Ray and Rita, a Canadian couple in their early fifties, decide to sell-up everything and travel South, they peel away the layers of their life and go back to their true values. Like the Uroborous they complete the circle. One clear message is that it is the simple things in life that give pleasure. When Ray says to Rita ‘It scares me to feel this happy.’ Rita replies ‘Maybe we just try too hard. Maybe it’s easier than we think.’
Their son Charlie died as the result of a drug overdose four years before and en route they visit his grave.
They are sensible, they have planned the trip and not rushed into it. They tidy up loose ends, leaving nothing behind to draw them back.
Rita and Ray are very close as a couple. There is a gentle tension in their relationship, which shows they know each other very well and they are clearly affectionate with each other.
Despite appearances to the contrary – small town North America – they are open to new experiences, although Rita, perhaps surprisingly, is the one who has some mystical view of the trip. She leads the way and Ray instinctively goes along with her. Initially, he finds it hard, and this is a source of tension between them, as is their unspoken feelings about their son’s death.
Both went to college away from home in the early seventies which opened them up to a different, more liberal, wider world view, something they both retained and valued but perhaps became lost during the day to day treadmill of creating a living and a family. This trip is like taking out a stopper, it blows them away and opens them up to new questions, lets them seek out their reasons for being alive.
Their apparent insignificance causes the surprise and tension in the significance of what they undertake.
Ray would be more likely to tell the story because he likes telling a tale. Rita is more self-contained, for her it is a private experience.