The Story of Us (1999) Script

I don't know why, I've always been big on happy endings.

You see, to me, the most romantic, beautiful love stories ever were the ones where two people meet, fall in love, and then 50, 60 years later, one of them dies.

And then a few days after that, the other one dies because they just can't bear to live without each other.

Not that that's such a good example of a happy ending.

I mean, you got two dead people in that example.

But that's how I always thought things would be for Katie and me.

Not that we'd be dead, but that we would be together forever.

Now, High-Low. Who wants to go first? Erin?

Okay, my high today is that I sat next to Austin Butler at lunch.

Oh, that's nice.

Is that the boy with the three-legged dog?

No, Joel Cummings has the three-legged dog.

Austin has the turtle that snores.

And your low?

Camp.

What about camp?

I don't know.

Honey, you had such a good time last year.

I know.

What is it?

Are you afraid you're going to lose touch with Austin over the summer?

I don't know.

Well, you can always write to each other.

When you sign your name, you can put those little X's and O's on there.

Guys love that, right?

Can't get enough of it.

Honey, you're gonna have a great time.

What about you, bonehead? What was your high today?

My high was that Gary Ellis' mom bought a new juicer, and today I went over to his house and drank a chicken.

And your low?

I don't have a low.

You've gotta have a low.

Look, I've been sitting here racking my brain, and I do not have a low, okay?

All right, all right. What if we enter the chicken smoothie in the high and low category?

How about you, Mama?

Well...

Oh, I know what your high is. It's your anniversary.

What are you guys gonna do tomorrow night?

Well, I was gonna take your mother... Dad's gonna take me...

...out to a romantic dinner... ...out dancing.

...and possibly some dancing.

But you're right, sweetie. That is our high.

Look, I'd really love to stick around for your low, but the Dodgers are playing the Giants.

Go. Go.

Can I go, too? Go.

Look, I really don't care what we do tomorrow night.

I don't even care if we end up at different restaurants.

Just as long as the kids see us leaving together and coming home together.

Right.

On our first anniversary, I gave Ben a plastic spoon.

You know, the takeout kind from a Chinese restaurant?

It was the one we had used when we shared our first bowl of wonton soup in the park.

He was afraid he'd lost it, and I remember how his face lit up when he opened the little jewelry box I had wrapped it in.

I keep asking myself, "When is that moment in a marriage

"when a spoon becomes just a spoon?"

When I first met Katie, I was working as a writer on this comedy show, and she had been hired as a temp.

And, I don't know. It's hard to explain.

There was an instant connection, this simpatico.

I felt like she just got me.

And believe me, there is no greater feeling in this world than to feel gotten.


I think the loudest silences are the ones filled with everything that's been said, said wrong, said 300 times.

You're not really hearing me.

You're so goddamn critical!

It's hard enough with two children. I don't need a third.

That's right, you're perfect, and I've done nothing right in 15 years!

You're not listening.

You can't let go of anything.

You never listen!

You hold on to every little thing.

Why should you be responsible for anything?

Do you have to be critical of every fucking thing?

I kinda just take care of everything around here.

Fine! Fine!

Until fighting becomes the condition rather than the exception, and suddenly, without you even knowing it, it turns into the language of the relationship, and your only option is a silent retreat to neutral corners.

Okay, are you a person?

Yes.

Are you a man?

That's debatable.

"Debatable"? Do you have a mustache?

A thick one. Aunt Rose.

Right. Yes!

Good old Aunt "five-o'clock shadow" Rose.

Oh, God, it's almost 9:00. We're gonna miss the camp bus.

Whoa! Now, that is what I call a mobile home.

Can you get around it? It's five to 9:00.

Boy, they must have to change their zip code a lot.

It's happening even as we speak. Look, 91604, 91604.

91605.

Could you pass it?

Their mailman must be going crazy.

The kids are really gonna miss their bus.

Whoa! Look, up on the second floor!

Somebody's about to use the bathroom! Ben.

Kids, put the windows up.

We're in the line of fire!

Would you just pass the goddamn house?

Look, kids, the house is making a right.

When I was in college, we had to write a term paper, it was for, uh, some philosophy course I was taking, on any book we considered to be the one that best depicted how we viewed the world.

And I remember some people picking books by the great thinkers, like Kierkegaard and Plato. Some kids chose the Bible.

I did my paper on Harold and the Purple Crayon.

It's a small book about a little boy who draws the world the way he wants it to be with his magic crayon.

And I... I just loved that book because it was about everything that I wasn't.

So let me get this straight. You wanna write crossword puzzles?

That's really a job somebody wants to do? Yes.

And you would get paid to do this? Yes.

So you actually know stuff like "Ra is the Sun God"?

As well as the symbol for radium and the abbreviation for "regular army."

Whoa. I don't know whether to be impressed or terrified.

I find it very soothing and reassuring, because you know there are always answers.

Yeah, but not to the really big questions, like, "Does God exist?" "What is the meaning of life?"

"Why does my pee smell funny when I eat asparagus?"

Aspartic acid, hence the name.

And this soothes you?

Yes. Since you'll never really find the answers to the big questions, there's a comfort in finding the answers to the little ones.

Besides, when you finish, there's this wonderful sense of closure, knowing that that little world on that half-page is complete.

Well, you left yourself wide open.

Come to Papa!

But the problem in a marriage is, if one person is always Harold, drawing the world the way they want it to be, the other person has no choice but to draw it the way it is.

Which is probably why they never wrote a book about Harold's wife.

They're leaving! I knew it! I knew it!

Grab your bags. Go! Go!

Wait! Wait! Hold it! Hold it!

Two more coming. They'll wait, they'll wait.

Thank you, Marty. Hey, no problem.

Hey, Marty. Hey, Ben.

Bye, baby. I love you. Have a great time.

I love you. Have a good time.

Bye, kid. Bye, Dad.

Bye, honey. Take your sister's bag.

Have a great time. Thank you.

I love you. I love you.

Josh, hurry up. I saved you a seat.

I love you. I love you.

Bye. Bye, honey.

Bye.


Okay.

Um, if you need me for anything, I'll be at the Oceana.

Anything comes up with the kids, just give me a call.

Of course.

Isn't this the moment where one of us is supposed to say, "Look, this is ridiculous. We love each other.

"All couples go through this. Let's give it another try"?


My ass was on television this morning.

What are you telling us?

I'm telling you, my ass was on television.

Oh, that's right. That was that special.

The Kennedy Center Salutes 50 Years of Stan's Ass.

I went to the doctor, he took this tube that had a little camera on the end of it, stuck it up my ass, and we watched it on a monitor in his office.

You had a sigmoidoscopy? Exactly.

That's a hell of a lot different than your ass being on television.

How?

