A Sticky Date With Death

INT. CAR – NIGHT

Max and Jess enter the car. Jess looks annoyed. Neither say anything as Max starts the car, backs out of the driveway and begins to drive. After a pause.

MAX
So do you think you’ll cheer up anytime soon?

JESS
No I’m pissed off. She’s so stubborn!

MAX
She is something.

JESS
What is that? What’s that supposed to mean? Am I the bad guy here?

MAX
No, she is stubborn.

JESS
And? What’s the but? I know you’ve got one.

MAX
But, so are you, and she just wanted a piece of pudding. I think you’re being a bit harsh on her.

JESS
Harsh! I’m the one trying to look out for her! She’s eighty two and has diabetes. That piece of sticky date pudding is basically a block of sugar! She might as well be taking poison!

MAX
It’s just a piece of pudding.

JESS
I don’t want my Nan to die! What, I’m meant to feel guilty for that?

MAX
Not at all, I didn’t say that. But your nan is eighty two, she’s getting old, she’s allowed to have some pudding.

JESS
So her life doesn’t mean anything anymore? I’m meant to just do nothing and let her go and die because she’s old now and therefore doesn’t have enough restraint not to eat a piece of sticky date pudding?

MAX
Yeah.

JESS
Excuse me!

MAX
Look your Nan’s old, she’s tired, all she wants is a little enjoyment with what’s left of her life.

JESS
What’s left of her life? She’s not dead yet, she’s not even that unwell really. You’re basically saying we should just let her euthanise herself.

MAX
Well not in those words, but yeah.

JESS
You’re such a bastard. I’m sorry I can’t be as heartless as you.

MAX
Hold up. Is it heartless to let an old woman who’s lived a good, full life, who’s ready for it to finish, indulge in one of the few things left that makes her happy?

Beat

JESS
(distressed)
But why is she so ready for it to finish?

Jess breaks down and starts crying. Max pulls the car over. Jess weeps for a moment as Max undoes her seat belt then his and pulls her towards him.

JESS (CONT’D)
She still has us.

MAX
I know, and she loves you but I don’t think her life is her life anymore. Your pop died what, just over a year ago? She married him when she was nineteen. That means they were together for sixty three years. She doesn’t know a life without him. Now imagine being stuck in an old woman’s body, with a lot of time and very little to do in a home that is missing a husband. So, knowing she has diabetes, she wants to eat some sticky
date pudding.

JESS
But I’m not ready for that.

MAX
I know, and if this was a different situation and she was a younger person who still had responsibilities I wouldn’t be nearly so forgiving towards her. But it’s not, and it’s still her life, she gets to decide what happens with it. For those of us who love her that means allowing her to make those decisions.

JESS
That’s really hard.

MAX
I know.

They sit in silence for a few moments, holding each other as Jess’s tears start to dry up.

JESS
Well I’m really not going to cheer up now!

They chuckle a little as they separate. Max restarts the car and pulls out onto the road.

MAX
Want to go get some sticky date pudding?

JESS
No! Probably never again. I never liked sticky date anyway. I mean who makes a dessert out of dates?

The two smile at one another. Jess’ smile drops as she looks out the window, contemplative. Max, eyes still on the road, reaches out and takes her hand.

MAX
Think of it this way. Maybe one day we’ll get to be as lucky as your Nan.

Jess looks at Max with a smile.

JESS
Maybe.

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