02x10 - Choose Life

Episode transcripts for the TV show "This Life". Aired: October 2015 - January 2017.
"This Life" focuses on a lifestyle columnist and single mother in her early forties whose terminal cancer diagnosis sends her on a quest to help her three teenage children get ready for the future, while trying her best to live in the now.
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02x10 - Choose Life

Post by bunniefuu »

man: She wanted me to stay with her, but I came back to work.

Do you think she was upset with me?

It hurt her when you pushed her away.

Caleb, you've got to turn your phone back on.

I'm not the first time you've been in love?

The hurting part just stopped. How long does it take?

You're gonna get out of the vehicle. We'll be seizing that.

Impound fee is another $650.

man: What's going on? Looked like you might be in pain.

Natalie: Nothing I haven't experienced since starting the trial.

man: CT shows a rupture in your small intestine, so we have to get you surgery right away before it causes more damage.

My kids, I have to see 'em first.

Just in case anything goes wrong, I need to know who you chose to live with.



Oliver, if you ever need to talk...

You want my number?

I love you. I'll see you after.

[indistinct whispering]

[indistinct whispering]

[mechanical ventilation]

[machine beeping]

[bell tolling]

[inaudible conversations]

Yes, the lilies are for the altar and the daisies are for the reception. On all the tables, that's right. OK.


You OK?

How much longer?

Why don't you go outside and get some air, OK?

It's beautiful out.

[tap water running]

She was a wonderful person, Emma.

I know. Thanks.

Love you, buddy. Give your mother a hug.


You came!

[soft guitar music]


Everyone thought we'd never see you again.

Well, uh, everyone was wrong.

I love your dress.

Thank you.

Have I mentioned how impressed I am with how strong you've been?

Like, 50 times. I'm beginning to think you're used to see me as pretty weak.

She couldn't have gone through this without you.

Are we ready?

[choir singing Ave Maria hymn]

[door opening]

Hey, Elyse, come here.

[theme music]

♪ Synced and corrected by javiernv ♪

[violin music playing]

Matthew: Well, they're already pouncing.

[chuckling]: Stop it.

[indistinct conversations]

[man laughing]

[baby babbling]

So that's why you didn't come back sooner?

Came back as fast as I could. We were in a very remote place.

Does that mean you're her new baby daddy?

Romy: I don't think you're using that term correctly.

Hey, would you two cool it? You don't even know her.

We just loved your grandma around here.

Emma: Thank you.

Do you know who that was?

No, but it's been happening all day.

[violin music still playing]


[woman chuckling]

[baby babbling]


[indistinct conversations]


You look good, considering.

Haha! Thanks, David.

Did you want to talk about our son and his, uh, homecoming?

What's there to talk about? He met a girl.

Yeah, I know. Looks like he met two.

I think Caleb is a kid who needs to be needed.

[playfully]: Wow! Well, that's a lot of insight for someone who spent five minutes with him.


Though I will give you credit for your progress with Romy.

David: Yeah, thanks for saying that.

She wants you to be her guardian if I die.

So, you need to think about whether you're gonna be able to do that for her.

[birds singing]

[siren blaring]

Matthew: Hey. What is this? What have you got here?

boy: His name's Robottie.

Can I try?


Here you go.


woman: Are they fighting over toys?

Oh, they go from being best friends to bitter enemies in about two seconds, so yeah, they're kind of like, uh...

Brother and sister?



Anyway, I'll drive him up tomorrow.

Uh, actually, I can grab them myself.

I'm staying in town overnight.


For a job interview dinner.

In Montreal?

Oh, my God! That's incredible.

Yeah, it would be.

Hmm, but I'm gonna need you to talk to Nicole.


She came to see me trying to accept the idea of Julian in her life and...


But if she can only make it work by treating us like second-class citizens, I can't have that.

No, I'm gonna talk to her. I'm gonna smooth things out.

I promise you. You... We can make this work. Ha!

Ms. Lawson.

Oh, Natalie.

There were dishes in the sink; I hope it's OK.

That you clean up after my kids?

By all means.

He was so worried about you.

We tried as hard as we could to get back.

I know.

Your little girl?


That's a lovely name.

It's my mother's name.

Is your mother back home?

Actually, we're... we're not in touch.


She wants us to sing her a song.


[tap water running]

I'm really sorry, Mom. Sorry I missed everything.

I'm just really glad you made it back today.


It's a lot of work, you know, taking care of a child that small.

