Once and Again
Gardenia

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Gardenia

Over at Fields, Karen's charging through the racks of clothing looking for something Jessie will love. Jessie plods along behind, protesting at the sight of an embroidered peasant blouse. Karen argues that it's "adorable," which makes Jessie groan, "I hate that word. I don't want to be 'adorable.' It makes me sound like a pixie." Karen says that Jessie's not a pixie (in case there were actually some doubt), but she is a "lovely" young girl, and it's a "lovely" blouse. Which is even better than "adorable." Jessie says, "Mom, don't you know that clothes are armor?" Karen doesn't think she's heard correctly. Jessie regurgitates Katie's theory on clothing and identity. Karen asks what Jessie wants to hide. Jessie automatically says she doesn't want to hide anything. "But you just said --" "Mom! You take me so literally." Karen wheels around to the other side of Jessie, yanking the camera with her. My stomach churns. Karen, a little short of breath, says she's just not sure what Jessie wants. Jessie says she doesn't want the blouse, and tells Karen not to take it personally. Karen's too busy watching the store and all the racks spin round and round in front of her to worry about the blouse, though.

Soliloquy Karen reminds herself to breathe.

Karen takes deep breaths and clings to a rack. Jessie realizes something's not right, and asks Karen what's going on. Karen fights the rising tide of bile and distractedly tells Jessie she's going to the washroom, and when she gets back, they're going to leave. Jessie watches, concerned.

Cut to Karen's foyer, later that night. The front door opens, and Eli cautiously steps inside. He spots Jessie and whispers to ask if Karen is there. Jessie jerks her head toward the stairs. Eli glowers in that direction and closes the door. Karen comes bounding down the stairs but stops short when she sees him. The temperature falls. They shift uncomfortably. Karen checks her cuff and thanks Eli for picking up Jessie, explaining that she has dinner with a client. Eli snarks that he knows; he's "fully informed." Eli glares at Karen and moves toward the coat rack, saying he was going to come by the next day while she's at work to get his stuff. He asks if she's seen his old Boy Scout duffel bag, "the one [she] sewed the merit badges on." What a little asshole. He is so like my ex with the head games and manipulation. And the lack of a job, and the pot habit, for that matter. Karen drops her gaze and tries to steady herself. Softly, she promises to look for it and leave it by the stairs. "Okay, let's go," Eli says shortly to Jessie. Karen backs away and heads for the stairs. When she's just out of sight, Eli mutters, "Go to hell." Karen reappears and asks what he just said. Spineless little weasel that he is, Eli won't repeat it. And, to top it off, he tries to turn his attack on her into something she should feel guilty about, saying, "You don't care, so I'm not going to repeat it." Oh, poor little Eli with only your weed to love you. Eli puffs up his self-righteous chest and sails out like the prima donna he's being. Jessie trails behind him. She doesn't say a word to Karen as she leaves, which seems pretty cold to me.

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Once and Again

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