"Last Breakfast at Abuela's"
-an In The Heights fan script-
Scene: Hundreds of Stories and Carnaval del Barrio, before Alabanza
Characters: Abuela Claudia, Nina Rosario, Usnavi, Kevin, Medic #1, Medic #2, Sonny, Camila
Disclaimer: The characters and the story are all Lin-Manuel Miranda's and Quiara Alegria Hudes'. I just wrote this to honor some of my favorite characters in this fantastic musical. Please don't sue.
Rating: T, just because I like to rate everything T to be safe.
A/N: I don't speak Spanish well, so apologies if any of my usage is wrong. I know what the words I use MEAN, but am not familiar with grammar or whatever. I probably won't get around to correcting it because I'm so freakin' busy, but please tell me anyway, just so I know in future.
[Open to ABUELA CLAUDIA'S bedroom. A weak fan blows, but then shorts out. A full medicine bottle is on the table. ABUELA stares out the window at the street. Sweat soaks her brow, SHE is unsteady on her feet. SHE takes a fan from her pocket and begins violently fanning herself, clutching onto a nearby chair to stay on her feet and keep her balance. USNAVI enters from the hallway door.]
CUE SONG: "Hundreds of Stories"
…BUT WHATEVER WE DO, IT'S YOU AND I!
Bueno, Usnavi, are you hungry?
A little—I did spend the whole night without eating so I could watch the front door so nobody would come in here.
The money's safe and the sun has risen up. Alabanza to this morning! I know! I'll fix your favorite- ham and cheese. How does that sound?
Amazing. Gracias, Abuela. I'll set the table.
[ABUELA exits bedroom and goes to kitchen. USNAVI exits room and goes to living room, where there is a folding table set up with chairs for two. HE grabs silverware and napkins from the nearby drawer and sets the table. A few minutes pass. No sounds come from the kitchen.]
Abuela? You need help, mi amor?
[No answer. USNAVI walks to the kitchen. ABUELA leans on the counter, head in her hands, breathing hard. There is another bottle of medication on the counter, opened.]
Abuela? What's the matter?
[Recovering, standing upright] Nothing, mi hijo. I took that medicine Dr. Gross prescribed and the headache came instantly.
Sit down, Abuela. Relax. You don't need any extra stress today. Don't worry about breakfast, I'll make it. Café con leche and buttered toast?
Si, thank you, Usnavi…Ay, I wish this day would feel cooler.
[USNAVI goes about making breakfast. He puts decaf coffee on and puts toast and his ham-and-cheese in the toaster.]
Was there much damage to the bodega, querido? I saw people standing outside last night during the blackout…
Nothing that can't be fixed. A ripped awning and a broken window…They're just things, Abuela. When we leave for Playa Rincon tomorrow, we won't have to worry about anything.
It will be beautiful there. Warm winds and the blue sea, waiting for us. [She inhales sharply] Ay, carajo, if only this headache would go away!
Nice language, Abuela. [Laughs.]
Oh, mi amor, if you felt like this you'd have some choice words too. Never mind. I think the toast is done, and you should get out that sandwich before the cheese melts all over the toaster!
[USNAVI gets the food out of the toaster and pours two coffees. He brings the food into the living room, sets it on the table, and then goes back into the kitchen to help ABUELA out of her chair, walk into the other room, and sit down. When she is settled, USNAVI sits.]
[ "Carnaval del Barrio" begins to play out on the street. The music drifts into the window.]
Oh, there's Daniela singing…She has a gorgeous voice, why is she still here in the barrio and not on a stage somewhere?
You know Daniela, if she can't do hair, she can't gossip! And if Daniela doesn't gossip, her life just isn't complete. I'll miss her when she's up in the Bronx…
Ay, Usnavi, we'll see her again someday. Maybe when we fly back to visit from the Dominican Republic.
[They eat in silence as the song continues. USNAVI eats quickly; ABUELA occasionally stops when her "headache" strikes again. She realizes that there is something wrong and quickly takes an aspirin that she had in her pocket. She chews it with a piece of toast so USNAVI doesn't notice.]
That was great…Listen, Abuela, I'm going to put this away and find out what Daniela's starting. Why don't you rest for a little and come join us?
Sure, Usnavi. That sounds like a good idea. Ay, I'll just go take a rest. I'll watch from my window and come down in a while. Tell Daniela and Carla not to leave until I get there to tell them good-bye.
You got it, Abuela.
[ABUELA slowly gets up and walks to the bedroom. She gazes out the window, occasionally touching the wall for support. She smiles at the goings-on outside. USNAVI clears the table and closes ABUELA's medicine bottle, noting what the name is and what the pills are for. He sighs and looks at ABUELA in the other room, then heads toward the door.]
Note to self: check on Abuela more often. She's not dealing with this heat too well. [To ABUELA] Hey Abuela, just yell out the window if you need me. I'll have Sonny come up in a little bit to visit.
[USNAVI leaves. ABUELA sits on the bed and begins to fan herself again, desperately. A few minutes later, SHE hears someone come into the door and shout, "Bendicion, Abuela!" ABUELA smiles because NINA is here. However, ABUELA seems a second later to forget that NINA just came in and turns back around, fanning herself and looking out the window. NINA enters the bedroom.]
Abuela, why don't you come down to the carnaval? I have a spot in the shade set for you. Sonny's watching it.
[ABUELA turns around suddenly]
ABUELA [fanning herself violently]
Ai, mi hija, que calor!! I can't go out in this heat! Even if it IS worse in La Vibora, I'd much rather watch from the window. I feel better here.
