Day 327: Silvia’s Secret

Silvia’s Secret
Matt Zurbo


Silvia had a secret.
(Gothic girl sitting in branch of a tree. Arms dangling over another branch lazily.)
She was lonely.

Yet she liked being alone.
(Girl walking along dusk ridge.)

She had friends.
(Looking down on an octopus in a bucket and, sitting on her shoulder, a big white owl.)
But they… weren’t typical.

“I don’t get it…” she told them, one day. “I often feel this… yearning. Yet I don’t know what for.”
“It’s as if something hurts inside me.”
“Or needs.”
(Down by the creek, clutching her fingers over her heart in frustration. Two frogs leaping off other hand.)

And her octopus, and owl, who she was sure could both speak, would say nothing.
If only because they agreed so much.
(Owl spreading wings above her. She is using bucket to pour water over octopus, now in rainwater barrel.)

This yearning, this need, was so strong in Silvia, that she started collecting moments.
Quiet sounds in jam jars.
(Holding jam jar lid open in front of smallest fairy doing a fart.)

Certain sights, like photos for her heart.
(Holding her hands out to make a finger frame, through which she is watching an owl sit on the head of a horse)

Diary entries that captured feelings, emotions, not just what she saw.
(Writing in diary while sitting on the porch of a run down abandoned shack.)

Reminders, bits and pieces of emotion, that she pinned to a tree.
(Dress bits, a puppet, drawings, a poem, etc… pinned on tree, next to occasional bat. Jars with small sounds on branches. A love heart or two dangling amongst it all)

(Girl watching cool kid on skateboard, cruising, the sun catching him from behind.)

Moments like confetti. Like fireflies in the night.
(Girl watching smaller girl blow seed off wishing flower.)

Moments everywhere!
(Girl in middle of butterflies.)

But, each time Silvia did this, something was missing.
All these glorious moments she was capturing would quickly feel hollow.
(Girl, in tree house, surrounded by dolls and bucket with octopus and photos and bits of paper she’s written on, and drawings on paper and cardboard and cereal boxes and trinkets, and owl.)

Her yearning remained.
So she collected more.
Soon, somebody wanted to buy Silvia’s moments.
“Why not? They’re collectables,” Diver Dan said.
(Girl sitting at base of tree, surrounded by memories, jars, trinkets and drawings pinned to the trunk. A sign at her feet saying garage sale. Diver, in deep sea diving suit, holding helmet under his arm, looking down at girl.)
At first, Silvia had no problems with that. “Maybe the less yearning I have, the simpler life will be?” she thought.

“Fifty cents!” she told Diver Dan. Suddenly, she was keen to be rid of the memories and moments, and yearnings they inspired. The voices in her head.
(We see back of diver as he is walking away, arms full with Silvia’s bits and pieces.)

But, that night, when the owl was flying high, and all else was silent and dark and right with the world, Silva felt lost.
(Girl, bolt upright in bed, panicked expression on her face. Moon and owl in window view.)
“Those memories are a part of me,” she said, to the dark. “I’ve sold a part of me! For fifty cents!” she wailed.

Without her yearning there was this massive void, into which Silvia felt herself about to fall, and fall… and fall.
(Girl, and octopus, falling through the dark. Owl flying after them.)

“I have to get them back,” she whispered.
(Girl running through the night.)

Diver Dan was home. There Silvia’s memories and moments were. Some eaten, some used. Some added to. Some drawn on.
(Diver sitting at back porch table, in junkyard backyard, with crayfish pots, old wooden boats and barking dogs., and two kids of his own, also in diver’s suits. Girls memories, jars and drawing about the place. One held to porch rail by knife. Diver is tilting one jar, lid off, to drink from it. Girl peering over fence.)
Silvia felt lost, ashamed.
“A deal is a deal,” said Diver Dan. “They are not for return sale.”
She knew Diver Dan was right. Yet, only once she didn’t have her lonely thoughts, did she realise how much she needed them.

Life without yearning was, for her, incredibly dull.
(Girl is sitting on benches with other schoolgirls under a tree. They are all gossiping. Silvia is staring straight ahead/at reader.)

So Silvia went back that night.
(Girl sneaking through the night. Owl above her, carrying bucket with octopus.)

(Double page spread. The owl is distracting the dogs. The octopus is distracting the diver. The girl is clutching her jars and poems and trinkets.)

Silvia left a dollar for her memories and moments. Double what she had sold them for.
(Coin on table.)

It was the yearning itself that she was always looking for.
Not some object, not some thing.

(Girl sitting on tree branch all by herself, while other girls dressed for Halloween trick or treat, passing as a noisy, loud, laughing group beneath her.)
That feeling of need.

It was in all these emotions,
and small sounds,
and melancholy,…
(Girl on tree branch, fishing for love hearts.)

that Silvia felt at home.
(Girl opening jam jar lit to capture the sound of a butterfly’s wings – the word ‘flutter’ appearing lots around wings, and falling into jar.)


The End

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