Luis is lying on his bed in a gorgeous room. There’s semi-darkness and his phone is ringing. Luis stares into the emptiness, he doesn’t even bother to check who is calling him. After a while he slowly gets up and walks towards the window to open the shutters. The strong and unkind light penetrates the room and blinds him. There is quite a mess everywhere, dirty clothes on the floor and some food leftovers. Despite the dirtiness it’s pretty obvious that it is a very beautiful room. He opens the window and lights up a cigarette. He leans to the mahogany table and takes a framed picture from there. He holds it close to his face and observes at it. There are two little boys (blond and brown hair one) smiling and sitting on an old man’s lap. Luis hears a car driving into his property looks through the window, signs and leaves the room. He’s walking down the seemingly never ending stairs while someone’s consistently ringing the door bell.
There is a tall black man at the door when Luis opens. Adam looks very annoyed and walks in.
‘Man, what a fuck? Are you fucking insane! We have a work to do and schedule to follow. I can’t do the producing without you. You know they want you. What the fuck, dude?’
Adam is shouting at him and demanding the explanation. Luis doesn't look at him at all and he is playing with the marbles left on the table.
‘Are you fucking listening to me, man? What’s got into you? You’ve never acted like this before.’ Adam shakes him slightly. Luis walks to the door leading to the garden and says. ‘I think I need vacation.’ Adam follows him to the garden. ‘Vacation? Now? Impossible! Why didn’t you think of it before?’ Luis doesn’t reply and jumps into the pool. Adam stares at him unbelievingly and murmurs: ‘Well you needed it. You stink, man.’ Luis laughs and swims around. ‘Lou I can’t deal with it. I mean it. You know how much money’s involved.’ Adam quietly waits for Lou to say something then says: ‘I’ll give you couple days to get over it...whatever it is. I’m not accepting any emotional breakdown here. We’re rich dudes, man. Get on with it already.’ He says and leaves. Luis doesn’t look at him at all. He just swims and swims.
Luis is sitting on the plane. He has dark circles beneath his glazed eyes. There is the same photo in his hands that he was looking at before. A child is sitting in front of him. She’s a little girl of six and her mother is sleeping in the seat next to hers. The little girl just woke up and there are tears falling down her cheeks.
‘Did you have a bad dream? Lou asks worried.
The girl looks at him dubiously, questioning if he’s worthy of being told about her dream. ‘I dreamt of being in a meadow with many tulips because they are my favourites. I was also dancing with beautiful nymphs. They were so beautiful and they smelled like fruity chewing gums.’
‘That sounds like a pretty awesome dream. That’s where I would like to go when I dream.’
‘Where do you go when you dream?’
‘To the place where I don’t want to be.’
‘I don’t like when I wake up because then I forget.’
‘What do you forget?’
‘How to get there...you know when I’m dreaming I feel like I would know exactly how to get to this place if I was awake. But then when I wake up I always forget. Don’t you think it is unfair?’
‘Yes it is...’
Her mother suddenly wakes up and smiles at Luis. ‘Oh dear, I hope Lucy didn’t bother you with her stories. She’s got such imagination.’
Luis smiles politely at her, shakes his head and closes his eyes.
The plane lands and Luis is getting through the security checking. Then he’s taking a London taxi to get to the city centre. Through the car window he’s looking at the streets and people walking by. The car stops at the red light and Luis notices a young woman in a 60s sailor dress with a hat. She walks towards the taxi, coming close and takes picture of Luis. Then she smiles at him and runs away before he can say anything. The car moves again and stops in front of an expensive looking block of flats. It’s a sunny morning when Luis arrives at the apartment of his brother, Max. The fiancée of his brother, Muni opens the door. She smiles at him surprised and hugs him. They both walk into the kitchen, where Max is sitting in front of his breakfast and reading the newspapers. As soon as he sees his brother, he runs towards him, they hug and cry a little.
They walk to the big roof terrace and smoke there.
‘I’m so glad you’re here...’
