Empathy No. 099
11/26/02, Levitt living rm. 3:45 PM (approx)
LLOYD: You think you have all the names down?
ELEANOR: Your mother's name is June, the sister...I'm sorry, I trip over names sometimes...Toni. And her kids...
RODERICK: Alex and Gabe. Also Richard, Ingrid, and maybe Walter.
LLOYD: Very good, Roderick, didn't expect anything less. Don't worry if you forget someone, and don't worry about what to call people. No one's going to be offended, I guarantee. Now Roderick, you remember what we talked about?
RODERICK: Yeah, I know. Can I go? I'm working on something.
LLOYD: Go ahead. And try to enjoy yourself - as best you can, anyway.
RODERICK: Okay. Thanks.
ELEANOR: What was it you said to him?
LLOYD: Oh, I just told him we didn't want him to hide in his room the whole weekend. He understands.
ELEANOR: I know, he was always good at putting on a brave face for the crowds.
LLOYD: What about you?
LLOYD: You've been behaving like you're not even here. I figured it was stress, but is there something else?
ELEANOR: ...I don't want Roderick to hear any of this.
LLOYD: He's in his room.
ELEANOR: Are you sure?
LLOYD: Why are you so paranoid all of a sudden?
ELEANOR: He used to listen in. All the time, especially whenever I was talking about him. After the first few times I was careful, but he's...I underestimate how smart he is. Even in that old apartment, he had ways.
LLOYD: Ellie, he's in his room. Maybe he used to do those things, but he has other things on his mind now.
ELEANOR: Okay. It's something Dr. Brawney said...something she suggested, really.
LLOYD: Something bad?
ELEANOR: How many times did you ask me out?
LLOYD: I don't know, in total?
ELEANOR: Before I said yes.
LLOYD: Well, whenever we were in the store, so...three? Four?
ELEANOR: I didn't say yes until after that other boy attacked Roderick, and...she suggested that was why, that I just wanted to protect him.
LLOYD: So what do you think?
ELEANOR: I told her she was wrong, but I've been thinking, and maybe she's right. I mean, I knew I couldn't leave Roderick in that school, I needed to get him out, and...what if that's the only-
LLOYD: Ellie, take a step back before you say or think anything else. You know you can have more than one reason for doing something, right?
ELEANOR: Of course.
LLOYD: We're both grown-ups with children. You and I both know that when you're by yourself with kids, everything you do is a little bit for them. You wanted a father for your son, I wanted a mother for my kids, but that's not the end of it. Why do you think I kept asking you out? Because you're special to me. And why did you say yes?
ELEANOR: I understand. It's just-
LLOYD: Ellie, I wouldn't have asked you to marry me if I didn't love you. And I'm sure you wouldn't have agreed if you didn't feel anything. You're not that kind of person.
ELEANOR: You're probably right.
LLOYD: You're just stressed because of Roderick and that letter and it's got you feeling guilty. He'll get over it. He'll put it in perspective, and...he won't be upset forever.
ELEANOR: He should be mad at me, he just doesn't know why.
LLOYD: What's that mean?
ELEANOR: I was selfish. I could have given him a real future, a family that could have taken care of him. But when I got that letter, I panicked, I couldn't let him go. He wasn't even born yet, but I couldn't let him go, and...it's on me. All of his pain is my fault. I chose to create him, and I knew I couldn't take care of him, but I chose to keep him anyway. It's all my fault.
LLOYD: Look, before you destroy yourself with guilt, you need to talk to him about it.
ELEANOR: I can't. I just can't.
LLOYD: One of you needs to take that first step and you know it has to be you.
ELEANOR: I Used to be able to talk to him about anything, but nothing like this-
LLOYD: I know. But it won't mean anything coming from me.
LLOYD: The last thing you are is selfish, you know that, right?
ELEANOR: I do. I love you.
LLOYD: I love you, too.
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