Burning the Bridges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A screenplay by Michael Salmestrelli

ACT I

INT. BUS DAY

MARK sits alone near the window. He is in a work coat, clean shaven and with combed hair. MARK is clearly agitated by his surroundings as he listens to a loud conversation in a nearby seat.

BUS PASSENGER 1

I can tell you, the whole thing went on for hours, she was crazy in bed.

BUS PASSENGER 2

Did you have to get her drunk?

BUS PASSENGER 1

Fuck That! She wanted me

MARK’s cell phone beeps in his pocket. He takes out his phone and its a call from Milly

MILLY

Are you coming? I’ve been waiting

MARK closes his eyes hard then continues to stare out of the window.

 

MARK

Yes, I missed the earlier bus. I am sorry

 

MILLY

(annoyed)

I got home from work and I have been sitting around for half an

an hour.

MARK

I did the best I could. I’m sorry

MILLY

That’s okay, how far away are you?

MARK

Not far, Im near the stop now.

MILLY

All right then, I’ll leave and meet you at the stop now. see you then.

MARK

Bye.

Mark shuts his phone and pulls out a picture of Milly. The passengers that were talking loudly begin to laugh loudly. Mark, agitated looks over at them hurtfully. He notices a younger couple in their teens making out across the isle from him. He turns to look out of the window as the bus turns down the street near the stop

MARK (VO)

and so it begins.

The bus pulls up to the stop and MARK gets up to leave. The passengers continue to talk and laugh and he goes unnoticed off of the bus.

 

EXT. CROWDED CITY STREET – DAY

Mark stands still looking toward the camera but not at the camera. He is looking with longing eyes at the sexy woman approaching him

CUT TO:

Milly approaching Mark in slow motion with a broadening smile on her face she approaches the camera

CUT TO:

Mark still watching her

Mark (V.O.)

I hate her. If I had any sense I would walk away right now

and never look back. But that wouldn’t accomplish anything

CUT TO:

Two shot Milly and Mark embracing with a hug

CUT TO:

Close up of Milly and Mark over Marks shoulder

Milly

I’m so happy to see you again. I didn’t think you would come

Mark (to Milly)

I wanted to see you again.

Mark (VO)

I’m a masochist at heart.

 

Mark and Milly separate and are standing on the sidewalk

Mark (To Milly)

Did you think I was going to stand you up?

Milly

The thought had occurred to me

CUT TO:

A woman eyeing Milly and Mark suspiciously before entering the door to her apartment complex

CUT TO:

Mark and Milly, same angle as above

Mark

What would you like to do?

Milly

If you have time I thought we could spend some of the day together

Mark

On Saturday?

Milly

I will be free until this afternoon. Have you seen my apartment?

Mark

No

 

Milly

Then come up. It’s right across the street.

Mark (V.O)

Did she break up with Craig? I know they probably still see each other on Saturdays. Should I dare to hope anymore? I

didn’t see an engagement ring on her finger, maybe they aren’t in

love anymore. Why must I reopen this wound? Why can’t I lose

these feelings?

Mark (to Milly)

OK let’s go.

Mark and Milly cross the busy street and head to the same apartment complex the woman had entered earlier.

INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY- DAY

Milly

I live upstairs in apartment 1

Jennifer (the woman looking at Mark and Milly) sees them in the hallway going to Milly’s door approaches them

Jennifer (to Milly but looks at Mark)

Hey, Milly what’s up?

Milly (agitated)

What’s up Jennifer? Haven’t seen Kevin around lately

 

Jennifer

He’s been working a lot lately

Milly (to Mark)

You remember Kevin right?

Mark (VO)

One of your conquests? of course, ex-fiance

Mark (to Milly)

Yeah we met a couple times

Jennifer (to Mark)

We never met

Milly (to Mark)

Mark this is Jennifer she is my neighbor-

Jennifer (to Milly)

.and friend

Mark (to Jennifer)

Nice to meet you.

Jennifer (to Milly)

Uh-huh, Hey Milly say hi to Craig later if I don’t see him

Milly (to Jennifer’s back as she heads down the hall)

Sure bye.

CUT TO

Milly opening the door to her apartment and talking to Mark behind the closed door. Jennifer peaks around the corner and watching Milly’s door intently.

INT: MILLY’S APARTMENT DAY

Milly

Do you like it?

Mark

Looks nice in here. A step up from your father’s place

Milly

I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I kind of had to at one point

Mark (V.O)

I can imagine why. How many other guys has she been with since I

filled in the gaps caused by Craig? Why did I have to fall for

someone who just wanted me to fill the gaps of time until she got

married and then….

