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Where or When?

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Harry and Sally ten years later

Where or When?

by King-Al

FADE IN:

INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT

Harry and Sally sit across from each other in a restaurant. It is not the fanciest restaurant, but nice nonetheless. They wear nice clothing. Their meals sit before them. A comfortable silence looms around them as they eat for a moment.

HARRY

You know what Jacob asked me before we left?

SALLY

What?

HARRY

He looks up at me and asks, “Daddy, what is the meaning of a good life?”

SALLY

(laughing)

He did not say that.

HARRY

He did. There I was, trying to get him and the girls ready for the babysitter, and he hits me with that. He’s six.

SALLY

Seven.

HARRY

He‘s seven.

SALLY

What did you tell him?

HARRY

Nothing. He ran off to play with his Game Boy. It was like Aristotle’s ghost possessed his little body and then exited before I could react.

SALLY

What would you have told him?

HARRY

It’s not like I lie awake thinking about these things, Sally.

He pauses and thinks about what he might say.

HARRY (CONT'D)

I don’t know. I guess maybe I would have told him something like: Are you fed? Are you kept clean? Are you loved? And If he says yes to all three of those things, which he would, then, I’d say, that is what it means to have a good life.

SALLY

It‘s a little more complicated than that.

HARRY

Yeah, but he doesn’t know that. He’s seven. All he really cares about is Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! 

Sally laughs, and then takes a few bites of her food. Harry sits and stares at her.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Helen called me.

SALLY

(with slight disgust)

Helen from PTA? God, every time I drop Erin and Jacob off, she’s there hounding the other moms to sign up for her bake sale. Is that why she called?

HARRY

No, not that Helen. Helen, Helen.

SALLY

As in your ex wife Helen?

HARRY

Yeah.

SALLY

Why didn’t you tell me?

HARRY

I am telling you.

SALLY

Well, when did she call?

HARRY

Yesterday. She remembered my number from the office.

SALLY

What did she want?

HARRY

She says she’ll be in the city next week and she wanted to know if I would have lunch with her.

SALLY

What’d you tell her?

HARRY

I told her I’m a happily married man, madly in love with my wife. And she is the only woman I would ever have lunch with.

SALLY

What‘d you tell her really?

HARRY

Well, I did say I was married. She remembered you. And I told her about the kids. But I also agreed to have lunch with her.

He pauses, searching for any change in her demeanor. Sally shifts, but remains silent.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Look, if you don’t want me to go, I won’t go. I’ll call and cancel.

SALLY

No. No, of course you should go.

HARRY

Really?

SALLY

Yes. She was your wife. You spent five years with her. And she left you so abruptly. You deserve that closure.

HARRY

So, it’s okay?

SALLY

Of course it’s okay.

He pauses, weary of her words.

HARRY

Are you sure?

SALLY

Harry, you’re a grown man. You can have lunch with whoever you please.

HARRY

Okay, okay. If you’re sure.

SALLY

I’m sure.

They continue their dinner in silence, though the atmosphere around them is less comfortable.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREETS OF NEW YORK - NIGHT

Harry and Sally are walking home from dinner. The night air is cold and the wind is harsh. Sally moves close to him. They stop to kiss. Harry’s hands roam. It lasts for a moment before Sally pulls away.

SALLY

Oh, Harry, no.

HARRY

Why not?

SALLY

Lily hasn‘t been wanting to sleep in her own bed lately. And I don’t want her waking up and catching us in the act.

HARRY

If she comes in, we’ll pay for her therapy.

Sally pauses, and then steps off to hail a cab.

HARRY (CONT'D)

We’ll go in our bathroom. Lock the door. Dem the lights. Light some candles. Let the faucet run a little.

SALLY

You’re always the hopeless romantic.

A yellow cab pulls up and Harry opens the door. Sally steps in.

HARRY

All right. Forget it. You‘re just gonna fake it, anyway.

Harry follows her inside.

SALLY

(laughing)

I will not.

FADE TO BLACK.

FADE IN.

INT. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN - EVENING

Harry and Jess sit together, watching the New York Knicks play the Golden State Warriors. Harry has two of his children, Erin and Jacob, beside him. Jess has his two daughters, Alexis and Holly, next to him. The crowd around them cheers as the Knicks score. Harry and Jess are too focused on their conversation to fully celebrate.

JESS

So, then what happens?

HARRY

So, we get home. She’s completely forgotten about the whole Helen thing. One thing leads to another and we‘re in our room, you know, fooling around.

