The house is quiet now that Bryan is gone. There were times that we annoyed each other, and he never did clean the charcoal out of the garden, where he dumped it thinking it was going to make the plants grow faster, but we got to know each other again.
For the first time since my early twenties, my brother and I lived together. We had gotten closer since those days, but it was from a distance. I would say that it grew out of a greater respect and understanding of each others struggles and actions, as well as a mutual effort to keep in touch by phone. There were the camping and travel adventures as often as time allowed as well.
After a summer of seeing each other day in and day out though, we know each other better, and the bond is stronger for the knowledge. Rather than the idealized version of someone that can grow out of a physical distance, the real version is something less, but also more. We both would be irritable at times, annoyed by work or friends or girlfriends or the goddamned Republicans or the completely pussified Democrats or the death of the American novel, but all of that makes a whole person.
It wasn't until the end of the summer, when Bryan was about to take off for his new home in Colorado that we realized that we each could have been more of a catalyst to the inspiration of the other. We were both distracted these last few months, more than we should have been, but life is like that. You get busy. We could have pushed each other to be more consistent with our boxing and Muay Thai training. We could have reinforced the strength in both of us, encouraged each other more, and been more focused overall in all the things that we are trying to do.
Upon realizing this, we sat down and spit-balled ideas. We both had gotten in the habit of waking up and immediately starting to work before eating or showering or thinking or reading. When waiting on an important email from his editor or my customer, we would refresh the webpage over and over again, as if in that few seconds the message would have come through. Sometime around noon we would step away from the computer, distracted and half-stupid. We changed this. Before we could start working, we had to eat breakfast, go for a run or a walk or do something physical, and basically get our minds right for the day. This led to a much more prepared mind, and we were able to go through the day acting in accordance with our values instead of being pushed and pulled from one thing to the next without control.
We should have been doing that from the beginning, but there are no do-overs. You don't get to hit the reset button, and you don't know how much time you will get. That's why you have to do it right starting now.