There was so much upheaval going on with the team, that Jeremy had been able to push his own personal pain behind everything else.
The losing streak went on for five more games after Dallas; an all time low for the team. Then another bomb fell on the day they played against the Trailblazers – Coach D’Antoni resigned. When interim Coach Woodson took over, doubts about Jeremy’s playing time spread, but after five straight wins, Jeremy was still the star PG.
But even last night’s win against the Pistons cannot distract him from physical pain at the moment. He had pains in his left knee during the game – painful enough to rest him for the remaining two quarters. The pain went away after their physical therapists worked on it, but this morning during his pre-work-out work-out, the pain came back. Jeremy threw the ball across the court in frustration. He sat down just under the basket his thoughts going back over the last weeks.
He had been throwing himself at training and whatever his agent had planned – anything to forget his problem with Landry. Even the Volvo sponsorship felt less than the big deal it was, because he did not have Landry to share it with.
Jeremy finally opened up to Jared after the Dallas loss – a huge relief of course. Jared did not seem surprised at his admission and told Jeremy about that moment on the plane after their loss in Dallas. But that small glimmer of hope, that Landry still loved him, was nearly gone. We barely talk anymore, Jeremy thought, thinking of Landry, a numb feeling in his gut. They still had their chemistry on court. But the hugs and butt-bumps between them were rarely seen anymore. Off the court, they were never alone together. Jeremy needed to talk with him – to resolve whatever impasse they have. Landry was simply avoiding him.
Jeremy’s phone beeped. Hope you are resting your knee – and not doing your usual pre-work-out work-out. Jeremy smiled. David never misses a beat. Even from across the country, Jeremy could feel David’s support. He has always been a good friend. Besides Jared, David is the only other person Jeremy has opened up about Landry. He looked at the text again – David knew that nothing could stop Jeremy from doing his morning work-outs, not even a knee pain that just did not want to be ignored.
Tell me that when you’re hired team therapist, Jeremy countered.
David’s answer came swiftly: Touche. Nice win for the Knicks last night.
Jeremy texted back: Yeah. Celebrating with Jared barbecue.
David: I miss those. Send my regards.
Jeremy smiled at David’s message and wrote back: Will do.
As he winced and limped towards the locker rooms, his thoughts were still on Landry.
Jared always knew how to throw a mean barbecue and how to use it to bond the Knicks together. Everybody was there today, talking, eating, laughing and enjoying their day off from a game.
Jeremy sat most of the time because of the pain in his leg. His teammates were concerned and kept asking him about it – well, almost everyone. That one person Jeremy wanted most to hear concern from had not said anything to him. Landry moved around Jeffries house, avoiding coming within talking distance of Jeremy.
I really need to get this over with Jeremy thought. Like a plaster that needs to be pulled off.
So he asked for Jared’s help. Jeremy quietly sat in Landry’s guest room, waiting. When Landry came in followed by Jared, Jeremy took a deep breath. Landry looked like a deer caught in headlights when he saw who was waiting in the room. He would have turned around to go out again if not for Jared who blocked the door.
“You need to sort this out,” Jared said looking from Landry to Jeremy. When he closed the door, there was silence.
“What..” Landry began to say, but Jeremy stopped him with a wave of his hand.
“I am just going to tell you something. All I want you to do is listen.”
Landry looked at him, puzzlement in his face.
“Please sit down, Landry.” Jeremy asked, pointing to an armchair.
When Landry sat down, Jeremy steeled himself for what he was about to say.
“Let’s make this thinking time, break – whatever you want to call it – permanent, “ Jeremy began. Landry started to say something, but Jeremy said “Please do not interrupt. I really need to get everything out.”
Landry sat still looking at Jeremy.
“We were friends first and had always been honest with each other. So here goes… I want to fight for us and judging from the distance you’ve put between us these past weeks, you have no intention of doing so. I love you, Landry, but I just realized that you do not love me as much. So I am done fighting.”
Landry looked surprised, but did not say anything.
“I have tried to give you space to think and have tried talking with you. You obviously have no need to do the same, so I get it, Landry. You need to be alone.”
Landry tried to stand up and approach Jeremy, but Jeremy just said, “Don’t.”
“I think it’s best that you do not touch me right now,” he added. “It will only confuse me and I don’t want to be confused anymore.”
Jeremy gave Landry one long look and said, “Take care.”
He stood up and started to walk to the door, limping a bit and wincing. “I’ll see you around on the court.”
And he walked out the guest room – Landry followed quietly after him.
Jeremy found Jared and started to walk towards him. When Jared caught Jeremy’s eye, Jeremy gave him a silent nod.
“Hey, Jer,” Jared said, “if Gisele Bundchen was not married, who do you think she’ll choose – me or Tyson?”
“Bibby,” Jeremy deadpanned. Tyson, Jared and Jeremy stared at each other and burst out laughing. Thank God for good friends, Jeremy thought. I will be okay.
Jeremy’s laughter was crisp and clear, cutting through the noise and straight to the gut of the person who stared at him from across the room.