Milly

Come here,

Mark approaches Milly and they embrace

Milly (into Marks ear)

I’ve missed you so much

Mark (VO)

Why must I reopen these wounds

Milly

I really need to see you more than once a season

Mark

I know, maybe one day

Mark (VO)

Stop, copping out Mark. Tell her you are hurting

Mark

You have a very nice apartment.

Milly

I want to take you somewhere. Remember the park?

Mark

That was a nice place.

Milly

But I want to take you to breakfast first.

Mark

You really don’t have to do that.

Milly

Come on, Im buying

Mark (VO)

Just go along with this Mark. But be careful.

Mark (to Milly)

let’s go.

Mark and Milly leave her apartment. While leaving, camera moves down the hallway to Jennifers apartment door which is partially opened

CUT TO:

 

 

Jennifer (on the phone)

Hi, Craig, did you know that your girlfriend is seeing

Mark again? (pause) I never met him before but they looked like

they were together for awhile today, maybe last night too. (pause)

Again I never met him, maybe its nothing just thought you’d like to know. See you tomorrow or tonight. Maybe you two can go out with me and Kevin tonight. I don’t know. (pause) see you later.

Jennifer hangs up the phone with a small grin on her face. Camera holds on her expression while we here Milly and Mark leaving the apartment building.

ACT II

CUT TO:

Milly and Mark crossing the street to the local diner and they enter the diner.

CUT TO:

INT: DINER DAY

Waitress (to Milly and Mark)

Sit anywhere you like.

Milly and Mark sit at the nearest table. Waitress hands them a menu. Mark looks like he is out of place and is attempting to not look at Milly in the face and fixes his gaze outside the window, Milly notices he is uncomfortable and this effects the conversation.

Milly (to Mark)

What have you been doing?

 

Mark (to Milly, but looking over her shoulder, out of the window)

Just trying to find a job. I got laid off last month from my computer job. Maybe I’ll go back to school I don’t know

Milly

That sounds like a good idea. Couldn’t hurt anything.

Mark

What happen to your cats?

Milly

Dad, got them, the landlord wouldn’t allow pets. Thats

the only drawback of living in that place.

Waitress comes to their table Waitress

Are you both ready to order?

Mark

I’ll just have coffee

Milly

I’ll have the Western Omlette with Decaf tea

Waitress takes the menus, smiles then leaves

Milly

I always enjoy coming to diners with you

Mark (VO)

I’ll never forgot those days, christ this hurts

 

Mark (to Milly)

I liked it

 

Silence

Milly (nervously)

I work with some strange people at my job.

Office work is…interesting. The other day I had a discussion with a

co worker about our educational system and how they are brainwashing the kids into having a single minded political point of you.

Mark (to Milly this time looking at her in the eyes)

Sounds paranoid

Milly stares at Mark flatly. Silence follows then the waitress brings them their food Mark (VO)

Don’t get involved again, let the past go. It couldn’t be like before anyway. Let her go, let your emotions go. I missed her but I will

never tell her that.

Outside, the street changes from light to dark because of the clouds. The day is windy and the people on the street are struggling to move forward through the wind gusts. Mark is studying them while he sips his coffee.

Milly (interrupts Marks concentration)

See anything interesting out there?

 

Mark

What? No, it’s a nice day

Milly is done with her food

Milly

I’d still like to go to the park with you.

Mark

You’re done eating already?

Milly

Yeah, your daydreaming, I don’t know where you were a minute

ago.

MARK (VO)

Where was I Milly? I was anywhere else, except here.

Waitress (smiling)

Everything all right?

Waitress leaves the check. Milly picks up the check and leaves the tip money and they get up to pay the cashier

MARK (to Milly)

I need to use the bathroom I’ll be right back.

MILLY

Okay I’m not going anywhere.

MARK gets up from the table to go to the bathroom. He knows where the bathroom is because he was there before. In the bathroom he waits for it to be empty and quietly stares at himself in the mirror. He removes Milly’s picture from his left coat pocket and takes a lighter from his right pocket.

CUT TO

Close up of MARK’S hands setting the picture on fire.

CUT TO

MARK staring as he watches the picture burn which is also in shot. The flame began to jump and nervously he puts out the fire first by fanning the picture then by running water over it in the sink. The ashes are seen going down the drain. MARK leaves as someone enters the bathroom looking at him with a hard look as he smells the burnt paper.

CUT TO

MARK returning to the table where MILLY is still seated.

MILLY
Are you ready?

MARK

Yes, lets go

Milly gets up to pay for their meals to the cashier near the door, the two exit the diner.

