Disclaimer: I do not own That Was Then, This is Now.


It has been a few years since the incident with Mark, but I could never forgot that. Today is the date it happened. I will never forget the look on his face when the cops dragged him out the door. Then, when I went to see him at the State Reformatory, how he acted like he didn't want me around anymore. I lost my brother that day. They never could get him to settle down. He got sent to real prison two years later. I can't help thinking that it is my fault. To this day I still think about, what if I hadn't called the police? What if I just talked to Mark? What if he still lived with me? What if we were still best friends? I wish we were.

The other day I ran into Ponyboy Curtis. He told me a sad story about his brother Sodapop. He had told me that his number came up and that he was pronounced K.I.A. I thought about how terrible that is. To lose a brother. Just like I lost mine. Even though he was really a friend, he felt like a brother. Besides, his brother being killed in the war, he had told me that he had been taking classes at some college, and Cathy and him are engaged to be married. So he was doing pretty well.

I wish I could say the same for me. It's hard to even think about Mark. I wish I could just wash my hands clean of that terrible memory that haunts me everyday. I haven't been out much because I've been working full time ever since my mom got sick. I have to stay, with my free time, home and take care of her. I don't think I would want to go out anyway. I don't see how I would have fun when I'm worrying about my mother and thinking about Mark.

That night when I went to bed, I saw something out of the side of my eye. It was The Lone Cowboy. I picked it up and just started reading it. It has been a long time since I read a cowboy story. Well actually, it has been a long time since I even picked up a book. I remember how I used to read a lot. I didn't even get halfway through it before I started crying. I know that you're not supposed to stay sad about things. You're supposed to get over it and move on with your life. That's what I need to do. I think I'm going to.

When I woke up the next morning, I thought about what I said last night. I've been totally selfish, especially to my mother. I got ready for work and ate a nice breakfast. I also made something for my mom. I walked out the door with a smile on my face, which was very unusual. Things are going to be different from now on.

When I came from work, I decided to go to church. After that, I came home and made dinner. I talked to my mom about everything, and she said that she would help me through it as best as she could. She was starting to feel better too.

The next day, I had to take my mom to the doctor's for her appointment. We were both nervous to hear what the doctor had to say. He finally came in and told us that she would be better in no time. We were both very glad. I can't remember the last time I was happy. After that, we went home and celebrated. Not very long, because we were both tired. I went to sleep that night thinking about how I changed in just one day.

I was happy now. Sure I would still wish that I hadn't called the cops on Mark, but maybe what I did was the right thing. Maybe it was for his own good. I will also never stop thinking about what if? I just can't help that. It's just the way I am. I still wished that Mark was my best friend (and my brother) and that he still lived with me. I always will. I will think about the positive things of my life, instead of the negative things. I will still have the good memories of Mark and me. They will make me feel better when I start to get sad again. Who knows, maybe Mark will open up one day. That would be so great.

I remember how I felt two days before. How I couldn't stand the thought of Mark. How I got terrible headaches whenever I did and couldn't sleep at night. Now I'm better and can think about Mark in good ways. It was just two days ago when I hated everything, but as I said, that was then, this is now.