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Author Topic: "When You Know, You know."  (Read 264 times)

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Bryan Williams

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"When You Know, You know."
« on: November 18, 2017, 12:53:27 PM »
November 18th, 2017
Los Angeles, California

There are times when it’s tougher.

To think back, and remember everything that had happened. That year was a blur by now, a better man could have easily put it in the past. All the events, the pain that they carry with them, they stuck around. Long after too, after everything was packed up and shipped out. After the house was a shell of itself, the memories stuck around.

For Bryan, there had been plenty of mistakes in his life. None greater than his divorce, almost a year removed at this point. When you’re blind-sided like that, it takes time to recover. All of the jabs, the constant reminders of his failure, they sting like barbs. Painful reminders of what wasn’t anymore. Professional failures were easy to control, easy to curate. Those losses could be adapted, fixed with time and proper training. Hell, just getting back into the ring was enough to change the notion of a poor performance. You go out there and show everyone that it was a fluke.

You don’t get those chances in your personal life.

You keep the tattered memories and the ghosts that they leave behind. It’s the only part of the whole thing that sticks with you, a constant reminder.

Bryan had thought that the flashbacks were the worst bit, the months after waking up in a cold sweat. The nervousness, the whole body just shutting back down because of a thought. A trigger that would remind him of that night. His own fault, bleeding out, coming back to her. That’s where everything went wrong.

Maybe it was just a coping mechanism, a way to deal with the fact that she had left him. Traumatic experiences brought them together, blanketing the fact that there was really nothing there. A cover-up for something hollow, they were just both too scared to see it.

No, Bryan’s actions were his own. With time that memory would wash away, only being relegated to a bad dream. A couple of drinks would put it away for another day. The marriage, though, would stick around. He could remember that day like any other, finding those papers left for him. A house that was so alive just a day before, suddenly felt so cold and empty. Those papers were like a knife stuck between his ribs.

Again, left to bleed out.

Thanksgiving in 2016 would be something Bryan would like to forget. It was well documented on how rough it went for him. Divorce papers, followed by a brawl that resulted in a three-day incarceration. All things considered, not the best luck for that holiday weekend. It’s no surprise that as the days draw closer, he becomes more apprehensive about it. The unease settling in, just the thought of November approaching again made the hairs on the back of his neck raise.

What was a man to do? Somebody left alone with these thoughts, for so very long. Bryan hadn’t quite recovered. He had tried, done his best to move on as quickly as possible. A quick fling turned into a mistake. A friendship ruined that way, turned into another one and another. Bryan was leaving nothing but bad mistakes in his wake. Sinking lower and lower, Bryan was resigned to his fate.

“You know, this city is really pretty when you pick the right spots. Sure looks like it has taken a hell of a beating though. No wonder why people pay so much to live up here.”

It was all he could think about, just a week away at this point. Even being up in the Hollywood Hills with his kid brother. Just the realization made him feel guilty, here he was supposed to be spending time with him. He had flown into town a week ago, and Bryan had been too busy to see him since picking him up at the airport. Marshall, just a few years younger than Bryan, had been taking care of things back in Boston. Mainly Bryan’s home, which he had finally been able to sell on the market.

Now the two of them were together again, family reunited so closely on an important holiday for something like that. A family was usually what came together on Thanksgiving, this man standing next to Bryan was it. All that he had left, and yet he couldn’t stop thinking about how much he wish the day would just pass on.

“You haven’t said a word since we got here.” Marshall said, as Bryan sat next to him. The two had spent the morning, running hills and hiking. Bryan had called for a break, the two stopping for water.

“There isn’t much to talk about, bud.” Bryan responded. His gaze looked out towards the city, so far he hadn’t found a spot he favored more since moving here. “Yeah, well, I’m not going to let you sit in silence this whole time. Don’t think I don’t know what’s going through your head right now.”

Marshall was one of the few people that Bryan could still confide in, unfortunately, his brother couldn’t relate to this situation. Never married, Marshall had always been more about his career than anything. Just like his brother. “It’s a shitty time, I get that. That’s why I’m here though, same goes for Persephone too.”

That was a name that normally brought up a feeling of delight, especially over this last month. Coupled with Bryan’s troubles though, that was just anxiety he didn’t need to bring on her. Especially not with her career kicking into overdrive. “I’m not putting that on her, not right now. She doesn’t need it.”

Bryan had been particularly cold all morning, a side effect of everything that was stuck swimming around in his head. His brother sighed. “Well, put it on me then, tell me what you’re feeling right now.”

Bryan chuckled to himself, taking a sip from his water bottle. “You want to know what I’m thinking? I didn’t know you went to school for that, Marshall.”

“You got me there, definitely did not. Been to enough therapy sessions to pick up enough though.” Marshall says, snidely. A twinge of anger in his voice, as he sarcastically points to the sky. “Thanks, Dad!”

