In which Gerard attempts to make a comeback for his family. (rated for language)
“April 17, 2000. The plan is all set,” I whispered into my tape recorder. It was actually a really stupid way to keep track of stuff, but I thought it was kind of cool. It made me seem like I was either a spy or a professional. And I had to admit, I liked the sound of my own voice. It was the only voice that I didn’t automatically tune out anymore. Ever since…but I wouldn’t think of that. “One and a half years from today, I am going to take him hostage and then blow up his office building.” I switched the tape recorder off, marveling at how calm my voice had become. I figured that another year would be enough time to make him forget what he had done exactly half of a year ago, and then I’d have to remind him all over again. And it gave me enough time to save up for a video recorder. I figured that it would be good, so I’d better get it on tape.
“Revenge is sweet,” I sighed to myself.
“What did you just say?” I heard a voice ask in horror. My eyes wide, I turned around to find my little brother staring at me, stupefied. I smirked.
“Oh, Mikey, don’t you know when I’m kidding by now?” I said teasingly. “I heard you standing there the whole time.” Actually, I didn’t. But I wasn’t about to tell him that. This whole lying thing was becoming much easier. His expression changed from shocked to amused.
“I should’ve known. You would never do something that violent, no matter how hard-ass you say you are. Mom says dinner is ready, by the way.” How embarrassing. I was in art school, but I still lived in my mother’s basement. This year, my last year at art school, wasn’t going as planned, though, and it was a bit of a relief to get it over with. There were reminders of her everywhere. The first day back was the worst, having to hear her name called out for roll in each hour and having to tell them where she was after class. I actually went to school in drag because I didn’t want to be associated with her by other people anymore. But her scent was all over my room, even after six months. The last words we had spoken lingered in the air each time I walked in. Every time I sang, I could only think of her. So I stopped singing. The only times that I didn’t think of her were when I was drunk, because I just couldn’t think. So I had started getting drunk alone more often. I was depressed in the clinical sense of the word. It was a wonder that I hadn’t been shipped off to more therapy or even an institution by now.
I wandered upstairs to the kitchen, where we ate in silence yet again. My mother tried to make awkward conversation, my brother grunted, and I shoveled down my food without saying a word. I could sense the tension, just as I could every night. They were waiting for me to finally say something. And I would just sit there and eat everything to keep my mouth busy. But tonight, it was different. Because my mother actually talked directly to me, expecting an answer, for the first time in months.
“Gerard?” she said timidly. I looked up. She knew better than to wait for me to respond verbally by now. I hadn’t spoken to her or Mikey unless I absolutely had to in a long time. “I was actually talking to your grandmother today.” I gulped. I hadn’t spoken to my grandmother, Elena, either. We were so close before…and now I couldn’t face her. I couldn’t talk to her knowing how much she loved…her. I refused to think her name, reminding myself that it would just tear open wounds that I had carefully stitched up. “She told me that she found something for you.” I stared at my mother, waiting for her to get to the point. “She found you a job.” I raised my eyebrows. “It’s in an office, but you get to draw like you want to, and it’s just until you can get your comic book scheme off the ground.” I swallowed the nonexistent food in my mouth. “You really should thank her. She wants to see you.” I sighed and looked down at my food again. I heard her put her knife and fork down on her plate. “Really, Gerard, this is getting ridiculous.” I looked up again in surprise. Mikey’s eyes were wide as he stared at her too. “It’s been six months. I know that you loved her, but it’s time for you to move on. Your grandmother is so hurt that you won’t even see her. Mikey and I can’t stand the silence anymore.” Mikey’s eyes bulged out of his head as he turned to me and shook his head.
“No, Gee, it’s fine, take as long as you need,” he muttered, but our mother cut him off.
“No, Mikey. It’s time for Gerard to accept what has happened. She’s gone. There’s nothing that you can do about it. Now you will talk to your grandmother, and she’ll give you the details about this job. And be sure to thank her.”
“If that’s how you really feel,” I muttered, turning back to my food. “I’ll drop by her house tomorrow after class.” I could feel the shocked expressions burning into my skull, but I refused to look back up.
My mother was right, for the most part. I had to accept it. She was really gone. I was going to talk to my grandmother, because I hated to hurt her. And I was going to thank her for the job, because I needed it. But my mother was wrong on one count-there was something that I could do about her being gone. She just had no idea what I was planning. And that was good.
