Lisa (Penny Barber) gets out of bed gingerly, holding her hip and limping out of the room in pain. Doing the dishes at her kitchen sink she is greeted by her stepson Carl (Nathan Bronson), who asks: “Are you okay?”. “Everything’s fine”, she responds. “How’s your leg?”, he asks. “What leg?”, she jokes. “Mom, there’s no shame in getting hurt and getting better”, he stresses. “Who said that there was? I can take care of myself”, she retorts. “I can take care…I was in a serious car accident, okay?. I’m fine”, she insists. “There’s no shame in asking for help”, he says, leaving the room.
Later, she returns to the bedroom and sits in pain on a couch. Trying to get up, she falls to the floor and calls for help: “Carl!”. He returns home some hours after, announcing: “Mom, I’m home!”. Finding her on the bedroom floor, he helps her up, and Lisa says: “I think I fell asleep”. “Mom, we need to get you help”, Carl says. “I don’t want some stranger in my house treating me like I’m half dead”, she says. “Maybe if you just help me a little bit, and if it’s too much then we could hire someone”, she suggests. “I would love to help you, okay mom, I love you”, Carl pledges. Lisa begins to feel better, as her stepson serves her breakfast in bed and massages her leg regularly. He even gives her a sponge bath in bed, looking away shyly when she bares her breasts. “You’re very gentle”, Lisa tells him. ‘You could go harder. I won’t break”, she insists.
Time passes, and Carl announces: “Wow, it’s crazy to think a couple months ago you could barely walk”. “Well, I haven’t felt this good since before the accident and it’s all thanks to you”, Lisa says. “You’re the one doing all the work”, he insists. “You’re the one who makes me feel stronger”, Lisa responds. “You know, even though you’re feeling fine we should do your stretches”, he suggests. “If you insist, doctor”, she jokes.
Sitting on the couch at the foot of her bed LIsa puts her leg in Carl’s lap and he massages it. She winces in pain, and he says “Sorry”. “That’s okay. You’re very good at what you do”, she says. “I just go on instinct”, Carl says. “You have good instincts”, she notes, gently fondling his back with her fingernails. “It’s crazy -at this point I think I know your body better than I know my own”, he offers. “That hardly seems fair -you’ve seen all of me but I barely feel I even know you”, Lisa laments.
“Am I such a stranger?”, Carl asks. “Not like that, but you know, physically”, she explains. “You know all my secrets and I know none of yours”, she says. Continuing, Lisa states: “Sometimes I feel like no one’s ever going to want me again…as a woman”. “That’s crazy -dad still loves you”, Carl insists. “He’s afraid of me”, she counters. “I don’t believe that”, he replies.
“We were making love, your father and I, and I guess we moved wrong and it hurt. I screamed and I just wish I could forget the way that he looked at me. You probably don’t want to hear about your parents that way”, Lisa says. “That’s okay -I’m glad that you trust me”, Carl answers. “I trust you more than I thought was possible to trust anyone”, she confesses. “You aren’t broken Lisa, you’re beautiful’, he says. “You have to say that”, she claims.
Carl impulsively leans over and kisses stepmom on the lips. “What are you doing?”, she asks. “You don’t want to?”, he wonders. “We can’t”, she insists. “You don’t want to”, he says sadly. “It’ not about that. What if you hurt me?”, she asks. “I won’t”, Carl says. “I don’t want to be treated like I’m some delicate little doll”, she says. “I’ll be careful but I know you’re strong”, he insists. He kisses her again and says: “I’m gonna take care of you”. “I don’t want you to go easy on me. I can take it”, Lisa says. Watch the taboo