I realize this seems sudden for you.

Yeah, you met her, like, five seconds ago, and now you're moving in with her?

Her place was ruined in that flood.

She needs to start over.

Oh, Caleb.


She's so young, and she clearly needs help. I'm just...

I'm worried that it's easy to take advantage of your inclination to give it.

You don't even know her.


We connected. OK, she's a good person, and I like being with her.

And I promise this is only temporary 'til we can find a place for ourselves.

[distant dog barking]

Can we help?


Do-do your doctors know why this happened or if we should be worried about it happening again?

Well, um, I'm seeing him first thing in the morning.

We're coming with you.

When it happened, did you think you were gonna die?

I thought I might.

[Natalie sighs.]

[piano music]

I knew I wasn't ready.

I'm gonna throw this out.


[tapping bed twice]

So, Romy, we haven't yet discussed your extra-extra-curricular summer activities.

I want to support you.

You're so talented.

And you found something you love to do; do you know how happy that makes me?

So, I looked into it, and there's this private school that's geared to more creative students.

It's a regular education, but you can focus on art and you'll be surrounded by more like-minded kids.

But school already started.

How about I give you the information, you can look it over, and if it interests you, we will make it happen this year.




Oh, thank you.

Mom, we weren't ready either.

[crickets chirping]

[hushed laughter]

[indistinct whispering]

[both shushing]

[whispering]: Hey!


[hushed laughter] OK, stop.

[whispering]: Quiet.


[whispering]: Listen.

[whispering]: Hey.

As much as I love being dragged back into the closet, at some point, we're telling him about us, right?

This is not about that, and you know it.

[whispering]: Well then, maybe one of these nights, we could... sleep at my place.

[soft music]


I want that, I do; it's just...

He needs you.


[soft music]


female doctor: The perforation is healing well.

Natalie: The pain's reduced.

My energy is much better.

Are you any closer to knowing why this happened?

male doctor: It was a sudden entry of bacteria into your circulation that lodged in your appendix that caused the rupture in your GI tract.

So that means it wasn't...

There's no cancer spread to my colon?


No trace of it?

No. We also know that there's been no tumour growth since the last scan.

No growth.

Any recession?



When can I go back on the drug trial?

Unfortunately, you're no longer a viable candidate for the trial.

You're saying I can't take the drug that was working?

Not without more data. Because the side effect has only presented itself once, we need some time to allow some other patients to mature on the drug.

When will she be able to go back on?

We don't know, but potentially never.

You were worried about... it hurting my body's ability to fight infection.

I was.

But I decided to increase my dose anyway.

You did?

It was much more complicated than that, Caleb.

Your mother made an informed decision.

But is that why? That's why this has happened?

I don't want you to be disheartened.

Your resolve and strength continues to astound me.

Looking at you, you're in much better shape than I thought possible six months ago.

What can she do now?

She can stay on the drug she was taking originally.

Would that even do anything?

female doctor: It was slowing the growth before.

Hopefully, it still will.




Hey. It's OK.

Egg white and avocado instead of bacon.

Keeping things natural is better for us.

Here, try the sriracha.

Ahem! Look, uh, Oliver, I've spoken to the bank.

Uh, remortgaged the garage so I could pay off your line of credit.

You took out a loan to pay off my loan?

Well, I wanted the debt on my books, not on yours.

Dad, you, you need to be getting ready to sell that place, not handcuffing yourself to it.

Hey, we need the money.

Besides, you don't need the stress.

"Since the variables considered in this regression are quite easy to obtain from surveys in different countries, this equation has become one of the most calculated regressions in economic literature."

So you slept here.

My sister is up and around, so yeah.

Does that mean we're roommates again?

You're defending your thesis today.

Been cramming all week.

Can we talk after?

Can we do it now, please?

Won't you be distracted?

I'm already distracted.

After today, I won't be a student anymore.

Because your visa expires.

I've given this a lot of thought.

[piano music]

I'll leave stuff here.

I can come by whenever you need me to.

We can work out an emergency texting system.

I can be your wife on call.

So you are moving out.

I know I'm letting you down.

It's just... It's too hard for me to be around you right now.

Then, we should end this.

You'll have to leave the country.

It's better than... risking getting caught in the fraud of it all.

This fridge needs to be scrubbed.

You should let me do it.

You came to visit, not clean up after me.

Matthew: Hey!

Hey. Your father was just refusing my fridge-cleaning expertise.

Of course he was.

