SPOILER WARNING: "Forgiveness and Stuff"
CHARACTERS: Lorelai, Richard Gilmore
SUMMARY: Lorelai's POV right after Forgiveness and Stuff as she deals with the aftermath of her father's collapse.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own the Gilmore Girls characters. Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions, and the WB do. No copyright infringement intended.


by Rebecca Carefoot

So here I am, sitting in an uncomfortable plastic chair in the hospital cafeteria. My mom's gone to the bathroom, which gives me this time to sit here and brood. I think mom used to say brooding is bad for the complexion, but I could have made that up. Either way, that's what I'm doing. It's just these thoughts that keep running around in my head, and I couldn't quite get a handle on them until things quieted down and I could think past the fear. But now it's very quiet and the thoughts are loud.

I like to think I'm a pretty together person. I mean I run my life, I manage all kinds of crisis situations at the Inn, I can handle problems and take them in stride. But tonight I couldn't handle it, any of it. Thank God Luke was there to help me because I fell apart the minute I heard the message Rory left. In that first horrible bubble of shock I couldn't think of anything but getting to the hospital. As if there was really anything I could do to help. Or maybe I didn't want to help, I just wanted to be there in case it was the last time. My dad and I have missed a lot of moments in each other's lives. We're not exactly close, and we never have been. But if this was the last moment, I didn't want to miss it.

Of course, once I got to the hospital I fell apart in a whole new way. All of sudden it wasn't about being there, it was about being anywhere but there, alone in that sterile little white room with him. Once they said he'd be okay, I wasn't afraid I was going to miss my last moment anymore. I was afraid of what I'd see in his eyes when they fell on me. I was afraid I'd see that he didn't need me there with him. Or even worse, that he didn't even want me there, not even the tiniest bit.

Rory is more like a daughter to him than I ever was. They like the same books I've never even heard of. They have an understanding. Not like it's a formal understanding, in a "we have an understanding" way, but they understand each other. You can see when he looks at her, you can see that he loves her. It's there on his face.

When he looks at me all I see is disappointment.

Which was maybe more about me than it was about him. I'm not saying I haven't disappointed him, because I'm pretty darn sure that I have. I'm just saying there's other stuff in there too. I just never saw it until I finally was alone with him. Until he finally saw something in my eyes other than resentment.

It turns out that maybe I had it all wrong. Maybe there was always love in his eyes for me, and I was too angry to see it. Or maybe the love couldn't come out until he saw the love in mine. I'm just speculating here. I'm still unsure, you understand. This is new to me, and I haven't quite gotten comfortable in the new attitude yet.

But I am sure that something passed between us for a brief moment while he lay in his hospital bed, weak and mortal. Walls were, well to say walls were broken down is probably an overstatement. But there were windows. Windows that let us see each other through the walls. And maybe the shades will come back down over the windows, but I don't think they'll ever be bricked over again. Is that overboard with the analogy? The point is I saw tenderness and acceptance for the first time since I can remember, and I know I'll never look at him the same way again.

He was happy to see me there. And I like to think he knew I was glad to be there. I like to think he saw that I'm proud to be his daughter, whatever our disagreements. He's my dad. You know? He's not perfect. He makes mistakes. But he's my dad, and that's reason enough to maybe even open the windows a crack, maybe make a door, maybe even step through it and meet him halfway. I really need to get a new analogy.

And here comes my mother, which is a whole other set of thoughts for another time when I'm not quite so tired; and I'm eating something other than green Jell-O with weird bits of pears in it. It's nice though, to feel like my parents aren't complete strangers to me. Who knows if we'll ever be close, ever be friends, I have a hard time picturing that scenario, but this is good. I guess I just didn't realize all those years I was shutting them out, that they weren't the only ones it was hurting. It turns out I need them a lot more than I thought I did. And surprisingly enough, I'm okay with that. Most of the time.