At a payphone, Rickie asks the operator, "But…if you move, don't you leave a forwarding number? I, I mean…is there a number?" He fiddles with the coin slot. "I mean, 'cause they wouldn't just move without telling me." He fights tears as he goes on, "I mean, because…that would be crazy. That would be, like, impossible." Shot of Mr. K coming out into the hall. "Because…people don't just do that. Do they?" Long shot of Rickie clinging to the payphone. Mr. K, curious and worried: "Enrique?" Rickie slowly hangs up the phone and leans his forehead on the receiver. Mr. K, more urgently: "Enrique?" Rickie walks away without a word, speeding up as he reaches the end of the hall. Mr. K starts to follow, shouting, "Enrique!" Rickie's hand disappears around the corner last. Mr. K watches him vanish, mouth open. Outstanding acting by Wilson Cruz and Jeff Perry, but I hate that scene, and I hate Rickie's crap-ass family.
According to Sharon, "My So-Called Life will continue, here on ABC." Yeah, we wish.
After the break, Mr. K sits alone in his classroom. Rickie's face appears in the window, and he opens the door; Mr. K greets him happily: "Enrique! Gee whiz, you're here early!" Leaning on the doorjamb shyly, Rickie asks if he could talk to Mr. K about The Odyssey before class. Of course he can. Rickie pulls up a chair and eyes the donut on Mr. K's desk, which Mr. K says Rickie should take off his hands. "I gave up coffee for New Year's, and it's kinda taken the point out of donuts," he says, putting the donut in front of Rickie. Rickie looks embarrassed, but nibbles on the donut anyway. Mr. K: "So what's up?" Rickie, not meeting his eye, starts talking about the essay he "never handed in" on what Odysseus wants, and Mr. K nods, and Rickie asks if he can get an extension; Mr. K, who looks like he might start to cry, says yes, and Rickie says that he did do the reading, and it's about "this, this lonely guy that wanders the world for, like, many years, right?" "Right," Mr. K says slowly. Rickie talks about the way that it starts, but he can't remember what it's called, and here comes one of my favorite lines from Mr. K: "In medias…reeees." "Right," Rickie sighs. "In the middle of things." "Right," Rickie says, looking terribly young and sad. They exchange a look. Rickie looks down, trying not to break down: "'Cause, see, um…right now it's, it's sort of like, um…it's, it's sort of like I don't have a place to live." Mr. K has to absorb this for a second before touching his fingers to his brow and whispering, "Gaahhhd." He asks what happened. Rickie tries to play it off like it's okay, and as Mr. K studies him intently, Rickie relates that he stayed with the Chases for while, "and they're really nice. They're this really…great family." The camera comes in for a tight close-up as he continues, "But in a way that made me feel lonelier. And I know that sounds ungrateful --" Mr. K interrupts to say that it doesn't: "I understand." Back to Rickie-cam as he says that he used to live with his uncle: "It's sort of a long story."
Dolly around Rickie to show him now sitting across from the guidance counselor, Mrs. Crazynowski, with Mr. K sitting beside her. Mrs. Crazy asks, "And you're certain your aunt and uncle have, um, uh, relocated?" "I'm certain," Rickie nods sadly. Mr. K says there "has to be a solution," and Mrs. C says she's "thinking of a place for…Enrique, is it?" and Rickie and Mr. K share a little smile about that. "It's Rickie, actually," Rickie tells her, and adds that he thought he could get a job, and maybe an apartment. Mrs. Crazy doesn't think that's realistic; she's thinking of a place called Pride House that a friend of a friend runs. Mr. K asks what kind of place it is, and Mrs. Crazy tries to sell it, saying it has "a really warm atmosphere" and "it's almost like -- a family!" Mr. K makes encouraging noises in Rickie's direction, and Rickie says it sounds okay, so Mrs. Crazy says she'll see what she can do, and she tells Rickie to go to class. Mr. K asks if he's okay; Rickie quietly says he's fine, and makes his escape. After Rickie leaves, Mrs. Crazy tells Mr. K that "a place like Pride House has a waiting list," and even under the best of circumstances, "it's gonna take a few weeks to get him in." Mr. K looks shocked and asks what Rickie's "supposed to do tonight." Mrs. Crazy says that "it's not a perfect system." "No. It isn't," Mr. K says to himself, and leaves while Mrs. Crazy waits on hold with the shelter.