Bryan sighs, turning to look up at his brother. “What do you want me to say? It isn’t like any of this is a secret. My ex-wife left me a year ago, and I’m still bitter as fuck. Am I supposed to just shut it off or something?”

“You could.” Marshall says, looking out at the city himself. He pauses for a moment, taking the full view in. “I’ll tell you what man, this place sure beats Boston.”

“You know I moved there for her, right? So she could be closer to her work, the house was supposed to be a big present. I thought I was doing everything the way I should have done it. You know, get the house, get the wife, have a family. It doesn’t work like that though.”

His tone carried sharply, the memories bringing with it an air of bitterness. “I don’t miss her, I think I’m just mad that I convinced myself that I was doing the right thing. Instead, I wasted my time.”

“Well, you’re on you’re own with that one. We’re all just here to waste time.” Bryan sighed, getting up to his feet. “Don’t lose the narrative, that isn’t what I meant.”

Marshall scoffed, in return. His hands flying up in the air, in simple frustration. “Please, elaborate, Bryan. Because frankly, you’ve been crying about this for a year now. At what point do you just move on? What is it going to take for you to do that?”

Marshall’s tone was harsh, his sentence stopping abruptly. He was frustrated, but not thinking ahead meant that he was lashing out at Bryan now. His brother had brought him up here to talk, Marshall was quickly realizing he was slipping away from Bryan’s side. Instead of being his support, he was starting to antagonize him. Bryan grew quiet, drinking his water. “Shit, man, I’m sorry.”

“I get it, and you’re right. I need to pull myself up, should have done it a while ago. I tried, and I thought I did. I thought I was doing a lot of things that were right, Marshall. I think I’m just figuring out now that I’ve been nothing but full of shit.” Bryan said, as factual and unvarnished as possible. “I’m just worried now that I might be making the same mistakes again.”

The two sat there in silence, for a moment, as Marshall let his brother’s words process in his head. “Again?” His brother asked, feeling all the more meddlesome. He watched as his brother stood there, in silence. He was struggling, trying to internalize this into some kind of rational thought.

“What do you mean by that, Bryan?”

“I fucked up once, you know? Thought I was doing the right thing because I thought I had the right feelings. Maybe the feelings for her were real, I dunno. I just know the outcome proved differently.”

Marshall nodded his head. “The divorce.”

Bryan nodded. “Yup.”

The two brothers stood there in silence, again, with nothing around them. The city out in the distance, and the sun beating down on them. It didn’t take very long for Marshall to soon realize what Bryan meant.

His eyes wide, as his mouth opened. “You mean-”

Bryan sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’m a goddamn fool, aren’t I?”

“I mean, no, you two seemed crazy for each other when I was hanging with Y'all.” Marshall said, pausing for a moment. “No wonder why you’ve been beating yourself up lately, have you told her?”

Bryan looked over at his brother, the look on his face like he just suggested he eat a pile of shit for breakfast. “Are you out of your goddamn mind? No, I haven’t. I’m having my own trouble just internalizing this. You think I want to put that on her too?” Bryan said, shaking his head.

“I mean, you’ve known her for a while, right?” Marshall asked, his brother nodding his head. “Y’all have been dating for a while?” Again, Bryan nodded. Standing to think, it all seemed pretty normal to think about. “Doesn’t really seem that far-fetched. Just don’t do anything stupid, like propose after three months and you should be good.”

Bryan reached out, smacking the back of his brother’s head for the comment. “I’m not worried about how I’m feeling, dummy. What if I make the same mistake again, and I get burnt just as bad?” Bryan asked, with hesitation in his voice.

“I mean, isn’t that the risk everyone takes when they get into a relationship? I get that you’ve tried since Tate, but once you get into something like this you’re going to have to be vulnerable. Unless you’re just going to bounce…” Marshall said, looking over at his brother. There was a definite answer, as Bryan shook his head. Marshall nodded, a bit relieved to see that.

“So, how do I know? How do I tell when it’s okay to just be me?”

With a heavy sigh, Marshall looked back towards the city. Without a beat, he answered. “When you know, you know, man. Sounds to me like you already do.”

Bryan couldn’t answer, but he didn’t really need to. He had heard what he needed to hear. Marshall was right, enough time had passed. There would be tough times, difficult times for Bryan to still get through. The memories would fade though, as time would heal those scars. The wounds would close, new moments and memories taking their place with her.


Bryan knew, he just needed the confirmation. The notion that things were going to be fine, eventually. He was okay with moving on, he was good to let go.

There would be a time and place for this affirmation of his feelings, a way to express how he really felt about her. But he knew, and that was enough for him. Enough to finally move on. Enough to finally enjoy himself, and his life again.

Because when you know, you know.