The Grass Is Always Greener

The Grass Is Always Greener

A Screenplay by MissJE1994

Jodie & Caitlyn have gone different ways since school. A chance encounter reveals that they both have what the other wants, and they discover that different lives can still throw up similar problems.

Note - Before anyone reads this, I have to admit that it isn't the best. It was written in a hurry in less than an hour because I found out about a competition that was closing the next day and I was about to go on holiday, so sorry in advance and please don't judge me too harshly.

JODIE, a young girl in her early twenties, is seated by herself examining her nails. She isn't comfortable with being there and constantly rearranges the position of her hands in agitation. She isn't wearing makeup and her bare face is pale and tired. CAITLYN, an equally worn out looking girl of a similar age, enters pushing a pram and looking angrily behind her.
CAITLYN: You move from there and I swear there'll be hell to pay when daddy finds out.
She sighs angrily and sits down opposite JODIE, rocking the pram. She leans forward and picks up a magazine from the table in front of her, flicking through it briefly before putting it back down.
CAITLYN: Always the same old z listers in these eh?
JODIE smiles before looking back down at her nails. CAITLYN'S phone starts ringing and she takes it out of her pocket and answers it.
CAITLYN: (On phone) Hello? Mmm, yeah we just got here, there'll probably be a wait though, you know what it's like. Yeah, well, Ryan's been a little s**t all day, same old, I told him you'll be having words when you get home. Yeah, alright, yeah I will. Bye.
CAITLYN ends the call and puts the phone back in her pocket. She watches JODIE fidgeting, staring at her intently, her head on one side. JODIE feels CAITLYN'S eyes on her and looks up, frowning.
CAITLYN: Sorry, I just really recognise you from somewhere.
JODIE stares back, smiling uncomfortably at CAITLYN.
CAITLYN: What's your name?
JODIE: Jodie.
CAITLYN: Jodie, Jodie Baxter?
JODIE looks taken aback.
JODIE: Yeah, how did you...
CAITLYN: Caitlyn Carver, I used to sit behind you in Maths.
JODIE: (Smiling) Oh my god, yeah I remember you now. You look different.
CAITLYN: Older? I feel like I've aged about a hundred years since school.
JODIE shakes her head politely.
JODIE: No, just different.
CAITLYN laughs.
CAITLYN: Small world eh?
JODIE smiles and shakes her head.
JODIE: Just my luck eh?
CAITLYN: What d'you mean?
JODIE: Just that, I've been psyching myself up into coming here for weeks, I didn't wanna see anyone I knew.
CAITYLN: Is it a bit personal then?
JODIE looks away.
CAITLYN: Sorry, it's none of my business.
JODIE: (Turning back to CAITLYN) No it's not that, it's just... Oh I feel stupid.
CAITLYN: You don't have to feel stupid. It might help to talk to someone, someone your own age I mean. I'm not gonna tell anyone, I don't see anyone to tell.
JODIE takes a deep breath.
JODIE: I haven't been sleeping. I've come to ask the doctor for some tablets.
CAITLYN: Why d'you think you're not sleeping? Are you worrying about something?
JODIE: Everything. Nothing. I think too much. Oh god, I'm sorry, you don't need to hear all of this.
CAITLYN: Don't be stupid, I'm happy to listen.
JODIE: No you're just being polite. I never did know when to keep my mouth shut.
CAITLYN: Seriously, I don't mind listening. It makes a change for me to talk to another human during the day rather than snotty kids.
JODIE smiles.
CAITLYN: (Gently) Come on, what are you thinking too much about?
JODIE looks down at her lap, struggling to find the words.
JODIE: I think, I mean, it's so stupid but, I think about my life, about what I'm doing and, where I'm going. I'm twenty two and, I work in a shop ten hours a day, then I come home, watch the telly and go to bed. I still live with my parents, don't get me wrong we get on okay, but I'm desperate for my own space. I just feel like a kid. I've never had a proper boyfriend, I haven't even had sex. When I was twelve I used to think about where I'd be in ten years time, I was pretty optimistic, I never imagined that absolutely nothing would've changed. I just feel so, sad, all the time. I miss the person I used to be, I miss feeling happy, but my dad just asks me what the hell I'm expecting from life, he says there isn't some brilliant life waiting round the corner, that only happens in the films, life is s**t and then you die, that's what he says, but, it can't be normal to feel like this surely? I've never had high expectations for my life, all I've ever really wanted is a boyfriend and kids.