Why waste all that deliciously festering bacteria, right, Dad?

Stop it, both of you.

Dad, you need to let me pay someone to come here and do some of the stuff that Mom used to do.

Absolutely not.

It's nice you came by.

I wanted to see him.


He does not make it easy. Haha!


Do you, uh, think we could have dinner alone tonight?

I-I just, I just figure we have things we need to discuss, logistical things, and...

Yeah. Yeah, we do.

Dinner sounds nice.


Emma, welcome back.

Sorry to hear about your grandmother.

And your mom, is she doing OK?

Yeah. Better, thanks.

OK. If you need any extra time off, just let me know, alright?

I thought we were done with the part where you lie to me.

Your grandmother died?

And my mom got some bad news about the cancer she's been fighting.

Dude, totally sucks.

I guess I should get back.

Take your time.

I'll cover for you.

[piano music]

[piano music]

Would it be OK with your other family?

Well, uh...

Can we... can we sit for a sec?

This has nothing to do with you, alright, but I, uh... Well, they're not gonna move back here. I mean, I tried to sell Kate on the idea, but no dice, which is why I think you should come back there with me now.

To-to Buenos Aires?

You mean to visit?

No, I mean like a recon mission.

You know. 'Cause if you should ever need to live with me, Romy, you... you have to know what it's really like there.

That means like living on a different continent, you know, practically another world. You're away from everything.

Uh, how long would I go for?

I don't know. Umm, a month?

You know, long enough for you to see.

You know, we could put you in that international school that Jesse goes to.

Mom won't like this.

[David sighs] Romy, you should know that your mom thinks it should be up to you.
[cell phone ringing]


Matthew: I was at the house today; you weren't around.

Yeah. I'm fixing up the studio, so I don't have to pay anybody to do it.

You know what? You should let me help you with that because that's a big job.

Matthew, I know it comes from a place of concern, but you do not need to keep checking up on me.

OK. Well, actually, I've called to talk about Dad 'cause he's, uh, making things hard for himself, refusing help. He's, you know, generally being his stubborn self.

Yeah. I live with him, remember?


I don't think you should take his money.

I don't want Dad's money! Look, that's what I tried telling him already this morning.

Good. Good because I want it to come from me and Nicole.

No. Matthew, I don't want anybody's money.

OK? This is my mess.

I made it, I'll get myself out of it.

Except that's not realistic, is it?

Not right now.

I mean, you're way over your head in debt, and Dad's exposed as it is having co-signed your loan.

Just please, just, just let it come from us.



They pick you up at this dinky little airport, like 300 miles outside Bangalore.

And not in a limo.


It is not that kind of a trip.

But-but it's not like it's a mule or anything, either.

How many people were at the facility when you were there?

12. And facility is a kind word when it comes to describing this place.

Why did you decide to write about this?

There are so many alternative approaches out there, and I'm just... I'm interested in exploring the few that have had success.

We keep a strict vegetarian diet, and every day, we walk about 30 minutes there and back to what is, essentially, a hole in the ground, to healing waters where we drink and bathe.

What was that like?

To put yourself in a place like that?

You're already sick, and... and now you're so far away from your doctors in case anything went wrong.

Well, I had nothing to lose.


You were that sick when you went?

Stage four.

And now?

Stage four, according to my oncologist.

But you believe it did something?

Well, I'm still here... [chuckling]

...long after my doctors gave up on me.

Natalie, if you're here for yourself, I am so sorry that it's come to this.

I'll pay you back.

Your money's no good here.

Old school.


There's nothing else they can do for Mom.

You know, I heard.

She does not need what I brought home.

Probably not, no.

But hey, uh, do you love that girl?

What if I feel like I need to see where it takes me?

You're asking that question of a man who's been answering it the same way his whole life.

I tried so hard not to be you, but turns out I basically am.

Well, not to kick you when you're down, but it makes me feel a little happy to hear that.

OK. Maybe the crust is a little mushy, but it was hard to read all of Mom's exact steps.

Come on, it can't be that bad.

It's very good.

It's very good.

It's for you.

[soft piano music]

Mom gave these to Natalie.

But she wanted you to have them.

Yeah, but she was right.

I never should have gotten married like that.

Look, if it helps, she liked Raza.

We both do.

[small amused sigh]

And there's this healer in India who mixes his own compounds and then flushes you in this elemental water.

And you're thinking of doing this or...?

How can you even contemplate doing something so foolish?

It's dangerous.

Is it?