Well, first of all, let's start with the fact that a network can't cancel your ass.

Point well taken.

Plus, I don't know what kind of demographics you hope to be knocking down with that big, hairy crack winking at you.

All right. All right, gentlemen. We're in a public place.

Do you think we could possibly elevate the level of conversation?

Fine with me.

Good. I jerked off to your secretary last night. I hope you don't mind.

Why should I mind? I don't know, I just wanted to make sure it was all right, so I could forge ahead with a clear conscience.

Pound away.

Oh, you're a good friend.

Larry really wanted to have sex last night.

He even gave me the 30-second massage.

Oh, you mean the "I really care that you had a bad day" back rub that stops just before you truly relax, and then quickly heads south towards the promised land?

Exactly.

So, did you make love?

Oh, I couldn't. I was just too tired.

How'd you get out of it?

Well, I pretended to fall asleep during the massage.

I even did that heavy breathing thing.

So he thinks you're in the really deep REM?

But the whole thing backfired, because when I really fell asleep, the baby started crying, and then Larry pretended that he was asleep.

Fool. If he had just gotten up with the baby, you would have sounded the trumpets, opened the gates and welcomed the troops home for Christmas.

In a heartbeat.

So what's going on with you and Charlene?

Ooh, had a great night last night.

And you still claim you're not cheating.

Yeah. I maintain that with every fiber of my being.

Online sex is not cheating.

How do you figure?

It's 3:00 in the morning, your wife and kids are sleeping upstairs, and you're downstairs in your den fucking some bimbo in cyberspace.

Okay, first of all, we're not fucking, we're typing.

And, second of all, and this is me taking umbrage, Charlene is not some bimbo.

You're right.

She's probably a stockbroker named Ralph pretending to be some bimbo named Charlene.

Why would you piss on something so beautiful?

What did I say?

It's not an affair. Teresa never had sex with him.

They just kissed.

A kiss is an affair.

You think so?

Absolutely.

Once you establish anything truly intimate with another person, even talking, it has to affect the person you're supposed to be the most intimate with.

But the crazy thing is, Teresa could fuck her husband.

She just couldn't kiss him. I mean, really kiss him.

It's not so crazy.

There have been times when I'm so angry at Stan that I could fuck him, but I don't want that cow tongue anywhere near me.

A kiss can be so much more intimate than sex.

Yeah. Why is that?

Because fucking means, "Yeah, yeah, I love you," but a kiss...

A kiss means, "I like you."

That's so right.

I haven't made out, I mean, really made out with Larry for years.

Doesn't that make you sad?

Not really.

Why?

I don't know.

Because it's inevitable. It's the wear and tear of the job.

The diapers, the tantrums, the homework, the state capitals.

The kingdom, phylum, genus, species, your mother, his mother, and suddenly, all you're aware of is that there are too many wet towels on the floor, he's hogging the remote, and he's scratching his back with a fork.

And finally you come face to face with the immutable truth that it's virtually impossible to French kiss a person who takes the new roll of toilet paper and leaves it resting on top of the empty cardboard roll.

God forbid he takes the two seconds to actually replace it.

Does he not see it? Does he not see it?

I'm telling you.

Marriage is the Jack Kevorkian of romance.

Oh, God! Ah! Oh!

Oh, Jesus. Shit!

He hit me! I didn't hit her.

I was leaving the room and she was standing in my way.

Ah! He did it on purpose.

Guys, guys, guys, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on!

Hello? Hey, Ben? What? Hey, look, I've got a big red...

Let her rip! Katie.

You're not gonna believe what I'm standing in front of.

They're tearing down our old apartment.

Ooh!

What? What? See? See?

Josh, did you hit her?

She started it. What?

I told her never to come in my room without asking.

It's heading for Mrs. Gutierrez's apartment. Ooh, there goes her window.

Did you borrow her Discman without asking?

Yeah, but, I mean, she was done with it.

Were you done with it?

Ben, I can't talk now. She hasn't used her Discman in 2 days.

Whoa! Just hit Jack Roikman's place.

Remember the guy with the patriotic orgasms?

"God bless America! God bless America! Land that I love!"

Can't you just let him use yours?

No! He never lets me use...

Ben, I can't talk right now.

But, Katie, this is where you and I started.

This is where we became an us.

Oh! Just hit the wall where we used to measure the kids' heights.

Ben, I... Josh, you shouldn't have hit your sister.

No TV for a week.

You're so unfair. Wait until I tell Dad.

Jesus Christ! I gotta go. Are you okay?

Katie! Katie!

Goddamn it!

You don't think fantasizing is cheating?

Oh, please. Who was getting hurt?

Yesterday, I met this stunning blonde woman up at the food court at the Beverly Center.

She had, like, one of those little rings in the belly button thing.

Yeah. But you know what? I forgave her.

'Cause at least it wasn't in her eyebrow or in her tongue.

Beautiful. Beautiful. We start chatting, and we struck up a little conversation waiting for our turkey roll-ups.

And I'm telling you, she's smiling, I'm smiling.

And just that, that 30-second encounter, that alone will do wonders for me tonight when I'm shaking hands with the sheriff.

I know exactly what you're talking about.

Am I wrong? No. No, you're right.

The other day, I told a joke to this very intriguing woman that I ran into at the dry cleaners'.

I mean, if this had been the '30s, she definitely would have been a communist.

Or at a minimum, a communist sympathizer.

But the point is, the way she laughed at that joke reminded me of how Rachel used to laugh at my jokes.

You gonna follow up?

Oh, no, I could never do that.

I think the Ten Commandments were probably a lot easier to stick to when you dropped dead at 35.

I mean, we... They should be amended.

They should have a little amendment, like the Constitution, you know.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thy neighbor's wife, thy neighbor's ass.

But, if you feel you have to covet your neighbor's wife's ass, just don't do it in thy neighbor's house.

What is wrong with that? A simple amendment.

Two-thirds majority. Slide through both houses.

Seriously, name me one person, name one guy that you know who's never cheated on his wife.

I wasn't cheating!

I walk into your office, and I hear you telling some woman, some Sara, intimate details about our relationship, about our problems?

Obviously there's something going on between you and this woman.

There is nothing going on between us! We were just talking!

About us? About our life?

We were just talking!

That's not talking. That's a relationship!

Why didn't you tell me about her if there's nothing to hide?

Why didn't you tell me?

I just needed somebody to talk to!

Bullshit!

Why didn't you talk to me?

Mommy, I need a drink of water.

I'll be right there, honey.

You wanna know why I don't talk to you? You wanna know why?

Because you treat me like I'm some big fucking pain in the ass that gets in the way of what otherwise would be a perfectly normal, organized life!

Have you ever thought that maybe everything isn't always about you?

Maybe I'm tired.