‘I didn’t want to come but... I had a dream about Whistler Walk and I felt like we were there again. You know the never ending row of beds, all those noises during the nights, screaming and the cold. And I swear when I woke up I could smell that place: the unwashed sheets, despair and porridge.’
‘Sometimes I dream about it too...’
‘I didn’t come for the funeral...’
‘I didn’t expect you would even the old man didn’t, I guess. He mentioned that you said your goodbye to him years before his death..’ Max is quiet for a while then continues, ‘look I don’t know what happened between you two before you left England but...’
‘What happened with the house?’
‘I put it on sale. I left you a hundred messages asking if you would like to keep it but you never replied and...’ Max says with a defensive tone.
‘Don’t you want to live there with Muni?’
‘No, we... we really like it here.’
‘Would it be possible if I stayed there for couple days?’
Max looks at him impatiently. ‘I don’t understand you at all! You’ve been avoiding the house for years and now... all of sudden you want to live there?’
‘Just for some time...’ explains Lou.
Muni walks to the balcony to remind Max that he’s going to be late for work if he doesn’t leave now. Max nods, looks at Luis and says that they will carry on with the conversation after he comes back.
After Max leaves, Muni and Luis move to the kitchen. ‘So? How did it go?’
‘He was trying so hard not to shout at me in the beginning but then he gave up and exploded.’
‘Well, you can’t blame him. You didn’t come for the funeral...’ Muni looks at him as if she’s looking for some sort of emotion: shame, sorrow, rage but Luis’ face is empty. ‘Anyway, you are staying for a dinner tonight, are you?’
‘I don’t think so. I would rather just relax but I can join you for dinner tomorrow.’
Luis smiles and touches her gently on the cheek. ‘I do. Don’t you have to go to work to?’
‘No.... I quit. I couldn’t stand to write about ten best ways to propose any more.’
‘Seriously Luis, I’m so fed up with this crap. I mean is that really what people want to hear?’
‘Probably... I guess people got too shallow and lazy.’
‘We don’t even know how to love properly.’
‘I didn’t know there was a proper way of loving?’ Lou smirks at her a little.
‘Of course there is and it includes faith, commitment, caring and you know all these kind of things.’
They smile at each other Luis kisses her on forehead and leaves.
Luis is standing with his suitcase in front of a huge Victorian house in a nice looking area. He stares at house for a while, then goes in. In the kitchen he finds dirty dishes. Luis opens the fridge and sees groceries inside. He notices recent newspapers on the sofa and is looking around the place suspiciously. Slowly he walks up the stairs and goes to the bedroom. The bedroom is full of women’s clothes and shoes. The whole bed is covered with photographs in street photography style. Luis sits down on the bed and looks at them in awe. They are indeed beautiful and very vivid, full of people, children, places we see every day but never really notice. The pictures are far beyond the ordinary. There is a blonde porcelain doll lying exactly in the middle of the bed. Luis looks around unbelievably, walks down the stairs and checks the back door of the house. The lock of the back door is clearly broken. Luis takes out his phone from his pocket, dials his brother’s number but then changes his mind and puts the phone back. He walks back into the kitchen and sits on the sofa.
The same girl, Vivian in the 60s sailor dress is outside taking pictures with her Rolleiflex Twin Lens camera. She’s looking at the couple in front of her through the camera lenses. They seem to fight. The woman pushes the man away but he follows her insistently. Then he falls on his knees, cries and puts his hands around her waist. She fights and tries to let go of him but then she gives in and puts her hands around him too. They are hugging like that for a long time, completely unaware of their surroundings. Vivian takes a picture of them. She’s walking in the streets and taking pictures until she stops in front of the big Victorian house, the same one that Luis is at right now. She turns around, looking at the empty street and walks around the house to get to the back door. Vivian opens the door and walks to the kitchen. She takes honey from the shelf and pours it into her mouth. While she’s walking around, Luis is watching her in hiding.
When she’s upstairs, she hides in the closet and stays there for a couple of hours, then she makes a puzzle of Little Mermaid Picture. Before she goes to sleep she reads Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales book and leaves the lights on. The she watches Vivre sa Vie by Godard and in the scene where Anna Karina is in the cinema and cries she cries too. Luis is watching her all the time and she doesn’t know. He puts the cover on her when she’s sleeping.
