Monday, August 4, 2014

Guilt Goes Both Ways

Enough is enough; after over a week of hearing absolutely nothing from Bryan, I decide that I have to see him.  I’m almost positive that he’s out of the hospital, and while I don’t know where he lives, it can’t be that hard to figure out.

In all honesty, it’s not like I yearn for him or want to get back together.  Unlike with Cam, I don’t even want answers about the breakup (are we even broken up??  The last I’ve heard from him was via his mother).  I just want to make sure he’s okay.  

Before I put on my detective’s hat, I call him one more time.  Over the past week I’ve called him no less than five times, and texted him as well.  Not one message has been returned.  It’s not like I’m looking for a date here.  All I want is to ensure his safety.  However, I also realize that he might think I’m going to extreme measures and borderline stalking him, and he deserves a heads up.  

As expected, no answer.  I leave a voicemail.  “Hi.  It’s Ryan.”  I take a deep breath.  “Look, I just wanted to see how you’re doing.  It’s been a rough week and I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.  I don’t want to overstep any boundaries here, but I feel like it’s necessary at this point.”  How do you tell someone that you’ll be finding out where they live without being too creepy??  “I’ll be at your house tonight.  Eight o’clock.  If that’s okay, call me back.  If it’s not, I’ll see you then anyway.”  I swallow.  “I’m sorry.”  I quickly hang up.

Oh God, I’m such a freak, I think, my mind in a panic.  It feels like all I’ve been doing lately is confronting ex-lovers.  I try to reassure myself–I have to do this.  I need answers, and I would hope he would do the same for me if I’d been the one in surgery.  

I start at the only place that makes sense: Google.  I search his full name, and of course nothing comes up other than the expected, such as his Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  But then… a blog? Bryan has a tumblr?

Resisting the urge to click through and snoop, I go to his LinkedIn instead.  If I can’t find his house, I can find out where he works.  

However, I don’t have to search for long.  My phone rings, and I am shocked to see it’s Houdini himself, Bryan.  

“Hello?”  I answer cautiously.  

“Ryan.”  He sounds a little out of breath.  “I got your message.”

I don’t say anything, still worried that he has called the police and thinks I’m a stalker.  

“Can you meet me in an hour for lunch?”

“Sure,” I say.  I swallow the urge to apologize for my calls in the past week, telling myself that he should have let me know all was well.  We were in a life-threatening accident, I think.  The circumstances are a little different here.  “Thanks for returning my call.”

“No problem.”  He definitely sounds nervous.  We exchange a few more words, but it’s clear the real conversation will take place at lunch.  

Since I am currently unemployed and have no idea what to do with my free time, I spend the next hour straightening my hair and getting ready for lunch.  I’ve talked with my mom about what to do next, and she insists that I search for a new job immediately, but I’m still pretty wounded.  I try not to think about it, but it’s impossible.  The number of times I’ve yelled at Kent in my head is embarrassingly high, and I keep having nightmares about being homeless.  

So, shaking the negative thoughts from my mind, I make my way to Panera, which is where Bryan insisted we have lunch.  I have to stifle a laugh–am I going to be broken up with in a Panera, surrounded by the smells of fresh-baked bread and pastries?

I’m too nervous to eat, so I order a hazelnut coffee and sit in a booth.  Just as I’m getting comfortable, I see Bryan… in a full leg cast.  I wince and hurry over to him.  

“Didn’t see you at first,” I say as a greeting.  “Oh God.  How are you feeling?”

He shrugs, not making eye contact.  “I’ve been better.”

“The surgery was okay?”

He nods.  “It went about as well as it could have.  But I’m in this thing for two months, and then a boot after that,” he says, gesturing to his cast.  

I’m not sure what to say to that, so I take a sip of my coffee.  It burns the roof of my mouth.  

“I’m really sorry if I made things weird…” I begin.  Bryan holds up a hand, signaling me to be quiet.  I’d be annoyed at the gesture if I didn’t already feel so guilty.  

“Don’t apologize.  I should have called you, or returned your texts.  It’s just been… a stressful week.”

I nod.  We have that in common.  

