As he enters the house, Dawson is approached by a woman who identifies herself as "Susan," a college friend of his mother's. "Tell me, are you dealing with your grief?" she asks. Oh, man. Dawson tells her that he's dealing. She wonders how, exactly, he's dealing. "Not to be rude, but I don't know what you're talking about," Dawson says. Not to be rude, but why isn't she minding her own business? "Where are you channeling all the feelings you're having about your father's passing?" Susan asks. "You know, not to be rude, again, but I really don't have the time or the luxury," Dawson begins. Susan interrupts him to tell him that he "must take the time," like, hello, the Flash just died, and she barely even knows Dawson. Mid-New-Agey lecture, the answering machine comes on and the Flash's voice pours out, telling the world to leave a message. Dawson frantically tries to turn the device off, but ends up yanking it right out of the wall as everyone stares at him, including his mother and Joey. Jack, next to him, moves to pat Dawson sympathetically, but Dawson pushes him away. "I'm fine, I'm fine," Dawson mutters, to himself as much as anyone, and leaves the room. I never thought I'd say this, but here goes: Poor Dawson. Hey, if you're frantically trying to make your lead character sympathetic, killing off his parents isn't such a bad idea. Life-threatening diseases and an unquenchable love for puppies also work.
Dawson has, as per usual, taken to the dock, where he stares out at the water. Joey approaches and just stands next to him, silently. "Not one of my finer moments, huh?" Dawson mutters. Joey tilts her head and tells him that right after her Poor Dead Mother died, she found a grocery list said Poor Dead Mother had made, covered with hearts and little doodles, and she just lost it. She cried for hours. And so she understands Dawson's reaction, she says. If she'd heard her mother on an answering machine, Joey says, she would have "run away screaming." Dawson tells her, shortly, that he can't do that; Gale is a wreck, and someone has to keep things together. Joey informs Dawson that he's a wreck, too. "I'll make you a deal. You take care of your mom, I'll take care of you," she offers -- a tad perkily, considering the situation. Dawson just looks at her. He reflects that he had no idea how hard it is to lose a parent. It's like he's been transported to "some alternate universe" and he's "walking around outside [his] body all day long." Joey nods, and promises that it will get better. "That's good," Dawson responds. "Any advice on how I should deal with the fact that my father's death is almost entirely my fault?" Joey looks flabbergasted, and asks Dawson what, exactly, he means. Dawson sputters that if he hadn't come back and "laid all this" on the Flash, then "none of this would have happened." Joey points out that the Flash died in a car accident, and there's nothing Dawson could have done to stop that. Other than, say, buying out the Quik-E Mart's entire supply of ice cream before he left town. "That's not entirely true, Jo," Dawson begins. First, he says, if he hadn't dropped by the house that morning, his mother wouldn't have made him breakfast and they wouldn't have run out of milk and his father wouldn't have had to run out for more in the middle of the night. Joey tells Dawson that he's talking crazy talk, but he's still yapping, telling her that, "for all [he] knows," the Flash was driving around all pissed, having an argument with Dawson in his head, causing him to take his eyes off the road. Little does he know that the Flash was actually just using an ice cream cone as a microphone, to tragic effect. "Don't do this to yourself," Joey says weakly. "Do you know what he said to me the last time I saw him?" Dawson asks her. "He said I was making a huge mistake and that he was disappointed in me." Joey points out that the Flash also told Dawson that he loved him very much. Dawson nods, and says that he'll never doubt that the Flash loved him. "But do you have any idea how much it sucks to know that my father was disappointed in me the day he died? And he was right. I was acting crazy, like a spoiled brat. And if I'd listened to him, he would have been driving me to the airport, instead of to his death," he says, tossing Joey an anguished look, and stomps off toward the house.
Elsewhere in The Yard Of The Grieving. Gale's leaning against a tree, wondering how long she should wait before she calls up that news anchor she was sleeping with in Season One. Oh, come on! You know that, eventually, there's going to be some Dawson-deals-with-his-mother-dating-a-guy-that's-not-the-Flash episode. And it's going to be so tiresome. Grams comes up to her and gently asks how she's holding up. "I'm hanging in there," Gale says. Grams looks out at the creek, and tells Gale that she spent her entire marriage praying that she would die before her husband did, because she didn't think she would be able to go on without him. But look: she's done it. Although her husband's death was hard, she tells Gale, there eventually came a day that was easier than the one before it. "And until then?" Gale asks. "Well, that's what prescription medication is for," Grams quips. Gale laughs in spite of herself. "It's a strange thing we do," Grams says, "falling in love. You share your life with another person, give them your heart to the extent that losing them could potentially destroy you. Crazy thing to do." Gale looks off at the creek. "It's insane," she agrees. "So why on earth do we do it?" Grams asks. Gale shrugs. "What else is there?" she asks. They embrace, and Grams talks into Gale's overly frosted hair, wishing she still lived next door. "So do I," Gale says. Grams offers to stay for a bit, watch Lily for them. Gale thanks her, but says that she and Dawson "have to meet this one, head-on." So to speak. "I understand," Grams says. "But don't you hesitate to pick up the phone, young lady. We merry widows have to stick together." Gale smiles, and they walk arm in arm toward the house.