That Cold Day in the Park

Frances notices a nineteen-year-old boy sitting in the rain in the park outside her house and invites him inside. The boy does not speak but appears to understand everything. Frances allows him to bathe and eat, then buys him new clothes the next day. That night the boy visits his parents and younger siblings then returns to his small apartment with his older sister Nina and explains what has happened to him.

The next day the boy returns bearing homemade cookies and unexpectedly encounters the maid, Mrs. Parnell. Frances invites him in and sends Mrs. Parnell away. Mrs. Parnell remarks that the cookies are burnt before leaving but Frances opens an expensive bottle of wine to accompany the cookies. She holds one-sided conversations and flirts with the boy, developing a strong attachment. The following day the boy allows his sister Nina to use Frances’s bath while Frances is away having a contraceptive diaphragm fitted and dispensed at a local family planning clinic.

When Charles, an older suitor from Frances’s lawn bowls group, visits that night, Frances locks the door to the boy’s room while she rebuffs the man’s advances until he leaves. She then inserts the diaphragm and enters the boy’s room and asks him to make love to her but is distraught to find that the bed is merely stuffed with dolls.

The boy sneaks back into his room at Frances’s house and sleeps until the next day, when he finds that all of the doors and windows are nailed shut. He confronts Frances and she apologizes but insists that she wants things to remain as they are, leaving him locked in the house as she goes out to a bar. She notices a woman sitting alone and invites her to come spend the night with the boy but the woman becomes upset. A man overhears and helps Frances find a prostitute named Sylvia at a nearby diner. Frances brings Sylvia home and locks her in the room with the boy then listens through the door as they have intercourse. Overcome with emotion, Frances enters the room and stabs Sylvia through the heart, killing her. The boy desperately searches for an exit but Frances tells him that he can stay with her and that he does not have to be afraid.