Maybe I'm dealing with 5,000 things all day long.

Maybe every little need you have doesn't always have to be met at the exact moment you need it to be met.

Mommy!

God, we have actual kids here, Ben.

I am not a third child!

I am not talking about having every one of my needs met!

I'm talking about a connection, a look, something that says that we're on the same side here.

Why don't you talk to your girlfriend?

I'm sure she can help us get back on the same side.

The key to a happy marriage is to accept the essential chasm between men and women.

Which is?

A man can mend a fight with sex.

A woman can't have sex until they've resolved the fight.

Why is that?

It's the basic difference between the penis and the vagina.

A penis is a thruster, a battering ram, if you will.

Even if it's mad, it can ram. Sometimes it even helps.

It's the mad-ram principle.

However, the vagina... Ah, the vagina.

The vagina has to be relaxed in order to open and receive.

It can't be that gracious hostess in a state of anger.

And that goes for blow jobs and kissing as well.

Every female point of entry needs to know that the penis is coming in peace.

Do you have any Sweet'N Low?

Would Equal be okay?

Whatever.

I've always felt that no matter what Katie and I were going through, no matter how painful things got, if our feet found each other under the blankets, even just the slightest connection, it would let us know that we'd entered the demilitarized zone, that we were gonna be okay, that we were still an us.

There are some hurts that you never completely get over, and you think, I don't know that time will diminish their presence.

And to a degree, it does, but, uh, it still hurts, because, well, hurt hurts.

If you lose your room key, contact the front desk.

And if you've got valuables, keep them in the hotel safe. It's complimentary.

For family dining, how about a pizza poolside from our Wolfgang Puck cafe?

Then it's a quick walk to the Santa Monica Pier and the beach.

When the kids are acting up, the waves will set them straight.

The Patriot is proof positive that missile defense works.

And as we've been taught by Saddam Hussein...

There's something about the way that man says "Saddam" that just makes me want you even more.

One ruler without regard for human decency.

Oh, my God!

Yes, baby. The tooth fairy.

Where? Josh's tooth.

We forgot to put money under his pillow.

Honey.

Honey, Josh is asleep. I'm sure this can wait a few more minutes.

No, no, no, baby! We might forget later.

Well, who goes?

Rock, paper, scissors. Shit!

Mr. President, I'm entrusting you with my soon-to-be-naked wife.

You take care of her, take care of the country. And my love to Barbara.

I'll be right back.

Oh, Ben!

What?

Ah?

I'll be right back.


Everything that's important in the world is in this bed right now.

I love you.

I love you.


Hi, you've reached the home of Jordan, Jordan, Jordan and Jordan.

Nary a Jordan is present at the moment, so if you want to leave a message for Katie, Ben, Josh or Erin, what better time than...

Uh, hi, it's me.

I'm just calling to see how the kids are doing, see if we got any postcards from them.

Anything comes up, you can give me a call.

Okay. Bye-bye.

Hello?

Hi.

Oh, hi.

Uh, listen, I just got your message.

I was in the shower when you called.

Um, the kids seem to be doing really well.

Um, I just put the postcards in an envelope.

You should be getting them tomorrow.

Good.

You okay?

Yeah, I'm okay. You okay?

Yeah, I'm okay.

Okay.

Bye.

Bye.

The world of the honey bee is filled with sunshine, meadows and bright-colored flowers.

Honey bees live in well-organized homes called hives.

It is here that they raise their young and make their honey.

Hello?

Yeah, hi. It's me.

Oh, hi.

How are you?

I'm good. Good. Yeah, really good.

Good. What's up?

Huh?

What's up?

Oh, um...

You know, I was just thinking about the upstairs bathroom, and I wanted to remind you to schedule that guy to come in and re-caulk the bathtub.

I've already done it.

Oh. Uh... Well.

Good.

Okay. Uh...

Then...

Bye.

Bye.

All right. Everybody looks great. Here comes Ron.

All right. Did you get it all out?

Hello.

I was just calling to see if you remember the name of that tree surgeon we used.

Joey Bishop.

Yeah. Yeah, but no.

But it was one of those Rat Pack guys, right?

Yeah, right.

Frank Sinatra. No.

- Dean Martin. No.

Sammy Davis, Jr.?

That's it! Joey Davis, Jr.!

Joey Davis, Jr., the tree surgeon.

I can still see the sign on that little blue truck of his.

Right. Okay, thanks.

Okay. Bye.

Listen, uh, your shirts came back from the cleaners.

Oh. Uh, cool.

I'll come by and get 'em.

Because I can drop them off.

No, no. No, it's fine. I'll be happy to come get 'em.

What would be a good time for you?

I don't know. Um, why don't you come over tomorrow?

I'll be home by 7:00. If you want, you can stay for dinner.

You sure?

No.

Okay.

See you tomorrow.


Hi.

Hi.

You look like... Like you.

You, too.

I guess I could just stand out here on the porch all night.

I mean, I've been in the house. I've seen it.

How many times have we said, "We really should use this porch more often"?

Come in. Come in. My house is literally your house.

Thank you.

Hey, there's my dry-cleaning.

Yeah, I left it out for you.

Good. That way I'll remember to take it with me.

Because I could put it in the closet, but I...

No, no. That is perfect dry-cleaning placement.

Do you want a drink? Do you want something to...

Want some wine? Yeah.

I think I remember where it is.

If memory serves correct, you like red wine?

That's right.

Yeah, yeah, it's all coming back to me.

Wine is breathing a lot better than I am.

So, hey, you'll never believe what I did last night.

What?

I actually attempted to do one of your crossword puzzles.

No.

Yes.

I have a question. What was three-down? I just couldn't get it.

Four letters. "Feeling of psychological discomfort."

"Blah."

"Blah."

Cheers.

Cheers.

Did...

Was this always here?

No, I bought it last week.

Any other new appliances I should know about?

Well, as long as we're spilling our guts here, I also got this new garlic press.

The body's not even cold, and she's out buying garlic presses.

How do you think the kids are doing?

Well, from the cards, it sounds like they're doing pretty good.

I think Erin misses us, but she's okay.

Yeah, she seems okay.

You think she's okay?

I think she's okay.

Because I think she senses that we're not okay, and...

Parents' Weekend is coming.

Well, we'll just have to give her a lot of extra attention and really love her up.

Yeah.

Should we eat?

Yeah, I could eat.

This is really good.

Thanks.

High-Low?

Sure.

What's your high?

Honestly? Yeah.

Right now.

And your low?

Every minute of the last two weeks.

How about you?

My high would have to be the Cuisinart, because I wanted it ever so badly.

And your low?

Hmm...

I would have to say the garlic press.

It's not nearly as handy as I thought it would be.

I lay myself open, and you mock me with kitchenware.

All the while making me more attractive to you.

