What I Never Said

By Lindsay Nickelson


LIBBY, 25, stands confident in herself. She’s wearing a long, tight-fitting dress, not a hair out of place as she looks around the room.

LIBBY (V.O.) As I’ve gotten older, I think a lot about the worst days of my life. As hard as they might be to consider, I wouldn’t be who I am without them.

Libby is pulled into a group of people. She’s used to this by now. It’s a comfortable feeling. 

LIBBY (V.O.) Maybe I’m happy now, but there’s shadows that still follow me. Libby walks up to a portrait. There’s two people, in an abstract artistic form. It’s not the eye-catcher of the room. But it’s hers.

LIBBY (V.O.) I thought I was being the better person when really I mistook that as needing to be the best. And I let that destroy me.


LIBBY, 21, sits at a table, unfinished drawings lay in front of her. Her laptop open with digital art. 

LIBBY (V.O.) I get emotional when I think of a specific version of myself years ago. Of where I was and who I allowed myself to become.  When the camera pans to her, LIBBY is exhausted. Hair messy, her hands covered in ink. She nods as someone across the table speaks.

PROFESSOR: You have the talent, Elizabeth. Really, you do. How’s your residency going?

LIBBYGood. Busy.

Libby shakes her head.

PROFESSOR: And you’re doing okay?

LIBBY: Of course.

She smiles. When the professor turns, she closes her eyes.

LIBBY (V.O.) Everything was fine. I was finding myself slowly becoming more confident as I approached a new chapter in my life. 

Libby looks up from her drawings and turns toward the window facing the hallway. 

A door opens and NATE, 21, All-American boy, walks out. He talks to someone in the doorway then turns and meets Libby’s eyes.

LIBBY (V.O.) Then, one day I was blindsided. One glance at him, and I knew I’d see him again. I had this inevitable feeling that he was important. 

For only a second, she stares, before turning away.


Libby walks out onto a rooftop, dressed in party clothes. There’s a drink her hand, it swings between her fingers as she breathes in the fresh air.

LIBBY (V.O.)I just didn’t realize I was mistaking a warning signal 

NATE: Hey.

She startles.

It’s Nate. The guy she saw earlier.


A few minutes later they are standing side by side, laughing.

LIBBY (V.O.): He was one of the nicest people I’d ever met. He had that energy that just made you always want to be around him.

When Libby fully faces him they stop laughing. He waits a moment, before going in for a kiss.

LIBBY (V.O.): He made you want to be better. And wasn’t that what I wanted? .


Libby and Nate lay side by side in bed. 

LIBBY (V.O.): I was so happy. I didn’t know he existed, and yet he was everything.

NATE: I really like you.

Libby laughs, hiding her head in his shoulder. He smiles.


Libby at her desk, working.

LIBBY (V.O.): I allowed myself this one moment of happiness for the first time. There was silence in my mind for the first time.

Her phone rings. She answers, not looking at the contact.

LIBBY: Hello?

Her face brightens. It’s not who she thought was calling.

NATE (O.S.): Hi.

LIBBY: Hi, Nate.


The Lover’s montage. 

Libby and Nate talking in her room.

Libby watching Nate.

Nate watching Libby.

Nate looking through her art, Libby explains them to him.


Libby and Nate hold hands, her head on his shoulder as they walk. He kisses her head.


Libby and Nate are dressed up. They stand side by side on steps as Libby watches something. He watches her.


Libby sits on her bed with her laptop.

She looks up at Nate, who’s sitting at the desk on his phone.

LIBBY: Nate?

He looks up.

LIBBY: Do you ever wonder if you’re doing the right thing?

NATE: What do you mean?

LIBBY: Like do you ever wonder if you’re constantly making the wrong choices? And there’s someone or some power disappointed in you because you just... always mess up?

NATE: I think everything works out for a reason.

LIBBY: But inherently the world isn’t that nice. Is it?

NATE: Well, the world isn’t evil, Libby.

Smiles quickly before looking away from him.



Libby walks through the stacks of the library.

LIBBY (V.O.): The closer we got, the more it felt like it was the last time and we were holding on to something unsteady. 

She sits down at a table. Her phone buzzes a few times.

LIBBY (V.O.): I used to isolate myself, but it’s like he knew me better than I knew myself. Without fail, he was always there. 

Libby is sorting through some of her prints when Nate wraps his arms around her from behind.