Or is it being narrow-minded to rule that out?

No, it's sane. Look, we gotta just stay pragmatic here.

I have to come off my drug trial, my body couldn't handle the higher dose, and... and now I can't go back on.

So if you're telling me to stay pragmatic, I can because pragmatic is who I am.

But you're not gonna like where that takes me.

I want you to promise that you will help me figure out my rights, to do what needs to be done.

So you're talking about, uh...

...assisted dying? No.

You're not there yet. You're not!

When we're there, maybe, but we're not there now.

[Natalie sniffling]

But I need to make a plan.


If I am truly out of options, I really need you to help me before, before it gets horrible, before the children and you and, well, everyone has to live through...

Just stop. Stop! Stop! Stop.

What happened to Mom was better.


Just going.

That's not true.

Don't say that.

She didn't have to live through, like, every step of it, every setback.

Be given hope and have hope taken away.

And I'm exactly where I was six months ago.

No, you're not. No.

You bought yourself more time.

That's how this goes, and you keep doing that over and over until you don't.

I just wish I could, uh, just stop preparing.

You know? Because that is all I've been doing since this whole thing started. And if I had just... if I had just died last week, then none of it would have mattered.

[soft guitar music]

Be done with preparing?

You can't.

Nobody can.

Even if they know it's coming.

[Natalie sighing]

[indistinct chatter]

woman on PA system: Paging Dr. Stern to the ER.

Paging Dr. Stern to the ER.

[phone ringing]

Hey. We said my place at nine.

Yeah, I know.

Did you wanna ride along until I'm done? If you're lucky, maybe a junkie will try s*ab me in the eye with a used needle again.

[Oliver snickers.]

I can't do this.

Oliver, your dad will be fine for one night on his own.

Why can't I cook my boyfriend dinner? You've been going through a lot lately, let me take care of you.

You showed up at a really bad time for me.

You're doing your job, I get that, but you're responding to an emergency, but...

You weren't the emergency.

I run to people. I use them as cover. I will ruin this, and I will take you down with me. I always do, so let's just save us both the time.

Ol... Oliver!

[soft music playing on stereo]

♪ We are done in our beds ♪


[Raza sighs.]

It went well.


Thank you.

And I don't want a divorce.

Oh, but this marriage only works if we can live together.

I'm not moving out.

This arrangement is important to you, and because I care about you, it's important to me as well.

Uh, thanks, but this morning, you said you can't even be around me.

Well, I changed my mind.

And who knows, maybe eventually, one day, you will as well.

Except if I don't, then I'm the jerk who put you through all of this.

Well, I absolve you of being the jerk, OK?

If I stay, it's on me.

And, uh...


...what if I want to see other people?

[laughing]: You should. I mean, I was not planning on pledging you my chastity.

[Raza chuckling]

We made this commitment together and I'm not ready to back out on it.

Alright, if you think you can handle it.

Besides, I'll be busy. I'm thinking of opening up my own bar.




Tell your brother I don't need his money.

Dad, stop, OK? Matthew's solution makes more sense than you mortgaging the garage again.

Matthew has his divorce to pay for, and his other son. He doesn't need this burden right now.

Well, I'm "the burden," so I'll figure it out myself.

I shouldn't have said "burden," I-I...

OK, still, whatever it is that I am, the two of you can just back off and stop deciding amongst yourselves how to help me!

Or we both need help.

You know, your mother and I had plans for when I retired, but now...


How about this then? I'll do the grunt work in the garage. You be my boss who does the bare minimum.


You used to make me work there in the summers.

You hated it.

Not really.

Not that I ever would have admitted it at the time.

After I left home, Dad, I worked as a mechanic to help support myself.

Till I met Tom and then he supported me.

Let me do this.

I need this too.

We can work together until we figure out the money mess, and then we'll see.




You don't need to keep sneaking your boyfriend in here; I need to get to know him if he's gonna be in your life.

[door closing]


So there is something else I'd like to get...

There's something I'd like to get off my chest.

Mm-hmm. Yeah, sure.


I've been seeing someone.

It's nothing serious, but...


No. A man from spin class.

Spin class, OK.

Did you...?


You slept with him?

I did.

So you're telling me this why?

You just want to get even or...?

[Nicole scoffs.]

I've said this all along, what... what we had can't be made whole again, and the trust broken can never be repaired.

So why are you here?

Why, why did you... why did you have sex with me?

Why did it seem like you were open to caring about me again?

Because I do care.