“My mom drove me here,” he continues.  Oh no, I think.  His mother, the woman who was so rude to me while I was in the hospital.  Of course, some of it was understandable–her son was badly injured and needed surgery, and who wouldn’t be a little snippy in that situation?  But she hadn’t given me the time of day and had almost seemed to blame me for the accident.  Not that I was too shocked about that… to be honest, I blame myself a little too.  

“When will you be able to drive?”

Shaking his head, Bryan tells me that he won’t be able to until the cast is off.  “It’s more of an inconvenience, really.  My mom’s been great, except…” He swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing.  “I know she wasn’t too nice to you after the surgery. She told me you’d called, but said I didn’t have to call you back if I didn’t want to.”

I feel a flash of rage building inside of me.  What is it with guys and their parents recently?  

“I wanted to call you,” he says quickly.  All at once I see how nervous he is.  His upper lip is sweating a little and he keeps fidgeting with his napkin.  I see him tearing it into tinier and tinier pieces and watch with fascination for a second.  “Ryan, I’m so sorry about the accident.”

This shocks me.  “Don’t apologize.  It was my fault,” I insist.  “I was the one who wanted to go for a ride.”

Bryan shrugs.  “I wanted to show off.”  He laughs a little.  “I’m not too proud to admit that.  And I was driving like an idiot.”

“That car hit you, though,” I say.  I’m realizing how ridiculous this is.  I wanted to go on his bike, but so did he.  We may have been in the car’s blind spot, but the driver should have been more careful.  Bryan and I, we both harbor this guilt for something that already happened, something we can’t change or fix.  Still, I know I’ll feel this guilt for a long time.  

“I’m really sorry,” I say softly.  “This sucks.”

“It does, doesn’t it?” he says with that same short laugh.  “What a fucking mess.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  

We talk a little longer, about hospital bills and work (I don’t mention that I was let go, because I don’t want to compare miseries with the guy in a cast) and life in general.  

Then, Bryan says what I’ve half expected him to say all along.  “I think we should, you know, go our separate ways.”  It’s a stupid line, but I’m almost relieved.  Maybe the accident and recovery could have brought us together, in another universe.  But it’s clear to me that the guilt would be too much.  

I nod in agreement.  We smile at each other for a moment.  “It was fun, though,” I admit.  “Your motorcycle is pretty freaking awesome.”

He laughs at that.  “Well, thanks.  I can’t decide if I should sell it or not.”

“I’ll buy it from you,” I say, deadpan.  This is the weirdest breakup ever, but strangely enough, it’s not too painful or awkward.  “I’m going to run,” I tell him.  I’m not sure what I should say next.  Thanks?  Apologize again?  Go in for a hug?  I settle on a handshake.  I feel like I’m at the end of an interview.  “Hey, good luck with everything.”

“You too.  You’re a good girl, Ryan.”

I’m not sure what that means, but whatever.  I’m so exhausted all of a sudden, like I want to collapse in bed and sleep for a full 24 hours.  It seems like everything–losing my job, the accident, Cam, Bryan, everything–has finally caught up with me, and all I want is a nap.  

I don’t look back after I leave, but imagine Bryan sitting alone, still ripping the napkin into even tinier shreds.  


AUTHOR’S NOTE:  The posts in the next couple of weeks may be a little off, schedule-wise.  I’m moving (!!!) 20 hours away and my house is currently a mess and all of my wordly belongings are packed away.  I’ll still try to get two posts up per week, but they may not be at the expected times!  Thanks so much for your patience, everyone, and of course thank you so, so much for reading!

30 comments:

  1. Chris - @nylonlover69 on TwitterAugust 4, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Hey, good luck on your move! I hope I speak for the rest of your readers when I say "take care of yourself first and worry about posting for us later." Just keep us updated if you can. Just wondering though... is Ryan going to be moving too?

    Now on to this post. I can def feel how both people are coming across. Quite a bit of tragedy for both of them and being with someone that you might or might not blame a bit for at least part of it wouldn't be good. Too bad though, as I kinda liked their chemistry, especially after Cam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. I'm definitely stressed and overwhelmed, but it's an exciting process! Thanks for being so understanding.

      As for Ryan, I haven't quite decided if she'll be moving yet... don't be surprised if her life takes a different turn at some point! :)

      Delete
  2. I wonder if mom was being superprotective because she feared a lawsuit? I can't imagine why he would want to sever ties. They are both OK. It was an accident. Maybe there's something else I'm missing. mum

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm, a lawsuit, that's interesting...

