John is an ordinary man. I’m not talking morality tale here, I’m talking about a man who gets up every day and goes to work to provide for his family. I’m talking about a man who met the love of his life, married her and started a family with her. I’m talking about a man who, at his core, is content with his career, has built himself a home and a life, and is happy.
His life hasn’t been without its hardships, of course; who’s hasn’t? You need only read the last part of the story to understand some of he pain he has been through. We all have skeletons.
When I sat down to write his story I knew very little about the direction. The few things I did know were his name, that he lives in Llanelli, and when he receives his moment, he hides it. The 6 parts of John’s story were really an excuse for me to explore the thought process of a man who hides his fate from the most important people in his life.
The Last Day already poses some interesting questions. John posed another. Why would you hide your moment from the person you love? What could this possibly achieve? It’s clear that he didn’t want to hurt them. He didn’t want to leave them. It’s denial I suppose. He plays out his last day grieving for his life that he’s about to lose. And of course he’s grieving for his family.
He’s not just upset that he’s not going to grow old his wife or see his children grow up or see what they become; he’s also upset that they are going to be without him. They are going to have to live their lives without their husband and father. I think that hurts him more, not because he thinks so highly of himself, he’s a humble man is John; but because he knows what it’s like to grow up without a father. And he didn’t want that for his children.
I think in this world of moments and categories and last days, hiding your moment would be more common than first thought. Imagine you wake up and find out that you’re going to die today. I think the first instinct would be to retreat. Ignore it. It won’t happen if I don’t say it out loud. That’s what John does. Except he can’t think about anything else. It consumes him. His grief, his denial, his sense of self worth all replace any lateral thinking; any common sense; any notions of normality. He is a man lost. And he’s about to be lost.
I’ve said before that I didn’t know how John was going to die. I didn’t know what Category Six meant when I wrote it. But when it became clear, everything became clear. That’s not to say that every person in this world who hides their moment would be a Category Six; on the contrary. Every person is different. Every person’s story is different. Infinite possibilities. But John’s decisions at the end made his story an interesting one for me to write.
I spoke to my friend Karl about John when I was writing episode one and he expressed to me that if this world was real, if moments and last days were fact, he would probably hide it from those closest to him too. He then quickly changed his mind, but not entirely. I love that my little idea had made him ask questions of himself. I truly hope that The Last Day makes us all ask questions of ourselves.