Dinner with Friends (2001) - full transcript

This candid, often-funny drama explores the bittersweet side of friendship through the eyes of two best-friend married couples. Invited to dinner at the suburban home of husband-and-wife food critics Gabe and Karen, Beth reveals she's breaking up with her husband Tom after 12 years of marriage and two children. This unexpected revelation forces Gabe and Karen to reevaluate their seemingly perfect relationship, as well as their friendship with two people who seem to be refusing the life they all once worked so hard to preserve. The drama is set in present-day Connecticut and New York City, with flashbacks to Martha's Vineyard twelve-and-a-half years earlier.

Yes, I know.

There you go. What do you think?

I don't know. Which one do you like?

You know, I'm having a hard time choosing.

That's it.

Look at this.

What do you think? Pretty good, huh?

A touch more balsamic.

- Ow! Daddy!
- Danny! Leave your brother alone!

Daddy, Danny's bothering me!

Kids, wash up for dinner.



They're here!

Hi, guys!

- Boots off.
- Get your boots off.

Careful!

- Hi!
- Hi! Ciao! Mm!

- Welcome back!
- Hi! Thanks.

Where's Tom?

- Uh... had to go to DC.
- Tonight?

- Bummer.
- Yeah.

Oh, well, more food for us.

And this market that she took us to...

- Emilia took us shopping.
- Campo de' Fiori.

- This outdoor market.
- Fish, produce, you name it.

So aromatic, so colourful. And the faces!



I got some great shots.

This is someone who's been cooking
for 75 years. Can you imagine?

- Wow.
- Her relationship to food,

it's so primal, so sexy, really.

- It gave us a great angle for our piece.
- Regular or decaf?

Uh, better make it decaf.

The traffic to her place, harrowing, truly.

What are you complaining about?
I did the driving.

She did, she's amazing.

She drives like a New York cabbie. She does!

I couldn't drive, I was just too culture-shocked.
I was afraid I'd get us all killed.

Our bodies'd have to be shipped home
by the State Department.

You and Tom would become the boys'
guardians, raise them on processed food.

- Is that what was going through your head?
- Absolutely.

You are one morbid dude, my darling.

Yes, but I'm all yours.

So, did you ever get to Rome?

- What?
- This is Rome, Beth.

- Emilia lives just outside of Rome.
- I'm sorry, I thought this was Florence.

- We haven't gotten to Florence.
- Is this boring?

- No, not at all.
- It is. We'll shut up.

- Go on, I wanna hear about it.
- OK, well, let's get straight to lunch.

- So we get there in one piece.
- Yes, and she's preparing this lunch.

Oh, this feast!
Tell her about the pomodoro!

She had these plum tomatoes
that she picked straight out of her garden.

You wouldn't believe
how red these tomatoes were. Sweet...

- So soft.
- Ah! Buttery!

Then she just took 'em
and crushed them in her hands.

In her gnarled little hands.
It was a riot, this little old lady.

I mean, she was like really tiny,
She was like 4'10" or something.

- No, no, she wasn't.
- She had to be, honey.

- She was definitely under five feet.
- No, she wasn't under.

Think about it, she was like up to here on me.

- No, honey, she wasn't.
- She was. Don't you remember how she...

Anyway...?

- Oh, the pomodoro.
- Yes, the pomodoro was amazing.

- And simple.
- Dad!

- Amazing.
- Yes?

Put on a tape, we wanna watch a tape, please!

- You can do it, Danny.
- No, Dad, I can't. You do it!

- Yes, you can, Danny, you do it all the time.
- I can't do it!

- Will you just go do it?
- He can do it, he knows how to do it.

We wanna watch Willy Wonka, it isn't working!

- Make sure the TV is on channel three.
- What?

Please, Gabe. I hate it when you shout
back and forth like that.

- Just go up there and talk to them.
- OK, I'll go up.

I'll be right there.
Just don't talk about Florence without me.

So, um...

Is everything...?

- Was dinner...?
- No, no, dinner was great.

The lamb and risotto, everything was fabulous.

I overcooked the risotto, it was a little gummy.

Not at all, it was perfect.

We've been running off at the mouth all night.
I'm sorry.

No, no! You're excited.
I'm jealous. It sounds like a great trip.

It was. Next time, you and Tom
have got to come with us.

- Uh-huh.
- We would have a blast, don't you think?

- Oh, yeah.
- Just the four of us.

Leave the kids with Tom's sister.
They'll survive.

With Danny and Isaac, we came home,
and they were like, "Oh, hello. You again?"

Are you OK?

Yeah, I just think I have a migraine coming on,
that's all.

- Well, lay off the wine.
- I am, I have been.

I'll get you some Motrin.

Oh! I almost forgot.
We got you guys something.

Oh, really? How nice.

Karen, thank you so much.

They're placemats.

Yes.

From Siena, we spent the day there.

You should see, all four kids, all in a row,

watching Willy Wonka And The Chocolate
Factory for, like, the 97th time.

Beth!

- What's wrong?
- What happened?

What's the matter? Did I miss something?

- Tom's leaving me.
- What?

- He's leaving me.
- What are you talking about?

He doesn't love me any more.
He's leaving me, he left me, he's gone.

What happened?

He says he's in love with someone else.

- Who?
- Gabe!

What? I want to know if it's someone we know.

It's OK, I don't know, some stewardess.

A stewardess?
Tom is in love with a stewardess?

- That's so tacky.
- He's been travelling so much.

Nancy, her name is.

- How long has this been going on?
- A few months, apparently.

A few months? When did you find out?

Last week, while you were away.

He confessed.

We had a fight, about the dog.
He hates the dog.

If the dog chews on the rug,
naturally it's my fault, so...

He's told me he was miserable,
that he's always been miserable.

What?

He's been miserable for so long he doesn't
even remember what it was like to be happy.

Tom said that?

He said this isn't the life
he had in mind for himself.

If he were to stay married to me,
it would kill him, he would die young.

Jesus!

Did you know about this?
Did he say anything to you?

No! No, this is totally... I didn't have a clue.

- We all just went out to dinner together.
- I know.

Right before we left.
We went to that Indian place in Branford.

We loved their chicken tikka masala.

Yeah.

Oh, honey. This can't be happening!

How could he do this? I just don't understand.

Feel free to jump in, anytime.

Well, I... I'm listening.

Are you getting counselling or something?

- He doesn't want to.
- Oh, come on, 12 years, two kids.

- He doesn't want to?
- He wants a divorce.

- A divorce?
- Oh, that is ridiculous.

That's what he says.

He says he's tried for years to work it out.

How? How has he tried?

He's had it, he's spent,
he can't give it any more.

He says I've ruined his life.

- You know, he's crazy about you.
- Oh!

- I've seen it! You can't...
- Karen.

...fake something like that.

The things he said to me, this is not a man
who's crazy about me, believe me.

He's in love with this person. He is.

He says she's everything I'm not.

What is that supposed to mean?

He says she's completely devoted to him.

- Oh, God, such bullshit.
- Really.

The stuff pouring out of his mouth,
it's like bad greeting cards.

He says I gave him 75 per cent,
she gives him 120.

He said that? 120 per cent?

He's into percentages?

What's that extra 20 per cent
supposed to be for?

Karen.

Oh, what, you didn't go the extra 20 per cent?

Apparently not like she does.

Did you know he was so miserable?

No!

He says I ignored all the signs,

I didn't "hear" him.

If only he'd talked to me, really talked to me.

He was moody, yeah, distracted.

I thought it was work, or jet lag.

I'd find him staring off into space

and I'd ask him what he was thinking
and he'd always say, "Nothing. "

What?

He's definitely been going through something.

Like what?

Um...

I don't know that I want to go into it.

That's OK, honey, it's OK.

Gosh!

Huh!

Inappropriate stuff.

You know? Sexual stuff.

We went to the movies to see some kind
of stupid action thing he wanted to see,

nothing sexy, and Tom, like, puts my hand
in his crotch to, you know...