 

CUT TO:

EXT: STREET DAY

Milly and Mark leave the diner and are walking to Milly’s car. Kevin and Jennifer leave the apartment complex together and see them leaving together. Kevin and Jennifer look at each other suspiciously.

Kevin (to Jennifer)

I didn’t think he would turn up again

 

Jennifer

Did they do something together?

Kevin

I don’t know, they were together a lot when they first met

Jennifer

Did she see him more than she saw Craig?

Kevin

Yeah, I think so.

Jennifer (angrily)

I can’t believe you were engaged to her once

Kevin (agitated)

Jen, give me a break we were stupid and in high school.

Besides she is engaged to Craig so why are you still jealous of her.

Jennifer

WHO SAYS I AM JEALOUS OF ANYONE?

Kevin

Forget it

Jennifer

You can be a real asshole sometimes

The two leave together quickly now.

CUT TO:
Milly and Mark enter Milly’s car.

CUT TO:

INT MILLY’S CAR DAY

Milly is rifling through her cd case for something to play to suit her moment. She settled on a CD by Bjork. Mark looks at her while she is doing this

MARK (VO)

Why did she choose that CD? That was the CD

She played the first time we went to the park together.

Is she that eager to get me back? Did she leave Craig?

Milly pulls out of the parking spot and heads for the street when her cell phone rings. It is Craig on the other line.

Milly

Hi, Hon what’s up? (pause) Really? Well that’s strange.

(pause) Really what are you eating? (pause) Damn I want McDonald’s now and I just ate. (pause)

CUT TO:

A crestfallen Mark looking out the window

Mark (VO)

GOD, I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE RIGHT NOW

CUT TO:

Milly still talking on the phone while driving, she glances at Mark

Milly

No, Im just seeing an old friend today.

I don’t think you met. (pause)

Really? Well, that should be fun.

The car continues down the street and Milly continues her conversation with Craig. Mark attempts to convey no emotion with his silence.

 

Milly

We could do that. What time will you be here?

All right just let me know when you’re on your way.

Bye Hon.

Milly glances at Mark who is looking out the side window.

Milly (to Mark)

He never calls me this early

Milly pulls into the parking lot to the park which is a forest reserve. It is a windy autumn day and the leaves are blowing wildly in the air.

CUT TO

The trees blowing in a sort of rhythm in the air, the leaves continue to leave the branches

CUT TO

A single decaying leaf falling from the tree as it descends to the ground

FAST CUT TO

Milly talking to Mark. Milly leading the way into the forest reserve. Speaking to Mark without looking at him.

Milly

Its been a long time since I was here. CUT TO

Mark looking up through the trees, trying to see the sky

 

Milly

Do you remember that tree? That’s where you kissed me for

the first time.

Mark

You kissed me, I didn’t think I should because you were in a relationship.

Milly

But that was where it happened. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other after that.

Mark (V.O)

I dreamnt I was here last night. Why can’t I let go?

CUT TO

Camera tracking Milly as she moves further ahead of Mark still in the frame, she stops and turns allowing mark to catch up. The sound of the forest fills the scene, she moves toward Mark to embrace him. She attempts to kiss him on the cheek. He backs away. Milly thrown off by the rejection. They physically part ways speaks to Marks back

Milly

You know, I never wanted to hurt your feelings

We just never had what it took to be a couple

CUT TO

Close up of Marks face showing reaction to comment

Mark (VO)

You mean I never had what it took

Milly

I want you to be a part of my life again

Mark shuts his eyes hard in close up.

Mark (voice fades)

I….am…sorry

CUT TO

Two shot Mark leaves the forest and heads back to the car alone. Mark leaves shot Milly is alone in the forest for a moment.

INT CAR DAY

Mark and Milly head back to her apartment. They are not speaking.

Mark (VO)

I need to find a way out of this situation. I need to let her know how I feel, why can’t I do this? Why am I so weak?

Mark pauses to look out of the window he sees dark smoke arising from something in the distance.

CUT TO
INT APT. HALLWAY DAY

Mark and Milly nervously part ways.

Milly

I don’t blame you for being upset. We never could be a

couple-

Mark (VO)

Why did you sleep with me?

 

Milly

Its just that I was dating Craig before we ever met. It just isn’t fair to him-

Mark (VO)

If this was an issue, why did you cheat on him?

Milly

I do love you and I wish we could be friends again that’s all.

Mark

Milly, please do me a favor, never invite me to your wedding. I’ll talk to you later

Mark moves to leave the hallway entrance

Milly

But I want you to come to my wedding.

