Our theme for the month of October was selected by readers and is a format challenge: write a post completely in dialogue.

What follows is the transcript of a video my sister, Angelica, recorded at home in Montgomery, AL on January 6, 2014, the last night of my freshman year Christmas break.

A couple of things to note:

My mami is from Ecuador, so we speak both Spanish and English at home.

Italics denote singing.

At the time, I had just turned nineteen, Angelica was seventeen, and Anita, my youngest sister, was sixteen.

A few of the words in “Blackbird” were accidentally changed by Anita, and I have written them here the way she sings them in the video.

ANGELICA
I love adding things to my vocab. Sadie gives me lots of new things, like “flabbergasted” and “rancid.” I don’t know where Dad is, but he needs to come say “hey” to the camera—

MAMI
Sadie, your visit went so fast…

ANGELICA
—so when you get home you can (points camera up her nose) see dis. And remember how much you love and miss me, and how much I make your day.

MAMI
Sadie, I’ve been told that all college students, the first six months are the most difficult ones, and that they all come home and they wanna stay. And they don’t wanna go back.

SADIE
Yeah.

ANGELICA
No, Sadie wants to go back.

SADIE
(Wipes nose, sniffles)
I do.

ANGELICA
She’s just, she misses here. But it’s not like she doesn’t like it there, she just…misses it here.  But she gets the BEEEESSSTT of bo-oth worlds, for a limited time!

SADIE
How is this unlimited?

ANGELICA
I said a limited time: this is limited.
(examines her face in the camera)
The bags under my eyes are so deep they’re like, shadowing my cheekbones and I don’t like it. I don’t like it.

MAMI
(speaks through a yawn)
Sadie, a que hora tenemos que estar en el aeropuerto?

ANGELICA
(makes grotesque faces at the camera)

SADIE
My flight is at 11:55.

MAMI
11:55, like at 12? Wow.

SADIE
So, we should be there by like, 10:30?

MAMI
Yeah.
Are you serious, so on a day like tomorrow we’re gonna be—

ANGELICA
(pointing to her forehead)
Zit!

SADIE
Saying goodbye…

MAMI
—sent to the airport.

SADIE
You don’t all have to go.

MAMI
No?

SADIE
I’ll probably cry if you all go.

MAMI
Really? And so when you leave here you won’t cry?

SADIE
Yeah, I’d rather cry and clean my eyes on the way to the airport.

MAMI
(chuckles)

ANGELICA
You’re not gonna cry. You’re gonna cry once you’re in the car and you’re away from us.

SADIE
I’m crying right now.

ANGELICA
What?!

MAMI
(playfully makes sobbing noises)

ANGELICA
(shoves camera into SADIE’S face)
What?! AH, mah gah, whatchu say?! Whatchu say?! AH!

SADIE
(wipes tears, laughs, and cries)
Ughhh…

MAMI
(To Anita, across the room)
Why don’t you sing to her with your guitar? Why don’t you give her— Angelica, eso en Español se llama, eh, se le da un—

ANGELICA
Mariachis?

SADIE
HA!

MAMI
No, no mariachis, un sereno.

ANGELICA
(in a gravelly voice)
Déjame serenarte, muchacha—

MAMI
Exactamente, exactamente.

ANGELICA
—mi reyna, mi cielo, déjame serenarte con mi guitarra. Anita, get your guitarus!

ANITA
My guitarus?

ANGELICA
Yes, yes.

SADIE
(To MAMI)
No, no, they already played for me—

ANGELICA
(continues in the gravelly voice)
WIPE your tears, princess, we’re gonna serenada you. ANITUS!

MAMI
This house…

ANGELICA
(To ANITA)
Get your piece of strings.

SADIE
I feel a kinship with my English professor.

ANGELICA
(To ANITA)
We’re gonna serenade Sadicus.

SADIE
She’s a crybaby just like me.

MAMI
(to SADIE)
No!

SADIE
She didn’t cry in front of us, but she told us—

ANGELICA
Who cried?

SADIE
—that she was in a class in high school and they were talking about a really sad piece of literature or something and she just started crying and she became known in the school forevermore as the girl who cries. I was like, that’s me; I’m the girl who cries.

MAMI
Mmm

ANGELICA
It’s true.
(examines her face in the camera)
My eyebrows are sparse. I’m gonna start—

ANITA
(strums guitar)

ANGELICA
All right! Anitus, don’t you know how to serenade someone? You invade their personal space and sing in their face.

SADIE
Haha!

ANGELICA
Whenever Anitus is done tuning, what are we gonna serenade her with?
(examines her face in the camera)
I am FLAUNTING my double chin right now.

MAMI
(kisses ANGELICA’S head)

ANITA
(Strums guitar impatiently)
Why are you—

SADIE
I wanna hear “Blackbird”

MAMI
Ah! “Blackbird!”

ANGELICA
Come serenade properly; you have to stand and rock back and forth.
And make menacing faces with your tongue.

ANITA
I can’t, this is why I need a strap.

ANGELICA
Make menacing faces and flick your tongue. Serenade properly.

ANITA
(Makes menacing faces and flicks tongue)

MAMI
Stop it.

(MAMI’S phone rings)

ANGELICA
Oh, no, you didn’t! I don’t care what the name is.

SADIE
NO! NO! NO!

ANGELICA
OH! OH! OH! OH!

ANITA
(plays “Blackbird” angrily)

ANGELICA
In the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the serenade, it’s always—
(grabs MAMI’S phone and ends call)

MAMI
(Gently smacks the back of ANGELICA’S head)

ANGELICA
AII!

ANITA
(stops playing)

ANGELICA
(to Anita)
You gonna go or nay?

ANITA
Hold on.
(tunes guitar again and plays sweetly)
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly

MAMI
Fly…

ANGELICA
SHA!
(covers MAMI’s mouth)

ANITA
All your life,
You were only waiting for this morning to arrive

ANGELICA
(uncovers MAMI’S mouth)

MAMI
Quack.

ANGELICA
(covers MAMI’s mouth)

ANITA
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to sing

ANGELICA
(uncovers MAMI’s mouth)

ANITA
All your life,
You were only waiting for this morning to be free

MAMI
Black—

ANGELICA
(covers MAMI’S mouth)

ANITA
Blackbird—
(MAMI’S phone rings again)

ANGELICA
(Guttural roar)

MAMI
Alguien me tiene que decir algo; no hagas eso, Angelica—

SADIE
Why do I cry so much?

MAMI
Because you love me.
(reaches for her phone)

ANGELICA
Because you’re on your period.

MAMI
(Looks at her phone, stands to leave the room  )
See, me cerrastes la pobre Jessica.

ANGELICA
Aiya.

ANITA
(strums guitar sharply)
Y’all made me mad! ‘Cause now Sadie’s crying and Mom’s on the phone and I will never—

ANGELICA
(examines face in the camera)
And my hair is spastic.
(passes phone to SADIE)

ANITA
(starts strumming “Love Somebody”)

SADIE
(examines eyes and tries to wipe away smeared mascara)
I wonder if this is going to be me when I leave after every vacation.

ANGELICA
So what if it is?
(improvises in the gravelly voice)
You can do what you want ‘cause you a bad bitch
You a independent woman who don’t need no man
You a bad bitch
You can handle these vacations—

ANITA
(slaps guitar strings)
Angelicaaaaaa!

ANGELICA
I like my rap more than your song!

ANITA
(keeps playing)

ANGELICA
You a bad bitch
You don’t need these crocodile tears
Forget all yo’ fears
‘Cause you a bad bitch
And that is what it do

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

post calvin direct

Get new posts from Sadie Burgher delivered straight to your inbox.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!