She wipes her eyes, still looking at her lap. CAITLYN is staring at her, taking in what she has just heard. Eventually JODIE looks up to meet CAITLYN'S eyes.
JODIE: Oh god, I'm so sorry for going on like that, I don't know what came over me, you're shocked aren't you?
CAITLYN: Don't be silly, I think you should've done that a long time ago. Listen Jodie, do you, do you think you might be suffering from depression?
JODIE looks appalled.
JODIE: No of course not, I can't be I mean, I'm me.
CAITLYN raises her eyebrows then leans forwards towards JODIE.
CAITLYN: Jodie listen, you said all you really wanted was a boyfriend and kids, well that's my life and, honestly, it's not all it's cracked up to be.
JODIE looks surprised.
CAITLYN: Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but they weren't planned, and the timing certainly wasn't right. I was eighteen when I got pregnant with Ryan, I was still at school, and me and my boyfriend hadn't been together all that long. My mum told me to move out and in with him, said we needed to learn to stand on our own two feet if we were bringing a kid into the world...
JODIE: That's not very supportive.
CAITLYN: I understand why she did it though, it did force me to grow up, quicker than I was ready to. Make the most of having your parents right there while you can Jodie, cos I really miss mine, sometimes I'd give anything to be living with them again. Now I'm in a grotty flat above the chip shop on Pentland Road with two screaming kids. You'd think I'd have learnt my lesson after the first time but no, Ryan was barely even three when we found out Mason was on the way. So that's my life now, cooking, cleaning, changing dirty nappies, sometimes I wish I just had a bit of time to be me again.
JODIE: I've got too much time to be me, it's overrated believe me.
CAITLYN: And so is being a mum that's what I'm trying to say, you've got your freedom Jodie, you can go out and do whatever you want.
JODIE: There's a fine line between freedom and loneliness.
CAITLYN sighs irritably, aware that she isn't getting her point across.
JODIE: Forget I said anything, I hardly know you I don't know what I was thinking.
CAITLYN looks at JODIE for a moment before picking up a magazine and beginning to read it. JODIE watches her, agitatedly biting her nails as she tries to think of a way to restart the conversation.
JODIE: So why're you here then? Who's ill?
CAITLYN: (Keeping her head buried in the magazine) Well I'm constantly knackered but there's no cure for that is there?
JODIE waits for CAITLYN to say more. When it becomes apparent that she isn't going to JODIE tries a different approach.
JODIE: Hey come on, fair's fair, I've just laid myself bare to you, don't make me look like an idiot by not returning the favour.
CAITLYN looks at JODIE over the magazine before putting it back on the table.
CAITLYN: I want Ryan looked at.
JODIE looks enquiringly at CAITLYN who can't quite meet her eye.
CAITLYN: I've got no control over him, he does whatever he likes, he's violent, he's out in the doorway at the moment on the naughty step, all I can do is threaten to tell his dad when he gets in, and even that doesn't seem to scare him anymore. I want him tested for ADHD but, it's taken me ages to pluck up the courage to come here as well, cos I can just see the look on the doctor's face already, teen mum blaming everyone else for her crap parenting skills. Maybe that's the truth, maybe it is my fault.
JODIE: Course it's not.
CAITLYN: Reckon my boyfriend thinks so, I can tell by the looks he gives me sometimes. It's alright for him, he's never there, he works all the hours under the sun to keep a roof over our heads. Course his argument is that he's the one who does all the hard work and I'm the one who's got it easy, more fool him. That's all we ever seem to do these days, argue. Or talk about the kids. There's nothing there anymore, to be honest I don't think there ever was.
JODIE: Caitlyn, do you think that maybe you might be depressed?
CAITLYN: Don't be daft I haven't got the time.
JODIE: What about if you did take the time to concentrate on yourself for a change?
CAITLYN rubs her forehead, avoiding JODIE'S eyes.
