Creative Writing: The Gift Meditation

By Helen Wu & Cynthia Lin.

Creative Writing: Screenplay


FADE IN:

INT. ENGLISH CLASSROOM – DAY


The surrounding environment in this scene is the English classroom. The classroom is set in a standard classical classroom layout. There are about 10 pairs of desks and chairs in the room. The blue curtain is lying beside the window, which creates a picturesque harmonious scene. The windows are large and clean; the glass is highly transparent, as though it’s cleaned by some sort of supernatural power. The modern-styled mechanic clock, together with the advanced screen in the classroom, suggests that this scene takes place in the modern age. The desks and chairs are properly positioned in the room, like those well-trained soldiers who once participated in a grand army parade.

Helen, a teenage girl in school uniform, is sitting on a chair in the classroom, eagerly reading Little Women. Her eyes focus intensely on the words of the book, like the eyes of a young tiger focusing on a sheep. At this moment, Cynthia enters the classroom. She has two middle-sized black eyes and a middle-sized body; similar to Helen, she is also dressed in a normal school uniform.


CYNTHIA

Is that Helen? Long time no see!


HELEN

[smiling]

Wait…Cynthia, you’re here? I thought you wouldn’t come to school until October.


CYNTHIA

Ah. You know, it’s really quite boring while studying abroad. You get a whole bunch of assignments every day, ranging from math problems to philosophy research projects. I can’t really bear it. I’m on the edge of feeling suffocating. Studying abroad for a long time is staying in jail; nobody wants to stay in prison any longer. By the way, I remember the last time I saw you was 2019; it’s already been three years…


Helen’s eyes are gradually filled with tears, and she is no longer smiling. Her mouth turns into an expression of slight sorrow. Then, she swiftly heads forward and hugs Cynthia for about 10 seconds.


CYNTHIA

[slightly turns her face away from Helen; her initial expression of happiness is diminished]

Oh…


Helen closes her eyes; her facial expression demonstrates that she is enjoying this moment.


CUT TO:


INT. ART WAREHOUSE IN SCHOOL – DAY


The scene’s background is the small art warehouse of the school. Different types of goods and works related to art are messily placed in the room. The mild outside sunshine silently strikes the craggy face of an obsolete carved festival pumpkin. Cynthia is sitting on the floor, carving an apple. She slowly and painstakingly moves the scalpel, as though she’s carving a tribute to an unknown emperor. Suddenly, Helen’s hands are placed on Cynthia's shoulder. The camera should film the hands only, not Helen’s full body.


HELEN

Oh, look at this fabulous masterpiece.


CYNTHIA

[exhibits a subtle smile]

Hey Helen, seeing you is truly a surprise!


Helen remains silent. She picks up a small pumpkin and a scalpel from the floor and begins carving in a manner that is similar to Cynthia.


HELEN

[seems hesitant and diffident]

See? Either it is ten years ago or now, I always follow your steps and trace your pace. I don’t know why I insist…doing as such, but I really find joy in it. And…hope you like it.


CUT TO:


INT. AISLE – NIGHT


Helen is sitting on the floor of the school’s aisle. Her backpack is half-opened, leaning against the wall. A small but well-crafted airplane model lays on the backpack. The airplane is the model of an A330 that belongs to Hawaiian Airlines; its tail is painted in purple, with a clear picture of a traditional Hawaiian woman’s face. Helen is reading Little Women with full concentration. Meanwhile, the God of the Airplane, dressed in the style of a normal schoolboy, enters the scene.


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

[walking through the aisle without stopping]

Still working hard? A huge obsession with that book? Don’t forget about the model; you know who you’ll give it to.


HELEN

[being shocked, rapidly lifts her head]

What, what, what? Who’s speaking?


At this moment, the God of the Airplane has already disappeared at the other end of the aisle. Helen’s face exhibits sheer astonishment. She then stares at the airplane model, kindly touches the wings, and then uses her color pen to perfect the model, as though she is carefully fixing a missile with a sophisticated structure.


CUT TO:


INT. ENGLISH CLASSROOM – DAY


The classroom is set in the normal style. Cynthia is standing near the wall, looking at the beautiful posters on the wall. Helen steps into the room, holding the airplane model using her hand, and finally, she stands in front of Cynthia in a peculiarly formal style. Helen’s face blushes like an apple.


HELEN

[slowly and anxiously]

Em…Cynthia? This is for you!


CYNTHIA

[in a warm tone]

Wow, thanks, Helen. That’s truly a surprise.


Cynthia takes the model and holds it using her hands, but her eyes did not exhibit any affection for it. Cynthia’s facial gesture is truly complex; it’s a sort of reluctant satisfaction.


HELEN

Hope you like it, my dearest Cynthia


Cynthia smiles with a sense of slight hypocrisy, and Helen is apparently unaware of it. The two friends hug each other, and Helen leaves the classroom in her normal style. After reassuring herself that Helen has left, Cynthia recalls her sorrowful experience with the airplane. She visualizes two scenes. The first one is the airport; people at the airport are all in a hurrying manner. The second scene she visualizes is the picture of the crashed plane posted by a news media on TikTok.