And I look at him like, "What? Are you crazy?"

And he's mortally offended!

Was this before or after the girlfriend?

- Must've been after.
- Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

Some kind of sexual-daring test
and I flunked it.

- One more nail in the old coffin.
- You got it.

You see, one lousy hand job,
you could've saved your marriage.

- Gabe!
- Sorry.

So, is this why he flew to Washington?

Dad, fix the tape!

God, the kids, have you told them?

Fix the tape! Come on, come upstairs!

Stop shouting, we hear you!

- When are you gonna tell them?
- I don't know.

- Dad, come on!
- What?

- Come upstairs, come fix it.
- Danny, you can fix it!

Come on!

- I showed you, remember?
- Gabe, must you?

- I'll go up.
- No, I'll go.

I can't do it, Dad, I want you to do it.

Stop shouting! I'm coming!

All those vacations we spent on the Vineyard.

You guys met there.

We... we had such great times there.

You remember the summer
you and Karen were both pregnant?

How can he just walk away?
I don't understand it, how can he just...?

I should get the kids, we should get going.

Do you see another one of these?

Beth...

I'm sorry.

You thought Tom never should've married me.

- What?
- It's OK, Gabe, I know. Tom told me.

- No, I never said that.
- It's OK.

I just wonder if you were right.

Beth.

Why don't we have dessert?

Oh, I don't know, it's late,
I should be getting home.

- Oh, don't, they're riveted.
- You... you don't have to go.

You're right. What am I running home to?

We'll have it in by the fire. Go, sit.

I'm sorry to lay this on you guys.

- Oh, hey...
- Don't be silly.

It's the last thing
you were expecting tonight, huh?

Oh, God, yes.

Ooh!

- Do you wanna do the honours?
- Sure.

That looks so good. What is it?

- Limone, mandorle, polenta.
- Mandorle?

- Almond.
- Hm.

Instead of white flour, you use polenta.

Mm. It's delicious.

Mm. I think it's great.

You don't think I could've beaten the eggs
a little longer?

Don't you think it could be a little fluffier?

- No, I think it's good.
- It's wonderful.

Too much vanilla.

- Possibly.
- Mm-hm.

I feel so much better now that I told you.

All night, I thought I was gonna burst.

- You're my best friends, you know?
- Of course we are.

- Of course.
- My best friends in the world.

Mm, this is so good.

- Bye-bye.
- Later, Uncle Gabe.

- Bye!
- Come on, Mom, it's raining.

- Bye! Bye, kids!
- Bye! Thanks, again.

Drive careful!

In you go. Get your feet off the seat. That's it.

Come on, sleepy boy.

Come on, Laurie.

Laurie, please.

Sarge, down boy. Shh! Sarge!

I'm too tired to brush my teeth.

I don't care, just go to bed.

You mean I don't have to?

No, darling, just go to bed.

Sleep tight.

What do you think of the Shiraz?

- Astringent.
- Mm-hm.

Mm-hm.

I think so too.

Can you imagine what it would be like?

You spend your entire adult life with someone,
and it turns out that person,

the one person that you completely entrusted
your fate to, is an impostor?

- Can you imagine?
- Now, wait a minute, honey.

- We don't know the whole story.
- What is there to know?

He was duplicitous, he cheated on her.

Well, yeah, but it can't be as simple as that,
Karen, you know that. It never is.

That snake!

Honey, you're talking about someone
who, up until two hours ago,

you thought was the salt of the earth.

I know, I was wrong. I can't believe
I could be so wrong about a person.

Have I ever been so wrong about someone?

God, what does this say about my judgment?

Oh, come on, Karen. He's the same person
you've known and loved for years.

No, no, he's not, he couldn't be.

I'm beginning to think
he never was that person.

- Oh, honey.
- He's very seductive, your friend.

He had us convinced he was true-blue.
He really did.

What a simpatico guy.
Decent, loving, hard-working, a good father.

He is all those things.
So, he made a transgression.

A transgression?
This is more than a transgression!

How could I ever look at him in the eye again?
I can't, after what he's done.

So, what do we do, we abandon him?
He is my oldest friend.

I don't expect you to do anything.
Do whatever you want.

I'm saying, I can't look at him any more.

Maybe he really is in trouble.

Maybe he is.

Now what kind of friends would we be

if we just went right ahead and punished him?

I have a feeling that Beth is doing a pretty
damn good job of punishing him herself.

She is the injured party.

What, so what does that mean?
She's the injured party.

So, what, we can only be friends with her?

I can't be friends with him any more.
You can be friends with whomever you like.

As far as I'm concerned, someone who
conducts their life like this is not to be trusted.

You are so strict.

I am not strict, I'm principled.
You can't fault me for being principled.

But doesn't forgiveness enter into it for you?

- Some things are not forgiveable.
- Or are you too principled?

- Oh, boy!
- That's too easy.

I'm sorry. Actions have consequences.

Remind me never to get on your bad side.

You do something like this,

I'm telling you right now, you're outta here.

- Really?
- You better believe it.

None of that sleeping-in-the-den shit.

If he's gonna decimate his family, he doesn't
deserve to sleep under the same roof.

Wow. You mean, if in a moment of weakness,

I sleep with a checkout girl or something,

and I'm foolish enough to confess to you
and beg for your forgiveness,

you're gonna tell me to go fuck myself?

That's right.

- You mean we still couldn't be friends?
- No way! Are you kidding?

We couldn't even be civil to one another?

At least I know where you stand.

As if you had any doubt.

Sergeant, be quiet!

Hey, hey! Shhh!

Sarge, Sarge, quiet!

OK, OK.

Shh! Shh!

Good boy. Quiet, Sarge.

God damn it, down, down.

Shh! Sarge, go to your place.

Sergeant, damn it, be quiet!

- Jesus!
- Sorry. I didn't mean to...

- Couldn't you at least knock?
- I'm sorry.

You can't just come and go
as you please any more now, Tom.

If you're gonna go, go. Otherwise,
I'm gonna have to change the locks.

I didn't come here to fight, all right?
I saw the light on, I just wanted to say hi.

Hi.

Why aren't you in DC?

My flight was cancelled,
they closed the airport.

Why didn't you get a room at the airport?

There were no rooms at the airport,
everything was booked.

- Everything?
- There was not a room to be had.

You should've seen what was going on there.
Everybody was pushing and shouting.

I just didn't have it in me
to stay and sleep on the floor.

Why didn't you call your friend,
the stewardess?

Travel agent.

- Whatever.
- I did.

And? Couldn't she help you?

With all her many connections?

I was 45 minutes from home.
All I could think about was coming home.

Don't worry, I'm sleeping in the den.

Who's worried? I washed your sheets.
I wasn't expecting you back.

Well, good night.

- Your boots are wet.
- Huh?

Oh. I'm sorry.

I looked in on the kids.

Sammy is snoring his head off in there.

- He's getting the cold.
- Oh, no.

His nose was runny all night.

I gave him some Tylenol
before we left Karen and Gabe's.

- Liquid or chewable?
- Liquid.

Wow.

And he let you?
He usually puts up such a fight.

Remember how he used to make himself gag?

Yeah, well, look, I'd really like to be alone
right now, if you don't mind.

Yeah, sure.

- So, how was dinner?
- Fabulous, you know.

These incredible recipes they picked up
in Italy. Pumpkin risotto, grilled lamb.

Mm. That does sound good.

You didn't bring any home by any chance,
did you?

No, I did not.

- So how are they?
- They're fine, you know, as always.

They went on and on about Italy.
Thank God their slides weren't back yet.

- What'd you tell them?
- About what?

About my not being there.

- I said you had to go to DC.
- And they accepted that?

Why shouldn't they?
You're always going somewhere.

So, what did they say?

- What did they say about what?
- About my not being there.

- They said they were sorry.
- Sorry about what?

Sorry about you not being there! Jesus!

Are you gonna cross-examine me now?

Look, I'm tired, I'm going to sleep.

