Thursday, Hayley and Roy go to the Rovers with Christian, her long lost son. Hayley is Christian’s father, from when she was Harold. It has been very difficult for Christian to wrap his head around that – finding out his absentee father had become a she. The previous time they had met, six years ago, turned out badly when Christian struck her. So Hayley is uncertain about contacting him but she wants to try to make peace with him in the time she has left. However, she doesn’t want to tell him of her illness, doesn’t want “to play the sympathy card,” as she puts it. Roy has been opposed to her contacting him, not wanting her to endure whatever he might throw at her (figuratively and literally).
Things go not too badly between them until Christian shows Hayley photos of his two children. She wishes desperately to meet them, her grandchildren. Christian doesn’t say no but he says he needs time. How much time, Hayley and Roy ask, knowing that time is the resource they have in shortest supply. Maybe when they are older, like say when they’re in their teens, when they are better equipped to understand –: his words trail off, he doesn’t know how to finish his sentence. The circus that is our lives, Roy throws back a word that Christian had used inadvertently earlier in explaining why he and his wife had no family present at their wedding.
Hayley’s mother hen side, wanting to see the grandbabies, is fighting with her wish to protect herself and Christian from the news of her death occurring way before those children reach their teens. While she tries to figure out a way out, Roy loses what little patience he has for Christian and for Hayley’s need to reconcile with her son. He lashes out at Christian and his bigotry and stomps off. Surprisingly, Hayley is prepared to leave with him. All of them angry by this point, Christian gets one final jab at her. When she says just be a good dad, he says he couldn’t be any worse than she was. That makes leaving him easy, she tells Christian as she takes Roy’s arm and walks out.
A frustrating scene, not because it was not believable. It was very credible for the characters, but not what I want to see from Roy especially. Hayley’s illness is bringing out the worst of his obsessiveness. He is monitoring and micromanaging her illness, her actions, even her wishes, all in the name of protecting her. She must deal with his behaviour and his sorrow as well as deal with her own imminent mortality. Unduly stressful for her.
Roy should never have gone to the Rovers with Hayley and Christian. His presence was unnecessary and he was too angry. If Christian had taken another jab at Hayley, a bar full of people would have immediately jumped to her defence. Maybe we got the real reason for his presence later when they were back at home having cocoa. He doesn’t want to share the little time he has left with her, not with anyone, he told Hayley. Perhaps especially with a son who came from a previous life as a different person, literally. Whatever the reason, it is Hayley who suffers because she has been denied the opportunity to reconcile her past and her present. And Christian too, who seemed to truly want to put things right and try to understand his own past and parentage.