Title: Hysterical Blindness
Author: A.j.
Spoilers: Up through "Dear Richard and Emily"
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Ain't mine. Ain't makin money.
Summary: She isn't who she's become. Not really.
Soundtrack: Live - Distance to Here

Notes: Huh. Never thought I'd actually finish a `Gilmore Girls' story. Go me.
Hi, angst! Nice to see you again!

(Update 5/7/03: Sorry about the formatting. Should be fine now. If not, BAH!)

***

Hysterical Blindness
by A.j.

***

She likes to watch it spin, the light bouncing on her face and all around. It's
soothing, she thinks. A repetition that's so simple to recreate. Just a crystal
in your hand and rapid movements of waves and bang.

Dancing light on your face.

She thinks that people - definitely her mother - would be amused to know that
she finds comfort in this. It's trivial and small, but stability is a rare gift.
Sometimes she thinks that she wouldn't know what it would be like to stand on
solid ground. Maybe it would be worse, because she knows she's adjusted to this.
Would it be like landsickness? Illness from standing completely still?

She hates herself sometimes. It isn't an active thing, just a pressure where
there usually is none. When she's moving, or living or acting or even eating,
she can distract herself from the elephant on her shoulder, but in the quiet
places, when there's nothing but her, it comes out. All the niggling little
doubts and insecurities and something that could be guilt.

She doesn't do this often for that very reason.

But she has to, sometimes. Let everything fall down around her ears and stay
silent. Sometimes, she doesn't want to be this person anymore. To walk this
house, and unconsciously check for soft breathing. Nights like this, she lets
herself stop being who she is, and think about who she could have been.

To be someone who makes her parents happy.

She feels raw on these nights. Lets herself be raw and open in places. Like
something sliced apart and left to reknit itself; a jigsaw girl in a messed up
world.

Or maybe a patched tent nailed out in the sun. Faded, but somehow still
something like whole.

Bits and pieces from so many things. Her mother. Her father. Rory.
Christopher. Sookie. Luke.

She doesn't remember what's just Lorelai anymore. Worse, she doesn't really
know what ever was.

No, that's wrong. She can remember. With light bouncing in her eyes, she can
see the things and places she had before this person started to be her. Dreams
of rock stars and roller rinks. A quiet moment in her room, away from Emily and
Richard and everything that she wasn't, isn't, and never will be. Smiling
because numbers aren't really that hard, and putting them together like *that*
makes the whole thing work.

She remembers those things.

But as much as she wishes she could hold just them, turning each over in her
mind until the thing she was becomes clear, they crumble. Forced down by a
thousand other things, some good, some bad. All her daughter.

Because absolutely everything comes back to that.

And it's as it should be. Because her child, her baby should be the center.

Should be. Is.

It hurts sometimes. Like the breaking of ice on a glacier. Quick. Hard.

Because she can remember standing in that dim hallway, head loopy and body still
hurting, staring down at this little tiny thing that was so much bigger than
herself. And him, next to her. "I guess we should get married."

She'd felt the cracking then.

It hadn't been big, but she could feel it there, in the important place that
isn't supposed to be shifted or moved because that's where the thing that you
are lives. A tiny thing. Small. Just like the little girl in the bassinet
across the way.

Just a little bit of hate. Because right there, right then, he left her. Shut
something off inside himself that could have been hers. Might have been.

Isn't.

She's seen him in another hospital recently. Another big window with lots of
little tiny things behind it. Big tiny things. Listened to him laugh and smile
like he'd never done. His eyes and heart and mind wide open, and that thing
that wasn't hers, not ever, it was there. "She's just... perfect!"

She didn't think it would hurt so much anymore.

It's surprising, really, just how wrong she can be about things.

That's never stopped her before. And as she watches the little bit of clear
glass spin and spin, she'd pretty sure it won't stop her in the future.

She knows it like she knows other things.

She could love him.

Luke.

The man behind the counter.

Everyone believes that she doesn't know he loves her. Despite some popular
opinions, she's not stupid. "It's right there..." Sookie told her, eyes soft,
begging almost, in understanding. But she didn't. No one does. She knew, and has
known for a very long time just what's in those eyes. The promise that would be
hers if she just reached out.

Reaching out is what got her here in the first place.

She broke herself reaching out. No one did it for her, or to her. She cast her
arms wide and the only thing she has to show for it is this house. This place.
This life.

She can't stand to let him pull away like she knows he will. Because there's
something here inside that will make him do that to her. She won't live through
it again. She can't.

And despite the fact that everything always seems to be about her, it never is.
Not once. Not about what she really needs. So she fills it up with all the
things and jokes and laughs and bravado that never will be her.

There's a crack that keeps growing with every lost promise and flat tone.
Something deep. A spider web of tiny lines, spreading until just the slightest
touch... One day it will break her again, this time for good. But that can't be
now, or yet. There's Rory to think of. Always her.

Because right there in that hospital hallway with nothing but ashes and
bitterness beside her, she made a promise to be the things for her child - her
perfect baby - that no one had been for her. Rory would be first, not an
afterthought. She would not be left, or lost, or ignored, or something that
wasn't wanted.

She would be herself and nothing but.

So even here, with nothing but a crystal and little tiny rainbows playing in her
hair, she isn't alone. One day, it won't be enough, but for now?

Well. It's now, isn't it?

And she closes her eyes.

***

-fin-