October 26, 2013
Party of Five 3.14, Life’s Too Short: “I Liked Who I Was Then”
Summary: Bailey and Sarah are still together, somehow, and she’s surprised to hear that he plans to keep living with Callie. At the restaurant, Claudia and Grace laugh over Charlie’s high school yearbooks; he’s about to go to his ten-year reunion. He complains that he won’t have anything good in his life to brag about. At school, Julia and Justin run into the long-unseen Libby, congratulating her on getting into Harvard. After they leave her, Justin mocks her for spending so much time studying after they broke up. He’s also jealous that she already knows what she’s doing with her life.
Charlie hangs out with a couple friends who are immature even for guys Charlie would hang out with. They remember that he was voted least likely to marry and most likely to have kids. Sarah finds one of Callie’s hairs in Bailey’s bed and decides to leave. When Callie comes home, she decides to stay so Bailey and Callie can’t do anything with each other. Charlie and his friends sneak into the high school to play basketball and be dorks. Charlie enjoys remembering the thrill of being a star basketball player. Julia’s at the coffeehouse with Sam when Justin pulls her aside to deliver some bad news: Libby committed suicide.
At school the next day, Justin feels horrible for the mean things he said about Libby the other day. He tells Julia that she called him over Christmas break but he didn’t call back. Julia admits the same thing. Bailey and Sarah discuss Libby on a date that night, but he cuts things short to go home and write a paper. Sarah asks him to stay, claiming that she wants to keep talking about Libby, and not that she’s trying to keep him from being alone with Callie. She manages to be offended when he thinks differently.
Charlie doesn’t seem to enjoy himself at his reunion, where he learns that even the class dork has a family. He reconnects with an old girlfriend, Lori, and tells her that she was the first girl he ever confessed his love to. She remarks that in high school, everything felt like life or death, but looking back now, everything seemed easy. Bailey’s birthday present to Sarah is a fake ID so they can spend more time together (and, you know, drink). She’s upset that he didn’t spend more time thinking up something romantic to write in the card, like she always does for him. He thinks the week he took getting the fake ID should count for something.
Justin’s very shaken by Libby’s death and wonders if she already had a plan in place when she talked to them in the hallway. He keeps imagining himself and Julia finding out and rushing to stop her. Julia tells him that they couldn’t have known, so they can’t blame themselves. He just wants an explanation for why a 17-year-old girl with her whole life ahead of her would want to end it. Charlie and Grace meet up for coffee, and he confides that a friend offered him a job in insurance. The job isn’t that appealing, but he likes the idea of spending time with his friends again and reclaiming the glory of his high school days. “I liked who I was then,” he says.
Julia visits Libby’s mother, who expresses the same feelings Justin did about not knowing that Libby was feelings suicidal. Julia tells her that Libby kept a journal, but Mrs. Dwyer can’t bring herself to read it, so she gives it to Julia. Julia takes it with her, reading about Libby’s desperation to get into Harvard. Sarah and Bailey have a grumpy night out with Sarah’s fake ID. She doesn’t make things any better when she dances with another guy. Julia reads Justin Libby’s diary entry from the day she got her acceptance letter from Harvard. She was under a ton of pressure and had very low self-esteem.
Bailey and Sarah fight over her choice of dancing partners; he thinks she was trying to make him feel the way she felt after he slept with Callie. She admits that part of her wants revenge. Bailey’s upset because he keeps trying to make things up to her but can never do enough. Sarah notes that it’s only been three weeks. “I want to know how long I have until we’re even,” she says. He asks her what she wants, and she says she wants to be in love with someone else, but she can’t.
Charlie’s friends are still hanging around, having fun, but not once one of them taunts the other for thinking he’s so great when he sells shoes for a living. This turns into a fight over showboating in a high school basketball game. Then one of them reveals that the other slept with Lori while she was dating Charlie. Suddenly Charlie isn’t that sorry anymore that he and his friends don’t see each other much.
He goes to see Lori and casually mentions how she cheated on him. Apparently she slept with the friend first, and then when she slept with Charlie, she pretended she was a virgin. He notes that they all thought high school was such a great time in their lives, but now they know it wasn’t. He’ll have to stop wishing he was a teenager again. Julia and Justin go to Libby’s funeral, and he asks her to never die. Bailey sits with Sarah and tries to comfort her.
One of Libby’s friends tells the mourners that Libby would want them to keep going and not let their lives stop because hers did. Julia counters that Libby would want them to stop for a minute and make sure they really enjoy what they’re doing. You can’t focus your entire life around one goal, like Libby did. She followed all the road signs to her destination, but when she arrived, all the bad things in her life were still bad. Julia says that she’s sorry Libby was so unhappy, and she’ll miss her. Bailey goes home to Callie, who thinks he’s done enough apologizing to Sarah. He disagrees and plans to wait her out.
At the restaurant, Charlie hangs out with Owen instead of his friends, thinking about a future where the brothers run the place together. Out on a date, Sarah asks Bailey to name the strongest person he knows, character-wise. He picks Claudia, who’s been through tons of difficult stuff but still stands up for herself and isn’t a pushover. Sarah’s all, “Are you calling me a pushover?” She no longer likes who she is with Bailey – she’s lost her self-respect. It’s time for them to break up. Bailey objects, since they’ve gone too much together to just give up. She says that sometimes you have to walk away. They need to want to be happier than they are. Libby’s death has shown Sarah that life is too short not to want things to be better. Elsewhere, Julia mails her college applications.
Thoughts: Sarah, you can get back together with Bailey or you can refuse to forgive him, but not both.
Absolutely no one at that reunion is 28. Not one person.
I usually don’t like floppy hair on guys, but it kind of works on Justin.
Scary – Sarah and I have the same philosophy. If you’re not happy, do something about it.