My pick for the week is not the small, unexpected quirky moment. I’m going straight to the Big Event – Roy’s romantic proposal of marriage. It was lovely, weepy-making and also quirky even if expected or at least hoped for.
In a smoke-filled room with shattered glass on the floor, Roy got on one knee and asked Hayley to be his wife, again. No, they weren’t in a pub evading no-smoking laws after a bar fight. It was their living room after he’d had a cooking disaster. As he attempted getting down on his knee, Hayley fussed at him about shards of glass and what are you doing, be careful. She did not see what he was trying to do. But her smile when she heard his words, and realized his meaning, and her immediate heart-felt ‘yes’! Priceless.
He had worked on preparing the event all day, with Anna’s help. He’d carefully planned the menu and timed Hayley’s arrival. But she had a horrible day. The factory girls wanting her to find out what was going on with their jobs, the factory and the new contract. Nick, up to his eyeballs in worry trying to sort it out, didn’t have time for her. Carla took off with Trevor to South Africa for the World Cup and recuperation after her ordeal with Tony. No jobs, no factory, no new contract, and everyone wanting answers from Hayley.
Delayed by more questions and complaining on her way home, Hayley was late. Unlike her usual cheery self, she was fed up with everybody and everything and just wanted a nice bath and early bed. Roy, holding dinner in the oven, first was fretful over dinner being ruined. Then he began panicking, afraid that Tony still had some evil in store for her.
She arrived in the café, to his and Anna’s great relief. But the smoke alarm went off upstairs. It was her turn to panic. Roy knew the cause, but she didn’t. She flashed back to the factory burning, screaming at Roy to please don’t go upstairs.
He did, to find their apartment full of smoke and the smoke detector blaring. Fanning the door, getting frantic trying to shut the noise off, getting his burned Dutch apple pie out of the oven. He stepped back, bumped the table and knocked the vase of flowers onto the floor. It shattered far and wide.
Hayley, still frightened, came upstairs. When she saw the Dutch baked apple cake, he explained he’d been making a reminder of their time in Amsterdam. She recalled her feelings then. Her overwhelming despair of ever becoming the woman she felt herself to be instead of the Harold she was born, of ever being with Roy again, the man who had loved her as Hayley. Then Roy finding her and still loving her as Hayley, Harold or Santa Claus. In Amsterdam, she did become Hayley, with “all that to-ing and fro-ing down there” as Julie later so wonderfully described it.
Anyway, after that moment of Hayley remembering how hard it was getting to where she and Roy now are, they sat on the couch amid the shattered glass. And he proposed. He didn’t have to say and nor did she, but they, and we, know that this time she will have her fancy wedding dress and the big party. It isn’t just about life insurance policies now.