I cried for the longest time, and it made me feel so young and vulnerable like I had suddenly turned into a child again. This made me feel worse, I'm a man for god sake - men dont cry like this. But I couldnt help it and I was sickening myself by wondering whether I would feel better if Frank were here, if his arms were around me and holding me tight, running his fingers through my hair and whispering soothing words.
Okay, and when the fuck did I turn into a teenage girl?
"Gee? Gerard, are you okay?" It was Ray, he had just opened the door and walked in. "You left all of a sudden and - Oh..." Ray realised I was crying but I didnt care anymore, if he was going to make fun of me then fine.
"Whats happened Gerard? Is everyone okay back home?" He cried, panic in his voice as he shut the door and hurried over to the bed, pulling me up into a sitting position. I sniffed and wiped my eyes but the tears kept falling.
"I - I guess so... I h - havent heard a - anything, I just feel - homesick th - thats all." I sobbed. Ray sighed and gingerly put an arm round me, giving me a sad look. His attempt to comfort me did nothing and I could tell he was feeling awkward. I just wanted him to leave.
"Dont get upset Gee, everyone gets home sick. I got really homesick the first time I came here, I cried too." I looked at him through watery eyes and sniffed.
"Really?" Ray nodded and smiled, brushing my tears away with his thumb.
"Yeah really. Theres nothing to be ashamed of Gee... Oh come here." Ray laughed and pulled me into a tight hug, letting me cry the last of my tears out onto his shoulder but I was feeling better already. When I did stop crying I pulled back and wiped my cheeks with the palm of my hands. Ray gave me a comforting smile.
"Better?" He asked. I nodded and felt that my eyes were heavy.
"Yeah -" I yawned and brushed my hair out of my face. "Do you mind if I get some sleep?" I asked. Ray shook his head and I thanked him, we hugged good bye and then he left to go to his own room as I finished getting undressed and wriggled under the covers.
The next day Ray was ill, I wasnt surprised at all since we had been walking in the cold and rain practically every night and he had caught a cold. He said he didnt feel like getting out of bed and his voice was rough and I could tell his nose was blocked. He was pale and had bags under his eyes.
"Do you need me to get you anything? A hot drink? Food? Some medicine?" I asked. Ray sniffed and thought about it.
"Yeah, could you get me a coffee? And then something to suck on?" I bit my lip knowing full well what he meant but I couldnt help it anyway and burst out laughing, smothering my mouth with my hand in a vain attempt to be discreet. Ray glared at me and tutted.
"Gerard! You know I meant for my throat." He snapped. I giggled hysterically and tried to calm down.
"Well Ray, they do say that a natural remedy for a sore throat is se -"
"I meant ginger cubes idiot!" He snarled. I giggled and gave him a false salute as I left the room. I would get him a coffee on the way back from the chemists I decided. I had no idea where a chemists was so I asked the woman at reception and she gave me some directions.
I got there pretty quickly and for once the sun was shining, it wasnt very warm but at least it wasnt raining and I was feeling a lot happier since crying last night. I guessed it really was home sickness and had a smile on my face deciding I was going to enjoy the rest of this trip, after all this was England! Not a lot of people get to travel to another country let alone one so far away. I felt kinda happy that I was here, it was something I could tell my grandkids about in later years.
When I got the chemist it was in a pretty busy part of town, there was a big market and I wondered whether it was on every week, me and Ray could come here at some time when he was feeling better. I walked into the chemists, a bell above the door tinkling merrily. There was an old man behind the counter, he was chubby and had a grey moustache, he had kind eyes and a rosy face. He looked like a nice person. I walked over and asked him for some ginger cubes and he talked to me as he put them in a small paper bag.
"So, where you from? You dont sound very English." He chuckled.
"No, I'm American. I've come here with a friend for a few months, he enjoys travelling and asked me to come along, but he's got a bit of a bad throat." I answered.
"Ah, shame that. Is he the one in need of these?" He asked, gesturing at the ginger cubes I nodded and he held up a finger like he had had an idea.
"Tell you what, give him... this -" The man rooted around some shelves before pulling out a small phial filled with a clear liquid. "My wife is a herbelist and she made this, it works wonders on a bad throat. I'll give it you for free." He smiled. I thanked him and he put the phial in the bag, twisting the corners and handing it to me as I handed him the money. We stood talking for a while, just about general things and when I left I was in an even better mood. I had a spring in my step as I walked back down the street and some girls on the corner saw me and giggled, gripping eachothers elbows as they whispered and smiled at me. Batting their eyelashes. I smiled back at them which made them all blush with happiness.
"Gerard?" The voice was all too familiar and when I turned round there he was. He was holding a bag of fruit and vegetables, wearing (for once) full length clothes, his black hair falling in his eyes.
"Oh, Hi Frank." My happiness got taken over by a strange sickly feeling, my stomach churned with what felt like neves or something. "Shopping?" I asked. Frank nodded and smiled.
"Yeah, just some stuff for the kitchens, erm... you?" He asked.
"Oh, just got some ginger cubes for Ray, he's a little ill." I began to walk and Frank walked along side me as he gave a sad look.
"Aw really? Thats too bad, say I said he hopes to get better soon." I nodded and Frank smiled. "Hey Gerard, I dont think I really need to ask you this but just to put my mind at ease - you promise not to tell anyone about all I said last night dont you? About being an orphan I mean, its just... I dont like opening up to people very much, I like to keep my life - /my life/." I nodded and he gave a sigh of relief.
"I promise. But if you dont like opening up to people then why did you tell me?" I asked. Frank thought about it, sucking on his lip ring as he did so. Eventually he merely shrugged and said "I dunno. I guess I just feel like I can trust you."
My heart swelled with pride and I smiled at Frank who returned the smile. We talked together as we continued to walk, eventually we reached the inn, Frank would have to continue down the road to reach Acacia avenue but he stopped to say goodbye to me.
”So… I guess I’ll see you then.” I said, Frank smiled and pulled me into a tight embrace. At first I was caught off guard but then I held him close to me, he smelt of coffee and tobacco, and he was so warm. We held eachother perhaps a little longer than necessary and when we let go we smiled and blushed a little.
“Well… sia around Gerard.”
”Sia Frankie.” Frank flashed me one more smile before walking away. I watched him down the street, he was swaying his hips and walking quite elegantly, men and women alike stopped to stare and I could tell they were all thinking what it would be like to have him. I sighed and watched him.
’Hurry home Frankie, with looks like that you’ll be beating them off with a stick’.