Dec 1, 2018
In Grace’s universe, Ben’s real problem is that he hasn’t spent any time with his old friends, so she decides to throw him a surprise barbecue. She involves both kids in the planning, because what could be better than making Ben the bad guy with his children, over plans he didn’t even know or care about?
Let’s note here that Grace doesn’t consult or invite Ben’s sister, who lives with them, or his dad. Michaela could have told her that it’s not a good time. Grace didn’t have to make this party a surprise. She could have actually spoken to her husband about what he actually wants for his life.
But that’s not what Grace or this party are about. This is another of Grace’s attempts to impose some fantasy version of normalcy on Ben. She knows he won’t live up to it, because she’s seen the way he’s frantically busy with other things. And when he fails, she’ll have one more thing to blame him for.
Grace’s psychological breakdown, disguised as a tirade against her husband.
Ben: “I know this all sounds crazy.”
Grace: “No, not crazy. Horrifying. There were assault weapons? And explosions? What were you thinking?”
This exchange tells us that Ben told her everything, off camera. Whatever misconceptions she still has are there because she refuses to believe him, ask questions, corroborate his story with Saanvi, Mick or others, or even talk to Cal himself.
She’s already rewritten the events of the day in her mind. She thinks Ben and Cal’s participation in their own lives is somehow optional, that they can somehow just walk away from these events and it will all go away. She only heard the parts of the story that she wanted to hear, the parts she can use to make Cal an innocent victim and Ben a reckless parent who endangered his son.
Grace: “You can’t what? You can’t lose him? 760. That’s how many days I watched cancer consume my little boy. 8 months. That’s how long it took me to file the death certificate after the plane disappeared. 1,430. Know what that was? The cost of my son’s gravestone. So please don’t ever tell me that I don’t understand, because you don’t know what it’s like to have your child die.”
No, but he knows what it’s like to lose 5 1/2 years, to have been kidnapped and experimented on, to know that you almost died, and to have no idea what really happened. He knows what it’s like to know that those things also happened to your child, but there is a cover up that’s willing to kill people to make sure no one ever knows about it, and that the organization who orchestrated the whole thing is still kidnapping passengers and experimenting on them. And he also went through the 760 days of watching his son consumed by cancer. Cal is their son, not her son.
Ben: “You’re right. I’m sorry. But don’t you want me to do whatever it takes to keep our son safe?”
Grace: “Is that what you call what happened this afternoon? Keeping him safe?”
Does she think Ben’s taken up assisting the NSA with their black ops as a hobby and Cal wants to tag along? Grace has been through a lot. And Cal shouldn’t be where there are weapons and explosions. But denying the existence of the people who want to hurt him isn’t going to help him.
Olive comes out to the side of the house. She hears her parents arguing, and stops to eavesdrop.
Grace: “I thought I could just forget the last 5 years of my life. That we could just start over, right where we left off. Because you were the same, even if I wasn’t. But you’re not the same. I don’t know you. I don’t think this is right anymore.”
Ben steps away from her and tears up.
Grace: “How could you even suggest that?
Ben: “I’m the only one who can keep him safe right now.”
Grace: “I mourned my son for 5 years. I will never, never let anyone take him away from me. Not ever again. You should go.”
Ben walks away.
Olive has already walked away, once she realized that, as usual, no one was fighting over her. Only Cal. I’m sure Ben would fight for Olive, if he thought she’d want to go with him, but she’s given him the cold shoulder most of the time he’s been home. He’s not going to force himself on her now.
Grace may think that she’s going to keep the kids away from Ben, but we’ve already established that she treats Olive like another adult in the house who’s able to come and go as she pleases. And Cal has shown that he’s fast and slippery with both parents, able to get away from them and go wherever, whenever. She’ll have a hard time stopping them from slipping out now, when it’s already established that they can climb out of windows and lie about it, and when it’s well established that Olive can act as a third parent to Cal.
Grace had a lot of nerve, blaming Ben for Cal showing up at the Red Hook warehouse, when she was the one responsible for him at that point. She’s the irresponsible parent who got caught up in her party and didn’t keep an eye on her kid.
This article was originally published at metawitches.com.