Life Shorts Designs
By Monique Lennon
Based on true events
“The First Time You Meet, People Tell You Who They Are”
EXT – SCHOOL CAR PARKING LOT – DAY
Set The Scene: This is sixth form. My first day in a new school. I am going back and forth from the classroom to the main office because I don’t know what else to do. I have used up small talk on everybody I’ve met and I want to wait until tomorrow for them to pry me open some more.
Action: I am coming back from the office and a guy my height stops me to ask if I am new. The tight shirt, the bow legs, the asshole smile. Jesus. So it begins. I am honest and crass, let me see if that loosens things up. It does. He starts to open up to me: he has daddy issues, is not sure about his future. I am touched, but not really.
WE ARE TALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WALKWAY. THE BELL RINGS, SCHOOL IS DISMISSED. PEOPLE PASS US, EYEING ME
I know this looks really bad. The gyalis and the new girl. He seems more comfortable with me when he offers to walk me to my stand. I realize that this is the time to listen. Yes. Just shut up and listen. He starts to babble, trying to impress, to get me to laugh, matching my sarcastic tone.
RAIN STARTS TO DRIZZLE
I pull out my umbrella, the ni**a doesn’t even offer to hold it for me… kool.
SILENCE FOR A WHILE. WE JUST HEAR FOOTSTEPS IN THE RAIN
Then he tells me, I tell you no lies, in the exact words: “I am not a good person.” (I think, that is a really nice line. Very Mr. Rochester/Mr. Grey. I must look like a dam’n ediat to for that.) Five minutes before asking me for my digits.
Plot Twist: I come the school the next day only to find out dude is a model student. Loved by all. Teachers adore him. His best friend is a tomboy. I kinda feel like a bad person. Yet, something tells me that people in that school see what they want to see. And that brings me to my next lesson…
EXT – UWI – AFTERNOON
Act 2, Set The Scene: I am a strange character my first year in university. I end up with most of my friends being males, they are similar to me, our personalities match, they make me laugh and I feel like I have brothers. In March comes this guy who is everything that I despise: loud, rude, arrogant and snobbish but he is honest about all of it. We never became friends but he taught me the best lesson of the three.
Action: My friend and the asshole sit down beside each other. I am to the left, on the end. After a while I become aware of the polar opposite personalities. I observe and remain quiet:
Friend (to the asshole):
So, what you plan to do with your leadership position next year?
Whole heap a tings
What leadership position?
IMAGE: THE VOTING PROCESS. THE TICKS IN THE BOX BESIDE HIS NAME, PEOPLE CHOOSING THE ASSHOLE KNOW-IT-ALL. OUTSIDE THE VOTING BOOTHS PEOPLE SAYING, “Y’MAN, IS A GOOD YUTE.”
INT – BEDROOM – YEAR’S END – MIDNIGHT
Act 2, Scene 2: I am packing up suitcases contemplating the friendships that I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learned in a year. Suddenly, I realize that the asshole has to be on the list because he taught me that honesty is the greatest form of self empowerment. People end up having nothing to use against you, they can’t hate you with reason, they can’t manipulate your faults, because you have no secrets, and you become untouchable in that way. Thus: #RespectOverLike.
“Use Love and Kindness to cut through Fear (and Anger). They are also the only things that can maintain true Beauty”
INT – FLASHBACK – FIRST DAY OF LABS – ESTABLISHING – DAY
STUDENTS SHUFFLE IN. THE PLACE IS STERILE, QUIET. PEOPLE HALF LISTEN TO THE FIRST LESSON. MOST ARE LOOKING AROUND, REGISTERING FACES. THE WHITE LAB COATS ARE CELESTIAL
Set The Scene. Voice Over: This one is dedicated to one of the most amazing persons that I’ve ever known. The first time I saw her, the thing that got me was that she was so still and self-possessed. There was this quiet confidence that I have come to admire in the few people I see it in. She solidified this, as well as the first two lessons.
INT – LABORATORY – DAY
Action: My first day of labs is intimidating. I feel as if I don’t know anything. I fumble, drop sh!t; I nearly break a lightbulb with a moving stool that I hoist above my head. The professor looks annoyed. I want to sink into the floor and die. A few days later, we do something new and I ace it, everyone watches me, nobody says sh!t. She is the only one to hail me up. Respect…
Voice Over: A lot of times people are fullacrap. Flattery and smiles are a part of this long con, but this girl was consistent. That is what got me. She treated everybody the same. Same indifference, same personality, same attitude, same love, same kindness. And, because of that she shone. Like a diamond.
SNAP TO BLACK
Footnotes: a young woman gets a business degree from UTech in 2010 and after graduating she immediately gets a job in a bank. She knows that she is lucky. She is there for four years. She complains that living in Kingston is expensive and the company it seems, is not keen on giving promotions; she is living from hand to mouth. Luckily, she does not have student loans so she manages to save for a plane ticket to the US to stay with family. In a little over a year, after she gets a small job, she sends down papers for her father to sign. She is getting married to ‘keep her stay.’ So, the other day I was reading a WordPress post from, ShaffieCTV about Millenial struggles and on the same day the documents come, and everything just hit me hard: weh degree a goh in deez times? The filter getting narrower and it is just adapt or die. And I think it hit me especially hard because she is my blood, my sister… Jah know. It real, man. It real.
[cover art by: Francoise Nielly]