Mini Episode 6 Transcript

Mini Episode 6 - For Mark #3
By Lauren Shippen

[sfx: iPhone voice memo beep]

Sam: Hey. Sorry I haven’t recorded one of these in a while. I mean, not that it will make much of a difference in the end to you. You can just listen to them in one fell swoop. Or, I don’t know, maybe I can drive you back home and we can listen along the way - kind of, re-enact the trip.

Actually, never mind, I don’t want to sit in a car with you listening to my own voice. That- that sounds terrible. Anyway, it’s been 61 days since you got out of The AM. 61 days. And I’ve been away for 40 of those maybe? The more time passes, the more I drive...

I’ve been taking a lot of trips recently. It’s been. It hasn’t been good, Mark. I forgot what being alone this much was like. I guess I’d gotten so used to talking to Dr. Bright every week and then seeing Chloe. I miss Chloe so much. I would say it’s ridiculous to feel that close to someone you’ve known for a few months but, well, I mean, you and I only spent...what? A few weeks together at most? Granted, it was 24 hours a day when we were together but- anyway. I guess circumstance breeds intimacy or something. That sounds like something your sister would say.

I’ve talked to her, and Chloe, on the phone but- well, it’s not really the same, is it? When you can’t see someone’s face it’s easy to pretend that everything’s okay. I know that’s what they’re doing. They tell me everything’s fine, that I deserve
this vacation - however weird and maudlin it is - and that I shouldn’t worry. But they’re lying. I know that things aren’t going well back home. Joan’s been spending a lot of time at The AM and Chloe has started junior year of college and she’s having to make up for all her incomplete credits from last year...

I want to be there for them, I do but I don’t know how. I haven’t had anyone rely on me for support in a long, long time. Maybe ever. I mean, no one really relies on you when you’re a kid, you know? Not in a big way.

So anyway, I am taking a break at the moment from driving. I can’t really drive and record anymore. It’s- I get too nervous and the last thing I want to do is cause another accident. I’ve been pulling over a lot. Like right now. I’m on the side of the highway, trying to calm down, so that I can drive to somewhere with a bed and get some actual sleep. Nothing was working - none of the mindfulness or meditation exercises that Joan’s taught me, the crickets are too loud to clear my mind, so I’m talking to you. It’s comforting. Even though you're not here. It's comforting in the way that talking to my parents’ graves is comforting.

Oh god, I didn't mean to- God, I keep saying the wrong things. Maybe I won’t let you listen to any of these after all. There’s no reason to wallow with past me when you have present me to cheer you up, right? I’m good at that aren’t I? I remember the first time I made you laugh - like, really, really laugh. It felt like an accomplishment. I remember thinking, if I can do this, if I can be good at making this person laugh, then I have a place in the world. I don't know.

So right now I am sitting outside in absolute middle of absolutely nowhere, looking up at the stars. And they’re beautiful- I’m far enough from a major city that you can actually see them. And all I can think about is that anybody else would be awed by the sheer amount and brightness of them. But I’ve seen the night sky before satellites, before there were cities, before electricity was invented, before human beings. And I have to say, it doesn’t compare .

Do you remember what the stars looked like in 1810? Of course you do; you probably got sick of looking at them every night. For the past few years, I hadn’t bothered to look up at the night sky on my trips. Nothing was new anymore. But lying in that sheep meadow that you liked, looking up at the stars with you- it was like seeing it for the first time again. And I try to find the differences between that sky and the sky in our present while you pointed at constellations and made up names for them - I think you were just picking random words that you liked saying out loud - the boondoggle constellation, snuffulupugus maximus- the most ridiculous things come out of your mouth, do you know that? I love it. 

And then there was the Sam constellation. The one shaped like an clock a little bit - you thought you were so clever. I don’t know if you remember telling me this but you said you looked at it sometimes when I wasn’t there. And you tried to imagine me looking up at the same sky, thinking of you. It made you less lonely. You said that to me on one of last nights before I pulled you out. That I made you less lonely. 

I looked up the constellation to try and find it - the Sam constellation. A few of the stars aren’t there anymore. I'm not sure what to make of that.

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