Degrassi Freak Fiction

211 - Back To Life

Production Code: 211

Air Date: 23 December 2002

Episode Title: Back To Life

Summary: Abby has finally settled into life with her grandmother. But what will she and her sister do when her grandmother might be unable to care for them?

[At school…]

(Abby and the crowd are in English class, looking bored)

Mrs. Kwan: Okay, so this project is due at the end of the month, class. Any more questions?

Manny: (raises hand) Can we make a poster?

Mrs. Kwan: Of course. You can make anything you choose – poster, computer presentation, movie, essay – as long as you describe your family, home, and lifestyle. Remember, have fun with this project.

(bell rings, kids begin to get up and leave)

Liberty: (to others) What do you think you all are going to do for your project?

Toby: Just a picture of Dad, Mom, Kate, and Ash. What else is there to do?

Liberty: I was thinking Power Point – name drops, historical references – you know, the whole nine yards!

Emma: (annoyed and sarcastic) Well, you’ll get an A+ Liberty, that’s for sure.

JT: Yeah, dork. (snorts)

(Manny and Abby begin walking out of class)

Manny: What are you going to do, Abby?

Abby: I don’t know… What can I do? Make stuff up? I don’t want everyone knowing the truth – my mom’s in rehab and my dad’s gone. I mean, I live with my senile old grandma and my snotty sister…

Manny: Ask Mrs. Kwan – maybe you can do something else, instead.

Abby: I don’t know – you think she’d do that?

Manny: Of course! She’s not evil!

(Girls laugh and walk away)

[After school…]

(Grade 8’s are on Degrassi’s steps, talking. Abby comes running out, looking flustered.)

Emma: Hey, Abby, a bunch of us are going to The Dot to get something to eat. Wanna come?

Abby: Nah, I can’t. Got to go help my grandma.

JT: I’m sure she’ll survive for an hour on her own. She’s not that old, right?

Manny: Yeah, come with us!

Abby: Sorry, but I can’t. Seriously.

Emma: What do you have to help her with?

Abby: Just – random stuff. Cooking, cleaning, things like that.

Toby: Can’t your sister do that?

Abby: She’s at work.

JT: Well, that sucks.

Abby: It’s not that bad. Well, I’ve got to go. See you guys tomorrow!

(Abby runs off)

[Abby’s house…]

(Abby’s grandma is on the couch, eating toothpaste, when she runs in)

Abby: I’m home, grandma!

Grandma: Why hello, Caroline, dear! It took you long enough! Do you have the cookies?

Abby: What? No – grandma, what are you talking about? And why are you eating toothpaste? (grabs toothpaste from grandma’s hand)

Grandma: Just a little snack to hold me over until you bought the cookies –

Abby: What cookies? I was at school, not out buying cookies.

Grandma: Oh, of course, dear.

(Abby begins to help her grandma up so she can go nap)

Abby: And my name is Abby, grandma, not Caroline.

Grandma: Is this another one of your pretend games, dear? Is that why you keep calling me “Grandma”?

Abby: (confused) Uh, yeah. Right. A pretend game.

(lays grandma down in bed)

Abby: Go to sleep, grandma. You’re just tired. You need rest.

(neatens sheet around grandma, looks concerned, then leaves)


[Abby’s House…]

(Abby is doing homework at the kitchen table when Lizby comes home and tosses her coat/keys on the table. She comes and gives Abby a hug.)

Lizby: Hey, Abs! What’s up?

Abby: Just a project I can’t do.

Lizby: Why not?

Abby: (reading directions off paper) “Using a form you wish, prepare a presentation on your family. Include details about your home, your lifestyle – cultures, traditions, and routines – and your daily life.”

Lizby: (makes face) Well, that sucks. Who assigned that?

Abby: Kwan.

Lizby: I never liked her. Seriously, who would assign something like that? Most kids are embarrassed by their families. Scratch that. All kids are embarrassed by their families.

Abby: (snorts) Tell me about it.

Lizby: Oh – oh – I know! Just make crap up!

Abby: Half the class will know I’m lying.

Lizby: Talk to your teacher, then.

Abby: Tried. She just said that whatever my situation, it was “nothing to be embarrassed about” and that she was sure “I could come up with an adequate project”.

Lizby: Bitch.

Abby: Yep.

(pause as Abby continues to work on project)

Abby: Have you noticed anything… strange about grandma lately?

Lizby: Like what?

Abby: She’s been forgetting things lately. Where she is, what’s she’s doing. She even called me “Caroline” this morning.

Lizby: Caroline as in… Mom?

Abby: (Shrugs) I dunno.

Lizby: Huh. Weird. (stares at her for a second) You do kind of look like Mom, though. Before she became a complete whack-job, that is.