CYNTHIA

[about to cry]

I was the only one…not on that evil plane. Mom, Dad…


Cynthia throws the airplane model into the trashcan.


CYNTHIA

[whispering]

Ah… I cannot take this. It’s evil, traumatizing, and disgusting. All it brings…is sheer agony; surely, I have no place for that in my home.


This scene is seen by Helen, who is observing or staring at Cynthia at the position of the classroom door. Helen’s face turns into a demonstration of exasperation—-or more accurately, a mixed demonstration of both exasperation and melancholy. She sheds tears. Helen misunderstands Cynthia's motives, and she walks several steps forward.


HELEN

That airplane might seem bland, cheap, or whatever you call it, but it is my lifelong friend. Not everything can be measured by monetary value or appearance. You don’t offer friendship. You will never be a fully qualified friend until you learn how to appreciate. I’m leaving, and never, ever coming back.


CYNTHIA

[with sharp astonishment and confusion, stammers]

Whatever. You…


Helen walks out of the classroom, slamming the door. This throws Cynthia into sheer confusion and disappointment. Cynthia turns her head and stares at the direction in which Helen left, with an astonished look on her face. Meanwhile, Helen cries; her tears flow from her eyes down to her cheek like a stream of water. The fading light of the sun pours in the aisle, mildly stroking Helen’s face and soothing her sorrow.


CUT TO:


EXT. VARIOUS OUTDOOR PLACES – DAY


The following scene is filmed separately, with cross-editing, illustrating the crossing nature of Helen and Cynthia’s experiences and emotions, while also clearly indicating the sharp contrast between the two characters’ personalities.

Helen is walking back from school to her home. She encounters several beautiful flowers in the park on her way back home. The flowers are like the fairies of a bygone wonderland; their petals are the waving hands of those fairies, welcoming Helen’s arrival. Helen slows down her steps and stares at this unanticipated serendipity. Her face flushes and she exhibits a warm smile; her mouth seems as if it’s a slightly bent rainbow. Then, Helen bows and uses her hand to stroke the petals of the flower. This scene, while corresponding with the fading sunshine, stresses Helen’s sensible personality.

Meanwhile, Cynthia is heading back to her house also. She is waiting for the bus to take her home. She does not even have a little bit of enthusiasm for observing the things around her. Her head is a rotten boulder, staring at the ground and thwarting her mood from turning bright. The montage of Cynthia’s way back home is used to reveal her sharp contrast with Helen's sensible and observant nature.


CYNTHIA

I’m so tired.


HELEN

[simultaneously with Cynthia, but at a different place]

I’m so tired.


Helen and Cynthia simultaneously begin to visualize their sweet memories of the past. All their visualizations will be displayed as montages. Helen and Cynthia both visualize the scene in which they were running together happily. They also visualize the experience in which they play the swing together. The montage is used to convey the idea that the memories of ecstasy are cracked canoes that are barely floating on the ocean, and they are being more and more distant from the two girls.

Helen and Cynthia return to their respective homes. Cynthia begins to do her homework. She slowly grabs her pen reluctantly, as though the pen is something ominous. She touches her head several times while she is doing her homework; one can easily conclude that she is not in the mood of doing homework right now. At the same time, Helen is sitting in front of her desk also. Her mom comes to ask her whether she wants to have dinner.


HELEN

[in a bland tone]

Mom, not in the mood of having dinner right now.


DISSOLVE TO:


INT. CLASSROOM – DAY


The classroom is in the usual manner. Helen is sitting on a chair, reading a book. The sunshine lights the room with a sense of warmth. She taps her finger on the table from time to time, suggesting that she feels bored.

HELEN

[dryly and with slight melancholy]

Things have changed since we last time had a fight. I used to have a huge obsession with reading. But now, whatever kind of enthusiasm is gone. Books are no longer angels, and learning is no longer redemption. And the airplane? It’s a source of pain and a true hell. Cynthia has ruined everything, and she knows it.


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

Then why don’t you go talk to her?


HELEN

[suddenly lifts her head]

Who’s there? Any stalker?


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

[in a firm, steady tone]

No, in fact, I’m far from being a stalker because I’m omnipresent. Standing here is the God of the airplane.


HELEN

So, are you here to relieve my pain or something? The airplane has now been a real whip for me. I don’t see any reason for you to come here without shame.


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

[switch to a soothing tone]

Oh Helen, I do feel your pain. But I have to tell you there’s a lesson behind it.


HELEN

[anxiously, with an extreme desire to know more]

What? What lesson!? What is going on here?