Is that your intention?

I'm not sure.

Well, it's working.


Well, looks like I haven't been doing too much reading.

Yeah. No. Right.

Whoa!

Okay. I'm ready. How about you?

I, uh... What?

Uh... Come on, Katie.

Remember what Dr. Tischner said, "If you had it once, you can always get it back."

Was that Dr. Tischner or was that Dr. Hopkins?

Hopkins? Yeah.

The one with the sibilant "S."

Right. No. Wrong. It was a lateral lisp.

Sex is simply a symbolic expression of the emotional status of a relationship.

Sustained lack of sex is symptomatic of disassociation.

No, no. The one with the lateral lisp was Dr. Rifkin.

Dr. Hopkins was the one with the Rorschach birthmark on his forehead.

Right. The one that looked like the state of California.

How could you pay attention to anything that guy was saying?

This cycle of closeness, then estrangement you've both told me about, what instigates it, triggers it? First thing that comes to your mind.

Sacramento. Governor Gray Davis.

Oh, my personal favorite was the Freudian with the prostate problem.

When two people go to bed, there are actually six people in that bed.

If you'll excuse me.

Are we allowed to talk when he's gone?

I don't know.

What do you think?

To be on the safe side, maybe we better not.

The six people in bed are the two of you, and your parents, and your parents.

Now, the key is...

Will you excuse me, please?

I can't believe that guy charged us for the full session.

The man was peeing on our time.

All that therapy was just a waste of time and money.

When you think about it, where did all that therapy really get us?

It got us right here, laughing about it.

He's right. Oh, what are you talking about?

Once it's broken, it can never really be fixed.

I don't know. The queen has spoken.

What? Nothing.

Maybe it's just too soon.

Too soon? What are you talking about?

The whole point of having a knockdown, drag-out fight is playing "Hide the Salami" afterwards.

See?

Let hard times bring you together.

Nobody said it would be easy.

Can't we let hard times bring us together?

Nobody said it was gonna be easy.

It's like the Andrews Sisters.

After Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and before Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree.

Big career slump there.

It's like the Andrews Sisters before Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree.

The Andrews Sisters?

Sure. They didn't stop singing just because they had a few flops.

They hung in there, and the rest is music history.

Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me Uh, I just don't understand why you're bringing up the Andrews Sisters now. No, no, no.

You're singing? It's just an example, Katie.

These kids are in trouble, and you're singing?

Oh, Dot. Put out once in a while. Your face won't be so tight.

Slut.

I just don't understand what their career slump has to do with our marital problems.

Don't sit under the apple tree What are we supposed to do?

Making matters worse by dwelling on every little thing for the rest of our lives? Harry!

Is that what you think I do? Is that how you see me?

You're a child, Harry.

That I just dwell on everything?

You're a 72-year-old infant.

There are real problems here that we haven't even begun to deal with.

Don't you think I know that? Jesus, what happened to you?

What happened to that fun girl, the one with the pith helmet? Where did she go?

You don't think I ask myself that every day?

You beat her out of me! There's no room here for her.

You think it's all fun and games, Harry.

So, I guess it's all my fault that you hang on to every little thing.

But the car doesn't drive by itself.

It's all my fault that you can't let go of anything.

Someone has to take the wheel.

It's all my fault that you turned into your goddamn mother?

Fuck you!


Katie... No.

Look, I still think that there is a chance...

Ben, you love who we were.

You couldn't possibly love what we've become.

I think I spotted us at dinner tonight.

We can't stay together just because we get a glimpse of us every once in a while.

It was less than 15 minutes ago.

All we proved that is if we're apart for weeks at a time, we might be able to get through a dinner.

That's not a marriage. Katie.

Ben...

It's over.


You're writing a book about your grandmother?

Yeah. She was an extraordinary woman.

Oh, I'm sure she was.

Did she fuck a president?

No.

No. Did she discover uranium?

No.

A cure for cancer? No.

Nothing like that? No.

Why would anybody want to read a book about her?

Because, Dave, she was four-foot-nine.

She immigrated from Europe when she was a little girl.

She worked in a sweatshop making buttonholes 14 hours a day, and yet somehow managed to raise five kids and stay married to the same man for 57 years.

I'm telling you, Dave, this is gonna be the greatest love story ever told.

Let me explain something to you. Not as your agent.

This is as a friend.

Come here. Come here.

All right. You see all these people out here, huh?

You see they're getting into buildings. They're driving in cars.

They're crossing the street there. They're walking around.

Every single one of these people is going to die someday. And they all know it.

Which is why they tend to regard the time that they have on this planet as precious.

Now, there are a lot of things that take up a lot of that time, even if they don't enjoy it. They have to go to work. They have to get dressed.

They have to wait in lines. They have to clean yards. They gotta get batteries.

They have to visit the eye doctors.

They're doing all these things.

Now, add that to the time they spend sleeping and eating, and washing up and voting, and buying gifts for people they don't even like, and you can see why they're so choosy about how they spend whatever leisure time they do have.

And you can understand why, unless she went down on somebody really interesting, why they're not gonna waste their valuable time reading a book about your fucking grandmother!

So if I'm reading you right, you don't like the idea.

It's not that.

You know, I find the Ariana much more fragrant than the Raphaela.

Ari... Oh. I'll keep that in mind.

How you doing? Fine.

I never got a chance to thank you for holding the camp bus.

Oh, please, please. Any time you need a bus held, I am your guy.

And I noticed Erin's teeth are looking good.

Thanks to you.

I just hope she's remembering to wear her night retainer.

Well, you know how kids are at camp.

Oh, please. The minute my Kevin gets off that bus, it's goodbye, bite plate.

Is that for you?

Oh, uh... Yes.

When Deirdre and I got divorced, I decided that I had to learn how to cook.

Ah. The Wok-y World of Thai Cooking.

I'm branching out.

You know, as a matter of fact, I'm taking a Thai cooking course this summer.

Really? I've always been interested in Asian cooking.

Really? Mmm-hmm.

Well, why don't you join me?

When I think about it, over the years, there were less and less moments in the course of the day when Ben and I actually made real eye contact.

You are not gonna believe...

Shh. What?

He's almost asleep.

Maybe it was the stuff of life.

"Who's going to take Erin to school?"

Come here.

"Whose turn is it to pick up Josh from his clarinet lesson?"

Go! Go! Yes!

But after a while there was a disturbing comfort in not really having to deal with each other.

Because somehow, you just get used to the disconnection.

And even at night, when we could finally come together, we wound up facing forward.

Yeah, we were tired, but I think we were afraid that if we faced each other, there'd be nothing there.

We're learning Mee Krob next week.

Mee Krob?

I'll let you know.

Okay.

Oh. Here.

I'll call you. Uh... You call me.