Harry stops, then turns to his kids.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Don‘t repeat what daddy says, all right?

Harry turns back to Jess.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Then the baby wakes up. She comes to our room sobbing. We ask her, “Lily, honey, what’s the matter?” Her stuffed bear is missing. Sally put it in with a load before we left for dinner and forgot about it. We tried every other toy in the house to console her. Even her favorite Barbie doll, the one with the missing leg. Nothing. She wants that specific bear. She can’t fall back to sleep without it. A bear she didn’t even know existed until yesterday, but it was soaked. There was nothing we could do. Eventually, after about an hour or so, she falls asleep in our bed between us. I turn to Sally and I say, “Let’s try again tomorrow night.” And you know what she says? She says, “Why bother?” Why bother.

The Warriors score and the crowd around them boos.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Maybe we’ll have better luck when the kids are back in school.

JESS

At least your wife still wants to have sex with you.

Harry turns to his kids again.

HARRY

Kids, don’t repeat what your Uncle Jess is saying, either.

The Knicks score again and the crowd cheers. They remain seated.

JESS

I don’t know how long it’s been for Marie and I.

HARRY

What do you mean? You just go to bed and sleep? You don’t even try?

ERIN

Dad, can we have money to buy hotdogs?

Harry pulls cash out from his pocket as his kids stand.

HARRY

Okay, but stay together. Don't talk to strangers.

JESS

Hey, girls, go with them. Get whatever you want.

Jess hands money off to his own kids and together the kids shuffle their way toward the concession stand.

HARRY

And come back with change. I know how much I gave you.

Harry watches the kids ascend the steps before turning back to Jess.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Maybe that’s your problem. You don’t try anymore.

JESS

I try.

The Knicks score again. The crowd around them goes wild.

JESS (CONT'D)

What I do is I place my hand on her back. You know, maybe rub it a little. She used to turn over and we’d start… you know. But now she just shrugs it off and tells me she isn’t in the mood. She’s never in the mood.

HARRY

You call that trying, Jess? You rub her back a little and expect her to open her legs for you? That’s your problem right there.

JESS

That’s our signal. What do you do with Sally?

The timer goes off and the people around them settle as halftime begins.

HARRY

I‘ll kiss her neck a little. Maybe squeeze her butt. Sometimes she just wants me to hold her for a little while before I start making any moves on her. But that’s after I’ve worked my way up to it.

Harry pauses. He sees the kids returning with their food.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Maybe start by taking her out to dinner. Or take her dancing. You know, women like dancing. Do something to remind her that she loves making love to you. And then you can try doing the thing with your hand.

CUT TO:

INT. CLOTHING STORE - EVENING

Sally and Marie talk together while looking at clothes on display. Lily, Sally’s young daughter, is running around near them. Sally keeps a watchful eye On her.

MARIE

I hate him. I mean, I love him, but I really hate him.

SALLY

Maybe that’s just how it is. We’re always meant to love and hate our husbands simultaneously. It’s an endless cycle.

MARIE

Yeah, well it’s been more hate than love lately.

Lily wanders a little too far.

SALLY

Lily, come back here, sweetie. Stay with mommy.

Lily skips her way back to her mother. And they continue looking at clothes.

MARIE

You know, we started seeing a marriage counselor.

Sally stops. Marie continues looking at clothes.

SALLY

Really?

MARIE

Dr. Schafer. I found her name on the Subway next to a hemorrhoids ad.

Lily again wanders. Too distracted with Marie, Sally does not call her back.

SALLY

I didn‘t know things were that bad.

MARIE

You make it sound like a death sentence.

SALLY

Three months after Alice told us she and Gary were seeing a marriage counselor, she was looking for a divorce lawyer.

Sally looks over to see Lily near a group of women.

SALLY (CONT'D)

Lily, honey, come back to mommy.

Lily returns to her mother with little fuss. One of the women from the group catches Sally’s eye and goes up to Sally.

SALLY (CONT'D)

Sorry, she likes to explore.

AMANDA

Sally? Sally Albright?

SALLY

(confused)

Yes?

AMANDA

Amanda. Amanda Reese. From the University of Chicago.

It takes a moment for Sally to recognize her.

SALLY

Oh my god, Amanda. It’s been so long.

Sally and Amanda embrace.

SALLY (CONT'D)

Amanda, this is my friend, Marie. Marie, this is Amanda. We went to school together. God, that seemed forever ago.

Marie and Amanda shake hands. Marie gives Sally a knowing look.

MARIE

Hi.

