A time for us: that’s what Roy and Hayley want, what they need. Instead, like Romeo and Juliet, they have intrusions. Impending death the biggest of all. Distractions of a business, of learning to drive. Well-wishers and helpers, welcome or not.
Anna, handling the café and wanting to understand what’s bothering Roy. Pushed to his limit, he tells her: Hayley wishes to end her own life. He needs to tell someone but Anna is not the best choice. For sure, she will tell someone else. Maybe normally, Hayley wouldn’t be overly furious about her confidence being broken. But these days, Hayley is quickly infuriated.
Roy decides to spruce up their bedroom for Hayley’s homecoming from hospital. A nice idea but not a good one. It wouldn’t have occurred to him to do it, except for Jenna bringing him tea and looking askance at the room. Roy saw the peeling and faded wallpaper through her eyes. Then followed a hideous time of Roy the handyman. Thank goodness, Anna intruded again and got Owen and Gary to do the decorating.
She wants to see the factory girls and her friend Jane from the cancer support group. Roy frets about her overtiring herself. She agrees to postpone her visit to the ailing Jane. Jane is a new friend, one Roy does not like. But Hayley has the bond of terminal cancer with her. Next day, they finally get there after Roy drags his heels as long as possible. Jane had died the night before. Hayley would have seen her if she’d gone when she wanted to. Jane’s death was peaceful but “she wasn’t herself”, her husband said. That reinforces Hayley’s belief that she wants to die while she is still herself, Hayley.
Roy cannot understand. He wants to hold her life-filled hand for as long as possible. He pictures, I think, the deaths we see in movies. He can’t really imagine the agony he is asking her to endure. And that isn’t even taking into the account the real fear that Hayley has, that in her mind she will return to being Harold. So even when together in a small insular space like their car, they fight. Or more accurately, both try to avoid the other’s truth and angrily lash out with their own.
They are so close to each other and to their own feelings and beliefs that they cannot see the other’s point of view. They really do need a third party to see the forest in the trees. But counseling is not a comfortable thought for either of them.
Meanwhile, life and business go on and friends continue to butt in, meaning well. Telling Roy he should spend all the time with Hayley that he can, not realizing that is exactly what they are fighting about. Mercifully, we were spared Fiz’s solicitude. In every Roy and Hayley scene, my husband kept expecting Fiz to pop up like a jack-in-the-box with an oh-dear or can-I-help. Ha! Instead we got a Beth pop-up. Wonderful and very scary.