As the morning progresses into midday the residents of Benicia continue with their daily tasks, one young resident only has one task in mind; Payton pulls up in front of Chars to find Xavier waiting with a hotdog and soda in hand. Xavier hands Payton the food and the two begin to walk toward the waterfront. “Last night freaked me out. I have no idea what’s going on and we almost got caught,” Xavier states. “Have you seen anyone strange around your family… any new people coming around?” Payton asks. “No, but that’s not saying anything; my dad is always doing some kind of deal with whoever,” Xavier replies, ending his statement with an eyeroll. Payton chimes in, “I heard the four men talking while I was in the closet — if that’s not irony — whatever they were talking about, it’s happening at the fundraiser. And one thing sticks out to me… when the fourth man came in, one of the men said, ‘She promised we could do it at the fundraiser.’ We need to find out who that ‘she’ is,” Payton exclaims through mouthfuls of the hotdog. “Maybe we should just leave it alone,” Xavier utters. Payton ignores Xavier’s comment, “Can you meet me tomorrow night at my house? I’ve got a feeling about something,” Payton says, throwing his trash in the can. “Meet me at 8.” He walks away leaving Xavier scratching his head.
But Payton isn’t the only Benicia resident looking for answers. Back at the Walker home, Madalyn is getting dressed to check up on the finishing touches on the F.A.C.T. fundraiser at the venue. As Madalyn zips up her tan, close-fitting dress, she looks at her clock for the time, which also displays the date. She is suddenly overwhelmed with guilt and sadness; she forgot what date it was.
It’s at that moment she hears the front door downstairs shut and the sound of the news starting on TV. “Hank?” she calls out in return. She hears a grunt that could only be Hank, her husband of 25 years. Madalyn heads downstairs to find him in the dining room, texting.
“Hi, honey how are you doing?” she asks as she hugs him from behind. “Today is always tough. I forgot, too,” Madalyn says. Hank squirms out of Madalyn’s embrace. “I didn’t forget my son’s birthday, Madalyn,” Hank says with resentment. “Why didn’t you remind me or bring it up? I don’t understand,” she replies. “You want the truth? I was hoping you would forget, and I know that sounds bad but I– ” before Hank could finish his thought, Madalyn cuts in, “You wish I forgot?! Why would you say that? Why would you ever want me to forget OUR son? He would be 17 today!” “Why? Because I want my wife back!” Hank replies, with a tremble in his voice. “What are you talking about?1 I have always been here! You’re the one that stopped seeing me! I feel like I have been grieving him all alone,” Madalyn throws back at him. Hank, stepping toward Madalyn, “That’s the narrative you play in your head… that you lost your son, that I wasn’t there for you… what about me? We lost our four-year-old son 13 years ago. You lost your son… but I lost my son and my wife,” Hank says, leaving Madalyn stunned and wounded.
“I have to go,” Madalyn chokes out. “I’ll be back around 6. There’s stew cooking in the slow cooker; it will turn itself off,” Madalyn says, desperately wanting to avoid this conversation and her role in it. Grabbing her purse and keys, she starts heading for the door, all while a news report comes on about fires swelling nearby; none of which she hears. She stops in the doorway. “I didn’t know, Hank. I didn’t know you felt that way,” she says, so he could truly hear it. “I really do love you, Hank.” And with that, Madalyn is out the door. Hank is left looking at the shadow where Madalyn had stood. As Hank is flooded with emotion, it’s not long before the silence is broken by his phone ringing. “…Yeah, I’d love to see you,” he says into the phone with a tinge of guilt.
Madalyn rounds the corner in her station wagon and has to pull over as the tears overtake her. Taking out her napkin, she wipes her eyes, fixes her makeup, and repeats the same mantra to herself: “Things will be better tomorrow. You just have to get to tomorrow.”