Abby: Yeah, Mom used to be pretty.

Lizby: Let me go check on grandma. You just work on that stupid project, okay?

Abby: Sure, yeah.

(sighs, looks at paper hopelessly, chin in hand)

[End of Scene]

[Abby’s House…]

(It’s night, and Abby is sleeping – only visible by moonlight. Lizby comes running in and begins shaking her sister, who groggily wakes up.)

Lizby: Abby – get up – now!

Abby: W-what?

Lizby: Grandma. She’s gone missing.

Abby: (sits up) What?

Lizby: I know – I know – I woke up to go pee and went to check on her, but she’s not in her bed! Or anywhere else in the apartment!

Abby: Where the hell did she go?

Lizby: If I knew, would I really be waking you up at two o’clock in the morning?

[End of Scene]

[The street…]

(Abby and Lizby, both wearing their PJs and sneakers, are walking down the sidewalk, holding flashlights.)

Lizby: Grandma!

Abby: Can you hear us? It’s Abby and Lizby!

Lizby: Or Caroline! Whatever! Just please show us that you’re alive!

Abby: (stops abruptly, turns to sister) Where IS she?

Lizby: I don’t know! Stop asking me that!

Abby: We should create some form of plan, here! Toronto’s a pretty big city!

Lizby: Don’t you think I know that? Besides, Einstein, I don’t see you coming up with any brilliant ideas!

Abby: My idea? (pulls out cell phone) We call the police.

(Lizby gulps)

[End of Scene]

[At School…]

(At lunch, the usual Grade 8-ers)

Manny: So then, he swept her up in his arms, and said (deep voice) “Baby, I ain’t ever gonna leave you!”

Emma: Oh, I can’t believe I missed it!

JT: I can’t believe you even watch that show!

Emma: At least I don’t watch porn.

Toby: That was one time, okay?

Liberty: Can we change the topic? Please?

Manny: Definitely. So – Abby – you look tired.

Abby: (blinks groggily) Mhmm?

JT: Someone was up late partying last night.

Abby: I’d hardly call it partying.

Emma: What happened?

Abby: My grandma went missing. At two o’clock in the morning. Lizby and I looked for her and had to call the police.

Manny: Oh, my god!

Liberty: Did they find her?

Abby: Yeah, on the swings at some park four miles from my house.

Toby: Random.

Abby: Very.

Manny: Where is she now? Is she okay?

Abby: They took her to the hospital. I’m going there after school to see what’s up.

Emma: Want one of us to come? For support?

Abby: That’s sweet, but no thanks. Lizby’ll be there, and all –

Emma: Of course. But we’re here for you, you know. All of us.

Liberty: (with contempt) Even JT.

JT: Yes – wait – hey!

(they all laugh)

[End of Scene]

[At Hospital…]

(Abby and Lizby are talking to the doctors)

Doctor: So you mentioned Mrs. Benson has been suffering from memory lapses lately?

Abby: Um – yes – why does that matter?

Doctor: I’m afraid we think your grandmother may have developed Alzheimer’s disease.

Lizby: What’s that mean?

Doctor: Basically, your grandmother is slowly losing her memory. Soon, she won’t even recognize you two.


Abby: Well – then – fix it!

Doctor: Alzheimer’s is currently incurable. There are medications to delay it, but eventually it will work its way into her brain.

Lizby: Will it kill her?

Doctor: Well, not exactly. She may die from complications of the disease, but Alzheimer’s itself won’t kill her.

Lizby: So… What do we do?

Doctor: I’ve heard you live with her?

(Girls nod)

Doctor: Then I suggest you keep her in a nursing home or some other type of facility – dealing with the disease would be too much for girls your age.

Abby: But where would we go?

Doctor: Are there any other relatives?

(Girls shake their heads)

Doctor: Hmm. Well, I’ll suppose I’ll have to write you up to Children’s Aid. They’ll find you a suitable living situation.

[End of Scene]

[Abby’s House…]

(Abby is sitting on the couch as Lizby paces furiously)

Lizby: Children’s Aid? CHILDRENS AID?!?

Abby: Actually, Lizby –

Lizby: You know what they do to kids who go to Children’s Aid? They put them in HOMES! With big scary bully rapists!

Abby: What? You’re totally wrong –

Lizby: If we go to a home, we’ll fail out of school and end up at McDonalds. Do YOU want to work at McDonalds, Abby?

Abby: OF course not! I’m just saying –

Lizby: WE could live on our own, I guess. Your friend Sean lives with his brother, doesn’t he? Of course, what’s-his-name is older, and doesn’t need to go to school, but I’m sure we could manage –

Abby: Lizby! No.

Lizby: What?

Abby: Who are you kidding? We couldn’t live on our own! We can’t even wash dishes more than once a week! We’d die!

