Jess heads home on the train after Luke's wedding. Seeing Rory again after these years has stirred memories in his head that he cannot consciously control so Jess surrenders to the movie running in his mind on the ride back to Philadelphia. First kisses to the moment that Rory crushed his heart at Yale scroll through is brain like microfiche. Jess' emotions rise and fall in sync. What a long strange road it has been to here. Seeing Rory in defeat was a strange experience indeed. The higher you rise, the harder the fall, Icarus. Jess' eyes lock on the passing scenery as his mind continues to roll from memory to memory without conscious control. Jess was thrilled to score a window seat so that he could rest his head and entertain his eyes without the need to focus or engage with another human being. He truly thanks Rory for her influence on his life. By pushing him away, Rory set him on the path to where he is now. Jess sighs that at least the 4 hour ride has passed quickly though his head is a bit on overload as he exits the train heading down the platform to catch his ride.
As Jess rounds the corner Maj comes into view. Jess appreciates that Maj always comes in and waits. She could have waited at the car but she didn't. Maj is sitting on a bench mindlessly scrolling through a print out of a manuscript with a Carmine Red pencil in her hand. Jess can surmise that Maj has been here for a while since her glasses have slid down her nose followed by some careless curls tucked behind her ear and full pajama party pose assumed on the bench as she flips the pages of the manuscript. Jess stops and takes in the sight for a few moments with a smile and the thought triggered by a familiar face that it is good to be home. Something about this trip back to Stars Hollow had made Jess miss his Philadelphia life in just a few days. Jess has lived lot of places from New York to LA. Philadelphia is the only place that every felt truly like a home.
Jess' shadow on the page draws Maj's eyes upward as she plucks the headphones from her ears, looping them around her neck like a modern art necklace. Maj greets Jess with a warm smile as she stashes the papers and pencil back into her bag. As she stands to greet Jess, Maj tosses her messenger bag over her head before leaning in to wrap Jess in a warm embrace. As they walk to Maj's car, the pair make the typical small talk as expected about the wedding and his trip back to the place that Maj knows is Jess' muse and the very bane of his existence.
Jess regales Maj with the details of the trip back along with some stories of his mom and his uncle's relationship and the often bumpy road of Luke's romance with Lorelai. It is hard to believe that it has been almost 20 years to this moment in time for Luke and Lorelai and Jess is truly happy for them. Jess has grown to truly love and appreciate the presence and influence that Luke had on his life even if the influence often came as a smack to the back of the head in days gone by. He has come to acknowledge that Luke is the closest thing that he had to a father. In a lot of ways, he and Luke drug each other up or grew up together. It is one the other or both but verdict is still out on that one.
Maj offers up a stop for some food which Jess enthusiastically accepts since he realizes that he is starving and has not had a proper meal since the day before. Maj stops at the diner which only drives home how much Jess's life in Philly pulls from the best of his past. The diner is so very similar to Luke's. The difference between them is location location location. His diner, his decade old usual haunt that pacified him when he found himself lost and alone when he first arrived in Philly, is a small mom and pop place plopped on a street corner just outside the University of Pennsylvania.
They park the car and head into the diner to indulge in some Philadelphia comfort food on the crisp November evening. The pair are greeted like the regulars that they are by the waitress. Dottie just might be a year or two older than the Pepsi sign that acts as the universal menu hanging above the register. The diner booths are clad in maroon pleather with duct tape repairs that glisten in the light of the lamps. The air is filled with the din of nearby conversations. This is one of the few places that does not have WIFI. People actually have to talk to each other. Jess always appreciated the state of elegant decay that permeates the space. The prices make the place popular with both the locals and the Penn students who make up the less than a Huntzberger end of the scale that Jess uses to measure wealth.
Jess realizes just how tired he is from the previous day's celebration and the travel home as he wraps his cold hands around the warmth of the mug of coffee. It feels good to be home and he is currently with one of his very favorite people. Maj is always welcome company. The most significant change since his bad old days is that Jess has found that he likes peace. He no longer feels the need to stir up drama to feel alive. The only drama he creates now is with a laptop and he can turn that off at will. Drama is better left to the realm of fiction. Jess appreciates that his companion does not require constant conversation. Maj is comfortable with silence and that is probably Jess' favorite trait. Maj will sit back and just watch the world go by content with the thoughts in her head. Jess recalls the recent banter with Rory, Luke and even Lorelai. There are times he truly misses the rapid fire wit and wisdom but now is a time for quiet and consumption as they each order up mac and cheese with bacon. Nothing warms the cockles of your soul like Saul's mac and cheese. You have to love mac and cheese that is too cheesy for sustained conversation, eating Saul's Mac is an art form unto itself..
The conversation is light, drifting from topic to topic like the snowflakes dancing in the light of the street lamp as Jess stares out the window. They linger in the booth for a long while before Maj and Jess both determine that tomorrow is another day and that day happens to be a work day. They both have busy schedules to keep. Jess offers up payment on the check as appreciation for the retrieval from the train station. He loops his arm through Maj's with a lean into her shoulder as they head back to the car. Maj drops Jess off at his garden apartment declining the polite the offer to come in which Jess is glad to hear. He just wants to unpack and slip into a food coma nap in preparation for what the week will bring.