I'm just trying to get an idea
of what you talked about.

I told you, Italy and stuff.

They talked about this famous old Italian cook
they're doing a piece on for the Times.

And?

And I don't know, we talked about
a lot of things. What do we ever talk about?

I don't know, what do we talk about?

Movies, kids, money, news.

I don't know. What we saw, what we read.

Karen's mom has cataracts,
she has to have surgery.

- Hm. That it?
- I don't know, Tom, I don't remember...

You mean to tell me the whole evening went by
without a word about us?

- You are so paranoid.
- Oh, really, am I?

Oh, Chr... I'm really not in the mood for this.

- You told them!
- What?

God, you told them, you did.

- Oh, God!
- I can tell!

I shouldn't have trusted you! We were gonna
get a sitter and tell them together.

So, why didn't you come tonight,
instead of running off to be with your girlfriend?

- Shit, where were the kids?
- What?

- When you told them.
- I don't know.

- Were they sitting there?
- No, of course not.

They were upstairs, I guess, watching a tape.

- What were they watching?
- What?

- What tape was it?
- Jesus, Tom, I don't know.

You don't know what tape
your own children were watching.

Oh, for God's sake, I don't know.

- Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.
- OK.

The kids are upstairs watching Willy Wonka...

- This is ridiculous.
... and you're where?

No, I want to get the whole picture.

They're upstairs and you're where,
the living room?

- At the table.
- Middle of dinner?

- Right before dessert.
- What was it?

- What?
- The dessert.

Some kind of lemon almond cake
made with polenta.

- Was it great?
- Yes.

OK, so, you're sitting there...

- Oh!
- Tell me.

We were sitting there, and...

I lost it.

- Everything just spilled out.
- What'd you spill?

- This is sick.
- I want to know what you spilled.

- If you're gonna be speaking for both of us.
- So what?

So what if they know? So they know!
They were bound to find out.

But you have the advantage now.

- What? I do not!
- They heard your side of the story first.

Of course they're gonna side with you.

- Nobody's taking sides.
- Don't be naive, you know how it is.

- You've prejudiced my case.
- I have not, I was very even-handed.

How can you say that?
You're sitting there, turning on the tears.

I was not turning on anything!
Fuck you. I stated the facts.

They were very sympathetic.

Of course they were. You won them over.

I did not, stop saying that!

I told them what happened, OK?

Everything?

Yes.

And what'd they say?

They were shocked.

- They were sad.
- They were?

They're our best friends, of course
they were shocked, they were terribly upset.

But sad for you, because I'm such a bastard.

Sad for everybody. They were sad for the kids.

Did you tell them how you killed
my self-confidence?

- Oh, Christ, Tom!
- Huh? Did you?

Did you tell them how I tried to get you
to listen to me for years,

- and you wouldn't?
- No more, please!

I cried out for help so many times.

- How? By fucking stewardesses?
- She's not a stewardess!

Were your cries detectable by human ears,
or could just the dogs hear them?

That's it, go ahead, cut me down,
castrate me all over again.

Ha! Castrate you?
You know, I hear you say this stuff, Tom,

and that someone that I could have been
married to for 12 years,

that I could have had children with would be
capable of spouting such banal bullshit!

Even now you're doing it,
even now you refuse to hear me.

I hear you, I hear you! Christ!

Tell me your girlfriend feeds you this crap.
I can't believe you came up with it on your own!

- Don't patronise me.
- Don't tell me about patronising.

- I don't need Nancy to tell me what I feel!
- You patronised me, from the very beginning!

You never took me seriously as an artist.
Never.

- Oh, for God's sake.
- You never really supported me.

I supported you our entire marriage!
How can you say I didn't support you?

You needed your own space,
I built you a studio up in the attic!

God knows what the hell
you do up there all day!

All I ever wanted from you was respect.
You know that?

- For me, for my art.
- Oh, your art, your art!

Oh, what's the use?
Get out of here, go, get out!

Hey, you know what it's like trying to support
something you don't believe in? It's exhausting!

- I don't wanna talk any more.
- All of the lying.

The lying to you, the lying to myself.

- Get away, get out!
- What was I supposed to tell you?

That I thought your art sucked?

- Bastard!
- Huh? Is that what I was supposed to say?

That I thought it was just an excuse
not to get a fucking job like everybody else...

- You are such a bastard!
... and really do something with your life?

- How dare you? How dare you?
- I couldn't do that.

Could I? When everything depended
on perpetuating this myth of talent!

You wanna fight? You wanna hit me?

You wanna hit me? Go ahead!

- Hit me! Hit me!
- Let go of me! Let go of me!

You prick!

Bitch!

- Ballbreaker!
- Liar!

Dilettante!

Look at me, look what you've done to me!

Look what you've done to me!

Right now I could kill you!

- I could fucking kill you!
- Try it, I dare you.

- Oh, yes!
- Oh, yes!

Yes!

You're driving me crazy, I can't take it!

The thing is,

you never know what couples are like
when they're alone.

You never do.

You know that. There's just no way of knowing.

Night.

- Why were you so quiet at dinner tonight?
- What do you mean?

When Beth was telling us, you were so silent.

I wasn't silent. I was shocked, I was stunned.

You let me do most of the talking.

That's not unusual.

Well, hey, no, I mean it.
You do do most of the talking.

- I do not.
- Yes, you do.

You generally have more to say
on any given subject than I do.

That's why we work so well together.
You talk, I write, you edit me.

- You're evading.
- No, I'm not. Evading what?

Don't get defensive. I just think
all this marital talk is too close to home.

- I think it's made you very uncomfortable.
- Made me uncomfortable?

- Yes.
- You have to admit,

it's not the most pleasant of subjects.

- Oh, don't play dumb with me, Gabe.
- What?

You're playing dumb.

No. I don't know what you're talking about.

Whenever I want you to talk to me
about something like this...

- Something important...
- Great, are you trying to pick a fight with me?

- Shh!
- What do you want me to say?

That this whole thing scares the shit out of me?

- Well, it does, OK?
- It does me too.

Who the hell is that?

Oh, shit. You're not gonna believe this.
I think it's Tom.

- You're kidding!
- It is Tom.

- He's supposed to be in Washington.
- Well, he just pulled into our driveway.

Tell him I went to bed.

- Karen, come on, you can't do that.
- He's not here to see me, anyway.

- He's here to see you. He's your friend.
- Karen, please.

Don't leave me alone with him.

God!

- Tom, hi.
- Hi.

I know this is crazy.
It's really late and everything...

It's OK, come in, come in.

I just had to see you guys.

I know... Uh... I know.

Here's another fine mess
I've gotten myself into.

I'll say.

It's OK, Karen.

You can hug me, I'm not contagious.

Thanks.

I thought Beth said you were in Washington.

Yeah, I never... I never got there. The weather.

No, it's a hell of a night to be out on the road.

Oh, God, I was slipping and sliding out there.

I wasn't gonna just drop in on you like this.

I was gonna call you on the way over,
but I forgot to recharge my phone.

- I'm sorry, Karen.
- Don't apologise to me.

So, you had dinner yet?

Uh, actually, no.
Just a crappy sandwich at the airport.

- Let me fix you a plate.
- No, you don't have to do that.

- It's no problem, really.
- It's so late and everything.

- Tom's right, it's really late.
- Don't worry about it.

A little light supper will be just fine.

Thank you.

Hey, you wouldn't happen to have any of that
lemon almond polenta cake left, would you?

- As a matter of fact, we do.
- Oh, great.

- She told you about that?
- Yeah, she said it was wonderful.

You talk about cake?

Yeah, why not? We talk about... Why?

- You two can bond, I'm going to bed.
- Karen, wait.

Listen, I know this is awkward...

- Not at all.
- It's a lot to digest all at once.

- You're mad at me, I can tell.
- I am not.

- Karen...
- This is what I wanted to avoid.

You've made up your mind.

- No, we haven't.
- I wanted us to tell you together.