In the morning it’s raining heavily. Vivian walks down the stairs, opens the living room door and goes to the garden. Raindrops are falling on her half naked body. She enjoys it, spinning around and laughing. She picks up the leaves from the trees and smells them. When she decides to go back in, Luis is standing at the living room door. He’s been watching her the whole time but she notices only now. Vivian is stunned, not moving for a while, then she looks as she is about to run away until she notices that Luis is holding a towel and handing it to her. She slowly and insecurely walks up to him and takes the towel from his hands. They both walk in. For a while they don’t talk only stare at each other. Vivian’s body is shaking from the cold.
‘Don’t you want to get changed? You must be ice cold.’
‘Who are you?’
‘I’m Luis.....who are you?’
‘Vivian. What are you doing here? I mean is this your house, I thought....’
‘You thought no one lived here?’ Luis asked slightly ironically.
‘Well...I guessed someone would move in at some point but not that early... are you? Are you the new tenant?’
‘This house belonged to my old man. He died few months ago.’
‘The old man from the pictures?’ Vivian point at the frame pictures lied around the living room.
‘Are you one of the little boys on the pictures? I was often imagining what happened to you. Sometimes I would make up stories about your life.’ Vivian smiles shyly.
‘What story?’ Luis asks amused and leans towards the sofa.
‘I imagined that you were a truck driver.’
‘A truck driver?’
‘Yes a truck driver, yet a true writer and philosopher too. I imagined you as a truck driver because you loved the idea of being on the road. Not truly knowing anyone, left alone with your thoughts, emotions and completely absorbed in solitude....’
‘Was I happy?’
‘Oh yes you were, in your own way you were exceedingly happy and you felt so strong like no one could ever defeat you.’
‘Wasn’t I bored?’
“Never because the roads provided you undying, spicy and colourful stories that amused and astonished you. These stories would feed you day and night.’
Luis looks at her with glazed eyes. Vivian comes closer to him and asks: ‘I guess you are not really a truck driver, are you?’
Luis smiles gently and says ‘My brother tries to rent this flat out, however he obviously takes his time. I suppose he’s attached to the memories connected to the house.’
Vivian looks at him with a serious face now ‘Please, Sir I... I know that what I’ve done is illegal and you have all rights to call the police but I didn’t have any place to stay, besides I didn’t destroy anything...I will leave right away just please if you could be kind enough not to call the police.’ She asks pleadingly.
‘It’s fine. You can stay until the house is rented. I’m going to live here too for a little while though...’
‘But you don’t mind us two here?’
‘Not at all. Do you?’
‘All fine then.’
‘I have to go now if you excuse me. I’m meeting my brother and his fiancée for a lunch. I’ll see you later.’ Luis leaves and Vivian is still shaking and standing there.
Luis goes to lunch with Muni and Max. They are sitting in a beautiful restaurant in Chelsea. Muni and Max are sitting on one side and Lou is facing them.
‘So how is your job going Lou?’
‘The same really...how is yours?’
‘Max became a partner recently,’ Muni says proudly and kisses Max gently.
‘That’s amazing! Congratulations, brother!’
‘Yeah well who would say we could get so successful? I mean two little boys from an orphanage.’
‘You’ve been so lucky to get out of there. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like.’ says Muni sadly.
Max and Lou look at each other with faces full of memories.
‘I mostly forgot about it...it feels like it happened ages ago,’ says Max trying to not upset Muni even more.
‘You know, it wasn’t that bad all the time. We had some fun there too. The orphanage was outside of London and we had easy access to the forest where we used to play. I remember we had quite a lot fun there...’
‘Lou would always carve something into the trees.’
‘Until Leonie, our friend, saw it and she thought it was really painful for the trees. She claimed she'd heard them crying during the night. That really scared the shit out of me and I stopped.’
‘You used to be so sensitive, Lou.’ They all laugh.
