRACY: (noticing the stoner) He seems to be enjoying himself.
CARL: (laughing) Yeah, he is.
They lock eyes again.
CARL: Why donít we both get out of here?
TRACY: (glances at the adoring crowd) Okay.
Carl picks Tracy up out of her wheelchair, and carries her out of the room through the applauding crowd, locking lips along the way. As Carl pushes open the door, they both exit into:
EXT. AUNT KRISTYíS BACKYARD Ė DAY
It is now several years later. Aunt Kristyís backyard has been turned into a makeshift outdoor wedding chapel. ďHere Comes the BrideĒ is playing along as the crowd stands and faces the rear. In comes:
ANGLE: TRACY AND CARL WALKING DOWN THE AISLE
We see some familiar faces in the crowd: Susan, Henry, Janie, even Dr. Tanabe and James. They are all looking along with pride in their eyes.
EXT. AUNT KRISTYíS BACKYARD Ė WEDDING PODIUM Ė DAY
The minister is reading the wedding vows.
MINISTER: And do you, Carl Fezzlebottom, take Tracy Hannigan, to be your lawfully wedded wife?
CARL: I do.
MINISTER: I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride.
Carl kisses Tracy. Everyone erupts in applause. They both go back down the aisle as the crowd throws rice into the air. The camera slowly tilts up towards the sky while this happens.
Sometimes it takes a while for people to understand who you are. They might not like what they hear, but what can you really do? Sometimes, itís something you canít really control. The best you can do is try to find people who care about you and love you no matter who you are. The path may not be smooth; people might hate you or hurt you. But in the end, they canít change who you are. All of us is trying to find our place in the world, and all of us have an ideal version of ourselves. So in the end, arenít we all just wannabes?
The camera is now tilted fully up to reveal the blue summer skies; everything is in harmony now.
FADE TO BLACK.