A win and a loss

Names and some minor details changed to protect privacy. Grant and Sarah had been on the rocks for quite some time. The problem was that only Grant knew this. Several weeks ago, he’d laid out the entire relationship in a line graph on a napkin at Mac and Joe’s. His friends wondered how he and Sarah were doing, since some of them held the two as the pinnacle of what a relationship could be. “Here’s where the relationship started,” Grant said, placing his pen near the top left of the graph. “Then it curved up like this for a while. But then it dropped, climbed back up, but it never got back to that initial high.” This peak-and-valley pattern repeated, and the final graph descended like stairs across the length of the napkin. Grant then complemented his drawing with tales of a summer of phone calls and visits that had worn him down and stressed him out. To Grant’s friends, Sarah always seemed like one of those people who is “always right.” Grant confirmed this, and his face bore a history of argument after argument about nothing. “So I was planning on breaking up with her after I got back from Ethics Bowl Nationals in a few weeks. But, she bought a plane ticket and a hotel room for Nationals.” Grant’s friends sat back with their eyes ready to...

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