‘We’ve been really fortunate because of the old man. I couldn’t be more grateful for everything he’s done for us.’ Max says and looks at Lou, as if seeking for his agreement. However Lou, playing with his food, acts like he hasn’t heard his brother at all.
‘How is it living at home again?’ asks Muni.
‘It’s actually very refreshing,’ replies Lou and smiles.
Lou and Viv are sitting on the swing at the garden. They are having a chat. It’s a starry spring night. Suddenly Lou gets up, stands behind Viv and pushes her swing. ‘Why did you lock yourself into the closet? You were in there for almost two hours.’
‘You creep, watching me all that time,’ she accuses him but Lou only laughs and waits for her to reply.
‘I don’t know... I guess it’s my favourite kind of therapy. Closets are so peaceful and they shelter me. They give me a space to think, a very small one but then people don’t need big spaces really. Later on when I get out I feel like coming to a different life even though it’s the same one. It just feels dissonant.’
Luis is quiet and Vivian turns around to see his face. ‘What do you do for a living?’
‘I produce the most awful music in the whole entire world. Music that many people listen to and then I get the money from it. Lots of money.’
‘Does it make you happy?’
‘It makes me miserable and I feel like I'm going blind.’
‘Don’t do it then. Why don’t you do something that makes you happy?’
‘I somehow forgot what used to make me happy. What do you do? Apart from squatting in other people’s houses?’ They both smile. ‘Well I take pictures because it shows me a world that is quite hard to notice and access but when I do I always find such beauty that lifts me up. Actually I’m a nanny too.’
‘Yeah, well not at this present moment but I’m looking for a job. I haven’t managed to get anything else that’s why I don’t have a place to stay. Normally I live with the family.’
‘Well I would make a shit waitress. I’m too clumsy, forgetful and don’t smile enough.’
‘Wouldn’t you want to work in a proper job? You know to build your career...’
‘No. I like my freedom. I hate any kind of commitments. Besides, all the ‘proper’ jobs feel so useless and wrong to me. But when I look after children it makes me happy.’
Lou joins Vivian during one of her photo sessions. They are in a little fun fair at the park. The fun fair doesn’t consist of many attractions, it only has an old-fashioned carousel, a few roller coasters and stalls with sweets. Mostly, there are families with children filling the air with lots of excitement, screams and laughter. Lou and Viv are walking around. Vivian is taking pictures of Lou when he’s eating candy floss. They go on the carousel and have an amazing time, later they sit down on the wooden stairs that lead to one of the coasters.
‘Do you ever take pictures of yourself?’
‘Yeah I do but very rarely. Mostly it’s just my reflexion in a mirror, window, showcase or puddles. I like to think of myself as a part of something.’
‘What made you start?’
‘Once when I was 13, I saw an old woman with a child, presumably her grandson. The boy was sitting on her lap, looking so alive and innocent. The contrast with his wrinkled and tiredly wise grandmother was breath taking and soul consuming. I was staring at her old hands holding the ones of the child. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen at that time. And I was horrified by the fact that I wouldn’t be able to see it again, that my memory of the feeling would slowly get weaker and I may eventually forget.’
‘So you decide to capture it.’ Vivian nods with a smile.
‘Look at this beautiful girl standing in front of us.’ Vivian points at a girl in a light white dress standing in front of them. ‘She’s so lovely in her dress. I see her standing there, enjoying the funfair but when I look at her through the camera, something changes. Suddenly I see her levitating surrounded by flying autumn leaves. I feel like looking through lenses makes me see what is really there, you know. And I like that feeling...to be able to see.’
‘Isn’t it very sad though when you take off your lenses and look through your eyes again?’
‘It is exceedingly sad. Mostly I wish someone could glue them to my face.’
They are quiet for a while just looking around and enjoying the silence and the spectacular view of the fun fairs’ evening lights.
‘I have to tell you something,’ Viv says slowly with preoccupied voice. ‘I lied to you about something. I knew your old man. I used to meet him at the park close to his house and we would talk a lot, about you and Max and how proud he was of you. He also told me about the time when he decided to take you out of the orphanage. And that it was the best thing he had ever done...’
