This is a passage that’s been rewritten SO many times in the screenplay it isn’t even funny. It’s a turning point for Lacey, a glimpse for her into her father’s process, and the beginnings of her realization that he’s human and hurting.
I’m hoping this is finally doing what it needs to do. Of course, this isn’t the whole conversation.
Ernie surveyed the field for a moment, then sat next to her and let out a breath. “It’s been a tough couple of years, hasn’t it?”
He picked something off his pants leg as he searched for words. “I don’t like how things are, Lacey. I want you to know that. I just don’t know how we got here, is all.” He turned to her, laid a hand on her knee. “Your Mama, she was the one who rounded the corners, made things safe. She handled the hard parts… the fevers, the skinned knees, the nightmares. My job was to lay down the rules. With her gone… I’m sorry, hon. I didn’t know how to make your hurt my priority.”
She looked at the hand on her knee. At the ring, still shining through the grime on his third finger. They’d never talked this long, not about anything that mattered. The hand and the voice were her father’s, but the words were a conversation with a stranger, and as her brain strove to reconcile the two she said something just to fill the awkward silence.