We're just wasting time!
And now you think I'm stupid.
You know I don't think that, Marissa.
You don't say it, but I know you're thinking it.
Well, of course I'm thinking it right now, this whole thing is stupid!
See what?! It is! Who cares if I wanna leave early?
Even you barely know her, and you're getting mad at me?
Yeah, because you think I'm annoying you.
Oh my god. This isn't even about us. This is about your co-worker's lame potluck that you feel obligated to go to, because she has no friends. If we go, that counts! We don't have to stay the whole four hours.
But it is about us. It's about you not understanding what's important to me.
Eating homemade potato salad and playing the scrabble tournament is important to you?
This is stupid.
That's what I just said! You're...stupid.
You know what, I'm willing to let that one go. Can you just tell me if we can leave early or not, please?
Josh, you tell me.
Look. I'm sorry I brought it up. Can you just decide? And I'll do whatever.
No, Josh, not this time. I'm not gonna tell you what to do, because you're just gonna use it against me later, saying, "I always do what you say." No more.
Hey, this one wasn't my fault. There's no reason for this.
You're right. There's no reason for this.
It wasn't always like this. I can't really remember when it wasn't, but I know for sure we weren't always like this. She used to be...my unicorn. You know...unbelievable, crazy special, the girl I thought could never exist. But, as time went on, from one stage of a relationship to the next, the path that started off so innocent and fun...has taken us to...that. But, like most, we started off as strangers at Stage one: Meeting. Thanks to shoelace actually.
Excuse me. Excuse me. Your shoelaces are untied.
No problem! I don't want you...
I couldn't have planned it better even if I tried. But thanks goodness the city hasn't fixed the park trail in five years.
I didn't tell her that it was my first time running in about nine months. And somehow, we ended up going for almost five miles that day. It's so pathetic to see how guys would do...just about anything, for the right girl. But it paid off, because I got her number.
We really hit it off that day. I think so at least. I blacked out for a few minutes. But when I woke up, I remembered the feeling like I've made a pretty good impression. From that point on, we were at Stage two: The Chase. Some say it's the best part.
All I wanted was to know more about her.
All I wanted to do was hang out with her.
The only person I wanted to talk to was her.
She was the number one priority.
What the hell, man?
And every time I saw her, butterflies.
She was everything that I thought could be perfect in a girl. And as soon as it felt right... Would you be my girlfriend? Yeah.
With this simple word, we began our relationship, taking us into Stage three: The Honeymoon.
Everyone calls it this, and for good reason. It was the time when we could finally, fully express our affection to each other, and do all the things we wanted to do as a couple. It was a dream come true. The girl I wanted to be with so...so badly, was finally mine. But eventually the fire cooled, and both of us simmered down back to normalcy. By the end of it all, we had a bajillion pictures with each other, knew every detail of our daily lives. And like any normal healthy couple, we entered Stage four: Comfortable.
What do you want to do tonight?
I don't know. Whatever.
Now, being comfortable isn't necessarily bad. It's when we could truly be ourselves. But it depends on what you do with that comfort. Some use it positively continuing to work at their relationship and grow together, but...others allow it to create distance. And for Marissa and I, it made us take each other for granted.
Hey! What're you doing? It's Tuesday. Why aren't you dressed?
Oh yeah! I totally forgot. Can we skip it? I don't feel like going.
This whole thing was your idea.
I know. I just kinda have other things to do. Um, next week, yeah?
You're not gonna get that?
I'll call her back after this level. Hey, watch out!
Whether it's taking each other for granted, or people changing over time, the bottom line is...someone stops trying, and feelings aren't as strong as before. This could happen over a few months, or a few years. For us, it was about one and half years when we hit Stage five: Tolerance.
When Marissa and I got to this stage I couldn't believe it, and I was really disappointed. Somehow, the girl I was so crazy about a year ago, had turned into someone who just...wasn't that special anymore. It happened so gradually that I didn't even see it coming, but there we were, just tolerating each other.
