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Frank: The Director's Cut

By Joshua Tapia

Finally, what a way to end such a glorious spectacle of endless grief and moments of joy; child-like curiosity and mind-numbing truth; fiery love and the cold touch of hatred, if only this lengthy film was not cut too short. Unless… that’s right, let's take a first person view of the director's cut of a great movie! Starring, the one; the only! Frank Ayala!

Am I dreaming? Where am I? I recognize this place, it's someone's room, but it's hard to say who’s. The Marvel posters hanging across this room look familiar, the biggest poster being the Hulk, man I loved the Hulk when I was a child. I need a better view of this poster, I shuffle my way across the floor knocking a few things around. A baseball glove? “Frank Ayala” is scribbled across the mitt. I haven’t played baseball since I was a child. But this mitt, the posters, this bed spread. This is the room I had as a child at my moms house, or it looks almost identical to it. Except for one thing. At the door a mirror hangs down… I never had a mirror. I must be dreaming. When I look in the mirror I don’t see my reflection. It’s a child, no, it's me. It’s me as a child, I must be dreaming. I’ve never felt so light. It’s so cold, but what is this warm voice that calls from beyond the door?

“Frank, Frank, Frank stop hiding.” Is this who I think it is, “Sweetheart? Where are you?”

I charge the door with all the might I don’t have, “Mom? Mom, I’m right here!” But on the other side of the door was not my mother, it was a bright blinding light followed by darkness, silence.

Next Scene!

Who was that…?

“We are gathered here today to celebrate the beautiful life of Frances Rose Ayala. A caring wife, daughter, sister, and mother to all. Taken from us too soon.” Where am I now? Who the hell is talking? Who are all these people at my mother's grave?

A rage fills my lungs, but I can’t feel the air, “What the hell are you doing here, why now! Where were you when she was dying on the hospital bed. Where the fuck were all of you when she was ali-,” but I choke up how I always do. Why can’t I talk?

Talk! Isn’t this your movie?

My movie? Who’s talking! Lights keep blinding me, what's happening?

Hopefully the next scene isn’t as sad.

I open my eyes, Jesus Christ what the hell is on the screen? I can’t read one word, where are my glasses?

A voice of guidance speaks, “Mr.Ayala, is there a problem with your seat,” Jonathan Cargill? “You're nearly leaning out of your seat.” Am I in my college literature class?

“All good Johnny, I can’t seem to find my glasses,” everyone seems to laugh but I why can’t I?

“Now Mr.Ayala, in class I am Professor Cargill, you know this. And since when did you wear glasses?” I haven’t called him Professor in nearly 8 years…

“You want to use my glasses?” There it is, a voice that changed my life forever. Caitlynn Howard. A name that caressed my ears, no one made me feel the way she did. “I always bring around my spare.” I remember this day.

Let's speed this along, it's getting good!

I need to respond! It’s important, isn’t this my movie?

I can’t talk again, why’s everything changing, I still don't get it. But another voice calls to me. A voice always stern, judgemental. But, this time it was caring, gentle, still distant. Another flash, and the voice becomes clearer.

Why am I in a tuxedo? What could be the occasion, I look out the window, and on such a beautiful warm day. But why can’t I feel the sunlight? I can see a church in the distance, how could I

ever forget, the place I vowed to love my wife for as long as she could live, or as long as I would live. Till death do us part, right? A hand grabs my shoulder, I turn to see my dad, “Dad? What are you doing here?”

“Now, I know we had our differences but I wouldn’t miss your wedding day,” my wedding day? I know you wish your mother could have been here, I do too. But I love you just as much as she does.” He begins to tear up, “But, no crying, today is your day. Don’t be nervous, you can do this.” The last sentence roars in my head, and another flash!

We’re nearing the end.

Can the movie be a bit longer? I still have so much to show the audience.

It isn’t my choice, but I’ll do my best.

“Don’t be nervous, you can do this,” this time it was my voice, I think I’m getting it. I know where I’m at, this hospital room is too familiar. Good memories, and bad. I was looking into the eyes of my beautiful wife, I held her hand, she gripped mine even tighter. “Caitlynn, I’m right here.” Our daughter’s birth, the most beautiful scene of the movie, can it last forever?

Sorry, it’s the final scene Frank.

No, pause the movie! The next part always hurts… But the darkness continues into a saturated world. Why’s everything so foggy? I can’t see straight, but the white hospital lights are something I will never forget.

“Please, please there is something we can do,” but Caitlynn’s plea does not help, “What will it cost?” But this is something money can not fix.

“I’m sorry Mrs.Ayala, the tumors have spread from your husband's throat to his brain. There is nothing more we can do,” What was the doctor’s name again? Caitlynn’s wailing drowns out my thoughts, it’s getting harder to remember. What happens next? Moments become faster, memories shorter. Scenes are turning into pictures, everything is happening so fast. Credits roll. The screen turns black. The audience applauds…

I wonder how it did on Rotten Tomatoes, too bad there won’t be a sequel.


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