12:00 AM – 20 – bad screenplay

I come home for the summer. I work in New York, so I am out the door at 7 every day, on the bus for two hours and then walking down 42nd Street to Times Square. 42nd Street is filthy, lined with porn shops and theaters. One day I see a naked man pissing in the street. I avert my eyes and walk forward, ignoring the comments from shopowners and their customers.

I walk the same gauntlet at 5 p.m., on my way to the bus that will get me home by 7:30, before dark, as I have promised. I picture myself standing on the El platform at midnight at the Lawrence stop. That reality seems so incongruous with this life, the sheltered, curfew-laden one I must compress myself back into for a couple of months.

I write a screenplay. It is terrible, but I finish it, 102 pages. It is an excuse for me to escape early from the dinner table. I feel distanced from my parents and sister; I hardly know them anymore. Awkward pauses creep in when we try to talk. I am ready to go back to school, and I do not intend to return next summer. I tell myself I have no home. I am independent, a free-floating unit. I can go wherever I wish. I don’t really believe it, but it sounds good.

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