Louis suddenly stands up, creating a distance between them. ‘Did he also tell you the real reason why he took care of us? That it wasn’t just him being generous and kind. That he was actually our father who used to have occasional sex with our Lolita like a prostitute mama?’ Vivian slowly nods and says: ‘You know regretted it all his life. He wasn’t able to forgive himself.’ ‘Viv, he left us even though he knew we were his and he knew that our mother could barely take care of herself.’
‘But he came back. People make mistakes, no matter how old are they. You should know better than to behave like a stubborn child!’ Vivian’s voice is suddenly angry. Lou looks at her surprised.
‘I have to go for a walk.’ He says and leaves her.
Luis is driving to a very old and huge mansion. There is a massive gate around it and a little forest surrounding the whole mansion. He gets out of the car and looks around. The place seems to be empty and abandoned. There is a chain on the gate. Luis walks around the gate and finds a hole sufficiently big for him to sneak through. He stands on the other side of the gate and walks towards the building. The door is locked so he’s just walking around, looking very dreamy. He stares at the trees and finds some of his carvings on them. One says ‘and a little boy (me) overdosed on porridge’. Luis smiles widely and sits on an unused and rusty fountain. He’s observing the whole place very carefully.
Suddenly there is another car coming by. It’s Max who’s shouting at Luis and asking how he managed to get inside. Luis navigates him inside. They both sit close to the fountain.
‘You know this is illegal...’
‘Why is it closed?’
‘I guess it’s just too far away from the city and not many professors want to commute....it became inconvenient. Why are we here? I thought you swore you’d never come here again.’
‘I swore so many things. Everything seems to be different now. Maybe it’s a good thing.....’
Max looks at Luis confused. ‘I’m going to quit my job in L.A.’
‘What? I thought you loved it and that you were doing so well!’ Max says with a questioning face.
‘I think I only did it because of the money. After I left London or even before this place, I promised myself to get rich and independent and to never have to look back again.’
‘Sometimes is a good thing to look back.’ Max touches Lou’s shoulders and they hug.
After the orphanage visit, Lou comes back home and finds Viv in the garden. Fresh cut grass has been left on the lawn. Viv comes, takes some into her hands and smells it. Lou is looking at her dubiously. She comes towards him and throws it in his face. He looks at her unbelievingly then takes a handful of grass and throws it back at her. They both laugh covered entirely with fresh grass. Afterwards they are lying on the ground, tired fom so much laughing. Vivian says: ‘You know Lou you should finally do what makes you happy and if you don’t know what it is then go and find out. I mean you are not going to be here forever! Considering you are not the youngest.....’
‘I’m only 31 you little baby! How old are you anyway?’
Luis turns around and looks at her closely. Vivian comes closer to him, touches his lips gently. Luis kisses her gently, then with more speed and passion. They are making love in the mess of grass.
In the morning they are both lying in the bed, cuddling when suddenly Lou’s phone rings. It’s his friend, Adam. Louis picks up the phone tiredly and tells Vivian that he will take it downstairs. As he’s walking down the stairs, Adam is shouting at him. ‘Where are you? You didn’t pick up any of my calls and I’m so fed up man. Where the fuck are you?’
‘My old man died....’
‘Oh shit.... that’s why you were acting so strang lately. Man, I’m so sorry. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell me. I mean we are friends, dude.’
‘I’m sorry, dude. I was just.... you know it was too much at that time....’
‘I understand....well I’m going to explain it to the band and I’m sure we can rearrange things. Just take your time with your brother you know and I’ll call you later, man.’
‘Wait, Adam. I was thinking and I don’t want to do this any more.’
‘I quit. This is not what I want...’
‘Are you insane?!’ Adam shouts with desperate voice. ‘Lou, I know you must be overwhelmed by everything and you don’t see things clearly right now but...’
‘No, I do Adam. For a first time in my life I see clearly. I want to stay in London because I feel happy here and this feeling completes me. I don’t know I may become a truck driver, who knows?’
‘A truck... what?’
Lou hangs up laughing and throws the phone through the open window. His face looks relieved; he opens the fridge and starts to make a breakfast.