CAITLYN: I'd better go and check on Ryan.
CAITLYN exits. JODIE sits on her hands, kicking her feet together, before standing up and leaning over the pram, smiling. She sits back down as CAITLYN enters.
CAITLYN: (Sitting down) He's eaten a worm apparently. It's no bloody wonder I'm depressed.
JODIE: So you admit that you are then?
CAITLYN looks surprised, realising what she has just said. Pause.
CAITLYN: Maybe. If you will.
JODIE: I'm not depressed Caitlyn, that's something that happens to other people.
JODIE'S voice cracks and CAITLYN jumps up to sit next to her, putting her arm around her.
CAITLYN: Never assume that it won't happen to you, I used to look down on young girls I saw in the street pushing prams. It could happen to anyone, but it's not your fault Jodie, it's an illness, and you've done the right thing coming here to get help. Now listen to me.
CAITLYN takes JODIE by the chin and turns her head to face her.
CAITLYN: Listen to me, when the doctor calls you, you go in there, and you tell him everything you've told me, don't hold anything back, okay, tell him everything that's going on in your head, and don't be ashamed, not for one second okay, because you've done nothing wrong, and this isn't something you can help.
JODIE looks CAITLYN in the eye, her own eyes welling up.
JODIE: Thank you.
JODIE bursts into tears and CAITLYN hugs her hard.
JODIE: (Crying) I just wanna feel like me again.
CAITLYN: I know, I know you do, and you will, okay, you will. Listen, you're twenty two, you're so young, you have your whole life ahead of you, and you have everything to live for. I sound like all the worst cliches in the world right now but I'm gonna say it anyway, let the medicine help you, go out and grab life with both hands, live life to the full, take risks, just go for it Jode, bloody go for it, be young and free and careless and do all the things I wish I could've done.
JODIE looks at CAITLYN, rubbing her eyes.
JODIE: You need help too Caitlyn.
CAITLYN: No, no I don't. Because, listen, I have just given you a whole list of reasons why you have a wonderful life, so the fact is, there's no reason for you to feel as miserable as you do, which means you're depressed, you're ill, because you're sad for no reason. But you can't give me a similar talk can you? Because I can't be young, free and careless, I've got my life mapped out for me now, and at twenty two years old, that is a bit sad, so I'm miserable because I've got a reason to be, not because I'm ill.
JODIE pulls away from CAITLYN, shaking her head.
JODIE: No, that's not right, that's not a resolution is it? 
CAITLYN opens her mouth to speak but JODIE shakes her head and puts her hands on her shoulders.
JODIE: Shush, it's my turn now, don't talk just listen. You should be so proud of yourself, you're doing what a lot of people your age couldn't, you're raising a family, and you are doing a brilliant job. No kid is perfect, so you stop beating yourself up about Ryan okay? You go in there and you tell the doctor everything, tell him what it's like on a daily basis, tell him how hard you're trying, because nobody could possibly say you don't care, of course you do, you clearly do, and once you've told him everything about Ryan, you tell him how you're feeling, because Caitlyn you might think you're unimportant, but you're not, you deserve to be cared about, and I think you are ill, and I think if you got something from the doctor, it might help you to feel a bit more positive about your own situation.
CAITLYN stares at JODIE, trying to take in everything she has just said, before standing up and returning to her original seat. She picks up the magazine and continues reading.
JODIE: (Frowning) What're you doing?
CAITLYN: (Not looking up) Just finishing this story.
JODIE: I thought you said they were all z listers?
CAITLYN ignores her. Pause.
JODIE: Burying your head in the sand isn't going to solve anything. I listened to you, you owe me the same surely?
CAITLYN puts the magazine on the table. She is crying. JODIE bites her lip worriedly.
JODIE: Caitlyn I'm sorry, I didn't mean t...
CAITLYN: (Crying) Took a turn didn't it, this conversation?
JODIE nods sadly.
JODIE: Once I started talking to you about it I just couldn't stop.
CAITLYN: Me neither, a lot can change in a few minutes eh? I feel like I've bonded with you more since I came in than I ever have with my boyfriend. You know, you're the first person who's actually taken an interest in me the person since before I had Ryan.
