2017 Scene-Writing Challenge: Day 17
Scott Myers

Scene 8


A school formal. The gymnasium is awash with purple and blue pulsing light. Students in suits and dresses dance at center court. On the outskirts of this noisy collective, we find PATRICK, 14, frail but handsome, sitting at the end of a line of chairs against the padded gym wall. With a closer look, we see that Patrick and his chair are one, as he is paraplegic.

Patrick watches the rowdy, careless group from the sidelines, discomfort and nervousness clear on his face, but his eyes continually find a single girl amidst the mass — NAOMI, 15, tall, beautiful with kind, sympathetic eyes.

He watches her dance with a well-built senior. She catches him staring at her. Smiles and waves. He reciprocates with a hesitant, half-wave before looking down. He considers his intertwined hands in his lap. Then—

NAOMI (O.S.): No. I’m tired. I’m gonna rest a bit here. Go back in.

Patrick looks up and sees that Naomi is sitting down a few chairs away from him. The senior, disappointed, returns to the dance circle. Naomi turns to Patrick. Smiles giddily, maybe a little drunk.

NAOMI: Hey, Pat. Are you enjoying the dance?

PATRICK: Yeah. I like the music. The music’s good.

NAOMI: Yeah. Right? Real cool stuff. You wouldn’t expect it from a school party, but…

Naomi dances a little in her seat. Patrick can’t help himself from watching. He laughs a little, settling down.

PATRICK (softly): You look pretty.

NAOMI: What? I’m sorry. The music’s loud. What did you say?

PATRICK: I said, I like the party.

Naomi nods and giggles, but we get the impression that she heard the original words. Embarrassed, Patrick goes back to his hands. Misses a flirtatious glance from Naomi.

But then, a wave of confidence passes over him. He doesn’t want to lose her.

PATRICK: Will you help me get to the drink table? It’s just embarrassing when people can’t see me trying to get by.

NAOMI: Of course. Let’s go.

Naomi jumps up and begins pushing Patrick through the dance floor. People react positively as they pass. The duo can’t help from bopping their heads to the music.

Then, Patrick’s wheelchair sticks.

PATRICK: Hey, I think something’s caught in my wheel. Can you roll me backward?

Naomi complies. Patrick nods to the beat.

PATRICK: Now forward.

She pushes him forward. It sticks again.

PATRICK: Here, maybe you should come to the front.

Naomi moves to the front of him. Starts to push the chair backward. They catch eyes, a shared moment.

PATRICK: Forward, please.

Naomi pulls Patrick to her. He moves to the music with her body close to his. Directly on beat, the chair stops again, but Naomi notices Patrick is holding the wheel with his hand.

NAOMI: Hey, what are you doing? (realizes) Wait, are you trying to dance with me?

Caught, Patrick nods, embarrassed.

NAOMI: Why didn’t you just ask?

He doesn’t have an answer.

NAOMI: Well?

PATRICK: Will you dance with me?

She nods, invitingly. Then she starts to gyrate around him, holding his arms in the air. Bystanders cheer them on. She turns herself around. Moves from side to side in front of him, before leaning into his lap. She tilts her head back and whispers into his ear.

NAOMI: You’d be surprised what people would do for you if you just ask them like a gentleman.

Naomi kisses him softly on the cheek. A chaperone runs over.

CHAPERONE: Alright. That’s enough. I need you two to separate. Even you, Patrick?

Naomi is pulled away by a friend. We see Patrick in her wake, through the valley of teenagers, a shocked look on his face. A static, seated figure amidst the movement.

A smile bursts on his lips.