Lizby: So what do you propose, then? A home?

Abby: We wouldn’t go to a ‘home’, you moron! We’d go to a foster family!

Lizby: How do you know?

Abby: I did… some research.

Lizby: Oh, really?

Abby: Yeah! We’d end up in a nice family, still go to Degrassi, keep our friends, our stuff –

Lizby: What if they separated us? They do that, you know!

Abby: They’d do their best to keep us together –

Lizby: And if they couldn’t?

Abby: If they couldn’t, we’d still see each other EVERY DAY and have sleepovers and lunches and hang out all the time –

Lizby: That’s not the same, Abby!


(Abby runs to her room and slams the door. Lizby stands outside of it, crying.)

Lizby: Listen, Abby – I know our life sucks, okay? Anyone we’ve ever had who even vaguely resembled a parent ditched out on us. But no matter what, we’ve always had each other, you know? Lizby and Abby, fighting it out – together. And I don’t want to lose that. If we go to a home, or a foster family –

(door opens)

Abby: We’d still have each other. Duh. We’d just have some new family members. Ones who didn’t do drugs or forget who we were.

Lizby: I guess… I guess you have a point.

Abby: We should go to Children’s Aid, Lizby. Tomorrow.

(Lizby smiles and nods)

[Scene Ends]


[At school…]

(English class, day of the project presentations. Sean is standing up front with his poster, presenting to the class.)

Sean: So, yeah, that’s my life.

Mrs. Kwan: Very good, Sean, you can sit down. So, class who’s up next? How about you, Abby? You’ve been awfully quiet lately.

(Abby nods goes to a computer to start her Power Point)

Abby: Okay. Um. Well, I’m Abby Benson, as you all know. Anyway, my family’s sort of odd – and very complicated – so get ready.

(clicks up picture on the computer screen)

Abby: Until I was nine, I lived with my mom, dad, and sister. Here we are. See how happy we look? Those years were pretty awesome. But – but – then…


Abby: I’m just going to say this fast and get it over with. My dad decided he didn’t like us anymore and ran off with is secretary. We, uh… haven’t seen him since. Anyway, this really really upset my mom and she began doing… Bad stuff. It was horrible. She’d disappear for days at a time… Spend all our money on – well – I’m sure you get the idea. So last year my sister and I realized we couldn’t live there anymore. Now Mom’s in rehab, and she’s getting better. I visit her sometimes.

(clicks again – picture of grandma)

Abby: After that, we went to go live with my grandma. She was pretty cool, for a while. Soon she began forgetting things. Little stuff; things that didn’t really matter. But then it began getting worse and worse. She’d call me and my sister random names – forget who we were. We shrugged it off – she was old, right? That is, until one day she snuck out of our house in the middle of the night. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and is now living in a nursing home just outside the city. I visit her, sometimes, too. Then we realized we couldn’t stay with her anymore, either. Which pretty much meant we had nowhere to go, which sucked. We thought we might live on our own – like Sean, as we all learned from his awesome presentation (Sean smiles) – but it took us about a millisecond to realize that could never work.

(clicks again – new picture of a smiling family)

Abby: This is… My new family. You see, when me and my sister went to Children’s Aid, they didn’t put us in a scary orphanage or anything like that. It only took them like two weeks to find a family that wanted us – both of us. We were really lucky, for once.

Mrs. Kwan: Was your new family accommodating, dear?

Abby: Oh, yeah, Mrs. Kwan. They’re awesome. See, there’s Nina and Robbie Pratt – I don’t want to call them Mom and Dad, not yet. Nina is a teacher at the other high school and Robbie’s a lawyer. And I have two new siblings – Charlie and Morgan. Charlie’s, um, fifteen and he’s a Grade 10 here, at Degrassi. Morgan’s – I can’t remember – around eight, I think, and is a Grade Three. Things were sort of awkward at first, but it’s getting better every day.

Emma: So you’re happy?

Abby: Yeah. Very.

Mrs. Kwan: Okay, Abby, that was a very moving presentation and I’m impressed you had the courage –

Abby: Wait, Mrs. Kwan, I’m not done yet –

Mrs. Kwan: Oh, okay, continue, then.

(Abby clicks one more time – picture of Lizby)

Abby: Yeah, so, this is my sister, Elizibeth Amelia Benson. I like to call her Lizby. Throughout my entire life – all the drama you just had to sit through – she’s been there. She’s my rock. And – um – I love her. A lot. And, um, that’s basically it.

(clicks off presentation)

Mrs. Kwan: Okay, thank you, Abby. Emma, would you like to go?

Emma: Sure! (begins to set up her project)

(Abby sits down and rubs her temples, overwhelmed. Manny leans over from her seat and hugs her. Hard. Abby grins.)



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