Mark leaves the hallway. Milly goes up the stairs to her apartment door and hurriedly opens the door in an upset manner.

CUT TO

INT MILLYS APT DAY

Milly begins to cry after shutting her door. She moves to her living room and sits on the couch crying. The phone rings, she answers it.

Milly

Hello? Oh hi Craig…Yeah I’m fine,(shakily) I just woke up, resting up for tonight. (gaining composure) I look forward to seeing you…I’ll be waiting for you drive carefully.

CUT TO

Mark getting out of his car at a gas station. He goes into the store and buys a 5 gallon gas container and has it filled up. He puts the gas container in the car as the sun begins to set. Mark is now sitting in the car, camera moves to a close up to his cold face showing little emotion.

SCREEN FADES TO BLACK

ACT III

Mark (VO)

My Dearest Milly, I know you will not like reading this but I am tired of failing to say the things I need to say. I have fought hard to change my feelings about us but I am giving up as of right now. What we had that entire year was something very special to me.

During the letter, the screen shows a small fire begin to build. The fire is all that is visible on the screen You touched a lonely mans heart and I will never forget what we had. Needless to say I find it hard to believe that you think I could go to your wedding. Do you honestly think I can see you marry Craig after what we had together? Don’t you know that we can never be friends? I am in love with you and that will never change.

The fire begins to build and it begins to build to the height of a tree.

I accept my feelings will never change and I am sorry that you can’t see that.

A figure is visible standing next to the burning tree.

CUT TO

A close up of Mark’s face looking at the blaze up close, the flames visible flickering across his face and in his eyes.

Mark (VO)

I have spent three years dreaming of holding you close, sleeping close to

caressing you like we did for that magical year. I hoped we could be together, I had hoped you could have believed in me.

Mark turns to leave and is now walking toward the camera with the fire blazing behind him.

In time I hope you will forget about me. I can see you getting married and finding love. Please forget about the wounded and the weak.

CUT TO

A passive Mark is now driving in his car

Mark (VO)

I know I will never forget you and I will live in my little world accepting

your part in my heart.

CUT TO

Mark pulling up to Milly’s apartment.

I will always be in love with you but you will never see me again.

CUT TO

Mark in the apartment hallway. Quietly moving up the stairs and pauses to stand in front of Milly’s apartment door. Close up of his hand going into his pocket and pulling out a letter.

Mark (VO)

You have all of my love. Goodbye, Mark

Mark slides letter under the door and leaves the apartment complex.

FADE TO BLACK

INT. MILLY’S APT. DAY

Craig gets up from the bed he is sharing with Milly to go to the bathroom and notices the letter on the floor of the apartment. He takes the letter into the bathroom off screen. Camera holds on the doorway for a moment. Craig storms back into the shot.

Craig

Milly, what the hell is this?

Milly stirring slowly in the bed with closed eyes

Milly

What is it Craig?

Craig hands Milly the letter

Craig

You got a letter from a friend of yours. I want to know what you have to say about it.

Milly begins to read the letter and becomes agitated.

Milly (loud and forcefully)

OH MY GOD, CRAIG THIS IS REALLY NOTHING. IT REALLY ISN’T

Jennifer is knocking on the door loudly. Craig goes to let her in.

Jennifer

Hey Craig you guys have to turn on the TV. Fredrickson Forest is going up in flames. Someone set started a fire in there last night.

 

Craig

Not right now Jen

Milly (off-camera)

What was that?

Jennifer

I think your friend is burning down your park

CUT TO

Milly grabs the remote and sees the forest reserve up in smoke the TV commentary is audible

TV Commentator

In an apparent act of arson the Fredrickson National Park reserve is ablaze. The fire started shortly after midnight this morning and the blaze is now out of the control of local firefighters. So far, the police on the scene have found a gas container and the remnants of some rags used to start the blaze.

Milly is trembling.

CUT TO

Milly POV Shot. A dumbfounded Craig and a judgmental Jennifer looking at Milly. The sound of sirens are heard among the sounds on the busy Sunday morning street.

SCREEN CUTS TO BLACK

EXT. TRAIN MOVING TOP SPEED ON TRACK- DAY

CUT TO

MARK sitting quietly looking out of the window. He looks around the train compartment.

CUT TO

A little boy sleeping next to his mother.

CUT TO

MARK looking down at his phone.

CUT TO

MARK’s hands removing the battery pack on the back.

CUT TO

MARK turns his head to look again out of the window. He closes his eyes.

SCREEN CUTS TO BLACK.

END

 

 

 

 

 

 

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