Once and Again
I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

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Eli's no poet. He doesn't know it.

Jessie hops out of Rick's SUV. "Got everything?" he grins. "Yes...no," she groans, grabbing her French book. She uses the extra seconds to ask if Rick will attend Eli's "thing" tomorrow. Rick isn't sure he wants to endorse it, which Jessie can't grasp. "I think it would mean a lot to him," she offers. Rick thinks about it as he backs the car out of the driveway and collides with something.

Leo and his bike are sprawled on the pavement. Rick wigs, but Leo says that he's fine. "I've had plenty of ex-husbands try to kill me before," he jokes badly. Rick wants to pay for bike repairs, and Leo agrees that's necessary as he tries to affix his broken mirror to the handlebar. Rick moves toward the car again, but Leo calls after him to apologize. "I want to take responsibility for what happened with Eli," he says. "I shouldn't have set up the gig without talking to Karen first." Rick replies that Eli would've found a way to rebel no matter what. "Send me the bill," Rick adds. They part.

Eli sits in the park with his guitar, this generation's equivalent to Linus and his blue blanket. He considers that Rick puts an awful lot of thought into parenting. "Clearly he's too hard on himself, but I guess he feels guilty," B/W Eli says. He leaves the park, bored with introspection and not even wholly sure what "introspection" means because he fell asleep after studying the H words.

B/W Rick, on the Soliloquy Stool, recalls how his father never really came to his baseball games, but finally, he did attend one. "I felt nervous, even though I wanted him to be there," B/W Rick says. "I felt this incredible pressure." Well, ol' Rick struck out and made untold fielding errors. We see his colorful counterpart trying to work at home, but failing because he can't focus. After the game, Rick's father took him aside and gave him hordes of tips and pointers on how to play baseball "because he thought that's how I played normally. It killed me that that's how he thought I was. My father had no idea how I was." Thank you, Soliloquy Stool, for teaching us about the synergies of fathers and sons.

At the coffeehouse, Eli is preparing for the show. B/W Eli says that Rick thinks...silence. "I don't know what he thinks," Eli says sadly, slightly confused.

Eli tunes the guitar while Jessie excitedly bounces over to Jennifer's table. Karen and Leo sit together nearby. Lily, Zoe, and Grace tumble down the stairs and into the coffeehouse, at which point Grace zeroes in on G.I. Jolie and goes to sit with her. Jennifer looks briefly at faux-Jolie, concerned, until she remembers which one of them just got a sultry shot of Sammler. She turns back to Jessie with a smile. Eli sings. "This picture you have of me isn't much to look at, we agree." Rick walks down the stairs and watches quietly. Eli looks up and sees him, singing at him with fire in his eyes. "Let me walk down that road, because you know I have to go. You won't be there, but even so, everyone goes down that road." Eli's song was a lot better the first time, when Cat Stevens sang it and called it "Father and Son." Rick nods almost imperceptibly, looking incredibly moved. He bagged his first babe to the dulcet tones of Cat Stevens.

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Once and Again

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