The Prince Of Tides Script – Spotlight on the First Several Lines
I grew up slowly, beside the tides and marshes… … of a Carolina sea island. We lived in a small, white house… … won by my great-great-grandfather… … Winston Shadrach Wingo… … in a horseshoe game. . . . . There are families who live their entire lives… … without a single thing of interest happening to them. . . . . I’ve always envied those families. . . . . The child of a beautiful woman, I was also a shrimper’s son… … in love with the shape of boats. . . . . As a small boy, I loved to navigate my father’s shrimp boat… … between the sandbars. I suppose Henry Wingo would have made a pretty good father… … if he hadn’t been such a violent man. From my mother, I inherited a love of language… … and an appreciation of nature. She could turn a walk around the island… … into a voyage of purest discovery. As a child, I thought she was the most extraordinary woman on earth. I wasn’t the first son to be wrong about his mother. . . . . I don’t know when my parents began their war against each other. But I do know the only prisoners they took were their children. . . . .
When my brother, sister and I needed to escape, we developed a ritual. We found a silent, soothing world where there was no pain. A world without mothers or fathers. We would make a circle bound by flesh… … and blood… … and water. And only when we felt our lungs betray us, would we rise toward the light… … and the fear of what lay in wait for us above the surface. All this was a long time ago… … before I chose not to have a memory. . . . .
Okay, Lila. She’s coming over. Why didn’t you tell her we were under quarantine? She said she had to see you. . . . . She said it was urgent. She was crying. I can’t remember a day when Lila wasn’t crying. Be nice to her, Tom. I hate my mother, Sally. I enjoy hating her.
. . . .
Come on, wash. It’s bath time. Gotta pass inspection. Lila’s coming over. Lila, Lila, Lila. Why can’t we call her Grandma? – You’ll know when you’re a grandma. – I will? . . . .Do you think we could talk seriously? Not now, Sally. My mother’s close. Can’t you tell? The air stopped moving. Sometimes I think all you need is just a good smack across your mouth. Here she is. Sally, tie this garlic around my neck. Do we have to invite her for dinner? She won’t stay. You know that. Then let’s invite her.
. . . .
The silence was worse than the rapes
In a manner that is almost like tic-tac-toe or cat-and-mouse, the previous words are interspersed with Conroy-like small-talk. I have just begun watching the movie The Prince of Tides for about the billionth time, and this time, the writing hit me like a flash of lightning. Ahhhhhh! What a narrative, and in the words that I have deleted, you see the ways that individuals and families learn to remove themselves from or barricade themselves away from life experiences that are too painful to remember.
If you’d like, read the entire movie script Here or better still, find a copy of the movie Prince of Tides, turn it on, shut your eyes, and LISTEN to the brilliant way that Pat Conroy allows us to experience the tapestry of his life.
©Jacki Kellum April 13, 2017