Jack would be disappointed in her.
If he knew the way she was moping, pining, drifting.
If he knew the way she was letting his departure tear her apart.
He'd say something like, no man is worth this, Lemon. Not even one as irreplaceable as me.
He would be disappointed.
But it's not entirely her fault.
She didn't think she'd miss him.
She knew that things would be different. She knew she'd miss the convenience and the ease of just running upstairs when she had a problem and she wanted some help, guidance, comfort.
She didn't think she would miss him like this.
She didn't think it would manifest as an aching loneliness that stops her in her tracks and brings her to the verge of tears.
More than once she has come out of a weird trance only to realize that she's standing outside his office. His former office.
The first time it happened she took off in the middle of the day. She spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Manhattan crying and trying to convince herself to call him.
Before, she never put much stock in Boston being far away. It's really not that far distant from New York. By airplane Boston and New York seem like they're practically neighbors.
But now that Jack is there in Boston, miles away and even further emotionally it might as well be Siberia for all the difference it would make right now.
They haven't spoken since he left.
She didn't dramatically realize she loved him and make a desperate rush for the airport but she did ask him not to go.
She admitted her feelings for him, feelings she had been burying for years, and asked him to stay in New York. For her.
But he left anyways.
She said, "I want you to say."
He said, "I'm sorry, I can't."
And that was it.
He went to Boston and she's fine with it, really. She doesn't need him.
So this empty feeling is really probably just that she hasn't been eating much lately. Her body is telling her that she's hungry.
Nothing more than that.
Boston is stupid anyways.
She's been there- that horrible trip when Jack wanted to see Nancy and Tracy was almost uncontrollable and the whole staff hated her.
She doesn't need Jack's dumb advice about her show or his stupid meddling in her personal life. She is a grown woman for crying out loud- she can make her own decisions.
There's no explanation for why she ends up at his office. She knows he's gone, that he's gone for good.
He never said he intended to stay in New York forever. She always just assumed. But Boston is his hometown- it makes sense that he would return there eventually. People don't stay in New York their whole lives.
They make a go of it and then they move on. They make lives for themselves. They meet people who live in Boston and they take a job there because GE in New York is a dead end for them and TGS isn't what their whole life revolves around and there is room to move to the top in Boston like there isn't in New York.
Sometimes that happens.
It's sort of unavoidable. For certain people.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
Liz wants to blame Jack. She wants this to be his fault, wants his absence and her heartache to lie squarely on his shoulders.
It's not fair, but she's not claiming to be fair.
Being fair is overrated.
She wants Jack.
It's seems simple, really.
It seems simple now anyways. It didn't seem simple when she was spilling her guts on the stage at 30 Rock the day before he moved to Boston.
And yeah, alright, so maybe she waited a little long and maybe she shouldn't have made the declarations while she was drunk but she still meant it.
She meant what she said.
And that's the problem.
She was being honest, and serious, and she put herself on the line. And she crashed and burned.
And now Jack calls her once a month from Boston to check in on the show, talk about her life, but for a few months now she's been avoiding his calls. For a while he was persistent, called until she picked up.
But now, if he calls and she doesn't answer, he doesn't try again.
He leaves a message, something short and generic, and she can hear the sorrow, the forlorn, resigned, bafflement in his voice.
No matter the words, his tone always seems to be saying, I miss you and I don't understand what I've done to make you upset with me. Won't you please talk to me? Perhaps I could explain, could apologize, if I knew what I did…
And that's the thing.
He didn't do anything.
And he probably could explain.
And she'd lose her anger, the only thing that keeps her from drowning in grief. Her anger is a life preserver in the tempestuous sea of sorrow that she's been navigating since the day he left.
She clings to it, more than anything before in her life.
If she lets go, if she relaxes her grip for even a second, she'll sink. Drown.
She's much too tired to swim these days, exhausted from years of treading water just to stay afloat in her own life. Even with the life preserver of rage clutched tightly in her grasp, she's barely keeping her head above the surface.
The melancholy thoughts are broken when her phone rings. It's the Imperial March from Star Wars, and in what seems like another life it used to make her grin to hear it, used to thrill her that he was calling. She glances down at the screen on the phone she barely knows how to use, and sees Jack, as if there were any doubt.
She ignores it.
The Imperial March plays on, and she reaches down, swiping her finger to reject the call.
A moment later the phone alerts her to a voicemail.
She shouldn't listen to it, she knows, but she can't help herself. This is all she has of him now. She waits for his voice, standing there on the corner of Madison and 50th.
Elizabeth, his rumbling baritone knocks her breath away. This is the last time I'll call. I just… if you're screening, please pick up. I need to speak with you. It's quite important. I realize you don't wish to talk to me anymore but I… I need to tell you some things. Important things. Please, please call me. Anytime. I miss you, I love you.
There is a charged pause and then the line clicks off.
Liz puts a hand over her belly and rubs softly without realizing.
She can't allow herself to drown in him.
She's got two lives to worry about now.
She deletes the message.
She closes her eyes and tries to mentally erase Jack, Boston, market research, bisexual shoes, tuxedos, and a million other things. She makes space in her head, in her heart, right there in front of a Burberry and a hot dog vendor, the ultrasound clutched in her hand.
He deserves it. She glides a hand over her belly.
Jack would be proud of her.