Sally picks up Lily.

SALLY

And this little wanderer is Lily.

AMANDA

Hi, Lily.

Amanda tries to greet Lily, but she sinks into her mother’s arms.

AMANDA (CONT'D)

Wow, you look great. I haven’t seen you since…

SALLY

Since you were sending Harry off with me to New York.

AMANDA

(amused)

Oh, Harry! Harry Burns. I haven’t thought about that man in years. I wonder what he‘s doing now.

MARIE

Watching the Knicks play the Warriors over at Madison Square Garden is my safest bet.

Amanda looks at Marie in confusion. And then she turns back to Sally.

SALLY

I married him. Twelve years after you introduced us, actually.

A short pause.

SALLY (CONT'D)

It’s a long story.

FADE TO BLACK.

FADE IN:

EXT. STREETS OF NEW YORK - DAY

Harry and Sally are walking with their kids. Harry holds a present in his hands. Sally holds a bag full of chips. Their children are walking a few feet ahead of them.

HARRY

You saw her in Bloomingdale's?

SALLY

Yeah. I didn’t even recognize her.

HARRY

Well, she was a heavy smoker. That could have something do with it.

SALLY

Amanda never smoked.

HARRY

Not around you, maybe. But every time I was around her, she always had a cigarette. Is she married?

SALLY

Divorced.

HARRY

It seems like everyone we know is divorced or getting a divorce. Alice and Gary. Mark and Sidney. Even Helen told me she’s divorcing her husband.

SALLY

Ira?

HARRY

No, some other guy. I don’t know who.

SALLY

(with slight hesitation)

Marie and Jess are in counseling.

They stop at a house. The kids all walk up the steps near the door. Harry and Sally remain on the bottom step.

HARRY

What? Really? I knew they weren’t having sex, but I didn’t know it was that bad.

SALLY

You make it sound like a death sentence.

HARRY

Isn’t it?

They walk up the steps. Harry rings the doorbell.

SALLY

Don‘t tell Jess I told you. I promised Marie I wouldn‘t say anything.

HARRY

All right. I won’t say anything.

The door opens and a cheery Marie greets them. The kids all hurry inside. Harry and Sally’s demeanor changes quickly as they are welcomed inside.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Hey, where’s the birthday girl?

CUT TO:

INT. JESS AND MARIE’S LIVING ROOM - DAY

Harry, Sally, and Jess sit comfortably in the living room as a group of children run pass them and hurry into the next room. Marie enters shortly after.

MARIE

There‘s a few slices of cake left. Any takers?

SALLY

None for me, thanks.

HARRY

I’m all right. Is there any coffee left?

MARIE

No, but I’ll make more.

Marie looks at Jess.

MARIE (CONT'D)

What about you, hon?

JESS

I’ll take a slice.

MARIE

Okay. Coffee and cake coming right up.

Sally stands.

SALLY

I‘ll help.

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Marie is making coffee. Sally is slicing a piece of pink birthday cake.

SALLY

I can’t believe Alexis is ten already.

MARIE

I know. Double digits. Seems like only yesterday Jess and I were bringing her home from the hospital.

SALLY

I remember when we brought Erin home. Harry wouldn’t stop staring at her. He told me he had never seen anything so beautiful in his entire life. I hadn’t either.

Sally pauses for a moment, lost in that endearing memory.

MARIE

Do you ever think about having more?

SALLY

Oh, sometimes the thought pops up. But three is more than enough for Harry and I right now.

MARIE

Jess wants to try for a boy.

Marie moves to the cabinet to pull out two coffee mugs.

MARIE (CONT'D)

I ruin my figure to give him two gorgeous girls and he wants me to do it all over again on the 50/50 chance we have a son.

She brings the mugs over to the brewing coffee pot.

SALLY

You don’t want more kids?

MARIE

A baby sounds nice, I’ll be honest. But is it worth the mood swings and the extra fifty pounds? That I don’t know.

Marie pours coffee into the two mugs. And there is a moment of concentrated silence.

MARIE (CONT'D)

And Jess has some grandiose delusion that a new baby will make everything better. That we’ll go back to how we were. But the truth is, Sally, I don’t think we’ll ever be those people again.

They hear children laughing in the other room. And they are suddenly reminded why they are there.

MARIE (CONT'D)

I shouldn’t be talking about this today. Forget I said anything.

Sally remains silent. She watches as Marie exits with the coffee. She takes a moment to collect herself before following her out with the cake.

