Music. One room with loft. A fire is visible in the wood stove. On floor on rugs sits a woman with a guitar and notebook and pen. She plays, working on a song which sincs with opening music. In a small bed to the right is a boy obviously ill and asleep, sweat on his forehead. Sitting on the edge of the bed is a girl, older than the boy, who watches him and brushes his hair back and cuts shapes from paper with scissors. In rear center of room is a door, and there is an open space in room to left. As music fades, woman speaks.
Woman: How is he?
Girl: He hasn’t moved.
Woman: Don’t worry. He’ll be alright.
Girl: Mom, what do you want to be? I mean, people always say I’m gonna be this or that when I grow up, so what are you?
Woman: I’m a dreamer.
Girl: But you write poems and play guitar and you’re our mom.
Woman: Yeah, but I’m really a dreamer. That’s my job. And you’ll see, you’ll hear people say “Don’t be a dreamer” or “He’s just a dreamer” or “She’s just a dreamer” or “That’s just a dream” like there’s something wrong with it. It’s almost like when you come to some amazing forest with a magical spring that’s covered with no trespassing signs or “Warning—No Trespassing Without Written Permission,” well, you know who writes the permission?
Woman: You do. You say, I’m gonna be a dreamer. I’m gonna be a good dreamer and find out what’s in that forest, cause dreams are where everything begins. You just have to pay attention to them. What did you dream last night?
Girl: I dreamed I swam to the island. But it was hard, like crazy hard, and things didn’t make sense. Things were different like the shore had houses that were like out in the water, and the water was like music or full of music, and I kept stopping and standing up—I’d say: “There’s no music in water. Stop that!” It was shallow all the way out so that’s why I could stand up.
Woman: Were you you?
Girl: Like you mean…what?
Woman: Were you the you you think of yourself as, like did you look the same?
Girl: I think I was older. I think I had different memories.
Woman: Like a character in a book. Like a story about yourself but you changed it.
Woman: You wanna make up a story?
Woman: Alright. Once upon a time—
Girl: You can’t say that!
Girl: Cause I wanna say it.
Woman: Ha. Alright.
Girl: Once upon a whole bunch of water that kept being music and wouldn’t stop.
Woman: Ha. Ha. Alright. Alright. Once upon a whole bunch of water that kept being music and wouldn’t stop, a girl who loved music swam. The music was in her eyes and the music was in her hair, and she could swallow a whole bunch of music if she let herself, and if she breathed in and lay on her back the music-water held her higher than regular water could, that is if the pitch was higher, and she realized that music and water both can have pitch. Ok, go ahead.
Girl: Soooo…she wanted to go to the island and spend the night all alone. She really wanted to scare herself and read a book by a fire and eat sausages. She really wanted to scare herself but maybe not. She was gonna end up getting really scared but she didn’t want to. That’s why she swam out to the island. But then a big green fish came from the other side of the lake and coughed a few times like this: “Carrgh! Carrgh! Bubble! Bubble!” and then it said: (she looks at woman)
Woman: Alright. Alright. It said: “Oh, my god, every time I stick my head out of the water I’m just surrounded by music. I can’t stand it. That’s why I stay in the water all the time. All this air-music stuff is gonna drive me crazy. How can you handle it? Like right now. I feel like I’m standing in some crazy orchestra!” and the green fish dived beneath the water and came back on the other side of her with its fins over its ears.
Girl: I knew you were gonna say that.
Woman: You did?
Girl: Yeah. I knew you were gonna try to teach me something.
Woman: I guess I was. Ok, so what then? Wait, I think your father’s outside.
(A man opens the door and steps in)
Man: I don’t know how to say this…but…I found one of the cranes down by the lake. I found it just laying there on the sand. It must have died just yesterday. It’s so beautiful.
Woman: Oh, the crane. Did you bring it? Maybe we should bring it in.
Man: I was thinking that, too. I thought that right away when I found it. (Stepping over to bed and touching boy) How is he?
Girl: He hasn’t moved.
Woman: He’s gonna be alright.
Man: Maybe we should pack everything and try to drive to the hospital.
Woman: I don’t know. I think we should give him more time. I don’t know. If we go to the hospital…I don’t know. I think we should give him more of a chance.
(Man goes outside and comes back with the crane and brings it to where the woman sits)
Girl: Oh, the beautiful crane. (Leaving boy and touching it as man holds it and then gently puts it down in front of woman together)
Woman: It’s so beautiful.
Man: Look how wide it’s wings are.
Girl: Which one do you think it is, the one that danced or the one that sang?
Man: I was thinking it was the one that danced cause, look, there’s that spot on its neck.
Girl: It was so funny on the beach when they danced and sang for us.
Woman: It was morning, remember? And the water was so cold, but the sand was so hot.
Man: And they both stopped and looked at us, remember?
Woman: And then they did another dance. And then they just flew away across the water to the island. It was like their big exit.
Girl: I wonder what happened to the other one?
Man: I don’t know. It’s autumn so maybe it’s just flying.
Woman: Flying and thinking about its friend. And they fly so high. Flying so high and looking down at the world.
Girl: It must be crying.
Woman: And someone working in the garden or cutting wood in the forest and a crane tear falling on their face.
Girl: Or on a flower.
Man: And you’d never know it was a crane tear. You’d think it was dew or rain or sap from a tree.
(They sit around the crane and touch it and music which had faded earlier begins to rise. Man and girl step into open area and woman begins to play and sing to music as man and girl dance. During dance, boy rises from bed and joins dance, but before song ends he returns to bed and resumes his immobile position. As song ends, everyone is solemnly still for a moment)
Man: Hey, let’s go row out and put the crane on the island. (To woman:) Will you be alright here?
Woman: I think so.
(Man and girl silently put on coats, together pick up crane and depart)
(Woman sits thoughtfully and hums and strums a piece of her song and writes something in notebook, and as she does suddenly the boy raises himself a little and shifts and breathes deeply as if in more of a contented sleep than a deep illness as woman turns and looks on, and with emotional relief, drops her face into her hands)