Once and Again

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Niki: D | Grade It Now!

Lily and Rick start to walk away, but then she remembers she's still clutching the garbage and spins around to drop it at the curb. The two then stroll off, arm-in-arm and with a noticeable bounce in their step.

A few blocks later, we catch up to them as Rick's talking about his childhood. As a kid, he'd walk around the neighborhood, looking into other people's houses and wondering what it would be like to live there because everything seemed so perfect. Touching, in a Peeping-Tom sorta way. Lily stops walking, turns to face him, and blurts out that she has a brother. He lives in a group home in Chicago. She starts strolling again as she describes how she learned that he was mentally ill when she was in college. Her parents told them never to talk about it, and she never did. She "had hoped... Judy sees him all the time." Rick nods and bobs his Adam's apple, which means he's really feeling what she's saying. Lily tries to explain why she didn't invite Aaron to dinner: "It's just that, what if he goes off his medication? He could end up in court or jail... It was just...too much. This year." She looks pleadingly at Rick, who gives her another nod and bob by way of absolution, and she admits that "Now [she] wishes [she'd] just...It hurts so much to be around him, because [she]..." Rick figures out it's because she misses Aaron, the Aaron she knew, and tells her so. Relieved, Lily agrees. Rick puts his arm around her and draws her close.

Karen, meanwhile, is dodging Lloyd's compliments the way most of us would dodge bullets. They're in her kitchen cleaning up, and Lloyd is waxing ecstatic over the apple crumble, which Karen keeps reminding him is store-bought. When praising her ability to buy really good pie falters, Lloyd switches gears and showers her kids with approval instead. She won't take credit for them either. As they shuffle awkwardly around the kitchen, Lloyd trailing Karen like a balding puppy, they naturally bump into one another a couple times. On the last of these occasions, they pause for a moment, face-to-face, and I'm waiting for the icy-cool effects to creep up the lens and the Wrigley jingle to kick in. But oh -- oh! -- shut out! Jessie starts yelling that she wants to play Monopoly. Very graciously, Lloyd heads into the living room to answer her challenge. Karen looks almost overcome with relief.

Lily practically dances through the back door to find Barn still cleaning up. She tells her mother to leave the rest -- she's done enough already -- and plant a kiss on her cheek. "How could you not tell me?" Barb demands, "...that you're seeing someone?" Precisely at that moment, of course, Phil, Jake, and Grace enter the kitchen.

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Once and Again




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