CUT TO:

INT. JESS AND MARIE’S LIVING ROOM - DAY

Harry and Jess are talking amongst themselves as Sally and Marie enter with coffee and cake. The group of kids run pass them into another room.

MARIE

(to kids)

Slow down. Don’t knock over any vases.

Sally hands Jess the plate of cake. Marie hands Harry coffee. Sally and Marie sit.

JESS

Hey, what are you guys doing for New Year’s?

HARRY

What we always do: sit at home, drink wine and watch old movies until we fall asleep.

MARIE

You should come out with us. It’ll be fun.

HARRY

Can‘t. Our babysitter’s out of town.

SALLY

You’re going out? Where?

JESS

Some party Downtown.

MARIE

Our neighbor’s daughter is coming over to watch the kids. She can watch yours too. It’s no trouble.

HARRY

All right.

SALLY

Oh, I don’t know.

(to Harry)

What about Lily? We’ll be out all night.

HARRY

We’ll be sure to bring whatever toy she wants so she can sleep through the night.

MARIE

Come on, Sally. It’ll be fun. How long has it been since we’ve gone out just the four of us?

HARRY

Not since the ‘80s.

CUT TO:

INT. HARRY AND SALLY’S BEDROOM - NIGHT

The clock reads 10 p.m. Harry and Sally sit beside each other in bed. Harry, on his side, is reading a book. Sally, on her side, is busy with her night time care routine. Harry, after a moment, flips to the end of his book and reads the end. When he finishes, he sets the book aside and observes his wife as she rubs lotion on her arms.

HARRY

You‘re a very attractive person.

Sally sets her lotion aside and snuggles close to Harry. They kiss.

SALLY

Even though my breasts hang lower than they used to? And my hair is starting to gray?

Harry sits up and observes his wife’s hair. The light is dem, but he sees no difference.

HARRY

Your hair is not turning gray.

SALLY

It is!

HARRY

No. You look perfect, honey. Just as I met you.

SALLY

Well, now I know you’re lying.

Harry teasingly searches Sally’s hair in search of any gray strands.

HARRY

Where is the gray, huh? I don’t see it.

SALLY

(laughing)

Right here.

Sally pushes back her hair and finds a few loose strands of hair. She looks at it for a moment before showing Harry. Harry squints at it, but still does not see anything unusual.

SALLY (CONT'D)

It‘s a little hard to see because of the lighting, but it’s there.

HARRY

This is not a gray hair. It’s just a different shade of blonde than the others.

SALLY

It‘s gray, Harry.

HARRY

Okay, fine. Fine. It’s gray, if you say it’s gray.

Harry kisses Sally on the lips. Sally deepens the kiss and he guides her down onto her pillow. They continue kissing for a moment before he pulls away.

HARRY (CONT'D)

But it’s not gray.

He lays next to her, and adjusts his position in a way that allows him to hold her. She snuggles close to him. They remain in a comfortable silence for a moment. Harry closes his eyes and breathes in Sally’s scent. Sally’s eyes remain open, her mind suddenly flooding with worry.

SALLY

Why is it that every fairytale ends with the couple living happily ever after? Real life doesn’t work like that.

HARRY

(tiredly)

If Beauty and the Beast ended with Beast eating Belle, every Girl Scout in America would revolt.

Sally is amused, despite herself. She can feel Harry’s breathing become heavy.

SALLY

Harry?

HARRY

Hm?

SALLY

Are you happy?

HARRY

Of course I’m happy. Why do you ask?

SALLY

Because I don‘t want to wake up one morning and discover we hate each other.

Harry opens his eyes, fully alert.

HARRY

This is because of Helen, isn’t it? I knew meeting her for lunch was a bad idea.

SALLY

No, Harry…

Harry sits up.

HARRY

I saw it in your eyes. I did. The second I told you about the phone call, I knew it would be a problem. You know what, I’m going to call her and cancel.

Sally pulls him back near her.

SALLY

Harry, this isn’t because Helen called you. This is about Marie and Jess.

HARRY

It's about Marie and Jess?

SALLY

Yes.

HARRY

Not Helen?

SALLY

No.

Harry relaxes. There is a long moment of silence before Harry continues.

HARRY

I didn‘t want to say anything, because Jess is my friend, but I always thought they moved a little too fast with everything. They met in February. Married in December. You have to know somebody for at least a year before committing to something as big as marriage.

SALLY

Well, not everybody waits twelve years.

HARRY

You know how long it took me to propose to Helen after we met?

SALLY

Six months.

