The sun streams down on coastal North Carolina. We see QUINN, age 21, sitting on the picnic table staring intently at the basketball court she spent her childhood playing on. Her brown hair is blowing in the breeze and her blue eyes are reflecting the sunlight. She is holding a mangled and tattered piece of paper; colored yellow from the months of wear. In the background the cattails and saw grass wave in the wind, sun reflecting off the water like a spotlight. The trees tower above, acting as a prison, not allowing her to escape the memories of her past. The court, barren and desolate owns the memories of her father ALEX and the heartbreak that was hers in the past two years. All too sudden, her cell phone rings, instantly shattering the silence and whisking her back to reality. Away from the memories, away from the images of she and him laughing and playing like best friends. She roots through her purse violently, still startled from the sudden ringing. She looks at the screen with a look of annoyance plastered across her face. She ignores the call, not ready to be taken away from the solace of her childhood. She still holds the letter in her hand. She never had the courage to read it. It has been years since she had been here, back at her childhood home, and, still, she wasn’t sure if she was ready for the instantaneous crash of remembrances. With a look of desperation and sorrow on her face, it is time. She places her fingers on the either side of the envelope, staring at the bluntly written ‘Q’ on the outside. She begins to tear up at the thought of her father—so loving, funny, and kindhearted, and just like that, gone. The sky a brilliant blue with streams of orange and purple light beginning along the horizon; she looks up at it as if she is searching for some sort of answer. We see her draw in a sharp, intoxicating breath of salty air and begin to tear. Suddenly, she sees LUCAS out of the corner of her eye advancing toward her. He is a handsome man; he is dressed in brown khaki shorts, light blue polo, and brown leather flip-flops. She meets his gaze and feels at ease, the weight of the moment slipping away. She melts into his arms, but something feels different, wrong. She says nothing and only a car passing by breaks the silence between them. She places the letter in her pocket. Though he knows about her father, he is unaware of the unique bond the two shared over the years, no matter how hard he tries to convince her that he understands. They both turn and begin walking toward the car. She turns back to the house and for a fleeting moment, contemplates her life, but, alas, she shuffles
her feet and turns back to the car where LUCAS is waiting impatiently. They arrive at her mother’s house in time for supper. The house is quaint with grey siding and a white front door and shutters. The grass is overgrown and the plants are scorched. Her mother’s white Jeep Cherokee rests in the gravel driveway. Since his death, QUINN and her mother, LEXI, have become very close. As they sit and eat on the deck, the invigorating smell of the salt marsh instantly calms her; a look of contentment on her face says it all. The conversation ceases and LUCAS and QUINN retire to their bedroom in silence. We see Lucas solemnly saunter up the stairs and into the bedroom; the bedroom is nice, a queen size bed sits against the wall and is accompanied by a cherry-stained dresser, nightstand and desk. It is the furniture from Quinn’s childhood bedroom. He sits on the bed and holds his head in his hands. He is unhappy in the relationship, apparent from his facial expression. He wants out, but doesn’t know how to do it. Quinn enters the room and sits on the bed next to him, resting her head on his shoulder. He moves away. With his back to her, he tells her he is breaking up with her. She is heartbroken and shouting, yet somewhere within her, she is relieved. Lucas turns his back and begins walking away without hesitation. Quinn reaches for him, they briefly lock eyes, as if reliving their time together, but it is a fleeting moment that ends just as quickly as it begins. She turns to the bed and lies down knowing as she closes her eyes, her mind will take her back to her childhood, the only time she ever felt truly comfortable and happy. She closes her eyes and we hear the sound of her father’s gentle voice—calming her, soothing her just as he did when she was a child. She wakes the next morning to the pervading smell of blueberry muffins in the oven. She enters, the sun filling the room giving everything a brilliant yellow glow, making everything seem happy. The light through the window strikes the left side of her face—making her appear more alive than she has in years. She is wearing a gray and white striped pajama pants and a white tank top. She wears a Livestrong bracelet on her right wrist as remembrance of her father. Her mother is on the patio with a cup of coffee in hand. Quinn walks over to the counter and pours herself a cup. She walk out and joins her mother. LEXI asks about LUCAS and they engage in deep conversation about her relationship with him and how, somewhere within her, she knows it is the best thing for her. Her mother asks her about the letter and Quinn tells her about yesterday and her visit to their old house. Her mother is silent but steady and unnerving
as they begin a nostalgic conversation about ALEX and his unwavering light that always surrounded him. QUINN leaves the house and begins the painful drive back to the house. She feels that is the only place she should open the letter. We see her get out of her car and walk around to the back yard. She walks slowly as the breeze off the creek sifts through her hair. She follows the worn stepping-stones to the back yard and sits on the bench next to the basketball court. The lines are faded and worn and the backboard is cracked and dismantled. It breaks her heart to see such a fundamental place of her life in shambles and it is seen distinctly on her face. She bites her lip to stop the tears. She holds the envelope with her fingers, shaking slightly. She is unwavering in her decision and proceeds to slide her finger underneath the seal. It suddenly hits her that her father was once holding this very envelope, anticipating this very moment when QUINN would gain the courage to read his eloquent, loving words. She carefully slides the paper out and unfolds the pages one by one. She reads the words brusquely written by her father. She bites her lip once more, but this time it does not help. Tears begin to fall as her years of defenses finally fall, allowing herself to feel again. We hear a narration, ALEX’s voice; a deep voice, strong in its convictions begins. He speaks of his life and the lessons that he has learned over the years. The wonderful gift he was given on the day of her birth and the incredible relationship that is being forced to end so soon. He writes of his illness and how happy he is living his last 6 months at home with his girls. He expresses his desire for her to never settle for anything less than what she deserves and to never stop pursuing her dreams. He tells her to find a man who loves her for who she is and truly knows her. Alex continues to speak about life and what he wants for his daughter—though he won’t be there to walk her down the aisle, he wants her to be so in love that the rest of the world ceases to exist. Much like the world didn’t exist when he and LEXI were together. Alex mentions Quinn’s high school boyfriend and best friend AIDAN and expresses his appreciation and approval for the man that Quinn swore she would marry one day. He ends the letter with the three words he always said led him to her mother: follow your heart. In that moment, Quinn collapses with her head in her hands and sobs uncontrollably; we see her back heave up and down with each
sob. Her gaze meets the horizon. Sunset at this house, in this very spot, was her fatherâ€™s favorite time of day. It was as if he was here with her. She folded the pages and put them back in the envelope. She sat, silent, reflecting on the words he had written to her. The thought of her father approving of the boy she fell in love with and let go broke her heart. She finds herself thinking about AIDAN and the many nights they spent together in high school. He was genuine and sweet and loved every single thing about her. She loved everything about him, and, in that moment of reflection, she realizes she still loves everything about him. It has been a year since they have spoken and QUINN, in a desperate attempt to fulfill her fatherâ€™s wishes, briskly walks toward her car, black with black leather interior, the car her father drove for most of his life, she has the letter in hand, she is following her heart.