Once they’d decided it was necessary, Hayley and Roy didn’t have a chance to tell Mother Cropper the truth about Hayley’s sex change. Tracey Barlow, trademark sneer in place, was happy to enlighten Sylvia even while Roy was shooing her out of the café.
The three Croppers then had a moment of mutual self-revelation. Sylvia tried to avoid it, but Hayley said ‘sit down’ in a tone that even she had to obey. Hayley then reverted to herself, trying to placate and explain. Sylvia reverted too, pronouncing on the abnormality of Hayley, Roy and their relationship. Roy changed his usual way of dealing with his mother. His love of Hayley takes precedence over even his fear and dread of his mother. He told her that even though she had absolutely no money and he and Hayley had been happy to welcome her into their home, he was happy to see her walk right out the door if she could not accept Hayley as his wife.
The mix of emotions in Sylvia’s response – in words and expression. Memories of his childhood flickering across her face, her frustration or incomprehension of his ‘differentness’. “There was no help in those days,” she says. Roy says, “you were ashamed.” Maybe she was but she wasn’t going to admit it. “Disappointed,” she says. Then she speaks of her pride when she saw him with a business, a wife, friends, standing in the community – normal is the unspoken word. Then the shock of finding out Hayley is a transsexual.
She’s an intelligent woman and a caring one despite the crusty exterior. As Roy said, “this morning, you thought the world of Hayley.” She knows that too. She will come around. And it’s Becky who will help, just as Sylvia will cause Becky to rethink her pity party.
Both of them exiled upstairs to the apartment while Hayley and Roy do make-work in the café, trying to avoid their houseguests. Sylvia decrying the state of a world where you don’t know who or what anyone is. “Cavorting with eunuchs and taking in parasites” she says, that’s what Roy has done. “I don’t know what she is.” “She’s Hayley Cropper, simple as that,” Becky turns to Sylvia and replies.
Sylvia suggests to Becky that it might be time for her to sort her life out and make up with a husband who clearly loves her. Becky listens to her. And two difficult women of different generations and worlds take stock of each other. I think they see themselves mirrored and they like what they see, although both of them would deny it to the bitter end.