to call it day (though not yet light)
by not jenny

Lorelai's mother likes to say things like, "Not now, Lorelai, a couple of the ladies from the DAR are coming over for cocktails, and you'll track mud all over the foyer." Lorelai likes to say things like, "I hate you!" and "I hate you!" and "I want to go sledding." She likes to stomp around the house in her boots, and she likes to twirl her scarf around and around and around.

Lorelai's father likes to work late, have an after-dinner cocktail, and work some more. Sometimes, he talks about "that idiot" and "single malts" and "that upstanding young lady in the secretarial pool." Mostly, though, he works late and Lorelai doesn't see him unless he's mad at her (about math homework, or notes that say "Lorelai is not working to her potential," or putting snowballs in the freezer and making Mrs. Chin quit) or it's Christmas.

Lorelai likes the snow. She likes winter. She likes her pink hat and her pink scarf and her pink mittens. There's a tree outside the balcony, and she climbs down it and jumps into the snow. It is cold. Wet. She isn't wearing her snowsuit because it's hidden in her mother's closet.


Sometimes, Lorelai drives out to Hartford just to stand in her parents' backyard. Dressed all in black, head to toe (and she even bought herself some pretty swanky leather gloves to complete the ensemble), she'll park around the corner (or down the street or, on one memorable occasion, two miles away) and hide in the shadows and it's like being James Bond (only much, much lamer, and with far fewer martinis). Some day, she thinks, she'll bring Luke with her. Not tonight.

The sky is clear. Her breath puffs out in little clouds, and it's sort of like being fourteen and stupid, sneaking out to smoke and drink and play spoiled rich girl gone wild (like one of those Snoop Dogg videos they're always advertising in the middle of the night, only she was, like, the Original Gangsta of Spoiled Rich Girls or something, even though mostly she was just misunderstood and possibly even a changeling). If she squints, she can just make out a light in the poolhouse window. She turns around at the end of the driveway. Walks back to the jeep. She's just not feeling it, that special necessary zing, and she just wants to curl up under three blankets and drink cocoa. If she hurries, she'll even be able to catch the second half of that new movie on Lifetime.


Emily likes to say things like, "Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, you get back here right this instant!" Lorelai likes to play deaf. Emily likes to say, "Turn down your music or you'll lose your hearing." Lorelai likes to turn up the volume. Richard doesn't say much of anything at all, though sometimes he'll slow down enough to *tsk* or say things like "Gilmores always go to Yale" and "Go Bulldogs" in Lorelai's general direction.

She hasn't always been a disappointment, but it becomes her calling card, her raison d'etre, her je ne sais quoi. Eventually, she begins to cultivate failure; one D on a math quiz, one detention for smoking behind the gym, one positive pregnancy test. She thinks disappointing Emily and Richard is the one thing she's ever really excelled at, which is going to have to change now that-


So she's seven. The snow crunches beneath her sneakers like toast with jam. Inside, her mother's hosting a cocktail party, and no one will notice she's not in bed ("like a good little girl," Mai Li sometimes whispers, when Lorelai's eyes are droopy and half- closed, "sleep now like a good little girl"). The stars are twinkly, like stars in the movies always are, and Lorelai spreads the ("this is an antique, Lorelai Victoria Gilmore, so do be careful with it") quilt her grandmother gave her on the ground. Lies down. It gets wet and yucky and uncomfortable quickly, but the stars are bright. Lorelai imagines her bed beneath her, the soft pillows under her head. She draws unicorns in the sky and plays tic-tac-toe.

Every so often, the door opens and music spills out into the yard. One of the waiters, tall with too-short sleeves, lights a cigarette. Lorelai wants to yell out, wants to warn him that her mother has fired people for breathing funny or slouching or smelling like they might've been near a cigarette three weeks ago, but she bites her tongue and huddles in the shadow of her tree. It's wet. Cold. Her toes are tingling, and her nose is runny and probably Rudolph red. She isn't ready to go inside quite yet, but she knows she'll have to soon. Her father warned her once about numb feet and getting her legs cut off.

Lorelai likes her legs. She spins on them. And plays hopscotch. And climbs down trees.

She doesn't want them chopped off. When the waiter (she likes to think his name is Charlie, mostly because she likes the way it feels in her mouth, like Coca-Cola and salt-water taffy all mixed up together) goes back inside, she bundles up her blanket and throws it up into one of the branches. If she hurries, she can be dry and asleep before her mother's party is over. She hopes. She climbs. The bark is slippery and wet.


Rory is the most beautiful baby in the world. The universe, even, because there's no one as wonderful as her, even as far away as Tatooine or that planet Spock's from or whatever glitter-coated galaxy it is that spawned Bowie.

Lorelai counts all of Rory's fingers (ten) and toes (ten) and eyes (two) and ears (two).

She falls in love. She makes a promise: "I will do right by you, little person." She doesn't think of The Godfather (only she kind of does). She thinks she will remember this moment forever. She knows she will. She never wants to eat another apple again.


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