I really don't feel like getting into this right now.

I didn't want another night to go by
without seeing you guys.

- Good night.
- Honey.

Karen, aren't you willing to hear me out?

I mean, really, don't you at least owe that
to me? Owe it to our friendship?

- You guys mean too much to me to just...
- He's right.

You've made your point. You drove all the way
over here in a storm to lobby for our support.

- That's very politic of you.
- I'm not lobbying for anything.

I just think you need to hear me out.
You can't just go by what Beth says.

It's pretty unambiguous, isn't it, Tom?

- No, it's not. I'm not the villain here.
- Huh!

And if you insist on seeing me as the villain
there's things I could tell you about Beth.

Oh, boy, there is just no end
to how low you will stoop, is there?

Put a little perspective on this. She tell you how
she wouldn't touch me any more?

- I don't wanna hear it!
- She say how she stopped touching me?

- I don't wanna hear it!
- You just want to be pissed at me, that's fine.

Any man who would do this to his family...

Do you think I would do something
like break up my family lightly?

Do you, Karen?

- Is that what you think of me?
- I don't know what I think of you.

All I know is, she better be worth it.

- Karen...
- I mean, it is so squalid, a stewardess!

- Is that what she told you?
- Come on, Tom.

- Can't you do better than that?
- Nancy is not a stewardess.

- She's a travel agent, OK?
- I don't care. The point is you fucked her!

- Karen...
- What are you so angry about?

- I think you had better go to bed.
- Maybe I'd better.

Good night, boys.

Oh! Oh, my, it's just great.

- Mm!
- Good?

- How'd you do it?
- Simple. You just marinate it overnight.

Lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary.

Just throw it on the grill, sear it.

- Fantastic.
- Thanks.

I wish you'd confided in me, Tommy.

I wish you'd told me what was going on
in your head.

What, then you'd try and reason with me?

Yes.

Maybe I didn't wanna be reasonable.

I've been reasonable my whole life.

I haven't gone crazy, Gabe, I've gone sane.

I feel better now
than I have in a long, long time.

What is it, Tom, is it just sex?

Just sex?

No, it's not just sex.

Of course, that's part of it.

You know, lately, ironically,
the sex has been great.

- What, you mean you and Beth?
- Mm-hm.

- You and Beth are still having sex?
- Yeah, why?

Well, I don't know, I must be really out of it.

I just... I always thought that really great sex
was the product of trust and love

and mutual respect, and...

You're kidding, right?

Don't underestimate rage.

- Rage can be an amazing aphrodisiac.
- Huh.

It's really polenta?

Yeah, uh, there's no white flour in it,
just polenta.

You mean that you and Beth
are still making love?

I wouldn't exactly call it making love.

Beth really wouldn't touch me any more.

What do you mean?

I mean, the way that somebody who loves you

might casually slip a hand through your arm

or onto your shoulder or something.

I did an experiment.

I decided I wasn't gonna touch her

and I'd see how long before she touched me.

I'm not talking about sex now, I'm talking
about holding hands, a good night kiss.

She wouldn't touch me, Gabe.

At all.

I gave it a week, I couldn't stand it.
I broke down and cried.

I mean, I don't know about you,
but I don't wanna go through my whole life

hoping I'm gonna get lucky with my own wife.

I mean, you go to bed
and you think there'll be sex

and then you say something
of absolutely no consequence whatsoever,

and it pisses her off and the mood is gone

and it's lights out and that's it.

I must've masturbated more
than any married man in history.

I doubt that.

Besides, who ever said that marriage
meant sex 24 hours on demand?

I'm not asking for it 24 hours a day,

I'm just asking for a little affection.

- Have there been other women?
- No!

- OK, sorry.
- No, Gabe.

There have been no other women.

Been opportunities, though.

I mean, when you're out of town
as much as I am, you're on the road,

lonely, far from home,

it doesn't seem like you're living in real time.

I'd be in some hotel bar

and strike up a conversation
with some female colleague,

or some divorcee with big hair,

and I'd make them laugh and they'd look pretty

and I'd feel competent again, you know?

And think, "Gee, maybe I am still clever
and attractive after all. "

There'd be that electricity in the air,

that kind of buzz that I hadn't felt since college.

Remember that? Where a single move,

any move at all and there'd be sex.

But I'd say good night,

go back to my room, call Beth.

Out of guilt, or hope, or both.

And get some shit about something

that I neglected to do or did badly.

By the time I met Nancy,

she made me feel good from the first time
I talked to her on the phone.

I hadn't even laid eyes on her yet.
She booked all my travel.

Uh-huh.

She had this great laugh
and this flirty sense of humour,

and she says, "We've been talking
on the phone for weeks,

"I wanna meet you already. " You know?

I started to think, why the hell not?
What am I saving myself for?

This hyper-critical woman
waiting for me back home?

Who looks at me
with withering disappointment all the time,

this accusatory,
"how can you be so thoughtless?" look.

So, on the one hand, there's this delightful
woman who makes me feel worthwhile

and this other woman
who makes me feel like shit.

Who would you choose?

- So, what happens now, Tommy?
- What do you mean, what happens now?

What are you gonna do?
Are you gonna go to someone?

- Go to someone?
- Yeah.

Like a counsellor or a therapist or something?

- What would be the point?
- The point?

Tom, we're talking about your family.

But the marriage is over.
What have I been telling you?

- How do you know that it's over?
- Because I know.

Because as far as I'm concerned it is over,
it has been for me for a long time.

Yeah, that's the way you feel right now,
in the heat of the moment.

But don't you want to be absolutely sure
that you're making the right decision?

I am making the right decision.
Are you questioning my decision?

- No, I just mean, if I were you, I would...
- You're not me.

OK, Tom, what I'm trying to say is,
if I were you,

I would want to be certain that there was
absolutely no hope whatsoever.

- Oh, man!
- How can you walk away, Tommy?

How can you just throw up your hands
and walk away?

- Christ, Gabe.
- I don't get it.

12 years, don't you think you owe that
to your kids?

I stuck it out this long for my kids!

It doesn't do anybody any good any more.
It doesn't make any sense.

What if this is just a transient thing
or a midlife crisis or something?

Don't you want to know if it's something that'll
pass before you do something irrevocable?

This is not what I wanted from you, all right?

- If you were really my friend...
- Of course I'm your friend, asshole.

What do you mean?

If you were really my friend, you'd just listen.

Just listen? What, you...
You mean, I'm not supposed to say a word?

I don't want your advice.

I don't wanna know what you think.

I just want you to hear me.
Is that asking too much?

Jesus, Tom, you drop this bomb on us,
we're gonna have opinions.

Well, I don't wanna hear 'em, OK?

I've made up my mind.

I just need you to hear me out.

OK, go ahead...

talk.

Never mind.

No, talk, I... I'm all ears.

My lips are sealed.

Hey, Tommy, don't leave.

I...

I hope you never know
what loneliness is really like.

I hope you never do.

Come on, stay, I'll let you talk,

I will, I'll keep my mouth shut.

Thanks for dinner.

Uh... wait a minute, Tommy...

I'll see ya.

- Daddy?
- Isaac, what are you doing up?

- I heard yelling.
- Oh.

Well, let me take you back up.

- I thought I heard Tom.
- Well, yeah, you did.

- He sounded mad.
- Mm.

Are we gonna see him again?

Oh, sure we are. Of course we are.

- Dad?
- Yeah, sweetie?

- Can we go skating tomorrow?
- Well, we'll see.

We'll see what the weather's like tomorrow.

- OK, almost nine pounds.
- Perfect.

Hey, do I understand
congratulations are in order?

- Thanks.
- When'd you do it?

Uh, five and a half weeks ago. Almost six.

- But who's counting, right?
- Right.

Eight oughta do it.

Great. Give my best to your folks.

I will, thanks.

When life is too much

Roll with it, baby

Don't stop and lose your touch

Oh, no, baby

- Hard times are knocking on your door...
- Hi.