HARRY

Six months. And that’s why it didn’t work out between us. I didn’t know her. She didn’t know me. We didn’t want to know each other.

They turn to face each other. Harry strokes her cheek.

HARRY

You‘re my best friend, Sally. I could never hate you.

Harry and Sally kiss, but they are quickly interrupted by a familiar crying. Harry and Sally sit up as Lily enters their room in tears. Sally looks at the clock. It reads: 10:25 p.m.

SALLY

(to Harry)

Right on time.

Lily climbs into bed with them and into her father’s arms.

HARRY

What‘s the matter, honey?

LILY

(crying)

My tummy hurts.

HARRY

Your tummy hurts? Oh, I’m sorry, baby.

Harry and Sally lay back down. Their daughter now lays between them.

HARRY (CONT'D)

How about daddy tells you a story to make you feel better?

Lily nods, snuggling close to him. Harry rubs her back to console her.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Want me to tell you the story of when daddy met mommy?

SALLY

(chuckling)

Harry…

Lily nods again.

HARRY

It was love at first sight. Isn‘t that right, honey? Love at first sight. But it took about twelve years before daddy and mommy knew that.

FADE TO BLACK.

FADE IN:

INT. DOWNTOWN NEW YEARS EVE PARTY - NIGHT

The room is loud. People are dancing and cheering as ‘90s music plays on the stereo. Harry and Sally dance together in the center of the dance floor. The music does not fit their more gentle steps. Harry spins her and they reconnect with a kiss. They seem content, despite the chaos around them.

SALLY

I feel like a fish out of water. Was it always like this?

HARRY

I refuse to admit I’m the one that’s changed, so my answer is no. It was never like this.

SALLY

What’s the time?

They stop dancing. Harry checks the time on his watch.

HARRY

Ten after eleven. Is it just me or did these parties move a lot faster back in the day?

SALLY

(laughing)

I think we’re just old, Harry. Should we call it a night?

A glass shatters in the distance and a group of people laugh. Harry guides Sally off the dance floor.

HARRY

I‘m hungry. Are you hungry? Let’s get something to eat.

SALLY

What about Marie and Jess?

Their gaze goes to the corner of the room. The camera follows them. Marie and Jess are kissing against the wall. They have been like that for a while.

HARRY

I doubt they’ll even notice.

Harry and Sally exit the party.

CUT TO:

INT. DINER - NIGHT

Harry and Sally sit across from each other at a table. The diner is nearly empty. They are the only people dressed nicely in the diner. It does not bother them. They eat breakfast silently together in their last moments of 1999. Harry checks the time.

HARRY

Three minutes until midnight.

SALLY

I hope Lily’s all right. I hope she’s still asleep.

HARRY

She’ll be fine. If there’s any problems, they’ll call us.

Harry butters the slice of toast on his plate.

SALLY

Marie said they can spend the night.

Sally dips a fork full of perfectly cut pancake into a side dish of syrup.

HARRY

I’d hate to wake them. We’ll pick them up in the morning.

SALLY

Time?

Harry checks his watch again.

HARRY

We still got two minutes.

SALLY

I hope Marie and Jess aren’t too upset we left the party early.

HARRY

I don’t think they even noticed. I saw them sneaking into the broom closet on our way out.

Sally puts down her fork and looks out the window near them. A group of drunk youths pass the diner. She smiles, recalling a more care free time. Her attention goes back to Harry, who is smiling lovingly at her. She pulls out her phone from her purse.

SALLY

I’ll call Jess and tell him where we are.

HARRY

He won’t pick up.

Sally stops dialing.

HARRY (CONT'D)

Best case scenario: he’s getting laid, Sally. No man having sex is going to pick up his phone.

He checks the time on his watch again.

HARRY (CONT’D)
A minute ’til midnight.

SALLY

What’s the worst case scenario?

HARRY

Marie‘s killing him for his life insurance money. Either way, he’s not picking up.

Sally continues to dial.

SALLY

I’ll just tell the babysitter.

A chef comes out of the kitchen dressed in a white grease-stained shirt. He gathers with the waitresses.

CHEF

(shouting)

Fifteen seconds until midnight, people!

Harry closes Sally’s phone.

HARRY

We’ll do it next year, all right?

Sally laughs. The countdown begins. Harry grabs hold of Sally’s hand. They smile at each other.

PEOPLE

5, 4…

Harry and Sally lean in toward each other in preparation for a midnight kiss.

PEOPLE (CONT'D)

3, 2…

FADE TO BLACK.