Okay.

When we drove to the camp for Parents' Weekend, I was scared to death of having to face the kids.

It was the kind of thing you would talk about with a best friend, but Katie had been my best friend, and now I didn't know what we were to each other, except Josh and Erin's parents.


What?

Nothing.

...is nothing?

This is not going to be easy.

Look, I swear to God, Ben, the kids do not need to be burdened with our problems.

They've still got half a summer left.

Yeah, like that was my plan, to burden the kids with our problems.

Jesus Christ, Katie, will you give me some fucking credit?

Mom! Dad!

Hey!

Hey!

Hi! Hi! Oh.

I missed you.

I missed you so much. I missed you both so much.

Dad?

Dad, pull yourself together.

Dad, get off of me!

You guys both look terrific. Show us your bunks.

Yeah, I wanna see your bunks, too.

Hey, did you guys get your favorite room at the lodge, the Acorn Cabin?

Yeah. Yeah, we did.

Yeah, we got the Acorn Cabin.

Good morning, Uncle Josh.

Gentlemen.


Children!

I'm pulling as hard as I can.

Pull! Ahh!

God, I hate lying to 'em.

Me, too. We're not even good at it.

Even if we were good at it, they'd still know.


What is that?

What's what?

The thing you just put in your mouth.

Oh. It's my bite plate.

Bite plate?

Yeah, it's my bite plate.

Why do you have a bite plate?

For my bite.

What's wrong with your bite?

It's askew.

Askew.

Yes, it's askew.

So this would be an attempt to "de-skew" it?

Yes. Huh.

You order room service?

No.

Erin. Erin?

Honey, what's the matter? Nothing. I'm okay.

Honey, are you okay?

Yeah, I'm okay. I'm fine.

I just couldn't sleep, so I snuck out after lights out.

I know I just really wanted to sleep with you guys.

It's okay, sweetheart. I'll call the camp and let them know you're here.

Okay.

Why is the bed made up on the couch?

Oh, honey, Daddy was just doing a little reading and I didn't want to wake Mommy up.


Sometimes you just can't climb out of the abyss.

I kept thinking of last summer, when Katie and I still hoped that if we could just put ourselves in some idyllic setting, that we could somehow get rid of all the tension, and jump-start our marriage and maybe rediscover why we fell in love in the first place.

So last year, after Parents' Weekend, we thought that, maybe, in a small trattoria in Venice, looking out at a beautiful sunset next to a bottle of Chianti, we just might find a set ofjumper cables.

How you doing? Two Italian ices, please.

Honey, you don't have to say "Italian." We're here. They know.

So, what're you saying? That if I'm in Belgium and I order a Belgian Waffle, I just say "waffle"?

Yes, just like if you were in Ireland and you wanted a bowl of Irish stew, you'd just say "stew."

Well, you know, if you're in China and you want some Chinese food, you just say, "Hey, bring on the food."

We couldn't help but overhear your delightful repartee.

We're the Kirbys from Cleveland. And you are?

The Mansons. From Spahn Ranch.

Ah! That...

That's a good one.

Look, sweetie, right there, the red cape.

Oh, I like that. Yeah.

Hey! It's you... People.

Yeah, the Kirbys from Cleveland.

Joanie and Eddie.

Sure, sure. How could we forget?

We haven't stopped talking about you.

Well, this is like fate. We have to get together, break bread.

Oh, definitely. Sounds great.

We're at the Hotel Pastafagiol.

Uh, why don't you call us? We're at the Europa Regina.

Great, great. Great, great. We'll call you.

Okay, great. Right on.

Wow. Look at this. This is beautiful.

Yes, please. This way.

Oh, thank you.

Canal-side seating. Very nice.

Oh, my God!

Meant to be.

Kismet, kismet!

You know, we went looking for your hotel, but we couldn't find it anywhere.

Yeah, it's pretty hard to find.

Well, all's well that ends well.

I tell ya, it was just like fate, the first time I met Joanie.

I was working at Prudential on the sixth floor, and Eddie was working at Allied Mutual on the fourth floor.

Hand to God. And every day in the cafeteria, which was on the third floor...

I would see Joanie in the salad bar line, JOANIE: Right. and she would smile at me. Not just a smile. I mean, a really big smile.

And then, one day I was at the salad bar at Beefsteak Charlie's, and I thought I saw her in that salad bar line.

But it wasn't me.

It wasn't Joanie!

Wow. What are the odds of another person in a salad bar line looking so much like Joanie, and yet not actually being Joanie?

What, like, a trillion to one, huh?

Could be higher than that, Eddie.

Well, anyway, when I realized it wasn't Joanie, I was so disappointed.

Oh! And then I began to think about how much I'd hoped that it was Joanie.

But, at this point in the story, you still hadn't met.

No.

And I couldn't get over how much I wanted this person to be Joanie.

And I think that was the defining moment, because I went back to my wife there at the table at Beefsteak Charlie's, and I realized that I felt more alive thinking about that stranger that I thought was Joanie, than I did sitting with this stranger who was my wife.

Well, we were both in marriages that we had completely outgrown.

Yeah, and you know, maybe I didn't want to admit it, but maybe I didn't like myself enough to be with someone who liked me.

Can you imagine anybody not liking Eddie Kirby?

Oh, I'm not so perfect.

Oh, beg to differ.

Anyway, that year, we both mustered up enough courage to leave our marriages.

So at this point you had met.

No.

Still hadn't met? No.

But you know, after you've had such a horrible marriage, you don't want to make the same mistakes twice.

So, I made an inner pact with myself.

I said, "Eddie Kirby, "you will never, ever let the anger build up to the point

"where you just don't like your partner."

I made the same pact.

And that became our credo.

"Never go to bed angry."

So now we talk everything through.

We won't let even the tiniest pea be under our mattress.

That's why we never eat in bed.

Me, too.

Who would've thought that the Kirbys, the happiest couple never to have met, would turn out to be the greatest aphrodisiac known to man?


If only there was a way to bottle that unfettered state of mind that comes with being on foreign soil.

To just hold on to it, even for a day, an evening, an hour.

Last year, when we got back from Italy, God knows we gave it a try.

Hey, look at this.

While we were away, we got a special message from his holiness, the Dalai Lama.

It's something about a softball team he's trying to get started.

Hey, wanna write a letter to the kids together, let them know we're back?

Sure.

"Dear Josh and Erin."

Oh, sure. You get the easy part.

"We're

"back."

"From

"Europe."

That's not a sentence. It's a preposition and a continent.

No, I crossed out your period and made a sentence.

See? "We're back from Europe." Your turn.

Thank you.

Exclamation point, comma, closed parenthesis.

"But I

"don't want to talk

"about grammar."

Colon.

"I want to make love

"to your mother."

