Growing up, I had a pretty normal life at home. Sure, there was the occasional argument here and there, but things were pretty good.
[The primary character, Sam, is sitting in a counselling office. She is mouthing the dialogue as the voiceover speaks. The camera slowly zooms in closer to Sam.]
It’s when the fights got a little more frequent later on. That’s when it all started for me.
[The scene transitions into one of Sam’s memories. She is sitting at a table reading a book. Silhouettes of her parents arguing fade into the scene behind Sam. Out of frustration, she slams her book shut and knocks it off of the table.]
Sort of like a way to cope.
[Animated smoke appears within the frame, and covers up the entire screen.]
I think I was in grade seven or eight when I had my first drink. It was around the same time that I got high for the first time.
[The scene transitions to Sam’s memory of her in an outdoor woodsy environment. She is surrounded by friends, clearly at a party. Sam is holding a beer bottle, and begins to drink multiple times out of the bottle.]
It started out as an escape, but eventually became an addition.
[A bathroom mirror appears on the screen, framing Sam and cutting the friends out of the scene.]
No other way to put it, really.
[The scene goes black, and we see present-day Sam within the same mirror, reflecting on her memories.]
Before I knew it, I was in my mid-teens, going down a path I knew I probably shouldn’t but… I didn’t care.
[A new scene appears, showing Sam attempting to walk across the screen. She is clearly struggling to move forward, and is held back by multiple strings. Eventually, the strings snap, and Sam falls to the ground.]
The people who cared were trying to help. I realize that now. I was seventeen when it got really out of hand. It didn’t matter if I was by myself or at a party.
[Sam is running down a street, away from the viewer. She begins to slowly turn around, and as she does so, she is now a miniature version of herself standing in her own full-sized hands. She is surrounded by pills and beer cans.]
I was getting high during the day, on weekends, weeknights – whenever I could.
[The hands open up, and the miniature Sam and the pills begin to fall. She continues to slowly fall, through a stream of pills and beer bottles in a flowing motion. Below Sam, a car appears.]
One night, my friends and I heard of a house party happening on the other side of town. I had driven high before. They didn’t try and stop it, they sort of just...went with it. A lot of people say, “ah, I can drive high. I’m good at it.”
[After a flashing motion takes over the screen, Sam is now driving a vehicle with her friends in the passenger and rear seats of the car. The scene begins in a profile view of the characters, and switches to a front-facing view.]
I can tell you now, there’s no such thing.
[The scene cuts to a close-up of Sam’s hands on the steering wheel. As the scene continues, headlights from an oncoming car quickly approach the car, as Sam lifts her hands off of the steering wheel, clearly out of control of the vehicle. The screen fades to black.]
Getting in that car was the worst decision our lives. My decision to drive killed one of my friends that night. While the rest of us survived, we all live with the scars.
[The scene opens to Sam’s car, which has been severely crashed into a tree. A cop car is visible in the scene, with its siren swooping in a circular motion. As the siren swoops away from the frame, the scene is black. As the siren swoops into the frame, the scene is lit by the siren.]
From time to time, I still see them around, but we don't talk. I can’t face them. Not yet.
[A new scene appears, with Sam sitting alone in the corner of a dark room. Her arms are wrapped around her knees.]
After the crash, I did time. Now I realize why I should share my story.
[Sam remains in the same sitting position, while the scene’s background is now a bright white with the silhouette of prison bars shadowing behind her.]
If I could go back today, I would change a lot of things. I’d listen more, I’d talk more, I would make better choices or find other ways to deal with things.
[Sam’s face appears in the centre of the screen, and the camera is slowing zooming in. She appears dishevelled, with scratches on her face and unruly hair. This is reflective of Sam’s past.]
But honestly, most of all, I wish I could see my friend one last time. That day, I know…will never come.
[Past Sam transitions into current Sam. She appears to be clean and in good health. She is back in the counselling room. The camera slowly zooms out. The scene fades to black.]