What’s the Meaning? 

A KachejianMedia Short Film

Written and Directed by Cole Kachejian

 

Establishing shot of the hospital building. 

Cut to a Loved One sitting on a bench in a hospital hallway, seemingly sitting as still as a rock, and yet barely holding themselves together. They look lost, almost ready to break down.

A patient who’s walking by notices the Loved One, and sits down besides them. Acting very enthusiastically, the Patient gestures to the Loved One with a subtle but awkward wave. 

The Loved One turns his head slightly towards the patient, tightens their lips, nods their head up and down and looks the other way down the hall, attempting to hide their emotions. 

Patient: 

Ya know they really need to put more paintings and such up on these walls, it’s so plain in here ya know. 

The Loved One looks over and then down to the floor

Loved One

Yeah

Patient

It’s very depressing don’t ya think

The Loved One trying to hold back their tears

Patient:

 Hey, are you okay? 

Loved One: 

Yeah I’m fine, can I help you? Do you need something?

Patient

No, I’m fantastic actually. Thanks for asking though.

The two look at each other 

Beat of awkward silence 

Patient:

 Ya know they have this really cool-

Loved One: 

Listen I don’t mean to be rude, but what are you doing, you ever heard of personal space.

The patient, startled, looks into the Loved One’s eyes, about to get up, sits back down and situates himself, looks around and takes off his mask, giving a caring smile.

Patient:

 Everything is going to be okay

Loved One: 

Excuse me? 

Patient

Everything’s going to be okay. All of this. I know it’s probably hard. Hell, I know it’s hard being here, but you’re going to get through this. 

Loved One:

Stop talking to me like you know me. 

Patient

You’re right, I don’t know you. I don’t know your story and you don’t know mine. 

The patient looks down at his iv wrap. The Loved One just shakes their head back and forth in frustration.

Patient:

 So…Here we are, two strangers on a bench in a hospital. Now I can tell you why I’m sitting here. I could say my muscles are atrophied and I need to rest very quickly after any type of exertion. Maybe I’m sitting here because no one’s checking in on me right now so I saw an opportunity to escape my room for a bit. Or maybe it’s because I saw someone during my fun stroll who might need some help and for once it wasn’t the guy in the mirror. 

Loved One: 

Ya don’t stop do you?

Patient:

Never. So what’s up?

Loved One:

Listen, I’m sorry for whatever you’re going through here. Really I am. But I have enough to handle here and I don’t want to put that out there any further or on anyone else. 

Patient:

Honestly I would prefer it if you do, the TV’s here have just the worst channels, so some human conversation with someone who isn’t medicating me would be great. 

Loved One: 

How do you do that? Seriously how?

Patient: 

Do what?

Loved One:

 How do you have this energy and have the ability to joke around in a place like this?

Patient: 

Well, there’s not a better place to make jokes and smile than where people need it all the most. 

Loved One:

 Yeah, well that’s nice and all but I just- I just can’t, I just don’t see the meaning in it anymore, the optimism and such, it doesn’t do anything.

Patient: 

I take it you’re not the patient? 

The Loved One looks over to the patient, nods his head and looks down holding back his tongue, but eventually decides to open up. 

Loved One: 

Yeah, my partner, their not- 

The Loved One starts to choke up and break down

Loved One:

The doctor just came in while my partner was sleeping and told me that things weren’t getting better, that if results don’t show any kind of improvement soon… well… hospice comes next. 

Patient: 

I’m sorry

Loved One:

 All of this, seeing so much suffering, it really makes me think that there’s just no meaning, no God’s plan, at least not a good one. Why did we have to go through this? I don’t get what the meaning is of all this pain.

Silence fills the space for a beat

Patient: 

Meaning… Meaning is an interesting thing because it has so many angles. I can tell you that I’ve asked myself what is the meaning of all this, of the lives we live, so many times. 

Loved One:

And let me guess, you can’t ever find the answer either? 

Patient:

Let me put it this way, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my parents say to each other “why does he have to go through this.” Each time I heard that word “why”, it got buried deeper and deeper in my head. “Why, Why, Why?”

Loved One:

Yeah that really did not answer anything for me though, no offense. 

Patient:

 I’m getting there. You bring up “why?” You bring up “meaning” but, it seems like your eyes aren’t open to what that could entail. 

Loved One:

How could I?

Patient:

I’m going to get a bit cliche here, but bare with me. The meaning of being here is to find the meaning for ourselves. You find meaning in the pain by letting it motivate you to get better, to feel stronger. You find meaning in the bad days because they show you how special and precious the good ones are. You find meaning in every poor moment you experience because they teach lessons to live by to fill the meaning of your life with love, compassion, inspiration, and gratitude.

Loved One:

That’s a really sweet thought but it sounds a lot easier said than done. 

Patient:

Of course it is, but that doesn’t make the thoughts impossible to manifest. We live through what we live through so we may learn to live stronger, one day at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time. You see, being the patient, you get thrown the pain of the problem first hand but I know what it’s like to be the loved one of the patient too, I know what it’s like to feel like there’s nothing you can do and maybe you feel each day a little less that there’s any meaning to staying optimistic and showing up with positive energy but let me tell you every minuscule of effort makes more of a difference than you will ever understand. So you ask what’s the meaning, it’s whatever you make it. So you can sit out here so that they don’t see you upset, or you can go back in there, not just trying to be a rock, but actually show them your emotions, how you feel. Because let me tell you, you gotta make every moment count, because any moment can make a difference. And one more piece of advice, don’t tell someone that you won’t share your thoughts and emotions because they have enough to handle, it doesn’t make them feel as good as you might think. 

The Loved One looks at the patient with affirmation, down at the patient’s IV, up to the ceiling, then down to the floor, taking in a deep breath. Then looks back at the patient. He begins to softly speak

Loved One

I don’t really know what else to say, except… you’re probably right.

Patient: 

I don’t have much else going for me right now so philosophically I try to be. But I suppose I’m only right if you believe I am. Listen, you don’t have to give optimism a chance, you don’t have to be Perfect and know all the right things to say, but just give these moments you have with them a chance to show them just truly how much you love and care for them. That’ll speak for itself. Don’t lose hope, your miracle is on its way. 

The Loved One nods their head, wipes hand down their face as if they were wiping their mood clean. 

Loved One

Thank you.

The Loved One reaches out to shake the patient’s hand.

Patient:

 I probably shouldn’t, low immune system ya know?

The two give each other a smirk. The Loved One gets up and walks back into the room to be beside their partner. The patient stays seated for a moment as he watches the Loved One walk away. 

Patient

(Softly) Every moment counts…

The Loved One, looks back towards the Patient one last time with a soft grin on their face, but the Patient is gone. 

The Loved One looks confused, but as they turn their head back to the doorway, a smile grows across their face and speeds their way in. Their partner is up and awake. Their partner is going to be okay. 

Fade to Black. The end.

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