NATE: Those are really good, you know?

He sits across from her and picks one of them up.

LIBBY: Thanks. I mean, there’s a lot of revision to be done.

NATE: You’ve been showing your advisor though, right? And your sponsor or whatever?

She rolls her eyes playfully.

LIBBY: Yeah, of course. Some of them.

NATE: I can always help you if you need me to. Remember my godmother?

LIBBY: Uh, yeah... Maybe someday. It just feels sort of weird.

Nate cocks his head.

LIBBY: If I were to have my art seen by people just because you’re my boyfriend I’d feel like a fraud.


LIBBY: I’m thankful. But, I wouldn’t know if it was really me who mattered then. You know?

NATE: Yeah, of course.

Nate holds one of the prints in his hand, swishing it back and forth. Libby returns to working. He watches her.

LIBBY (V.O.): I would mess it all up. It’s what I was best at.


Libby is on the phone.

LIBBY: Hey mom. No, I’ve just been busy.

The door to her apartment opens. Nate walks in. Libby turns away.

LIBBY: It’s not like you weren’t the one that started ignoring my calls in the first place.

Nate is curious, but stays quiet.

LIBBY: No, I’m not back talking... Are you kidding me?

She rolls her eyes as she turns away from Nate.

LIBBY: Seriously? How rich of you.

She scoffs. She’s exhausted.

LIBBY: I don’t know how I ever expected anything different from my mother. You’re always so-

She pulls the phone away from her ear. Her mom hung up.

Nate walks closer, puts his hands on her shoulders.

NATE: You okay?

She shrugs him off.

LIBBY: Everything’s fine.

NATE: Hey, come here.

He tries to pull her in for a hug this time. 


NATE: What’s wrong? I just-

LIBBY: Well, stop.

Not an argument just yet, but things are changing.

Libby pushes past him towards her room. Nate stands alone.


Libby sits on the stairs, working on an assignment. She’s starting to let herself go, unable to come to terms that things are falling apart around her. 

LIBBY (V.O.): The best way for me to get through each day was to slowly detach myself from my emotions.I can’t even blame anyone but myself because I refused to allow the only person who cared about me in. 

Her phone starts to ping incessantly. 

Text messages from “Mom.” They read:

I’m disappointed in the way you spoke to me last week.

I didn’t raise you to act like a brant, Elizabeth.

Do you understand respect? Seriously.

Libby puts the phone down.

LIBBY (V.O.): I never got the love I needed as a child, so it left me as an empty shell of a person. There was a version of me stuck inside screaming. This isn’t me. I’m not alright. I’m not okay. 

Libby turns, resting her head against the window.

LIBBY (V.O.): I wanted to know that it would get better. That I would be better. But… what if I never did? There wasn’t enough he could’ve done to drown her out. She was always there. 


Libby sits on the floor, a beer in hand.

Her phone rings. It’s Nate.

LIBBY (V.O.): Maybe I should’ve told him all of my problems, let them all out once and for all. Maybe he would’ve felt obligated to save me, or I would have become his problem too. 

She let’s it ring before clumsily moving over to decline the call. She takes another sip.


Libby talks to someone off screen as Nate observes.

LIBBY (V.O.): I don’t know which one would’ve been worse. 

He’s wanted to tell her how he’s felt for months, but it’s never been the right time.

But right now she’s smiling. Maybe it’ll be okay.

NATE: Libby?

Libby turns to him, smiling. She’s happy... or maybe a little drunk.

LIBBY: Yeah?

NATE: I think I love you.

Libby is silent for a moment.

LIBBY: What?

NATE: I love you.

Libby turns away from him.


Libby leaves.


Libby stumbles over herself and laughs. Nate reaches for her, but she continues trying to walk on her own. 

NATE: Libby, stop.

She laughs harder.

This isn’t someone whose drunk for fun.

NATE: This isn’t funny. You’re going to hurt yourself.

LIBBY: Go home then.

NATE: You’re drunk. And a mess.

She stops, turning around to face him. She has been crying.

LIBBY (V.O.): He held on to me longer than he should have. I thank him, and despise him all in the same breath. 

LIBBY: Fuck off.

She walks off.

LIBBY (V.O.): Why wouldn’t he let me go? Who chose to hold on to someone who was already gone? 

Nate’s in disbelief, but finally, for the first time, doesn’t follow.