Oh gosh, don't you even ask me about my day!
I swear my co-workers are trying get me to quit. Where do you wanna eat tonight?
Wherever you wanna go.
Can you just decide? I asked you.
And I'm being flexible! You pick!
Jeez, you're like a five-year-old. Someone else has to tell you what to do.
Normally I'd let that go, but I'm having a bad day too, so...
What did you just say?
Arguing is one thing, but feeling dissatisfied and unhappy with the relationship is another. We tried various times, to try and make changes, to fix things... But like so many couples out there, it wasn't enough. We became one of those relationships, where it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. And let me tell you, that's never a good way to describe a relationship.
Well, I guess I'm gonna sleep now.
Good night. Night.
It wasn't long before we were in Stage six: Downhill. There's not much time left once you're here. The effort to try to make things work, just...isn't worth it anymore.
Problems continue. Arguments don't get solved. I don't even really remember what we argued about.
I can't talk to you right now. You're...
Why won't you just...?
I can't believe that...
Well, how could you say...
What did we argue about?
Marissa and I, sad to say, are nearing the end of this stage. What's next is what happens to everyone at some point, the end of line, the worst stage ever: Breaking up.
I don't know when it will happen or how, but I hope we can leave it on good mutual terms if that's ever truly possible.
I think it's for the best.
And it is when the two of us will start a new path, one that leads right back to where we started: strangers. The change will be so drastic and so blunt that I will probably wanna get back together right away, just to restore what's normal.
I miss you.
Are you drunk?
But this doesn't always happen, and the distance will grow. Eventually, the two of us will move on, or find someone new.
Oh my gosh. Don...Don...Don... Don, Don! Who is that? Who...who's she with? Tell me who that is.
And even when we both get over the past and try to remain friends, things will never be the same.
Hey, it is you!
Hi, nice to see you!
Yeah, you too. You...still run around here?
Well, when I visit home, yeah.
Yeah, I moved up to San Francisco a couple of months ago. But I'm just here to show my boyfriend the park. Oh, cool!
Oh, he's right here.
Josh, this is Alex. Alex, Josh. Hi!
Nice to meet you, man.
Well, ugh...we should catch up sometime. I'll talk to you later, okay? Sure. Bye!
Our lives will continue on in different directions, toward the inevitable end: becoming strangers again. And everything we shared will just become fragments of memories from so long ago. I'll question if it even really happened. And all that'll be left is this: a box of random stuff...from a faded period of time when...this stranger was the most important person in my life. What a shame.
This is to remind you of how hard you "fell" for me when we first met. Josh, I'm so glad we have each other in our lives. I know that no matter what, we'll always make it through, and...and we'll always have a tomorrow together. Happy Anniversary!
Holy crap! What the hell are you doing?
Sorry, sorry, uh... I mean...I mean, I'm sorry, Marissa. It's just... it's just a potluck. I don't know why I was being so difficult.
No, no, it's not whatever. It's important to us. Not, not me, not the potluck. Just...this is important to us, to me. Let's not do that anymore. I'm sorry, please?
Yeah, we're okay?
I'm sorry, I'm...I'm being dumb. I'm so sorry. We're gonna be okay, yeah?
It's alright, babe.
Five months earlier. Somewhere near the end of Stage 4.
Do you realize there's only two options for our future together? It's either...we break up, or...we get married.
Never really thought of that.
You think we'll get married?
Jeez, that's a loaded question.
Why? You wanna get married to me?
I don't know right now.
Do you wanna break up with me?
Of course not.
Well, it's gonna be one or the other.
What do you think will happen if we don't...end up together?
Are we gonna hate each other? Do you think we'll keep in touch?
I think...that if life separates us, and we end up in totally different places, I'll always remember when our path aligned for this period of time, and I'll be thankful for that. And I hope that wherever you are, you'll be thankful, too. I think that's the best we can wish for.