No, you didn't write that.

Ben!

What? I do. I want to.

After we finish the letter.

No, no, no. Let's make love right now.

We make love now. Then we write the letter.

Come on. We only had a couple of sentences to go.

In Europe, you would've made love first.

What's that supposed to mean?

Nothing.

That I'm not spontaneous?

I'm not saying that.

No, but that's what you were implying.

I wasn't implying anything. That in Europe, I would've made love, but here...

No, no, look. I just don't want us to get to the point where we can't make love unless there's a concierge downstairs.

Just because I wanted to take three minutes to finish a letter to our children, who I haven't seen in... Whoa, whoa, whoa.

What is that supposed to mean? That I don't care about our children?

If you'd just let me finish the letter, I could be more spontaneous.

That's not spontaneous. That's called making an appointment.

I was in the mood for some unscheduled affection, but, ooh, I'm sorry, we're home, I forgot, everything's gotta be on a schedule.

You try raising children where everything's unscheduled, when everything is spontaneous!

You know what, Katie?

The kids need a little spontaneity, too!

I know that!

I am just sick and tired of always having to be the designated driver of this marriage.

Hey, nobody designated you as anything. It's a role you gave yourself!

Bullshit! You gave me that role!

Because God forbid Ben should ever remember to cancel the newspapers, or put washer fluid in his car, or participate in disciplining his children, instead of flirting on the phone with your goddamn girlfriend!

Jesus Christ. You're not gonna bring that up again, are ya?

You're damn straight I'm gonna bring it up again.

I haven't spoken to her in over six months!

Not for one second have you seen it through my eyes!

You know what, Katie, you know what?

We don't have a pea under our mattress.

You know what we have? A fuckin' watermelon!

And you never want to deal with it!

Oh, fuck it!

Jesus!

Welcome home.

Bye, Dad.

See ya, man. Way to hit the ball.

Thanks. All right.

I love you.

Bye, Mom. Bye, buddy.

I love you. Love you.

See you guys in a month. Good. Bye.

Okay.

Bye-bye.

Bye, you guys. Not too many marshmallows.

Bye, Daddy. Just a couple of weeks.

Watch your toes.

See ya.

Okay. Bye, kids.

Bye!

You think we should get one lawyer or two?

One.

Maybe we can at least make this part...

All I care about is that we make it as easy for the kids as possible.

Yeah.

And I'm sure you noticed that the bathroom still has the original tiling from the '20s.

Yeah, it's nice.

You know, since you're a writer, I know you would appreciate that the sister of Bette Davis' chauffeur once had Thanksgiving in the apartment next door.

Really? Mmm-hmm.

Are there any other kids in this building?

Oh, oodles.

Including, if I might add, the nephew of the actor who jumped third into the fourth lifeboat on Titanic.

Rent the film, you'll see, I'll introduce you.

You know, I am showing it to another family this afternoon, but if you're interested, I can hold it for you, give your wife a chance to have a little look-see...

I'm interested.

Who wouldn't be?

Look how the light from that window fills the room.

You know, when I showed this very apartment to the man who did the voice of Charlie the Tuna, he said, and I quote, "Wow." Unquote.

I think that says it all.

First, you put olive oil, garlic and tofu.

Sauté until garlic turn light brown.

Make sure that your wok have a strong heat underneath it.

Now take an egg and crack it to the hot oil.

Make sure all the ingredients are cooked thoroughly.

Oh! Are you okay?

Yeah, I'm... I'm fine.

Now we add some Pad Thai noodle.

I saw Deirdre up at Parents' Weekend, but I didn't see you.

Oh, I went up the weekend before.

Since the divorce, it's a lot easier for everyone if we come up at separate times.

But Kevin and I took a great hike up to that waterfall.

Did you and Ben take that hike?

Yeah.

Yeah, it was beautiful.

Yeah.

Spice it up with some chili pepper.

You know, spicy food make a better lover.

The hotter you eat, the hotter you get.

Well, the spicier the better for me. Whoo!

Rice vinegar.

Whoa!

Does Ben like Thai food?

Yeah. Yeah.

Have you and Ben ever been to Tommy Tang's?

Uh, Ben and I are... Uh... Separated.

Oh, gee, I had no idea.

We're... We're not really telling people.

Oh. I understand.

I'm so sorry. How long?

Uh, 72 hours, four weeks, five years, depending on when you start counting.

I'm really sorry. I know how hard it can be.

You know, this is gonna sound crazy, but, um, I always enjoyed Erin and Josh's appointments over the years because it gave me a chance to get to know you, but when you called me about your bite, I...

I felt myself looking forward to it because I knew we'd be alone.

And, um, just tell me if it's too soon, but I was wondering if maybe you want to have dinner sometime.

We are having dinner.

Well, I was thinking of something that didn't involve a teacher.

Now you have it. Pad Thai noodles.

You always hear people say, "They stayed together too long in a bad marriage."

Well, for the longest time, I never thought of my marriage as being bad.

I just thought love was something you were allowed to fall in and out of.

You know, peaks and valleys.

But after a while, the peaks get lower and further apart, and then one day you find yourself wondering, "Is this who I really am, "someone who has taken up permanent residence in the valley?

"Or is this just who I am with this person?"

And then you ask yourself, "Maybe there is another version of my life, of myself, "that's a happier one."

Bullshit.

"Yossel looked into Minnie's eyes and felt...

"Nothing.

"For two years they'd been apart.

"And now, as she stepped off the boat, "he realized he was looking into the eyes of a...

"Stranger.

"A girl he no longer knew."

"...unaffectionate daughter

"of a blind Lithuanian violin maker."

No, no, it's fear. It was all about fear.

Fear is what kept them together.

This whole time, Stan, I've been idealizing my grandparents' marriage, and let me tell you, this was not the love of the ages.

Two people who stayed together because they were terrified.

Fear of loneliness, fear of failure, fear of the unknown.

Sure, fear. That's the main motivator for everything.

That, and guilt, are the two emotions that keep a society humming.

What are you saying, you and Rachel stay together because you're afraid?

In a word, yes. And you're okay with that?

In three words, yes and no.

See, it's not that simple.

You're looking for clear-cut answers.

In reality, there is nothing clear-cut. Life is not clear-cut.

Life is gray.

For instance...

What do you see right here?

What are you asking me, Stan?

I'm asking you, what do you see?

I see your ass.

That's what you think you see. But in reality, there is no ass.

What the... What are you telling me?

There is no ass.

Just the fatty part at the top of each leg that just so happens to be butted up against each other.

Hence the word "butt."

See, essentially, what we're dealing with here is just a continuation of the leg.

Okay, all right, now you lost me.

Ben, it's all illusions.

There is no such thing as an ass, just like there's no such thing as the perfect marriage, the perfect job, the perfect child.