      Delete
  3. Congratulations & best of luck with your move!

    Looking forward to what is to come with Ryan! I can't say I am still not curious as to why his mom was so rude to her; I understand she may place blame on her for the accident, but she doesn't even know her! Maybe I am too naive :)

    sheerluckandpixiedust.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's definitely not cool that his mom was rude to Ryan, but the accident was hard on her too! Bryan's mother was looking after her son in the only way she knew how. Or maybe she was just distrustful... you're right, she doesn't know Ryan at all, but the first time they spoke was in the hospital when her son was severely injured. Protective family :) And I definitely don't think you're too naive!

      Delete
  4. I was thinking she was worried about a lawsuit too. Or...suing Ryan? But I don't know for what. Then again, people sue for anything these days!

    Good luck with the move! Don't worry about us :)

    New Beginning, New Adventures

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Luckily we know that Ryan wouldn't be the type to sue! But his mother might be... you never know!!

      Delete
  5. That's weird Bryan would just dump her the first time he talks to her after all that's happen!! But it's believeable I was in a bad wreck with a boyfriend as soon as he came home from hospital he dumped me lol.. It happens like that!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like a terrible situation. I'm so sorry you had to go through that!

      Delete
  6. Im so torn. I love cam but then I feel bad and want Bryan to want Ryan. Agh!


    newadventureswithbrenda.blogspot.com
    Stella

    ReplyDelete
  7. Are you going to post anything new anytime soon??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Makes it hard to even remember what the story is about when there's big gaps in posting. Seems like several blogs are not posting right now.

      Delete
    2. Agreed. I have to reread the last few posts to remember where the story is. It's annoying. But I like this blog.

      Delete
  8. First off I hope that everything is alright in your life and that there is nothing seriously negative going on. With that said, I understand how busy everyone can be. But as a loyal reader and someone who loves your writing, it would really be nice if you could just give us a short heads up about the posting schedule. That way your readers would have something to look forward to rather than being upset about a lack of posts. Good luck with the move and I hope everything is going well for you. We hope to hear from you soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. Of course life happens but you said you would still post instead there's been nothing. Will you at least give us an update? Thanks!

      Delete
  9. Are you planning on posting soon. Not trying yo sound rude or anything, I understand that your moving and you have a job so you have a crazy schedule but could you at least tell us you wont be posting for a while or give us an update.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Done with this blog. Without some semblance of keeping a consistent schedule or accountability for going on a hiatus like this, a blog can't be expected to be successful.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My sentiments exactly ^
    I was just going to see if anything was posted before I remove this blog from my reading list, too bad.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I will no longer be reading this blog de to zero response from the author nor any updates.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think readers sometimes need to understand that we have outside lives, families and responsibilities to tend to. We can't always respond to every comment and sometimes shit happens that you can't control. To say that you'll stop reading the blog because the writer has been unresponsive to comments is harsh. She clearly stated that she was moving across state lines and trying to get her life in order. Even though she said she would try to post, we all know how crazy moving a house 10 miles over is and can only imagine that moving states away is even more hectic and insane. Maybe instead of complaining we can be more understanding. The majority of us bloggers do this in our spare time for fun. We enjoy writing but sometimes life gets in the way or something unexpected happens!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree.. However the writer should give us a heads up. Is she done with the blog or will she resume posting. It's almost a month without a response or update. I don't want to waste my time checking back if she's done.

      Delete
  14. I was under the impression that it was the author of lifebyaleah who gave the heads up about her current situation... Don't think this author has said anything...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Re-read the end of this post.......

      Delete
  15. I hope everything is A ok. I will keep checking for that update . I know how fast time flies when your busy and the pain of moving.we all hope to hear from you soon and those bitter haters can go to H*#&.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Alexis is everything okay? Did you survive the move???? Give us an update please

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's been over a month, please provide us with an update or at least let us know if you're okay?

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is super inconsiderate.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Buy Womens Shoes Melbourne through online at best prices. Browse wide variety of trendy Womens Shoes at Lusso Shoes. Explore into a huge range of ladies shoes from Womens Shoes Melbourne. Buy Attractive Womens Shoes Melbourne from Lusso Shoes.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.

    ReplyDelete