That Was Then, This is Now

That Was Then, This is Now Summary and Analysis of Chapter 10


The doctor tells Mr. Carlson, Cathy, and Bryon that M&M will be somewhat mentally damaged forever. Mr. Carlson tells Bryon that he is so appreciative of everything that he has done for them. He also wants Cathy to be home for her mother to hear the news, and Bryon takes her back. After dropping off Cathy, Bryon goes back home, drained. He decides to smoke a cigarette, and looks for Mark’s spare pack. In doing so, he finds a cylinder of pills hidden under Mark’s mattress. He realizes that Mark has been pushing drugs for his steady income, and selling these to kids not unlike M&M—which is why Mark knew all about the hippie house. Thinking about all of the misery going on around him—and Mark and his drugs largely being the cause of it all—Bryon suddenly becomes calm and calls the cops. Mark comes back before the cops do, and realizes what Bryon has done. He cannot believe it, and asks Bryon why he is doing this to him. The cops come and take Mark away.


This chapter contains the climax of the book—at least the emotional climax, after the discovery of M&M in his battered state—that is, Bryon calling the cops on Mark. Before leaving the hospital, Bryon is affected by how Mr. Carlson calls him “son,” and how “that was the first time any man had ever called me ‘son’ without making me mad” (pg. 143). This line is startling because it points to something that has been missing throughout the story, generally: the lack of father-son relationships. Mark and Bryon live with their single mother, who is not even very involved in their lives. Mr. Carlson and M&M don’t have much of a relationship, unless it is the father scolding his son. The relationships between brothers are much more highlighted than are ones between parents—particularly fathers—and their sons.
It also becomes easier for Bryon to tell Cathy that he loves her—this is again seen in a very dire situation when Cathy is again crying. After getting back to his room, Bryon realizes how weary he is, and notes, “Nothing can wear you out like caring about people” (pg. 144). This has been the largest burden underscoring Bryon’s emotional growing pains—this desire to become and yet aversion to becoming more and more emotionally vulnerable. When Mark comes back and tries to explain the situation to Bryon, using persuasive words, that is, tries to justify himself, Bryon realizes that he needs to cut through to the truth, because words can so often mask the truth. When the cops come, Bryon ironically notes that the cops inform “Mark of his right to remain silent, and he did” (pg. 148).