The whole notion of staying together and living happily ever after, all illusions.

So you're saying you don't believe in everlasting love.

You're seeing the ass again, and not the tops of the legs.

Love is just lust in disguise, and lust fades, so you damn well better be with someone who can stand you.

Well, Katie and I have moved way past being able to stand each other.

We've moved right into the hatred part.

I wouldn't worry about it. Hate fades.

Hate fades?

That's what you're telling me? That's your message?

That's what you're gonna send me out into the world with?

"Hate fades"? "Love is lust"? "There is no ass"?

What a disappointment you've turned out to be.

Just promise me one thing.

Please, please, just promise me that you will not say any of this to Rachel.

What, are you crazy? This conversation ends here.

When Stan called me from the car, I couldn't believe it.

I mean, I knew you guys were going through some rough times, but...

We didn't wanna say anything until we knew we weren't gonna get back together.

Oh, my God.

Wow.

Well, how are you doing?

I don't know.

I thought I'd be devastated.

Maybe it just hasn't hit me.

You're having an affair.

What are you... What are you talking about?

The only reason not to be devastated is if you're seeing someone else.

I am not seeing someone else.

Are you serious about this guy you're not seeing?

I don't know what it is. All I know is, he's nothing like Ben.

He's responsible. He plans ahead. He has a Swiss Army Knife.

He even wants to cook dinner for me.

He's a sandbag.

He's a what?

He's just a sandbag against the storm, holding off the inevitable devastation.

Rachel, are you okay?

Honey?

I'm sorry.

I know I'm supposed to be the one holding your hand, but I just feel terrible.

I mean, the thought of you guys not being together.

You're our best friends.

Fourth of Julys and Thanksgivings and Christmases.

You guys were our Fred and Ethel Mertz.

That's weird. We thought you guys were our Fred and Ethel Mertz.

Oh, really?

I never thought this was going to happen to me and Ben.

I thought we were going to be the ones to go the distance.

But I just couldn't seem to get him to put down that purple crayon.

But that's Ben.

That's who you fell in love with.

Katie, you are at 80 who you are at eight.

People don't change!

People change over time. You've got to expect that.

Ben, the only way a relationship works is if people grow and change together.

Ah, Mr. and Mrs. Kogen. Mr. Jordan.

Nice to have you tonight.

Is Mrs. Jordan not joining us this evening?

No, she's not.

Stan! I told you to make the reservation for three!

I forgot.

How could you forget something like that?

Why don't you say it a little louder?

The guy in the parking lot didn't hear you.

It wasn't that loud.

Right this way.

Enjoy your meal.

Did you see Sunday's seven-down?

No, I missed that one.

Five-letter word.

Wants. Requirements. Rhymes with "weeds."

Needs? Exactly.

It was a direct attack on me.

Oh, Ben, come on. You're being silly. It's just a clue in a crossword puzzle.

No. I know my wife.

She was specifically attacking me.

And for what?

Having needs.

Like having needs is some terrible thing.

Show me one person on this planet who doesn't have needs.

Ben, you should try this bread dipped in the olive oil. It's delicious.

Stan, give Ben the bread.

Why must you always yell?

Who was yelling? You were.

That was not a yell. That was a yell.

You just heard it as a yell. He hears everything as a yell.

Trust me. On anyone's yell-o-meter, that was a yell.

Ben, was that a yell? See, he didn't hear it as a yell.

His mother was a yeller. He's still hearing her.

How could I hear her? You drown her out.

No, no, no, but it's true.

For the last few years, every time Katie opened her mouth, all I could hear was her mother.

Dot.

Now listen, it couldn't have been easy for Katie to be raised by a woman as complicated as Dot.

Oh, please. She wasn't complicated.

She was an idiot who made everyone else's life complicated.

You wouldn't believe all the beautiful psychological heirlooms this snapping turtle handed down.

Everything's gotta be in a neat little box with a little blue bow on it.

Punctual. Ordered.

God forbid anything unexpected should happen, any perchances, happenstances, left turns, serendipities...

Nope! No way! Not allowed!

Out of bounds! Foul ball!

Fifteen-yard penalty!

Too much time being spontaneous!

Everything's gotta be connected. Gotta connect the dots.

Maybe that's why they call her Dot.

You notice that her name wasn't Gay or Joy or Fun!

Ben, maybe you should try a little of the bread.

You can't even fuck unless everything's just right!

Like a plane waiting for takeoff.

Windows shut? Check.

Doors locked? Check. Heat on? Check!

Have we covered every possible, single reason why everything is my fault?

Houston, we got a problem and her name is Dot!

Ben, Ben. Bread.

There are people like Katie and Dot, honey, who like to color inside the lines, and then there are people like you, who wander outside the lines.

That can be a very endearing quality.

That's why Katie fell in love with you.

It's just that once you have children...

I am not a third child. No one's saying you are.

Excuse me if my watch occasionally has no hands on it.

Ben, that's fine. It's just that somebody has to establish the routines, set the limit... What... What are you saying?

Are you saying it's all my fault?

No, no! No, no, no. It's nobody's fault.

No, no, no, no!

When people say, "It's nobody's fault," they don't mean "it's nobody's fault."

They mean, "It's your fault."

"Nobody's fault" things are hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, acts of God.

But when a marriage fails, ooh! It's gotta be somebody's fault.

And it's not mine!

Ben... And you take that fucking bread and you shove it up the tops of your legs!


Maybe I'm tired.

Maybe I'm dealing with 5,000 things all day long.

Maybe every little need you have doesn't always have to be met at the exact moment you need it to be met.

I am just sick and tired of always having to be the designated driver of this marriage.

Nobody designated you as anything. It's a role you gave yourself!

Not for one second have you seen it through my eyes!

You know what, Katie, you know what?

We don't have a pea under our mattress.

You know what we have? A fuckin' watermelon!

You okay?

Take me to Katie's.

Ben. What are you doing here?

I wanted to know what your high was today.

Ben, you should've called.

My high was about you.

Tonight I saw myself through your eyes.

Ben.

And I'm sorry.

Yo, Katie, I was thinking it might be a nice touch to add some roasted peanuts to the sesame...

I'm, uh...

At some point we should discuss how to tell the children.


Hey, how you doing? Come on in.

This is nice.

Oh, thanks.

Yeah, it's close to the park. The kids and I can walk.

You want something to drink?

I'll take water if you don't have anything else.

No, no, I... We have, uh, pretty much anything you want.

Uh... Beer, Gatorade, fruit juice, iced tea.

Iced tea is fine. Okay.

There you go.

You have a watch.

Yeah.

Come on in.

Sit down here.

Um...

I think we should, uh...

When we pick the kids up Thursday, we should just tell 'em that night.