I'll tell them you ain't there no more

Get on through it

Roll with it, baby

Luck will come and then slip away

You've gotta move, bring it back to stay...

You and me, roll with it, baby

Hang on and just roll with it, baby, hey!

- Hi!
- Honey, I'm home.

Ha, ha, ha.

Oh, nice!

Here, take this one.

- Tom here yet?
- Nope, no sign of him.

- What about your friend Beth?
- She's not back from the beach.

- You think we've got enough to drink?
- We're gonna need every last drop.

No!

Stop it! Stop!

Stop!

Come on!

Did you get a load of those relaxation tapes
your friend Beth listens to?

- She listens to them constantly.
- Gabe!

What's she so tense about, anyway?

Well, she's a little high-strung.

High-strung? Oh, great.

Hey, I know, let's introduce her to Tom.

Tom'll bring her down to earth.

Beth's fun. And, besides,
I do think Tom could be good for her,

he's essentially a good guy waiting to happen.

- He just needs to find the right woman.
- Uh-huh?

And Beth is the right woman?

I don't know, maybe. What's wrong with Beth?

Did you get a good look at her sketchbook?
Whoa!

Well, there's no harm in introducing them.
What's the worst that could happen?

- What are you doing?
- Oh, nothing.

No, come on, honey, what are you doing?

Can't I kiss my bride?

Go ahead and kiss your bride,

but can you tell me why is it
you always get amorous

whenever people are about to arrive
any minute?

- No, I don't.
- Yes, you do.

- What is that about?
- Forget it.

- OK, now you're sulking.
- I'm not sulking.

Come on, honey, I'm mincing garlic
and you're feeling amorous.

Tell me, what am I supposed to do about that?

You could try putting down the knife.

Uh-oh.

- What?
- Do you know what time it is?

- What?
- It's time for me to scare you.

- Oh, no, Gabe, please, don't.
- No, I have to, it's time.

- Come on.
- Sorry, honey.

- A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
- No, please.

Sorry, sweetie. Honey, that's just the way it is.

- No, Gabe.
- Yeah. I'm sorry, it could happen any second.

- Please... please...
- Any minute, any second...

- Oh!
- Oh, God!

Works every time.

...:::Lord Sadler:::...
lordsadler2012@gmail.com

Oh!

Gabe, Gabe!

Shit, Tom!

- Hi!
- Tom...

Carry on.
Don't mind me, it was just getting good.

- How long have you been standing there?
- Ten, 15 minutes.

- Jerk!
- Nice to see you too.

- How was the ferry?
- It was good, beautiful.

The ride from Vineyard Haven
gets longer every year.

- You just get older every year.
- We could've picked you up.

No, I wanted to take my bike.

- Beer? Wine?
- Yes.

- Which?
- Uh, beer.

- So, how are things in the city?
- Good, good, sticky.

You guys look pretty good. You look like
you've been on your honeymoon or something.

Ah, it's funny how that happens.

So, where's this woman
you're setting me up with?

It's not a setup. Did you say it was a setup?
Don't call it that.

That sounds so cheap and scheming.

We just thought you two would like each other.

I have no problem with cheap and scheming.

It's not like it's a blind date.
You already met her.

- At our wedding.
- Yeah, you said. I don't remember.

Remember, at the end, the woman
dancing all by herself on the dance floor

doing all that weird kabuki shit?

You're kidding! Her?

That's not fair. It was a wedding,
she had a buzz on, she was feeling expansive.

So, that's the woman in question. No,
I didn't meet her, but I did observe her, yes.

Actually, I think Beth has been
under observation.

You know, this is not funny.

Beth is really...
She's a uniquely gifted person.

- Mm-hm. That much seemed clear.
- Stop it!

I'm only joking!

- Beth is great, you're going to love her.
- Yeah. Great.

- And this is not a setup.
- OK. Is she here yet?

She drove up with us on Thursday night.

- She's probably at the beach, painting.
- Oh, she paints?

Mm. She's very good.

- Well...
- I like her stuff.

- What does she do?
- She does this, um...

I don't know what you'd call it.
Uh, expressionistic, uh, neo-psychotic.

- Gabe!
- What?

- Why are you doing this?
- What does it matter what I think?

Tom can decide for himself
if he thinks she's any good.

You're being incredibly negative
and I wish you would cut it out.

He asked me what I thought.
What difference does it make? Jesus!

Gee, it's really nice of you guys
to be setting your friends up.

I guess you just want us to be
as happy as you both are.

That is so sweet.

- What's for dinner?
- Bluefish, corn, salad, nothing special.

Oh! That sounds great.

- What?
- You've gotten sun.

- Yeah, I know.
- It looks nice.

Thanks. My hair always lightens
in the summer.

What are you doing?

Hi!
Hi.

- Hi! Where'd you go?
- Oh, it was glorious.

The light, on the ocean.
I walked all the way down to the beach.

- Boy, that was some walk.
- I love this place, I am in love.

Is this your first trip to the Vineyard?

- I walked past those spectacular clay cliffs.
- Mmm!

- The light!
- I know.

- I'm telling you, the cliffs glow!
- They do, don't they?

They're this brilliant terracotta.

And these people, these beautiful
men and women, were cavorting in the clay.

- Oh, yeah.
- And the light on their bodies.

Were they naked?

Some of them.

Oh, I'm sorry, Beth, this is Tom.

Hi. Uh, hi. Hi.

- I remember you, I do remember him.
- You...

- No, wait, I think we actually...
- At the wedding.

I talked a lot to the woman you were with.
She was a public defender.

Oh. Not any more. She's still a public defender,
I'm just not with her any more.

- Oh, that's too bad.
- Not necessarily.

- She seemed great.
- Yeah.

As I recall, I talked to her
a lot more than you did.

If you paid her more attention...

Moving right along here,
can I get you something to drink?

- I would love something to drink.
- Uh, beer, wine, red, white?

Mmmm...

- Rum and tonic?
- Rum and tonic, that sounds great.

Got it.

- So, is this your first trip to the Vineyard?
- Yeah, it is.

And now I see what makes people
so fanatical about this place.

This amazing mix of sand and cliffs
and rolling hills.

- Mm.
- It's magical. Like Scotland or something.

- You've been to Scotland?
- No.

Me neither. I've been coming here...
How long have I been coming here, Gabe?

First time was the summer
between the freshman and sophomore years.

- That makes it, what, 12 years?
- Wow, you've known each other forever.

- First day of freshmen orientation.
- Was it the first day?

First hour.
We met in line at breakfast, remember?

- We made gross comments about the food.
- Right!

Even then you cracked wise
about food.

Only now I get paid for it.

So I guess I'm supposed to say
I've heard so much about you.

- Uh, have you?
- Mm, enough. What do you do?

I'm just another 31-year-old lawyer,

burnt out, but hanging in there
for want of anything better to do.

- What about you?
- Beth's an artist.

- Karen...
- A damn good artist.

No, I'm...

- Uh, how do you know Karen?
- Doubleday.

- Right.
- In-house promo.

- She wrote the copy, I designed it.
- What a team.

- You still there?
- No, I got out, I'm freelancing now.

I'm at Warner. Mass-market paperbacks,

direct mail to booksellers, that sort of thing.

Do me a favour, if I'm still doing this
in five years, shoot me.

OK, if you insist.

So, give me something to do. What can I do?

- Mince a shallot.
- What's a shallot?

- Beth's really a terrific artist.
- I wish you would stop saying that.

What kind of stuff do you do?
Is it like, expressionistic,

or neo-psychotic...

- or...
- Excuse me?

What style do you call it? I mean, what is it?

- I hate labels.
- Oh.

- Sorry.
- Do you know art?

- Not really.
- Then why ask for labels?

Why not just take it at face value?

- Can I see?
- No!

OK, OK.

Sharing one's art comes with trust.

It's a gift.

I never show my art on the first date.

Is this a date?
I thought you guys said this wasn't a date.

