So Bea’s husband dies, and there is nothing to keep Bea and Jorgy apart any longer. Do they move in together?
“Yes” would be the obvious, predictable answer. So let’s examine the possibility of “No.” (Did you notice how many times I used the word “perhaps” in the last post? I’m not making any decisions; I am merely floating possibilities – and believe me, I am also considering all possibilities that are diametrically opposed to the ones I am presenting here.)
At the moment, I am inclined to say, “No.” I wonder if part of Kate’s anger is because she feels that Jorgy has taken advantage of Bea and also that Bea has let him. Kate says, “He loses this company, he walks away with millions. You walk away with memories.” This says to me that Jorgy and Bea have not married; Kate does not feel that Jorgy has offered Bea any sort of financial protection, and certainly a marriage would provide that. She clearly doesn’t know about the $1 million trust fund Jorgy has set up for Bea, which while a nice security blanket, is still but a fraction of the $30 million he reaps at the end of the play.
Even if they didn’t marry, living together would probably imply, to Kate, that Bea would be taken care of by Jorgy, if only in a bequest from his will. Without that, and without assurances from Bea that she has seen the will or has a trust fund, Kate has every reason to believe that Jorgy has been shtupping her mother for decades and that Bea has nothing to show for it but “memories”.
Okay, so I’ve got a textual reason for believing that they aren’t living together; now let’s try to understand the motivation behind it.
Let’s say Bea’s husband died 3 to 5 years ago. Kate’s feelings are still very raw on the subject, and while there are people who can hold such grudges for many years, let’s say that Kate’s are still pretty fresh. So let’s say 3 years.
Jorgy and Bea were in love for 34 years before they were both single and could do something about it. Yes, it’s romantic to want the happy ending for them, and they undoubtedly talked about it after the funeral. But perhaps Bea didn’t want to give up her house, and neither did Jorgy. He’s a man of strong opinions and probably not overly fond of change. At 65, maybe he was accustomed to his house and didn’t want to leave it, and Bea didn’t want to live in Fay’s house. Or maybe she just didn’t want to leave her own, which has so many memories for her. They’d had 34 years to get accustomed to living apart; maybe they decided that beginning a physical relationship didn’t mean they had to share the same bed every night.
I’m not committed to this explanation, but I’m leaning toward it, and here’s why:
If I (Bea) have no safety net, then offering Garfinkle my million dollar trust fund becomes a greater sacrifice. Remember when I talked about raising the stakes for your character?
If we are living together, then I might have reason to believe that Jorgy will take care of me even if I give away the money. Without that, I may not be sure of what he will do. I might THINK he will replace it, but I don’t know. That bit of uncertainty increases my stakes.
But whether we are living together or not, Jorgy might see what I do as a betrayal and reject me entirely. If that’s the case, then we could be living together. If he rejects me on principle, then I am without a home (if I moved into his) as well as without him, and no nest egg for my retirement.
Of course, the trust fund would have been set up while my husband was still alive, Jorgy’s way of taking care of me when he had no other way to do so. So he certainly might replace it after the sting of buying Garfinkle out passes. But he is a man of inflexible principle – I might very well be uncertain of what his reaction would be, and so in offering Garfinkle the million dollars to save 1,000 jobs, I am risking not just the money and the security it offers, but my relationship with Jorgy as well.
Them’s high stakes!
Where does this leave me in terms of our living together? Apparently it doesn’t matter, from a stakes point of view, whether we are living together or not, because the stakes are as high as they can be either way. I am left with the textual reason related to Kate’s understanding of our relationship, which is pretty compelling, although it is more meaningful to her. Nevertheless, I think it does impact one speech I make to her, so I think I’ll stick with the idea that we live apart, but spend most, if not all, of our nights together, sometimes in his house, sometimes in mine. I can’t see me giving up my home – “home” is too important to me – but I can’t see Jorgy wanting to change old habits, either.
Did you notice that somewhere in this post, I stopped talking about Bea in the third person and began speaking of her in the first person? As I think I mentioned in the posts about talking about your character in the first person, I am inclined to speak about her as “Bea” when I am being analytical – that’s an intellectual exercise for me, and I look at her from the outside. Once I start to get close to the emotional life of the character, however, I automatically flip into first person speak. It’s sort of like trying on a character’s feelings, so see how they sit with me, but more than that, it’s about taking ownership of those feelings. Bea isn’t someone “out there” – she has to live inside of me if she is to breathe.