The Indefiniteness Unbeknownst To Us
Chapter One, "Cuts Are Leaving Creases"
Disclaimer: I am in no affiliation with the WB, Gilmore Girls, its writers, creators, et cetera, nor am I in any affiliation with Dashboard Confessional, or the song "If you can't leave it be, might as well make it bleed", from which the chapter titles derive.
A twenty one year old man sits at a table in a run down area of New York City. The table is dusty, chipped at all ends, barely standing. He is furiously scribbling numbers on a piece of paper, trying to ignore the block letters on a bill stating "STUDENT LOANS".
He doesn't notice his wife, who is standing behind him. The ends of her long, straggly hair drip with wetness. She taps him on the shoulder.
"Do we have a clean towel anywhere?" They hardly bother to address each other using names anymore.
He looks at her fiercely, and says with much indignation, "What do you think?"
This tone does not bother her. They are immune to each other's harshness and frustration, or so they like to think.
"Well, excuse me for asking one damn question." She turns around, and heads over to their makeshift bedroom. She rummages through a pile of shirts, and pulls out the first one that looks clean.
She looks at him, almost willing him to leave. He knows she isn't embarrassed of changing in front of him; they are married after all, strictly by law at the moment, but still married. The dark haired man blinks, and looks at, not into, her eyes again.
She drops it, or, as she'd reason, it slips out of her hands. She bends and her hand hovers over it, and she hesitates to pick it up. She doesn't, but instead navigates her way to the bathroom.
He looks at her one more time, then picks up the shirt and places it on their couch. He lets his eyes wander out the window. He sees the sun, trying to push through the clouds and the rain, and he suddenly feels as if he is in a novel. What kind of world is it when the weather mirrors you? It scares him for a moment, but he is taken out of thought when he hears the bathroom door slam closed.
One of Rory's hands is still placed on the cold metal handle, the other on the equally cold sink. Ironically, she feels warmer behind the chipping wooden door. She always has taken comfort in not dealing with her problems. She becomes fixated on a little spot on the sink before taking the still damp towel from the night before and shivering beneath it as she wraps it around her head. She then forces her hands underneath cold running water. Soon she feels pain and then her hands are numb. She's beginning to understand the action of physical hurt to take away from the emotional kind. She stays in the bathroom for a minute or two more, letting her hand caress the wooden door. The part of her she does not know, the one she has just been introduced to through the water incident, hopes she gets a splinter. That side of her scares her. She's partially in a trance because of this now, and when she exits, she bumps into Jess.
"Watch where you're going." She mumbles to him. A few minutes later, as he emerges out of the bedroom and she makes her way down the hall, they collide again.
"Ow!" she yells. It is over dramatic and unnecessary, but it is not as loud as she intended it to be. She wants her scream to cause tremors around the earth. She wants to shock people. She wants so much, but all she has is pent up frustration.
"That's my calculator," she comments, when she sees what is in his hands. "That cost a lot of money."
"I need to use it."
"It cost a lot of money," she repeats, but she doesn't know why.
"I need to use it."
"Don't do anything to it."
"I'm not five." He says the sentence slowly and fiercely. They sit in silence at the same table. She is trying to fit as much as she can in her forty-five second piece on the community news channel. Minutes, maybe hours pass, and he rises and opens the window.
Seconds later, she shuts it.
And he opens it again.
"I need air."
"Put a sweater on." Their bicker goes on. She wants the window closed and he wants the window open. It is like them, though, to use those same methods while approaching a situation. They have both noticed it.
With the window half open, Rory has spitefully put on three sweaters and Jess has equally spitefully brought out the fan from the closet and set it behind him. She drops her pencil and looks at him. The more he gets frustrated the harder he pushes the buttons on the calculator.
"What the hell are you doing? You're going to break it."
"That's all you keep telling me. I'm going to break it. Actually that's all I've heard in my life. 'You're going to break it; you're going to break it'. Well, guess what, it's broken." He says.
"The calculator?" She does not catch on until he denies it. Then she realizes. There is an awkward beat.
"What are you doing?" she tries to ask calmly, with little hostility in her voice.
"Writing a letter to Santa Claus." She no longer finds his sarcastic remarks funny or endearing. She wishes he'd grow up.
"Santa Claus isn't real." Is the only reply she can think of.
"No shit, Sherlock."
"What are you doing?"
"Trying to find us a way out of debt. Colombia isn't exactly community college, and sure the hell isn't in that price range." She wonders if he blames their financial standings on her.
"I'm going to bed." She mutters, leaving her pencil and paper at the table. When he hears the door click, he takes the pencil and slams it down into the table, hoping he can get satisfaction out of the crack he knows will sound.
It is 3 a.m. when he joins her in bed. If it wasn't so cold he would sleep on the couch. He hates when she is right. He wonders why she is sleeping with the light on. He lies down on his back, and leans over to his nightstand. Not even as his body curves to reach the drawer does the gap between them close. He takes out a few aspirin and swallows them without water. He doesn't notice the paper that falls to the ground, and brings darkness to the two separate worlds residing in that room. Before he is succumbed to sleep he thinks the darkness is comforting. He doesn't have to look at her and feel anything. He can hide behind nothing, he can be himself but be nothing, and it's so much easier to pretend that there is truly nothing. And so he lets himself float away, in a small bubble of nothingness.