Hey, shucking time!

So, does it feel different being married?

It feels calmer than before. Don't you think?

Yeah, that's true. The social pressure
that comes with being single has gone.

We're married. We're a married couple.

It's strangely comforting.

There's no way out now,
you've gone and done it.

Might as well relax and enjoy yourself.

That sounds so wonderful. When you're single,
you expend so much energy.

You're always looking, you're always
feeling scrutinised. It's exhausting.

I wouldn't mind getting married
one of these days, having kids, the whole bit.

- So, do it.
- I mean, this single stuff's getting awfully tired.

I look at you guys and I think, why not?

- What am I so scared of anyway?
- I don't know, what are you?

- Shit!
- What?

- Nothing.
- Band-Aids?

Bathroom.

Oh, I'm sorry.

I just sharpened those knives,
I should've warned you.

- It's all right, it's not your fault.
- Here, leave it.

- It's nothing. God!
- Where's the patient?

- Over here, Doctor.
- Would everybody please...?

I'm all right, really, it's just a stupid cut.

This is gonna hurt you a lot more
than it's gonna hurt me.

Thank you.

- Go.
- Oh! Look at that sky!

- Oh, I'm so embarrassed.
- Don't be.

- I feel like such an idiot.
- Why?

I was just trying to be a good little house guest
and it's like I end up in the emergency room.

Don't worry about it.

Gabe and Karen's job is to make
the rest of the world feel incompetent.

It's their job.

So, I do remember you from their wedding too.

- You do?
- Yeah.

- What do you remember?
- You dancing, right towards the end.

Oh, God, I can't believe you saw me.

Yeah, I saw you, of course I saw you.
I was watching you.

You looked beautiful, I mean, your dancing.
It was quite a sight.

You, uh... wanna go out there?

Yeah. Let me freshen that up for you.

Thanks.

Wow!

- Isn't that something?
- Tom, you've gotta see this!

I will!

So, what do you think?

She's nice.

She's intense.

- Better yet, what does she think of me?
- I don't know, I think she likes you.

- Yeah?
- Mm-hm.

Then I like her.

You are so deep.

- Guys, get out here!
- Tom, you're gonna miss the sunset!

Go, destiny calls.

Oh, wow!

Isn't that incredible?

Yeah, it is.

It really is.

Hi, if you have a message
for Beth, Laurie, or Sam,

you may leave it after the beep.

If you have a message for Tom,
you can try him at 202...

Pretty good spread...

When you promise your little girl
you're gonna call at eight o'clock,

- and eight o'clock comes and goes...
- Oh, no.

- And nine, and ten...
- That's terrible!

She's devastated, sobbing.

He's off cavorting with his girlfriend,

and Laurie's leaving these heartbreaking
messages for him.

- "Daddy, where are you, Daddy?"
- Oh, God!

- He just doesn't get it.
- Did he finally call?

- Yeah, at one o'clock in the morning.
- No!

- "Tell Laurie I'm really sorry. "
- What a schmuck!

If you want to say sorry,
call her when she's awake and tell her yourself.

Unbelievable. Was he always like this?

Or is this what happens to people
when they break up? Do they get stupid?

- I know.
- This whole thing with you and Tom,

it's like men get by for years
without really talking to you,

and when they do,
it's to tell you that they're leaving.

You and Gabe talk.

Yeah.

- You look wonderful, you really do.
- Thank you.

We were worried about you.

- Really?
- You disappeared on us.

- I thought you were getting sick of me.
- No.

I was getting sick of me.

- Gabe!
- Oh, there you are.

Sorry I'm late. This meeting...

Oh, that's OK.

- Good to see you.
- You too.

- God, it's been weeks!
- Months.

- Uh, beer?
- Mineral water, please.

- Karen still pissed at me?
- Um...

You can say that.

Boy, she really holds a grudge, doesn't she?

Yeah, I have to admit this was sort of a biggie.

- So, when'd you get into town?
- Uh, this morning. Nancy came with me.

- Oh, yeah?
- Yeah. Oh, she loves New York.

Thought we'd hang out, see a few shows.

So, you're going up to see the kids?

Not this weekend, I got them next week.

I'm not gonna mess with that, believe me.
God forbid there's any change of plans.

- It's like Nuremberg.
- You look great.

- I feel great. I'm running again.
- Oh, yeah?

- Yeah. Nancy and I, we get up at six.
- Six?

- Run four or five miles.
- How do you do that?

Come home, make love in the shower,
then I'm off to work.

It's totally changed my perspective
on my whole day.

Must be those invigorating showers.

- Gentlemen, your table is ready.
- Put this on my check.

Right this way, please.

So, did I tell you? I'm seeing someone.

Why, you little devil. What's his name?

- David.
- Aha.

- How'd you meet him?
- Actually, I met him years ago,

- ten years ago or something.
- Uh-huh?

He and Tom used to work together.

- Uh-oh. Another lawyer.
- Yeah, right.

- Oh, well, you can't have everything.
- Yeah.

Anyway, um, he just happened to call, for Tom.

- Yeah?
- And his marriage was also falling apart.

Mm-hm.

- So, we met for a drink.
- Mm...

And I've been seeing him ever since.

Well, I think it's great
you're getting your feet wet. To hell with Tom.

Actually, it's, um...

it's a bit more serious than wet feet.

I'm sorry. Isn't this silly?
This is like high school.

- How long has this been going on?
- A few months.

- A few months?
- Mm. He's teaching me how to rollerblade.

- Oh, God!
- I'm getting pretty good at it too.

We play hooky some afternoons and he takes
me out to, you know, along the canal.

Do you wear kneepads
and a helmet and everything?

- Yes!
- You could really hurt yourself on those things.

It's fun, you should try it.
We'll give you and Gabe a lesson.

Yeah, I could just see Gabe.

He's so full of life, David,
so open and optimistic.

He's a playmate, a wonderful playmate.

Boy, that was fast, Tom's barely out the door.

- Karen...
- Didn't you want to be alone for a while?

You haven't been alone in a dozen years.

I was always alone.
I spent my marriage alone.

Yeah, but to get involved
with someone right away.

I'm in love with him.

How could you be in love with him?

- I am.
- But you've only just started seeing him.

Well, I knew him years ago, I said.
There was already a kind of, uh, shorthand.

Well, you know, I can understand
this being exciting, I can understand that.

- But love?
- Why is it so hard to believe?

I fell in love with Tom
that first weekend at the Vineyard.

Yeah, look where that got you.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

It's just that I think you need to be careful.

- Karen...
- You're very vulnerable right now.

I'm gonna marry him.

David is not Tom. He's not.

They're very different men.

There's no hidden agenda with him.

What you see is what you get, you know?

He talks to me.

He tells me what he's thinking.

He lets me in.

I know what I'm doing, Karen.

This is the man I was meant to be with.

And I had to survive Tom
so I could end up with David. It was my fate.

That may be, but, still, I wish you would give it
some more time.

And let this moment pass?
I don't want to let this moment pass.

Look, why do I even bother?

Here is my chance for a real marriage,

a real partnership.

But you don't want me to have that, do you?

What an outrageous thing to say.
Of course I do!

I'm finally feeling whole, finally feeling like I'm
on the right track for the first time in my life.

And what do you do? You undermine me.

I am not undermining you,
I'm only thinking of what is best for you.

- Oh, I see.
- Try being alone for a while.

- That'd do.
- What's so great about being alone?

- I would get to know myself better.
- That's easy for you to say.

You have Gabe, you have this life.

You know what I think?

I think you love it when I'm a mess.

- That's not true.
- Oh, come on. You need me to be a mess.

You're invested in it.
Every Karen needs a Beth.

That really isn't fair.

I was the mess, the ditz, the comic relief.

You got to be Miss Perfect.

Everything just... right.

I had no idea you felt this way.

We can't all be like you, Karen.

God knows, I've tried.

And no matter how much I stir,

my soup still sticks to the pot.