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

[with indifference]

I know you might be angered by what I’m saying right now. You might think I’m an indifferent, dogmatic, stone-hearted lecturer. But I have to tell you that conflicting values are never the terminator of friendship if you could understand. Yeah, you cherish your airplane model as much as I do. That’s true kindness and dedication which should be valued and appreciated. Cynthia did not take your gift; that’s a pity. But she might have her own stories and concerns about the airplane that you don’t know. Mutual trust and appreciation are everything.


HELEN

[in a relatively calm tone]

I think…I get it?


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

Friendship is a rope; a strong rope is never created in a single day, and you don’t abandon a strong rope when there’s a tiny flaw in it, do you? Consider the March sisters in Little Women. They have a mutual affection for each other; they enjoy their memories with each other, and sometimes, they fight and learn to forgive. Don’t you want to have such an impressive friendship?


HELEN

[kindly and imploringly]

Can you tell Cynthia that I still regard her as one of the most important people in my life? It’s hard to admit, but I know that I subconsciously befriend her in spite of my hard time these days.


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

[with reluctance]

No, I won’t. You shoulder your own friendship.


CUT TO:


INT. ART CLASSROOM – DAY


The art classroom is in its usual manner. Cynthia is sitting on a chair, perfecting a piece of artwork. The artwork is a delicate model of a small mansion in modern style made of LEGO. Several middle-sized trees lay on the ground of the model, making the appearance of the mansion even more appealing. The model is so sophisticated that one would expect it to be the work of a master. Cynthia stares at the piece of artwork intensely.


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

Cynthia, you there?


CYNTHIA

[with both surprise and fear]

Who’s speaking?


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

The God of the Airplane. First, let me apologize. Sorry for taking away your family. Please note that it’s not my idea. I’m not the God of the universe nor am I Zeus; I’m not simultaneously all-powerful and all-knowing. But I promise you I’m all kind; I would have saved your family if I had that power.


CYNTHIA

[bursting into tears, her former calmness is gone]

Get out of here! Don’t you mention the notion of an airplane ever, ever again?


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

[holding the artwork]

All right, all right. But you know, Helen doesn’t really know about all these things. And friendship is like this piece of art; the sense of perfection created by lacking any flaw is a demonstration of imperfection. Helen has always been waiting for you.


Then, the God of the Airplane takes Cynthia’s mansion model and removes its chimney.


THE GOD OF THE AIRPLANE

[didactically]

You see, the house, with its chimney removed, is by no means less fabulous than the original one. Kismet is imponderable. I’ve seen the process of creating Venus de Milo. Not having intact arms only enhances her charm. You, humans, have always been trying to find the true reason why she is armless. Some say her arms are lost during a fight; some say her arms are buried in some place unknown. I won’t tell you the truth about her arms, but you should be well aware of the fact that flaws and unusual features usually create beauty, not destroy it.


The God of the Airplane disappears after he finishes the speech. Cynthia’s face demonstrates an expression of shocking epiphany. She is shocked to the extent that she opens her mouth like a hungry lion.


DISSOLVE TO:


EXT. BODA PARK – DAY


Cynthia is sitting on a long chair in Boda Park. The bright morning sunshine illuminates her face as though a flash of torchlight brightens the wall of a dark castle. She has prepared a red little box for Helen, with a gift inside. The box is in Cynthia’s backpack. After a while, Helen comes to the park and enters the scene. She silently stares at Cynthia; her eyes demonstrate neither kindness nor hostility. Cynthia gradually realizes that Helen is here; she stands up and walks toward Helen.


CYNTHIA

Oh, you’re here.


HELEN

[coldly]

Yes.


CYNTHIA

[with a subtle smile]

I mean. First, I’m really sorry. You know, I wish I hadn’t…


HELEN

[in a warm, forgiving tone]

You don’t have to feel sorry. Really.


CYNTHIA

And you know, many things have taken place; many things have changed.


HELEN

Yeah, about one or two weeks ago…


CYNTHIA

[immediately interrupts Helen]

Girl, don’t start.


Miraculously, Cynthia and Helen take out their respective gifts from their respective backpacks at the same time. The two girls exchange their gifts in a solemn manner, as though two religious leaders are exchanging their holy books. Meanwhile, Helen’s hands are shaking. Cynthia’s eyes are filled with enthusiasm and satisfaction.


HELEN

My story these days has been quite complicated…


CYNTHIA

[in a condescending, didactic tone]

Girl, don’t start. You know, you are not as experienced as I am. So, let me tell you some life philosophy. Friendship is like the greatest statue in the world, which is Venus de Milos. She is so beautiful, just like friendship. Not having intact arms only enhances her charm. Many people have always been trying to find the true reason why she is armless. Some say her arms are lost during a fight; some say her arms are buried in a place unknown. The truth about her arms is not important, but you should be well aware of the fact that flaws and unusual features usually create beauty, not destroy it. Get this idea? Our friendship’s beauty is by no means diminished.


After Cynthia finishes her speech, Helen seems not surprised at all. The God of the Airplane has been watching this scene behind a tree nearby. His face seems disappointed, but then he bursts into a loud fit of laughter.


FADE OUT.


THE END