And I am open and I don't want to stop seeing you.

So you want to see me, you care about me, and then you...

What... you also... you want to sleep with other men?

You invited me here thinking I'd take you back and agreed to move forward with your son and his mother, all part of some uncertain future together; well, I'm asking you for something similar.

[Nicole sighing]

Matthew, we can't go back to what we had.


But I don't want to stop seeing you, so I'm asking you to consider keeping an open mind about what that might mean, moving forward...

I just...

...for all of us.

I thought... I just... hoped that you still loved me, but, um...


I do still love you.

And if you're willing to let this become something new, then it can be.

Emma, your float is short $60.

Any idea why?

Maybe I messed up a cash transaction. I don't know.

OK. Well, I'm just going through the receipts now, but if you think of anything. We need to account for it.

[indistinct chatter]

My till is short.

Apparently, it's a big deal.

Only $60.

Who's the queen?

You took it?

I figured you could use a night off.

Now, it's covered. What should we do?

You really just don't give a shit about me, do you?


[indistinct chatter]

I'm sorry.

What are you telling me?

That I can't work here anymore.


[sound of rushing water]

[breathing audibly]


man: You're sure you want to do this?

Yes, completely.

man: OK. I can't give you much in trade.

That doesn't matter.

♪ If I were a sailor ♪
♪ I'd know my way across the sea ♪
♪ The waves would bring me higher ♪
♪ The sun would set me free ♪
♪ I'd let the seagulls guide me so I wouldn't feel alone ♪
♪ Rock my way through Hudson Bay ♪
♪ The waters will bring me home. Take me home ♪
♪ Been away ♪

What is this?

Haha! My new ride! Like it?

♪ Take me home again ♪

I love it.

I just stopped by your store, and they told me you left.

Yeah, I needed to be done there.

♪ Sea glass and seashells ♪

Do you wanna drive?

♪ And the tooth of a shark ♪


♪ Take me home Been away for so long ♪
♪ Take me home ♪

Sweet! Woohoo!

♪ Take me home ♪♪


Did you just throw a rock at my window?

Seemed appropriate for what I came here to say.

You know texting has made that gesture pretty much obsolete.

Well, that's a shame.

And by the way, you derailed my entire speech.

Oh, there was a speech planned.

By all means then, proceed.

It wasn't much of a speech. I just wanted to say that I forgive you for being nice and helping me fix my horrible mess of a life.

You can try help me fix mine too, you know.

I do have my own mess to deal with.

I'm happy to hear that.

I look forward to learning all about it.

If I open my front door, will you come inside my house now?

Nah, I'm just gonna come in through your window.

Oh! Haha!


So have you thought about what you wanna do?

Do you really think I could start right away?

Yes, I do.

But I wasn't talking about art school.

You mean Dad?


If you're serious about living with him, you should see what it's like.

You heard the doctors, Rome.

I'm further ahead than when this whole thing started.

I'll be here when you get back.

Elyse: Ooh! Ah!

Emma: OK.

Romy: Hey, that was mine!

It was mine first.

You guys should take that when you find your own place.

Elyse: Mama!


So, what are you gonna do, Mom?

I don't know.

I've got some decisions to make.

But I'm alive now.

I chose life.

I can't and I won't regret that.




Are those for me?

They're lovely. Thank you.


Ah, this is great here.

Good idea.

[girl laughing]

Oh my gosh, they have statues.

We're gonna have nightmares!

Check these out.

Oh, don't!


No, OK, never mind.

[indistinct chatter]

What do you guys want?

Right there. Right there.






Do you remember me?

Of course.

I'm afraid I was rude to you that day.

No, you weren't.

As soon as you left, I realized I know you.

And if I had placed you, I never would have put you on the spot like that.

You write that column about your cancer.



Nice to meet you.



Wait a minute!

Umm, d'you want to go out with me sometime?



♪ Like a bird ♪


♪ On the wire ♪
♪ Like a drunk ♪
♪ In a midnight choir ♪
♪ I have tried ♪
♪ In my way ♪
♪ To be free ♪
♪ Like a worm ♪
♪ On a hook ♪
♪ Like a knight from some old-fashioned book ♪
♪ I have saved ♪
♪ All my ribbons for thee ♪
♪ If I ♪
♪ If I have been unkind ♪
♪ I hope that you can just let it go by ♪
♪ If I ♪
♪ If I have been untrue ♪
♪ I hope you know ♪
♪ It was never to you ♪♪
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