An Ant Farm
So many scenes this week, most of them involving Hayley and Roy. But the one that got me was Roy preparing for the birthday party organized for him by Hayley. Sat at the kitchen table, tie untied, furiously polishing Hayley’s black pumps, he had little time for Anna’s solicitude.
But he told her a lot in his impatience over her concern that he should enjoy the party for Hayley’s sake. He gave a capsule of history – his childhood, his mother and his relationship with Hayley – while giving those shoes a shine that a drill sergeant could not fault.
His turning twelve had been the occasion of his last birthday party. Desperately hoping for an ant farm, he received an action figure instead. A British military figure dressed in WWII US Forces uniform, something that distressed young Roy to no end. Just as well he didn’t like it, his auntie opined to his mother, playing with dolls might make him peculiar. He ended up peculiar anyway, he told Anna. He sent his action figure “to a watery grave” and he never got the ant farm.
Roy did get Hayley though, the only time he ever got his heart’s desire. So the desperation he feels at losing her is palpable. So too is his desperation at the thought of spending an entire evening being sociable and the centre of attention at a party. But he will do it – for Hayley’s sake.
Later that evening, outside at the back of the Rovers, Roy tells Hayley what she means to him. Another calmer beautiful moment when he opens the big heart that he usually keeps so buttoned up. Another moment of tears welling in my eyes and my husband’s. This one was his pick of the week. I liked it a lot too. But somehow the rawness of emotion and breadth of content in Roy’s near-soliloquy when preparing for the party hit me somewhere deeper in my psyche.
My husband had another pick this week: any and all the scenes of Eva and her girls in the little red polka-dot dress. The choked back sobs and “aww” sounds I heard from the chair beside mine during touching Hayley and Roy moments turned more to ‘hubba-hubba’ type noises whenever she, and they, appeared on the screen. “Those things ought to have a warning flag on them,” he said.