Day 170: What Matters Matters

What Matters Matters
Matt Zurbo


Gustav didn’t know a lot. He was a little kid!

I mean, he knew he loved his Mama and Papa and loved playing in the street!

He didn’t know why adults did what they did.
(Watching two adults arguing, waving arms, face-to-face.)

Even if he did know something in his country wasn’t right.
(Gustav watching huge line for bread. People in line fighting, not much bread left in shop window.)

(Gustav walking passed broken, abandoned garbage truck, with pile of garbage around it. Political billboard in background, with graffiti all over it.)

“Bisabuelo!” Gustav called. “Great grandfather!”
(Gustav on street, calling to old man playing dominoes with himself on his porch.)

“Our country’s not well! How can we make it better!?” Gustav raged.
(Gustav angry, holding up a stick in the air. Bisabuelo smiling warmly.)

The old man smiled. “That’s easy,” he said. “By remembering Lo importante, importa’!”
“What matters, matters?” asked Gustav.
“Correct!” said Bisabuelo.

“Your are right, times are hard, Gustav. But hard times come and go everywhere. Go home and write me a list of what matters most about our country, and we will see how we survive,” the old man said.
“Si, Bisabuelo.” said Gustav.
(Bisabuelo waving to Gustav, who is happily running down the street – which is full of potholes, and safety tape and an abandoned car.)

Gustav looked on the way to his casa. The food was scarce, but it was of his culture. He wasn’t sure why, but that was important somehow.
(Gustav walking past row of small shops, biting tongue in concentration as he writes into pad. The shops with smoked cheese and traditional Latin American food are doing well. The Coca Cola sign, though, is rusted out and collapsing. As is the KFC.)

The music he was raised on still played everywhere. LOUD!
(Gustav in middle of frame, smiling, looking up, pen and paper still in hand. Music coming from every shop and car and people sitting at tables under mango trees.)

When he got home it was his prima’s birthday! Gustav worried all the way to her place.
The electricity was always out.
Water was rationed.
Tio Ricardo couldn’t afford the present he wanted to buy.
The food would be basic.
Oh my!

“I’ll do my best to cheer everyone up!” he thought, with a determined frown.

“Happy Birthday, cousin!” Gustav cheered. “Feliz cumpleaños!”
But nobody heard him above the noise!

The hugs were free!

So was the laughter!

Everybody danced and sang!
(Tio Ricardo playing guitar, everybody in a conga line, or dancing on their own, having a ball!)

Everybody ate!
(Family laughing, smiling, as they eat and drink traditional food. Cousin at head of table.)

The tears were real…
(Cousin crying with joy.)

After dinner, Gustav noticed someone at the back of the crowd…
(A dozen cousins running in the same direction to play. Gustav at the back, stopping to look through adults, and sees Bisabuelo, sitting at the back with a smile.)

“Bisabuelo! Bisabuelo! I did our list!” Gustav cried.
(Gustav holding list in air in front of Bisabuelo.)

“Hm. Lo Importante, Importa. What Matters, Matters,” Bisabuelo read.
loving life…”
(Bisabuelo reading list, using bi-focal glasses, while Gustav stands in front of him, hands on hips, grinning, watching the party.)

‘Well,” the old man said. “In all the things that matter, our country is fine!”


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