Libby is hungover as she works on something. She’s a mess physically and emotionally. 

Through the window of the classroom she see’s Nate, just like day she did when she met him.

LIBBY (V.O.): We tiptoed over each other for days, not sure how to approach our end. I had lost all care for anything, yet he was trying to find a version of me that had disappeared.

She turns around, pretending she hasn’t seen him.

LIBBY (V.O.): He gave me all he could but I was breaking him too. I think that’s what hurts me the most. 


Nate stands in the doorway. Libby’s putting away clothes. She’s somewhat relaxed. Has her guard down.

NATE: There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.

Libby smiles a little. A reflection of the past when she saw him.

LIBBY: Yeah?

NATE:Quinn, my godmother, is going to be here this weekend. I gave her some of your prints and photos.

This makes Libby stop and turn.

NATE: She thought they were fucking amazing. She wanted to meet up while she’s here. I thought-

LIBBY: Are you being serious?

NATE: Obviously. 

He reaches for her, but she backs away.

NATE: What’s wrong?

LIBBY: You can’t just... why would you do that? 

NATE: Well, we talked about it awhile ago. I thought-

LIBBY: You thought what? That was my work. My... I told you maybe about this and explained why! Were you listening?

Nate shakes his head. She’s angry. He doesn’t understand.

NATE: You were so busy then and you’ve had a lot more free time lately. Not that you’ve been doing anything but staying in your apartment. 


NATE: I thought maybe if I helped you out a little it would be a good thing. You haven’t even talked about your classes and job. But you’re you

LIBBY: I quit, Nate. I gave up! If you paid a little attention, you’d know.

NATE: And how was I supposed to know that? During the what? Three times I’ve seen you lately? I wanted to help you because I care.

LIBBY: Well, that’s not your choice to make, Nate.

NATE: You’re impossible. And you’re a mess, Libby! Which is something you won’t even admit to yourself. I can help you and you won’t accept that. 

LIBBY: Because I don’t fucking need you! I don’t need you.

They’ve hit a crossroads. This is it.


NATE: What?

LIBBY: Get out. Please.

NATE: You’re being dramatic.

LIBBY: I said. Get. Out.

Nate walks towards the door. He turns around.

NATE: is this over?

Libby is facing away from him. She’s wiping at her face.

NATE: Do you even want to be with me? Can you even answer that?

She’s silent.

NATE: You know... I don’t think you’re a good person, Elizabeth.

Libby pointedly does not turn around until the door closes.

LIBBY (V.O.): Maybe I could’ve turned around. Apologized, and everything would be different. But we didn’t see each other again after that night. And he took a piece of me with him. 


Back to Libby standing in front of her portrait. 

Someone taller than her, a man, walks up next to her.

She looks up and sees Nate.

NATE: This is amazing.

She smiles. 

LIBBY: I’m surprised you came. 

NATE: I was surprised to be invited. Kind of thought you’d never want to see me again.

Her smile drops, but she stands straighter. Nods.

She opens her mouth, an apology about to spill...

NATE: If you’re going to apologize, don’t.

LIBBY: I wasn’t.

NATE: Really?

LIBBY: No, I totally was. Um... 

She shakes her head.

LIBBY: It felt wrong not to invite you. Considering.

NATE: Yeah.

Nate looks at the portrait. It’s not them exactly, but he understands.

NATE: I’ve missed you.


NATE: As a person. As a constant in my life.

LIBBY: I wasn’t very good at that though, was I?

NATE: Eh, maybe not. Doesn’t change the fact that I do. Besides it’s been like four years? I care, Libby.

LIBBY: I know. I’ve missed you too.

Nate pulls her in for a hug. He kisses the side of her head. Just like he used to. 

This time, she lays her head on his shoulder. Accepting the kindness.

LIBBY (V.O.): We were so young, yet he knew me in ways I didn’t know someone could know another person. I wonder what it would be like if we tried again as different people. But not now. 

Made they’ll find there way back together one day. Or maybe...

The screen goes black.

LIBBY (V.O.): Some things might be better left unsaid. 


Meet Lindsay Nickelson

Lindsay Nickelson is a senior at Marymount majoring in Film Production in a minor in Creative Writing. After College she plans to continue her interest in working at a Literary Agency by furthering her current Internship for a third semester. She loves to spend her free time reading the newest Goodreads recommended book and spending countless hours on Pinterest.
Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff