The Big C
Taking Lumps

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Unhealthy Competition

Paul's incensed. Sean can stay in the house, but he can't. The fact that he's sleeping in the yard will only console him if it starts to rain.

"Help me out here. I love him, and I'm worried about him."

What a husband should do, Paul says, is protect his wife from the things that upset her. "Imagine if somebody was making me feel like a nervous wreck every second of every day!" The punchline, once again, is Cathy. She can't rise to the bait, because of Lenny, so she actually hears him.

"I'm sorry, Paul. I'm trying. I really am."

He thanks her, for trying. He hates her for not trying hard enough.

"I can still smell you on me," Lenny says, smiling. He can see it on her face.

"I don't know what I was thinking. I don't do this. I don't have sex with guys I barely know. In classrooms. Or behind stages. I'm married." Lenny knows this. Knew it. Would be more bothered by it if it kept her from him.

"I can't cheat on my husband. I mean, he's not a perfect guy, but he's a good guy. He would never think of doing this to me, and now I've done that to him. And I don't want to be that woman, and now I'm that woman. I want to be better than that woman."

Lenny smiles. "I don't want to be the bloke to make you feel like that woman." It's not the way he sees her, with his painter's eye.

"I hope I didn't hurt your feelings. I hope it's not presumptuous of me to say that."

Cathy Jamison keeps talking, until her engine spins down, and she thinks of what she can say. Men need so much. Truth:

"I don't have a lot to compare it to, but you... You have a great... Um. Unit."

Cathy blushes, and Lenny laughs. And should she ever need anything -- a conversation, coffee, a bloke with a big unit -- she says she'll call. Their last moments are soft, and sweet. Andrea watches them, from the hallway.

Do you want to learn about history? Sometimes things that are broken can't be fixed with anything but time. They just tape them up. So tape them up.

Sean sits at his sister's dining room table, before him a plate from the set she ordered long ago, piled high with weeds and grasses. There are more supernutrients in his lunch, he explains hotly, than in any of her yuppie salad bars. "And they're not marinated in the sweat of uninsured farm workers."

But surely Sean, surely righteous Sean with his indignation, his sure compass, surely Sean has seen the unfairness of the world and railed against it? Seen a better, stronger pattern? Surely Sean knows how to fight this fight, and go on fighting. If she can make him complain, he'll tell her a secret.

"It's just not fair that you're innocently sleeping and someone beats you up."

A lilt at the end, like an unanswered question: An innocent, sleeping, and the world crashes in. He'll get angry at the unfair universe, go to battle for her. He knows this enemy.

"Shit happens," shrugs Sean. "Life's not fair."

"But don't you at least want to believe that it can be?"

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The Big C

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