JODIE: Yeah well, for someone who's so miserable with their own life that was one hell of an uplifting speech you gave me.
CAITLYN: I could say the same about you. Shame we can't put that level of positiity into our own lives eh?
JODIE: It's a bit like that film Freaky Friday isn't it? Maybe if we tried a day or two in each others' lives we might appreciate our own a bit more.
CAITLYN smiles.
CAITLYN: Nah, like your dad says, that only happens in the films, this is real life.
They are both silent for a minute, wondering where to go from here.
CAITLYN: Have you tried Tinder?
JODIE snorts.
JODIE: You must be joking, I said I wanted a boyfriend not a casual f**k.
CAITLYN: They can't all be like that on there, and it doesn't have to be Tinder, just any website, online dating's really popular now.
JODIE: Maybe you should try it as well then.
CAITLYN laughs.
JODIE: No I'm serious, if the kids are the only thing keeping you and your boyfriend together, maybe you should get away.
CAITLYN: Come off it, where would I go?
JODIE: Back to your mum's? She couldn't turn you away Caitlyn, you're her daughter, and if you talked to her like you've been talking to me...
CAITLYN: Look I can't just overhaul my entire life just like that. I'll talk to the doctor, about how I'm feeling, that's a start isn't it?
JODIE nods, smiling.
JODIE: Yeah, it's a start. 
CAITLYN: And you?
CAITLYN: Will you take my advice?
JODIE bites her lip, looking thoughtful for a minute before nodding.
JODIE: I suppose that's the first step isn't it? I mean I can't be helped if I don't want to help myself.
CAITLYN: Exactly, and we'll take that first step together.
JODIE: I never liked you in school you know.
CAITLYN: (Laughing) Thanks.
JODIE: Oh you know what I mean, you were so loud and confident with all your makeup, maybe I was intimidated by you.
CAITLYN: No chance of that now.
JODIE: No, but only because we've both grown up. Caitlyn, I really am glad I met you here today.
CAITLYN: Yeah I am too. Hey, give me your number.
CAITLYN and JODIE both take their phones out of their pockets.
CAITLYN: I don't really have the time to go on Facebook much these days and I don't do Instagram and that.
JODIE: (Smiling) We'll have to stick to good old fashioned texting then eh?
CAITLYN smiles.
JODIE: 07061210258.
CAITLYN taps away on her phone for a moment before JODIE'S phone beeps and she looks at it.
JODIE: I always do that, when you're swapping numbers and you get a text, I always forget it'll obviously be the person I'm swapping numbers with.
CAITLYN laughs.
CAITLYN: Idiot. Listen I don't really feel like it much now but, I was thinking we could maybe go out somewhere in a couple of weeks? I mean right now the idea terrifies me, Ryan'd be a little b*****d and I'd just end up wanting to cry, but maybe if the doctor can help we might both be getting on a bit better so, anyway it was just an idea.
JODIE: No it's a good idea, I'd like that. I mean I don't much feel like it right now either but like you say, the doctor might have been able to help a little bit by then.
CAITLYN nods, smiling.
CAITLYN: Okay maybe, three weeks from now? We could even just go for a walk in the park, compare notes, see if either of us have made any improvements?
JODIE nods.
CAITLYN: But, we can't give up if either of us still feel the same right? It's a marathon, not a sprint.
JODIE: Yeah, good word, a marathon not a sprint.
CAITLYN: I heard someone say it on the telly the other day, that's all.
JODIE: Well I won't tell anyone. Listen Caitlyn, we'll try and do this together yeah, I mean, you can always talk to me now, if there's no one else.
CAITLYN: Same for you Jodie.
JODIE: Thank you.
CAITLYN goes over to JODIE and hugs her.
CAITLYN: (Pulling away) Thank you for today.
JODIE: No thank you for today.
CAITLYN: Fingers crossed for the future eh?
JODIE: Fingers crossed for the future. Hey did you hear that on the telly as well?
CAITLYN: No, that one came from the heart.
JODIE smiles and hugs CAITLYN.

© 2017 MissJE1994

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Added on September 10, 2017
Last Updated on September 10, 2017
Tags: Mental Health, Depression, Life, Future, Goals, Children, Boyfriends, Adults, Young, 22, Listen, Help, Doctor, Hope



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