We loved nothing more than having you
in our home and cooking you meals.

We loved it too.

- You're my family.
- I know.

I spent my first 20 years

doing whatever the hell I could
to get away from my family,

and my second 20 years
doing everything I could

to cobble together a family of my own.

And I thought, if I could choose my family,

if I could make my friends my family...

Congratulations.

The family you've chosen
is just as fucked up and fallible

as the one you were born into.

How are the boys?

And you and Gabe?

We're good, we're fine.

Thank you.

The things she's got me doing, Gabe.

Uh-huh.

Lucky you.

Nancy's got more imagination,
more daring, more wisdom.

It just proves how age is totally irrelevant.

I'm a boy toy at 43.

Uh-huh.

We'll be strolling along and she'll just put
her hand on my ass or something like that.

You know? Without even thinking about it.

You know with Beth, sex was always up to me.

It was never about her wanting me,
it was never about desire,

it was all about obligation.

And then once the kids came...

- Uh-huh.
- You know how that is.

Yeah, uh-huh.

Nancy just has to stroke my fingers
and I get hard,

or look at me, or laugh a certain way.

You guys ever, uh, talk?

Oh!

God, yes. We talk... Are you kidding?
We talk all the time.

Nancy hears me, she really hears me.

She saved my life, Gabe. She really did.

She breathed life back into me.

Good, that's great.

I'm glad.

What?

- What are you thinking?
- What do you mean?

- Come on, I know you, I know that look.
- I'm just listening.

You don't want me to say anything, right?

- Oh, Christ, Gabe!
- Isn't that what you said?

I said that to you when I was still very raw.

Oh, and now you're not so raw?

Well, then, what are the rules, then, huh?

You've gotta fill me in here, pal.
I gotta know what the rules are

- so that I don't step out of bounds.
- Gabe...

OK, you wanna know what I'm thinking?

Mm.

I'm thinking that I hear you talking, Tom,

I hear these words coming out of your mouth,

and you sound like a fucking Moonie, Tom,
you really do.

I'm trying to tell you that I was dying!

You don't understand that, do you?
I was losing the will to live.

Isn't that dying?

The life that I was leading had no relation
to who I was or what I wanted.

It was deadening.

The constant logistics of
"You take Sam to lollipop tennis,

"I'll take Laurie to hockey practice".

- I know...
- No, no, no, really.

This would pass as conversation in our house.

That dog finished me off. That dog, Sarge.

It wasn't enough that we had two cats
and fish and a guinea pig. No.

Beth felt the kids had to have a dog
because she had a dog.

I'd spent my entire adult life
cleaning up one form of shit or another.

Now I was on to dog shit.

I should've gone into waste management.

How do you keep love alive
when you're shovelling shit all day long?

We all make sacrifices to our kids.
That's the price we pay for having a family.

You have to really want that.

What do you mean?

You and Karen, you really wanted it.
That's what I realised, I never really did.

What are you talking about?

Settling down, having kids.

It was just another thing that I did
because it was expected of me,

not because I had any real passion for it.

Like the law, it was a foregone conclusion
since the age of ten

that I would be a lawyer like my father.

I always felt, just... I don't know,
inauthentic living this life.

You mean that you've felt like a party boy
trapped in the body of a family man?

Is that it? Tom...

I could swear that I actually saw you
on a number of occasions

- enjoying yourself over the past decade or so.
- Yes, OK.

But, honestly, most of the time,
I was just being a good sport.

- A good sport?
- You know what I mean.

Wait a minute, wait.
You mean you were faking it?

You mean to tell me that all those years,
all those years, Tom,

the four of us together,
raising our kids together,

all those dinners, the vacations,
the hours of videotape,

that you were just being a good sport?

- No.
- Well, then, what? What? I... I... I don't...

You've gotta stop taking this so personally.

Well, how would you take it, then?
You say you were wasting your whole life.

- That's what you said.
- I don't mean you and Karen.

I don't mean you, I would never mean you.

I... You're my best friend,
I gotta be able to say this stuff to you.

- I'm talking about my marriage.
- It's not that simple, Tom.

We were all there.

Karen and Danny and Isaac and I,
we were all there.

We were all a big part of this terrible life
that you had to get the hell away from.

Isaac, he's totally freaked out by this,
by the way.

So when you repudiate your entire adult life...

- That's not what I've done.
- That's essentially what you've done.

And I can understand
how you might find it necessary to do that

and it must be strangely exhilarating
blowing everything to bits.

- Gabe...
- Look, I mean it.

I... You build something that's precarious
even in the best of circumstances

and you succeed at it,

or you make it look like you've succeeded,

your friends all think you have,
I mean, you had us all fooled,

and then one day, you just blow it all to bits.

It's like, I watch Danny and Isaac sometimes.

They dump all their toys on the floor,

all their Legos and blocks and train tracks,

and they build these elaborate cities.

They spend hours at it,

and they'll plan and collaborate
and squabble and negotiate,

but they'll do it.

And then what do they do? They wreck it!

No pause to revel in what they've
accomplished, no sigh of satisfaction,

they just launch into a full-throttle attack,
bombs bursting,

and just tear the whole damn thing apart.

Look, I just want you to be my friend.

That's all. I just want you to be happy for me.

- Happy for you?
- Happy I turned my life around.

- Yeah, sure, Tom, I'm happy for you.
- You can be so fucking smug sometimes.

- What?
- Come on, Gabe.

- I've heard you complain.
- Well, sure, I complain.

That's what married friends do.
We joke about our sex lives

and we bellyache about our wife and kids,

but that doesn't mean
that we're about to leave them.

Marriages all go through a kind of base-line
wretchedness from time to time,

but we do what we can
to ride those patches out.

Oh, I see, like my parents did?

Like your parents did?

They rode it out for 50 years!

Is that what you'd want me to do? Is it?

I mean, don't you ever just want to chuck it all
and start over again?

Don't you, Gabe? Come on, just admit it.

- Sure, of course I do.
- OK!

But the feeling passes.

The key to civilisation, I think,

is fighting the impulse to just chuck it all.

Where would we be
with everybody's ids running rampant?

Look, all I'm saying is, don't do what I did, OK?

Don't shut your eyes.
I was so steeped in denial and resignation.

I know the signs, believe me.

Why are you doing this? Huh?

I'm your friend.
I'd hate for you to wake up at 50...

You don't get it.

I cling to Karen, I cling to her.

- Imagining a life without her doesn't excite me.
- OK, OK.

It all goes by so fast, Tom.

The hair goes, and the waist,
and the stamina.

The capacity to stay up late
and read or watch a movie,

never mind sex.

You wanna hear a shocker?

Karen is pre-menopausal.

That's right, my sweetheart, my lover,

that sweet girl I lolled around with
on endless Sundays is getting hot flashes.

It just doesn't seem possible.

We spend our youths unconscious,

feeling immortal.

Then we marry and we have kids
and we awaken with a shock to mortality.

Theirs, ours, that's all we see.

Then we worry about them,
their safety, our own,

Air bags, plane crashes, pederasts.

And we spend our middle years
wanting back that dreamy, carefree part,

the part that we fucked and pissed away.

Now we want that back,

cos now we realise how fleeting it all is.

Now we know, and it just doesn't seem fair
that so much of it is gone

when there's really so little left.

So, some of us, we try to regain
unconsciousness

and some of us blow up our homes and...

some of us take up piano.

Well, I'm taking up piano.

- Hey, hey, hey.
- We had a vow, you know.

Not a marriage, but something like it.

Yeah?

We were supposed to get old and fat together,

the four of us,
watch each other's kids grow up,

- cry together at their weddings.
- It's not like I'm dead, you know.

I guess I mean, I thought that...
we were in this together.

You know? For life.

Look, I'll still be there.

But it won't be with Beth.

- So, how is Beth?
- Fine, I guess.

We haven't seen that much of her. Karen's
supposed to have lunch with her today.

- You meet David yet?
- David?

