Dear Townspeople of Stars Hollow,

You know me, Lindsay. While not the town’s prodigal daughter, I am also a young woman who was born and raised in this town (there are actually a lot of us, though we don’t get our own table at Luke’s or automatically become the town’s Ice Cream Queen just for existing), and I’d like to set the record straight about something that happened twenty years ago.

If Dean and I hadn’t broken up ten months after our wedding, this fall would’ve been our twentieth anniversary. Sure, it’s easy to point fingers at who’s to blame (Rory Gilmore, Rory Gilmore, Rory Gilmore), but few people have heard my side of things.

First, do you know what it was like to go to school with Rory? The teachers LOVED her. I swear to God, they cried when she transferred to that la di da private school in Hartford. “She knew Dill was based on Truman Capote,” one lamented. In fifth grade, we had to dress up as former first ladies and give oral reports on their lives. I ended up as Bess Truman. Bess Truman! I wore an old lady outfit and looked like Mama from Mama’s Family. Meanwhile, Rory got to be Jackie Kennedy, and her mom made her this red outfit with a matching pillbox hat. Of course, she got an A plus. Yes, I bought her that damned Mark Twain magnet on the fourth-grade field trip the year before. But only because she looked like she was going to cry, and oh boy, if Rory Gilmore cried, the world would stop. What do I get for buying her that magnet? She sleeps with my husband ten years later.

I’m not naïve. I knew I was taking a risk, dating Dean. But I’ve been crushing on him since he transferred sophomore year. My friends did warn me about being the rebound girl. But he was so sweet, and when he proposed, I thought we were meant to be. Look, not all of us have an edgy boy from New York smoldering in the wings, reading On the Road, just waiting for us to realize they’ve been there all along. I was happy to be with Dean. Yes, dull old Dean, even if the only book he’s ever read is Moby-Dick, and I’m pretty sure that was for a school project. And, yes, he did get into a brawl with Jess over Rory at that house party, so it was clear he wasn’t totally over her, but that night he went home with me. I thought that’s what mattered. Plus, for what it’s worth, I was perfectly okay with her coming to the wedding. She would’ve had to sit in the back pew with my Aunt Gert, who had that burping problem, but I still would’ve been polite to her.

About the townhouse: yes, I wanted to buy it. In 2004, it was still a good time to buy the property, and if we had sold it before the Great Recession of ’08, we could’ve had a little nest egg. Dean was the one who wanted to work extra jobs. He was the one who volunteered when he found out about the renovations to the Dragonfly Inn. Yeah, I know, that should have tipped me off, but I thought, well, Rory’s in Yale; why would she be hanging around Stars Hollow anymore? But then I heard Rory going off on me to Lane Kim. Lane Kim! Do you know how often Lane complained about the music we played at pep rallies? It drove me crazy. She joined the cheer squad and immediately demanded we set our routine to some weirdo ska band from the ’70s nobody had ever heard of. That routine was supposed to be set to “Hot in Herre.” People were so confused.

So, yes, I told Dean not to see her. I know, I know. Stars Hollow is a super small town. They were bound to see each other at whatever event Taylor Doose would come up with, be it August Dog Days or the Dancing Maple Leaf Festival. My therapist said it was controlling what I did. Now I see that it was. But I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I knew it was all over when I saw that letter from her in his jacket. I knew something happened. He was saying such nice things about my food and being so kind. That roast I made in a panic, it was terrible. It was guilt. Pure guilt.

The thing was, I was more upset with myself than with him. There were so many red flags they all blended together. Yet when my mom pointed at Rory and told her to go to hell, I was glad. Sure, Mom is no Lorelei Gilmore. We didn’t have Turner Classics movie marathons and eat our weight in dumplings, cupcakes with Natale Merchant’s face on them, and Mallomars every Saturday night (where are the Gilmores even finding Mallomars? I thought they discontinued them in the ’80s), but she is a good mom who cares about her kids, even if she only ever ordered a reasonable amount of Chinese takeout and left me alone to watch She’s All That with my friends on weekends.

But Rory didn’t ruin the marriage. She definitely helped put the final nail in the coffin with her pink hammer, but I should’ve known.

I’m okay now. I really am, not that anyone in Stars Hollow would notice. I married a pro football player ten years ago, and I have a little girl named Lisa, after Lisa Vanderpump. I live in Florida and consult on a fashion newsletter. I have a pool. Lisa and I do visit Stars Hollow. Sometimes we see Rory across the green, sitting by the gazebo. (I hear she never even got a real job in journalism, so I guess she just spends a lot of time hanging out these days.) But I just look away. I don’t hate her anymore. But seeing her still stings.