NINA [taking Abuela's hand]
Abuela, you don't look so good. Have you been taking your medicine?
Querida, I can't take that stuff anymore. I can't afford it, and it makes me miserable. [SHE stumbles, but catches herself, smiling at NINA as if to say "it's alright".] But with this heat, I wish I'd taken it, I'd probably be feeling a lot better…
Abuela! Sit down! This fan isn't enough. I'm going to get some money, and you and I are going downtown on the air-conditioned bus to an air-conditioned place.
No, Nina, it's too expensive…This is fine, I've seen hotter summers than this.
[Aside, quietly] But in other summers you weren't in poor health already. [to ABUELA] You want a piragua? The vendor's on the street, and it's less expensive than a bus ride!
[ABUELA moves to go into her pocket for money, but NINA protests.]
Si, piragua would be good…I can't remember the last time I had it.
What flavor? My treat.
Back in Cuba, my favorite flavor was mango. See if they have mango…
Okay, abuela, I'll be right back. Sit down, already, por favor!
[NINA leaves. ABUELA begins to cross to a chair to sit down. A worried look of pain crosses HER face and she gasps loudly. She cries out as she falls to the floor.]
Nina! Mi hija! Ay, Nina, ayudame!
[NINA rushes in and screams when she sees ABUELA on the floor.]
Que paso?!?! Abuela, please, I'll help you to the bed and get Usnavi. Abuela! Just stay awake for me, okay?
[ABUELA nods. NINA helps HER off the floor and quickly helps HER into bed.]
Mi corazon…Usnavi was right, I was such a stupid old woman not to take my medicine! Ay, que calor! [Desperately] When does it stop?
[NINA runs out of the room, screaming USNAVI's name. SHE runs to the street, and amidst the commotion, finds USNAVI.]
Nina! Que paso, enjoying the carnaval?
Usnavi, it's Abuela, come quickly!
[USNAVI and NINA walk briskly through the huge crowd.]
What? Oh, God…Her heart? She was okay ten minutes ago…
I was going to get her a piragua, and I heard her fall and start yelling for me to come help her.
[USNAVI and NINA get to ABUELA's door and run into the room. ABUELA is awake, but is quickly losing consciousness.]
Abuela, I'm here.
Ay, Usnavi, come here…I need you to call an ambulance. I…think this is it.
[NINA runs out to call the ambulance, panicked.]
USNAVI [almost in tears]
No, Abuela, it can't be. [ABUELA has lost consciousness completely.] Abuela? Abuela. CLAUDIA!
[ABUELA opens her eyes for a minute. Tears fill her eyes.]
ABUELA [struggling to speak]
Claudia? Really, mi hijo, where's the respect in that? Abuela till the end. Usnavi, come here, closer. Closer. [in USNAVI's ear.] Usnavi, in case I don't make it, please, use my share of the money to pay for my services and then to go towards Nina's college. Te amo, mi favorito. Te amo.
[USNAVI hugs ABUELA to his chest. SHE kisses him on the forehead like she would kiss a child, and falls back. USNAVI looks at HER with horrific realization. SIRENS roar closer and closer]
Ay, mama, the summer's hottest day!
Paciencia y fe…Paciencia y fe.
You're not alone tonight…
We survived last night…look what happens today.
[MEDICS #1 & #2 rush up the stairs followed by KEVIN]
Señor de la Vega, what happened?
Her heart…she collapsed. I don't know. She's not breathing.
MEDIC #2 [checks Abuela's pulse]
No pulse. No respiration.
[MEDICS lay ABUELA on the floor and work for a few minutes. USNAVI says silent prayers while KEVIN comforts NINA, who has snuck into the room and is standing in the corner, sobbing.]
I'm sorry...there's nothing more we can do.
She's gone. We'll take her to the hospital, you may follow us in a car or one of you can come in the ambulance with us.
I'll do it. Por favor, please give me a minute.
[KEVIN and ALL leave, except the MEDICS. The MEDICS lift ABUELA onto a stretcher, cover her with a sheet, and take her out to load her into the ambulance.]
[KEVIN arrives at his dispatch booth.]
CUE SONG: "Atencion"
Roll down your windows,
Turn up your radios,
Un momento, por favor.
Please drive slow.
Let everybody know…Abuela Claudia passed away
At noon today.
[USNAVI stands by his bodega, holding a bag of bread crumbs he'd planned on bringing to ABUELA later that day. NINA sits, distraught and in shock, on the sidewalk, an uneaten mango piragua dripping down her hand and onto her legs and the ground.]
Cue song: "ALABANZA"
[USNAVI speaks to SONNY]
She was found and pronounced…
At the scene, she was
Already lying in bed.
The paramedics said that her heart gave out
I mean, that's basically what they said.
[CAMILA enters. SHE takes the dripping piragua from NINA's hand and cautiously puts it in the nearby garbage can. She takes a wet towel and wipes NINA'S hands clean and then wipes HER tears away.]
They said a combination of the stress and the heat…
Why she never took her medicine, I'll never understand.
Abuela Claudia had simple pleasures,
She sang the praises of things we ignore-
Glass Coke bottles, bread crumbs, a sky full of stars;
She'd cherish these things.
She'd say, "Alabanza".
"Alabanza" means to raise this thing to God's face
and to sing quite literally, "Praise to this!"
When she was here the path was clear,
And she was just here.
She was just here…