- You know, the guy she's been seeing.
- Oh, yeah. Uh, no.

He's actually a really nice guy.
I don't hold anything against him.

You've gotta hand it to him,
hanging in there all these years,

finally getting what he wanted.

- What do you mean?
- I mean he really fell for Beth, you know?

He's really in love with her.
I'm sure she told you all about it.

- Yeah. Oh, yeah.
- That's what's so weird about this whole thing.

We could've broken up back then,
when they had their thing, but we stuck it out.

Ten years, two kids later,

they're back together.

Hey. I'm meeting Nancy up at the office.
We're going shopping.

She loves to take me shopping. She hates
my ties, got me this one for Christmas.

- It's nice.
- Why don't you come with us?

- Uh, no.
- I'm dying for you to meet her.

- Not today.
- Come on.

- No, really. I got so much stuff I gotta do.
- You sure?

- Yeah.
- We'll go to dinner, the four of us.

Hey, I got the kids next weekend...

Actually, we're away next weekend.

Oh.

Yeah, uh, my sister's up in New Hampshire
and we promised that...

- Uh-huh.
- Yeah.

Well, some other time, then.

Yeah. Taxi!

- You sure you don't wanna just say hello?
- No. Honestly, I've got to meet our agent

- and then I've gotta get to LaGuardia.
- Where you going?

- Up to the Vineyard.
- You're kidding.

- We're opening the house this week.
- Wow, I'm jealous.

- Just a second.
- Wish I was going with you.

Yeah, well...

Bye, Tom.

Say hi to Karen if you think
she'd be glad to hear from me.

- And send my love to the boys.
- All right, goodbye.

Oh, hey!

And tell Isaac everything's gonna be OK.

Goodbye.

LaGuardia.

Are you sure that's what he meant?

"When they had their thing," that's what
he said. What else could that mean?

Are you sure he wasn't just trying
to discredit her?

No, no, it wasn't like that.
There was nothing malicious about it.

He assumed I already knew,
that, uh, she'd told us herself.

- Ten years ago?
- That's what he said.

- That was right after they got married.
- That's right.

Those were such happy times. We saw them
practically every weekend back then.

When would she have time to have an affair?

I don't know. During the week?

Are you helping, or what?

- Sorry.
- That's all right.

# Ta-da #

I thought it seemed a little too convenient,

her white knight surfacing all of a sudden.

Why didn't she tell me?

Who would she have confided in if not me?

People don't usually go around
discussing their affairs, do they?

Otherwise they wouldn't be affairs.

- She could've told me this afternoon.
- How could she?

She's spent all these months portraying herself
as the wronged woman.

Her credibility would've been shot to hell.

What does this say about our friendship?

What were all those years about?

Kids!

I'm gonna say good night to my men.

"Boys are very strange,

"very strange with those funny
little lobster rings.

"Then to Paul's dismay,
the albatross began to trot and flap... "

- Come to bed, Gabe.
- OK.

"... his own huge wings
in preparation for takeoff.

"Paul ran along beside him.

"'Don't go,' he said. 'Teach me how to fly. '"

Uh, uh...
"But the albatross was already airborne. "

So, what did you say when he let it slip?

- Nothing.
- Nothing?

God, Gabe, there you go, playing dumb again.

- Why, what would you have done?
- I would've said, "Wait a minute.

"Back up. What thing ten years ago?"

You know what it was?
I just didn't have it in me.

- What do you mean?
- Well...

I sat there today,
listening to him go on about his new life

and about all this great sex,
and how wonderful everything is,

and, I don't know, I just...
began to feel so...

- saddened.
- Really, sweetie?

Yeah. I kind of like...
felt so detached from him.

- Really?
- Yeah. I could...

I could feel myself pulling back.

I could see him getting
smaller and smaller, and...

Ah, I don't know. I... I realised that...

I don't even like him any more.

I don't.

Too much was said.

I learned too much, I said too much.

- That's kinda how I felt today with Beth.
- Yeah?

Like a whole chunk of our history
had been erased and there's no present tense.

She is so resentful of me, I had no idea.

I don't know how we could ever get back
to where we were.

Am I judgmental? Am I intolerant?

Am I supposed to answer that?

So, how'd you leave it with him?

Oh, it was the obligatory
"We have to get together. "

He wants us to meet whatshername...

Nancy.

Oh, God, I couldn't handle it.

Don't worry, it'll never happen.

You really don't think so?

Remind me in the morning,

I promised the boys steamers
for dinner tomorrow night.

He looks good.

- So does she. She's looking pretty again.
- Ah.

Must be all that incredible sex.

- Apparently.
- Hm.

- I had a dream the other night.
- Yeah?

We were here, making love,

and it was so simple and effortless,
the way it used to be.

- It still is.
- Sometimes.

- What is that supposed to mean?
- Nothing, Gabe. You're missing my point.

I'm sorry. Well, go on.

No, really. I... I wanna hear about your dream.

We were here, in the dark,

and it was delicious, and then I realised,

I sensed in the dream that we weren't alone.

What do you mean?

There were other people in bed with us.

- Uh-oh! Our parents?
- No! No, not our parents.

It was another couple, though,
and they were sitting up in bed,

alongside us, watching us, analysing us,

whispering in this ongoing commentary,
bickering with each other.

- Well, that's easy, it's Tom and Beth.
- No, not Tom and Beth.

No?

They were us.

What do you mean?

Both couples were us.

Two versions of us, young and middle-aged,

in the same bed at the same time.

- Is that all you have to say?
- What?

- Any thoughts? Anything?
- Well, uh...

No, I...

I really don't know what else to say.

- Great, fine!
- No!

- No, Karen, honey...
- Good night.

Honey, honey.

Come on, Karen.

How come the minute we start
talking about us, you can't speak?

- Huh, Gabe?
- I don't know.

We can sit here and go on and on
about everyone we know

and all the problems of the world,
and the minute I...

You know, for a guy who's pretty damn
articulate about a number of things,

I tell you, I confide in you
this revealing dream I had about us

and you have nothing to say.

- Sure I do.
- What? Speak!

It's...

about what happens to couples.

What?

The inevitable evolution.

- Inevitable?
- Yes, I think it is.

- And what is it?
- What?

- The evolution, define it.
- You want me to...

Yes, talk to me, Gabe.
God damn it, you have got to talk to me!

OK, OK.

I think it's what happens

when practical matters begin to outweigh...

...abandon.

Abandon?

- Uh-huh.
- Is that it?

Do they have to?

I think so.

I think so. Yeah.

Why?

Well, you know, it...

Having kids,

having to pay the mortgage,

making the deadline,
marinating the snapper, it's...

Don't you ever miss me, Gabe?

What?

Don't you ever miss me?

Oh, God, yes, yes.

Honey, sure I miss you. I... I... I miss you a lot.

How do we not get lost?

Uh-oh.

What?

- Do you know what time it is?
- What?

- It's that time again.
- Oh, no.

- I'm afraid so.
- No, Gabe, not tonight, really.

- It's time for me to scare you.
- No, please don't scare me.

- Sorry, kitten. That's just the way it is.
- Please. Please, don't.

- I'm sorry, it can happen at any time now.
- Gabe.

- Any second.
- No.

- Mm-hm.
- No, please.

Sorry, kid, but a man's gotta do
what a man's gotta do.

Boo.

...:::Lord Sadler:::...
lordsadler2012@gmail.com

# I'm in the mood

# For love

# Simply because you're near me

# Funny

# But when you're near me... #

# I'm in the mood for love

# Heaven is in your eyes

# Bright as the stars we're under

# Hey, is it any wonder

# I'm in the mood for love?

# Why stop to think of whether

# This little dream might fade?

# We've put our hearts together

# Now we are one

# And I'm not afraid

# So if there's a cloud above

# If...

# It should rain

# Well, let it

# But for tonight

# Forget it

# I'm so in the mood for love

# But just for tonight

# Forget it

# I'm in the mood

# For love

# I'm in the mood

# For love #