Everyone knows there are five stages of grief. Lorelai Gilmore's are just a little different. Spoilers up to episode 7:2 - That's What You Get, Folks, For Makin' Whoopee.
The first stage of grief is sleeping with Christopher.
Christopher moved aside, and Lorelai stepped into the apartment. The television was on, blaring softly, and Lorelai sank onto the couch in front of it, not registering the pictures flickering on the screen.
Lorelai glanced at Chris, then back at the television. "I don't want to talk about it."
"Okay." He sat down beside her, close but not touching, and Lorelai was glad of the feel of him beside her. He didn't say anything, and she was glad of that, too.
"Luke and I broke up," she said as the credits rolled. She still couldn't have said what had been playing.
"I'm sorry." Christopher's hand shifted closer, but he still didn't touch her.
"No, you're not."
"No, I'm not," he agreed. He got up, and when he came back, he handed her a glass. Vodka on the rocks. No twist.
"Do you really think this is a good idea?" she asked, even as she drank.
"Is any of this?"
Nope. In fact, this was a very bad idea. But since the last good idea she'd had was breaking up with Luke, Lorelai thought that bad ideas were really all she could handle right now.
"Want another?" Chris asked, before Lorelai even realised that she'd drained her glass.
She nodded. "Bring the bottle."
She didn't feel drunk when she kissed him. The bottle was more than halfway empty, but that didn't mean much; there was no guarantee it had been full to begin with.
He tasted like vodka and Christopher, and he was the one who pulled away first.
"Lor, are you sure you want to do this?"
She blinked. This was a very bad idea. Which made it the first good idea she'd had all day.
The second stage of grief is playing sports.
Raquetball. Raquetball was good. There were cute outfits in raquetball. Lots of grunting. Hitting things with sticks. No time for long conversations.
Of course, the cute outfits thing was relative. Especially when you didn't actually play sports. Not that Lorelai had anything against not playing sports; not playing sports was one of her favourite hobbies. But not playing sports meant, she realised a little too late, not owning cute outfits to play sports in. It was an oversight.
Well, she had a polo shirt. That was good, and cute enough. And sneakers, though she wasn't sure exactly why.
That was half an outfit. She was getting there.
A pair of pants she recognised from her ill-fated yoga experiment. Not the best memories, but better than the ones she was trying to block out. It was good enough.
Lorelai surveyed the outfit laid out on the bed. It was okay, but it was still missing something; it needed to be cuter. She checked the clock. She still had half an hour before she had to meet Rory; enough time to do a little shopping, if she hurried.
The sports store wasn't far, but it was big. Lorelai briefly considered asking for help, but thought better of it. She did not need help. This was shopping. Shopping, she could handle.
She made her way to the back of the store first. Everything good was usually in the back.
The fishing poles were in the middle.
Lorelai reached out for one before she could stop herself, and five more came crashing down on her. She lay there for a minute, under a pile of sticks that didn't smell like Luke but felt like him, until she heard somebody ask if she was all right.
"I'm fine," she lied, pushing away the poles as she stood up. The man in the uniform looked at her quizzically, but Lorelai ignored him. She was on a mission; she could be not fine some other time.
She picked out the first headband she saw, and didn't look at the fishing poles on her way out of the store.
"You're late," Rory said inside the centre.
"I know," Lorelai said. "But isn't my outfit cute?"
The third stage of grief is making piles.
"Here's your book."
Lorelai looked at the book Luke handed her. "Did you like it?"
"What? Oh, yeah, it was good."
"Yeah? What was your favourite part?"
"Um, I don't know. All of it."
"Come on, you must have had a favourite part. What about the bit where he's talking to the cannibal guy?"
"Um, yeah, I guess that bit was good."
Lorelai looked at Luke critically. He was staring at a corner of the couch, and she shook her head. "What about the robots?"
He looked up. "What?"
"The bit with the robots. What did you think?"
"Yeah, the robots. Right. I guess I was a little surprised to find robots in there."
"I'll bet. And when the aliens came, and there was that big alien-robot war -"
"You're pulling my chain."
"You didn't read it."
Luke sighed. "No, I didn't read it. Come on, hand it over. I'll read it later."
Lorelai shook her head. "I'll find you something else."
"No, seriously. Give it to me. I'll read it now."
Luke reached out for the book, and Lorelai caught his hand. She put the book behind her back, and Luke stepped forward, wrapping his other arm around her waist. She blinked, tilting her head up, and he leaned down to kiss her softly.
"Later," she said, letting the book fall to the floor. "I can think of better things to do right now."
Lorelai glanced at the book briefly before putting it on the pile. It could go in the box with Proust.
The fourth stage of grief is confession.
"Let's do this. Let's get married right now. Let's go."
Lorelai looked at Luke, barely seeing him. He wasn't listening to her, he wouldn't stop. All he would do is talk, about getting married, about Maryland and camping and Las Vegas, all the things she had wanted to hear outside the diner. The life she had wanted so desperately two days ago. The life she couldn't have now.
"I slept with Christopher."
The words were out before she could stop them, before she could think about them and throw them away and say yes instead.
She had promised herself she would never tell him. But she had promised a lot of other things, too. None of it seemed to matter any more.
She watched him drive away as if it were over. As if it hadn't been over the minute she stepped inside Christopher's apartment. The minute he had said no. As if it hadn't really been over for a long time.
She watched him drive away in a truck packed with tents and bicycles and sleeping bags, in a truck that could have been heading for Maryland or Las Vegas if she'd just smiled and said yes, and never mind that thirty-six hours ago Christopher's arms had been wrapped around her.
Lorelai told herself that she had done the right thing. She told herself that it had been over already. And that she hadn't just ended it in the worst way possible.
The fifth stage of grief is fried ice cream.
She hadn't wallowed.
She didn't want to wallow.
In fact, she wanted to skip wallowing altogether. She wanted to go to fake China and play raquetball and eat dessert sushi, and not think about Luke or Christopher or the fact that it was really, definitely, over.
Because that wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that it was over, and it wasn't fair that it was probably her fault. And it really wasn't fair that she had a frying pan and no ice cream.
Okay, so she could go get ice cream. And it wasn't like she had to wallow. Getting ice cream didn't mean she was wallowing. And it was difficult to wallow with fried ice cream, anyway.
She didn't mind the drive out to the supermarket. And, okay, she was avoiding Doose's. But this place probably had better ice cream, anyway. It was probably an art, frying ice cream. She didn't want to pick the wrong kind.
In the end, she went with vanilla. It was hard to wallow with vanilla.
And it definitely wasn't fair that Luke showed up just when she wasn't wallowing. But maybe it was okay. And maybe it was okay if he just went back to being the guy in the diner who poured her coffee.
But maybe she could wallow just a little. Just in case she wasn't okay, after all.