Friday Owen tells Gary what Anna did. “Laid back and thought of England. Took one for the team.” Gary’s face registers shock; he can’t look at his mother. She pleads for his understanding. He explains he isn’t worthy to be in the same room with her after what she did for him, and neither is Owen. Then he wrapped his arms around her. She leaned into him and cried.
It’s about time one of them gave a big thank you to Anna for what she did. Izzy has been understanding and supportive but has not said a heartfelt ‘thank you Anna for pulling us all out of that mess’. Owen has been distant and nasty. Katy has been nasty. You can understand Owen’s reaction: his wife slept with another man and, to make the humiliation greater, she did it to save him. There is no excuse for Katy. She speaks from the cruelty possessed only by someone with the self-righteousness of youthful inexperience.
Would Gary have been so quickly understanding if Owen were not there slagging off his mother and, by extension, him for getting them into the mess with Phelan? I doubt it. His sense of outrage probably would have kicked in, first toward Anna then toward Phelan. That was why they had all not wanted Gary to know, not wanted him to ‘kick off’ and make things worse. But he found out by Owen calling his mother a whore, with Izzy quickly following up with a warning about “punching first and thinking later”. That made him react the way no one expected: cognizant of his mother’s sacrifice and the role his violence had played in the whole thing.
Maybe Gary’s words touched Owen. Later Owen said his piece to Anna, about how he couldn’t get the image of Phelan and her out of his mind, of his own anger and shame. But maybe, with time, he could get over it. Anna was willing to listen to him. Then he said the words I hope he wished he could retract as soon as they were out of his mouth: “maybe I can forgive you”. Anna should need his forgiveness? I think it’s more the case of Owen needing forgiveness from Anna. He contributed to a situation that he, Gary, and the entire family escaped only by her prostituting herself for them. With his words, the compassion and love in Anna’s eyes died, replaced by justified fury.
Too late, Owen tried to make amends. He had no choice but to pack a bag and leave. Maybe they can find their way through this. I hope so, but Owen needs to get a deeper understanding of what sacrificing for your family really can mean. Anna now will not allow him to have anything less than that if they are to continue together.