And so, the next day after class, I made my way to my grandmother’s house, as promised. She was ecstatic to see me, of course. I hadn’t been there since Christmas, and I could tell that she missed me. She was the one who taught me to draw, and the one who encouraged me to sing. I missed her too, for what it was worth. She was a wonderful woman, and I used to go to her house all the time with…her.
“Sorry I’ve been away for so long, Grandma,” I said softly. She smiled up at me, the sincerity stretched across her face.
“It’s good to have you back, Gee.” She embraced me like I had come back from the dead, and I was going to have to go back. “I suppose your mother told you about the job.” I nodded. She proceeded to give me all of the information that I needed, and told me what I should wear for my interview. I thanked her like my mother had told me to, and she made me stay for dinner. We had lasagna, which was her specialty. This dinner was different from the ones at home, as I was forced to talk each time that my mouth wasn’t chewing. I answered my grandmother’s polite questions about school and home, noting her unhappy face when I told her all that I knew, which was much too little. I asked her polite questions about how she was keeping herself busy, which she answered politely. It was very unlike our usual conversations, which tended to grow more personal. But there was nothing going on in my personal life that I was willing to tell my grandmother about, so I tried to keep my mouth full. When I insisted that I was much too full to eat anymore, I was given three containers full of lasagna to take home for my mother and brother. I thanked her again and left promptly. On the way out, I tried not to see the pictures on the walls.
As soon as I got home, I was pulled into an interrogation by my mother, who was much too surprised when I answered. I saw her puzzled look that she had been trying to hide unsuccessfully.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“You’re talking,” she said, shock coloring her voice.
“You told me that you couldn’t stand the silence anymore. I thought you wanted me to talk.”
“I do. It’s just a change.” She rubbed my shoulder. “I told you it’d all work out in the end. You didn’t need professional help. You just needed time and a wake up call. I love you, Gee.”
“Love you too, Mom.” I trudged down to my basement, hoping that no one else would disturb me. I needed to stop thinking about what had happened at my grandmother’s house, needed to forget the long walk out. I needed to forget the way that she was smiling at me in all of those pictures, needed to forget how her face looked. I locked the door just in case, and I turned on music so that no one could hear me. I retrieved my bottle of vodka from its carefully concealed hiding spot and noted that I’d need to get some more. I drank as much as I could without choking each time the bottle came to my lips, trying to focus on the burn in the back of my throat as the alcohol started to pump through my veins. I focused on the room spinning and darkening, and tried not to get sick. And the next thing that I knew, it was morning, and I had a giant headache.
I took two aspirin, happy that it was a Saturday, and I had no classes. I got ready for the day and walked upstairs to see Mikey stumbling downstairs from his room, rubbing his eyes under his glasses. His eyes widened when he saw me, and I gave him a small wave. He smiled.
“Hey Gee,” he replied in a soft tone. “It’s way too early to be up. You want to go get some coffee with me?” he asked tentatively. I nodded slowly.
We had to go to the city to get our coffee, since Mikey’s ex-girlfriend worked at the local coffee shop. Mikey was buying anyways, since it was a treat to get me out of the house. We went to Starbucks, and it wasn’t completely crowded to my surprise. Mikey ordered for us, and I waited for the coffee. When our order was finally ready, I grabbed the cups and tried to make my way over to a table to wait for Mikey, who was in the bathroom. Of course, the second that I turned around, a girl in a green smock ran right into me, and I spilled both coffees all over us. She gave me a death glare.
“Watch where you’re going,” she spat at me. I gave her a glare in return.
“Hey, fuck you, I just turned around. You ran into me,” I said venomously. My skin was starting to hurt from the hot coffee all over me. And who did this girl think that she was anyways?
“Emily! Did you run into another one?” someone behind the counter asked. She crossed her arms.
“Did you even see what happened?” she replied. Luckily, Mikey and I were the only ones inside, so no one else could watch this little scene.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I got a good look. And you hit me,” I interjected sarcastically. Something about this girl, the fact that I was covered in hot coffee, and something else inexplicable made me so angry.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” she snapped.
“Apparently you weren’t looking at me either,” I snapped back. The wetness and heat from my clothes was starting to bother me more than it had before. “Can I get a napkin or something?” The girl behind the counter gave me an entire stack.
“I’d help you, but…” She gestured at me. I rolled my eyes and started to blot at the coffee. “Let me remake your drinks. Free.” I told her what we had as I blotted at my clothes some more, and the other girl just stared at me, arms folded across her chest.
“Is there something I can do for you?” I sneered.
“I’m waiting for your apology,” she replied. My eyes narrowed.
