Parents who lose their child must eventually find a way to… let go.
Between 40,000 and 60,000 children die each year in the United States, according to the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths.
All these parents share a similar, tragic plight – being confronted with a situation they never expected. For each one, it’s a long, pain filled road back to “normal life”. And some might never be able to let go.
In Steven Clark’s short script The Combination, Paul Reed and wife Melinda are in just that boat. All they have left are a handful of keepsakes: a small memorial with a picture of their five year old son, his dented bike and a teddy bear – trinkets they cling to, desperate to keep memories alive. The bike itself? It’s attached to a road sign with a chain and a combination lock.
Paul copes as best he can. But Melinda is troubled, to say the least. Mentally paralyzed, she hasn’t left their house since their boy’s death – finding herself unable to move on. Paul keeps asking for the lock’s combination as a sign Melinda is ready to let go. But he never gets an answer. Melinda isn’t ready. Probably not tomorrow. And definitely not today.
Finally, Paul takes action and cuts the chain, spiriting the bike away, into the family garage for repairs. He’s determined to turn this symbol of grief into something else. The result: a wonderful and heart-warming payoff, one your audience will surely engage with.
Dealing with such a heart-rending subject, The Combination does a brilliant job giving us insight into the inner life of parents who lose their “guiding light”. It’s stories like these which deserve to be produced, providing families dealing with grief a form of hope. And hopefully, conjuring a smile on at least one face.
Budget: Low. This is a character-driven script. No extravagant locations or effects required.
About the writer: Based in upstate, NY, Steven Clark is the writer of over 30 short scripts, several of which are under option, in pre-production, or have already been made into films. On A Clear Night, a family Christmas feature aimed at a Hallmark Channel-type audience, is currently in the works. Steven can be reached at Steamroller138 (a) gmail.
About the reviewer: A German writer, Thorsten Loos is running his own software development company for a living. In his spare time, he primarily writes tales and scripts in the Science Fiction, Conspiracy and Paranormal genres. (Though he does drift into different genres with his shorts.) Thorsten’s currently working on episodes of an international TV series in development for a U.S. based production company. His TV pilot Mindwalker is a winning pilot script at Wildsound Festival. His short script ‘The Wall In The Garden’ was recently optioned and is going to production in May. Want to learn more? Then reach out to him at loos.thorsten “AT” web.de!
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