Uh... We don't have to tell them right away.

Why?

What's gonna change between now and Thursday?

Well...

Katie, you're seeing someone else.

I'm not seeing him.

We're just talking.

Right.

Look, I'm not gonna put up with any more of this bullshit lying to the kids.

We'll just take them to Chow Fun's. It's their favorite restaurant.

We can tell them there.

Ben, we can't really talk at Chow Fun's.

Fine. Then we'll go to the house and we can tell them at dinner.

After dinner.

We'll all sit down and...

Oh, Jesus, how do we say this?

Well, we'll just tell them, uh, how much we love them, how amazing and beautiful they are, so they don't think for one minute that any of this is their fault.

That's the important thing.

Yeah.

We'll just say that...

Mommy and Daddy...

Or Mom and Dad.

What do you think? Mom and Dad?

Mommy and Daddy.

All right.

We'll say that Mommy and Daddy have grown apart.

I was just thinking about Erin.

She'll probably say something like, "Well, there must be something right about you guys

"for you to produce such beautiful and amazing kids."

She might say something like that, you know.

We'll just tell her that, uh...

They were born in love and that we'll always love them, but Mommy and Daddy don't love each other anymore.

Well, wouldn't it be better if we told them

we still love each other, but in a different way?

Fine.

We shouldn't say that?

I said it was fine.

Well, it was kind of a weird "fine."

Would you like me to jump up and down about how thrilled I am that we love each other in a different way?

Yeah, who is it?

Mr. Jordan, your couch is here.

Where have you guys been? Come on in.

Jeez, they were supposed to be here first thing this morning.

I'll, uh, pick you up at 5:00 on Thursday?

So, uh, is there anything else we need to talk about?

Like what?

Yeah, it's this one here.

Nothing.

Bye.


Jesus, what happened to you?

What happened to that fun girl, the one with the pith helmet? Where did she go?

You don't think I ask myself that every day?

I'm talking about a connection, a look, something that says that we're on the same side here.

Isn't this the moment where one of us is supposed to say, "This is ridiculous. We love each other.

"All couples go through this. Let's give it another try"?

It was supposed to rain today.

I'm glad it didn't.

Me, too.

Turn here. If you take Sepulveda...

What?

Nothing.

Do you, Katie, take Ben, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, until death do you part?

I do.

It's a boy.

It's a girl.

It's a bunny!

It's a home run!

It's chicken pops.

It's over.

I love you.

Damn you!

I love you.

Damn it.

I love you.

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.

I hate you!

Fuck me. Fuck me.

Fuck you!

I love you.

I'm pregnant.

My goldfish died.

My hamster died.

My father's dying.

I'm pregnant.


Maybe we should separate.


Mom! Dad!

Mom! Dad!

You ready? Yeah.

Yo! Hey, hey!

Hey! What's up, buddy? Good to see you. How you doing?

What's the matter, Mom?

She just missed you, that's all.

Oh, you've both just grown so big!

Yeah! Look at you guys. I hardly recognize you.

Hey, wait a minute.

Which one of you is Erin?

Check it out, Dad.

Whoa! I guess we know what your high is today.

Look at that. "Best all-around camper." Congratulations, buddy.

Look at that, Katie. I guess this calls for a celebration!

Come on, kids! Riverdance! Come on, come on.

I'm the best all-around riverdancer Come on, Katie. Kinda like a Little Latin Lupe Lu thing. Whoa!

Hey! Now, go with the big finish now!

Dad! Dad. Come on... What?

I have to see these kids next summer. Huh?

Come on, Dad, we're hungry.

Okay. All right.

Okay.

Let's go home.

I think we should go to Chow Fun's.

Chow Fun's?

I thought we both agreed that we really couldn't talk at Chow Fun's.

I know.

What are you saying?

I'm saying Chow Fun's.

Are you saying Chow Fun's because you can't face telling the kids?

Because if that's why you're saying Chow Fun's, don't say Chow Fun's.

No, that's not why I'm saying Chow Fun's.

I'm saying Chow Fun's because we are an "us."

There's a history here, and histories don't happen overnight.

You know, in Mesopotamia or ancient Troy or somewhere back there, there are cities built on top of other cities, but I don't want to build another city. I like this city.

I know where we keep the Bactine and what kind of mood you're in when you wake up by which eyebrow is higher, and you always know that I'm a little quiet in the morning and compensate accordingly.

That's a dance you perfect over time.

And it's hard. It's much harder than I thought it would be.

But there's more good than bad, and you don't just give up.

And it's not for the sake of the children.

But, oh, God, they're great kids, aren't they?

I mean, God, and we made them. I mean, think about that.

It's like, there were no people there and then there were people.

And then they grew, and...

I won't be able to say to some stranger, "Josh has your hands," or, "Remember how Erin threw up at the Lincoln Memorial?"

Then I'll try to relax.

Let's face it.

Anybody's gonna have traits that get on your nerves.

I mean, why shouldn't it be your annoying traits?

I'm no day at the beach, but I do have a good sense of direction, so at least I can find the beach.

Which is not a criticism of yours, it's just a...

A strength of mine.

God, you're a good friend, and good friends are hard to find.

Charlotte said that in Charlotte's Web, and I love the way you read that to Erin.

And you take on the voice of Wilbur the pig with such commitment, even when you're bone-tired.

That speaks volumes about character.

And ultimately, isn't that what it comes down to? What a person's made of?

Because that girl in the pith helmet is still in here.

I didn't even know she existed until I met you.

And I'm afraid if you leave, I may never see her again.

Even though I said at times you beat her out of me.

Isn't that the paradox? Haven't we hit the essential paradox?

Give and take, push and pull, yin and yang, the best of times, the worst of times.

I think Dickens said it best. The Jack Sprat of it.

"He could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean."

But that doesn't really apply here, does it?

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm saying Chow Fun's because...

I love you.

I love you, too.

Did you hear that, kids?

Your mom wants to go to Chow Fun's!

Isn't that great? Oh, I love Chow Fun's!

Dad, the egg rolls are good, but they're not that good.

No, no, the egg rolls are fantastic!

They're warm, crispy, greasy as all hell.

Everything you want in an egg roll.

Exactly.

Okay, High-Low. Erin, you first.

My high for the summer is that Austin Butler wrote me 111 times.

How did you come up with High-Low, anyway?

You know, I don't know. But I've got another game.

I'm thinking of seven words. What are they?

Do I get a hint? No.

A category? No.

So, they can be any seven words in the English language?

Yes. That's right.

Fair enough.

"MacArthur Park is melting in the dark."

No. No.

No? No.

"And they lived happily ever after."

That's six words, but you're very close.

"And they lived mostly happily ever after?"

I hope so.

I think so.

Think so?

I do.

I do...

Too.