“If you hold your breath for it any longer, you might die,” I hissed. A guy came over with a mop, and I stalked away and sat down. Mikey came out and found me, confused by my lack of drinks. I was about to explain, but the girl that ran into me came over with our drinks, then stood there waiting again. “I told you, I’m not apologizing. It isn’t my fault you can’t see two feet in front of you.”
“Fuck you,” she hissed, probably so that her manager couldn’t hear.
“In your dreams, Princess,” I sneered. She turned on her heel and stalked away.
“This is new,” he said, taking his coffee and the seat across from me. “What happened?” I explained the whole ordeal to him, and he agreed that the girl’s behavior was inexplicable. We went home so that I could change out of my wet clothes. My mother was surprised to see me up and out of the house, and a bit puzzled by my coffee-stained clothes. I was sure that Mikey would fill her in while I showered and changed my clothes. The entire time that I was cleaning myself up, I could only think of what had happened at Starbucks. It made me so inexplicably angry that some random girl who worked at a Starbucks could leave such a lasting impression on me. I went back upstairs when I was done, and Mikey and our mom were sitting in front of the TV, undoubtedly waiting for me.
“Hey Gee?” Mikey asked timidly. I nodded. My mother watched. She must have planned this. “You want to go to the comic store with me?” I hadn’t been there in forever. “I know that you haven’t been in a while, and it’s almost time for my shift, and I was just thinking that you could come if you wanted and just kind of hang out.” This was why my brother was my best friend. He knew how to cheer me up. I smiled and nodded.
“Sounds like fun, Mikes,” I replied sincerely. My mother smiled, satisfied.
Mikey’s shift lasted for four hours. I could stay for an entire day in that store and not get tired of it. I was looking at the new comics when a kid tapped me on the shoulder. At least, I thought it was a kid at first. I turned and saw him, and noticed that he was actually about the same age as Mikey, and he worked there.
“Hey, man, you’re gonna have to pay for those,” he said. I shoved my hand in my pocket to search for some money when I heard Mikey’s voice.
“Frank, don’t worry about it. It’s just my older brother, he'll put them back when he's done,” he called. The guy who I assumed was Frank turned back to me.
“Well then, my apologies. I’m Frank,” he said, extending a hand.
“Gerard,” I replied softly, shaking it.
“Gerard Way?” he asked incredulously. I nodded, confused. “Are you the one that—” Mikey appeared and kicked him before he could continue.
“God, Frank, you’re like an old lady. All you ever do is gossip. You’re supposed to be working,” Mikey said in an attempt at a joke. I was sincerely confused. What had gotten around the town? As soon as Frank was occupied, Mikey gave me an apologetic smile and went back to the register. As soon as there was a steady line to the cash register, I snuck up to Frank.
“What are they saying about me then?” I asked quietly. He gave me a sheepish smile.
“You’re the one who went crazy,” he replied at the same volume. “Some of the smaller kids think that you’re a vampire, and they’re afraid to go near your house now.” I grimaced. “Did you really scream at your therapist and make him cry?” I rolled my eyes.
“No, I just wouldn’t say anything, so he got pissed off and told my mom to stop wasting her money,” I scoffed. "And they think I'm crazy with the stories they make up..." I muttered to myself. Frank smiled.
“For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re crazy,” Frank said earnestly. I shrugged. “I could tell people to stop being jackasses to you if you wanted.”
“Let the old ladies have their fun,” I replied. “I might have to foam at the mouth the next time I go to the supermarket with my mom just to give them something to talk about.” Frank laughed, and I smiled. Mikey came back to check on us, and I went back to my corner. For the rest of the day, everyone else avoided my corner, but sent glances my way every few seconds. It annoyed me to no end. At one point, I remembered the plan, and smirked sadistically. They’d really think I was crazy after that. What I had dubbed “the Starbucks incident” popped into my mind again, and again I was furious with the strange girl. I think I scared off a kid with the look on my face.
And so, my life went on. I quickly put the Starbucks incident out of my mind after that day, hoping that I would never have to look back on it. It was a bit embarrassing and very infuriating. It made my blood boil just thinking about it. I graduated from the academy and got the job at the artists’ office that my grandmother had gotten for me. And my first day on the job was the most memorable first day that I can remember. The first day of art school, high school, or even kindergarten couldn’t top this.
It was the one day that I couldn’t forget the Starbucks incident, no matter how hard I tried.
A/N: So I decided to run with it. Please drop me a little note and tell me what you think. I'd really appreciate it.