In what is being called one of the most moving scenes in one of the most difficult stories ever to play out on the Street, Maria Conner visits the hospital for the induced stillbirth of her baby.
Sadness and Support
Maria has barely awakened on the couch in her dressing gown when Liam comes downstairs and launches into a rant. Calling her a “drama queen” he wants to know when her sulk is going to end, and why she left the bedroom. “I never slept with Carla,” he reiterates, “how many times?” He thinks he’s being unfairly punished. Maria can’t get in a word.
Later, she comes downstairs dressed in a crisp white blouse, with a pink overnight case. She calls Liam’s name but the house is silent. Determined now to proceed on her own, Maria rings a non-Streetcars cab. When it pulls up, Steve passes with a quirky remark, but she ignores him. Audrey arrives at the salon, noting Maria is unaccounted-for two days in a row. “she must be poorly,” Audrey figures.
Marcus runs into Liam in the street, and sympathetically asks how he is. When Liam mumbles, “been better,” Marcus assumes the topic is the couple’s loss..but Liam prattles on about their spat, and it becomes clear that he doesn’t know. “She’s overreacting,” he says, “after all, no one died.” Marcus realizes he doesn’t know a thing.
Maria sits alone in the hospital’s blue waiting room. A kindly nurse asks if she has anyone coming to support her, like a partner or mom. “No,” she says, “I prefer it this way.”
Liam has brought his non-stop grousing into the Rovers. “A right sulky piece,” he describes Maria to Steve at the bar. Steve points out that in his debates with Michelle, it is he that gets booted to the couch. (me too, Steve-o) He then recounts seeing Maria getting into a rival cab. Audrey and Rita enter; Audrey has not seen Maria either. Liam pulls out his cel. to call, but Maria is not answering. It finally dawns on him that the baby might not be okay.
The waiting room door opens at the hospital; it is Marcus, come to support Maria. He says he saw Liam but said nothing…it’s Maria’s place to say something…he tries to talk further about Liam, but Maria cuts him off; she does not want to discuss it. “You can’t do this on your own,” Marcus says. “I’m not,” Maria’s voice wavers, “You’re here now.”
Liam goes back home and phones repeatedly, his worry mounting. As his call rings through, Marcus urges Maria to pick it up. She does answer, but all she’ll say is it’s “not important” where she is, and she can’t talk now. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she tells him, and hangs up. She enters the birthing room, holding Marcus’ hand.
Once on the table, Maria is understandably very frightened, and tries to settle herself on her elbows. Marcus asks her permission to call Liam. “Just pour me a glass of water,” she asks. After the inducement, Maria’s labour comes on quickly and she struggles to birth her baby, trying to calm herself through the pain and distress. Marcus, not leaving her side, encourages her gently along.
Meanwhile, Carla saunters into the Rovers to cheer Liam up. She is quite flirty, buzzing around him. After a little banter, he tells her that Maria has left. Carla seems truly surprised at this and even a whisker concerned. “She’ll be back by tea-time,” Carla says encouragingly. She offers to buy him a kebab later.
Heavily into her last stretch and pushing doggedly, Maria is finally able to birth a tiny, stillborn son. Marcus is silent, but his face registers deep sorrow as Maria lays back, exhausted. The nurse finally speaks. “Would you like to hold him?” she asks. This option has not occurred to Maria, but she does want to say goodbye to her baby. Sobbing, she tenderly accepts the tiny, wrapped bundle, out of which pokes a tiny, delicate hand. “Perfect,” she whispers, through her tears.
Dumb and Dumber
As they prepare for the day, Leanne wonders how long Janice plans to give her the silent treatment. “I was so proud of you,” Janice begins, thinking Leanne has taken stock of her life, decided she was worth more, and reformed. “Someone could have died,” she says. Leanne makes a lame, flippant attempt to blame Paul. Janice knows Leanne put him up to it. Crying and unable to hide her disappointment, she tells Leanne, “Sometimes I think there’s something wrong with you. You get off on doing dodgy things. And the worst,” she says, is Leanne’s weeks of lying and pretending. “I stuck up for you,” she rails, “when they were all gossiping and laughing behind your back. And I’m telling you now lady: not any more.”
Leanne shows up at Dan and Harry’s flat with her bag, as she’s fallen out with Janice. Harry suggests an excellent B&B with a mustachioed hostess. Leanne snivels and whines though most of the morning as Dan is attempting to make eggy bread. No recipe is leaping to the forefront of his mental index, so he asks Harry how to do it. Harry responds, “I wonder what prison food’s like these days? If you go down,” he tells them, “you have no one to blame but yourselves. Save it for the judge.”
Paul is off to the police station. Tyrone couldn’t care less. Jack wants to accompany Paul in a show of support (which makes his denouncement of yesterday sort of paper-bag, doesn’t it?) . Tyrone thinks maybe Paul’s a pyromaniac. Paul sarcastically suggests that he move out so they’re all safe in their beds.
Paul returns home from court. The news is that he’s been charged, and will likely go down for it. His only consolation is that Leanne and Dan go down for it too. Jack asks about the quality of Paul’s solicitor and offers to pay for a better lawyer. Paul stoically says he has to deal with whatever’s coming. Maybe ‘Dave’ Platt will get a cellie that can cook.
In other news:
Rita and Audrey gossip in a corner of the Rovers….Audrey admits that Bill and her aren’t all hearts and flowers…he’s not much of a party. She equates Bill to a pair of comfy slippers one puts on after a party. Audrey confesses she would like a tad more excitement. Doesn’t Rita want to meet someone? Audrey wants to know. It might be nice, Rita concurs. Gail comes in before Audrey can discuss a possible second date with Ted.
I volunteer for a very fine local association, Perinatal Bereavement Services Ontario. Anyone seeking support for the loss of a baby might wish to visit http://www.pbso.ca.