I was sitting. I was sitting under a fleece blanket, doing so much of nothing that it was as if I were waiting for something.
Yes, waiting for Pete to come over.
I was nothing without Pete. A lost and lonely soul.
There was nothing left good in my life. I couldn't bring myself to play any music, nor listen to it. I hadn't had human contact since the funeral. I hadn't answered my telephone, and I hadn't even looked at my laptop. I had an over-abundance of unread mail piled endlessly atop my dining room table. I hadn't touched any piece of it.
I hadn't even eaten in nearly three days. My stomach roared every five minutes, but I ignored it. I barely felt it. The only part of me that seemed to be over-functioning was my mind. It whirled and whirled, it was more likely I was living in my head than in my house. I sat for hours on end just thinking. Thinking how I would go on without Pete being here. I needed him. When he left he took a part of me with him, and apparently that part had been very important. It was my heart.
Who could live without a heart?
Of course I had considered joining him. I'd considered...dying. I could then be with him, and I'd have purpose again. I didn't need this world...as long as I had Pete. The only thing stopping me was my body. My head was all for it, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. To commit suicide.
I had a fully loaded pistol right in my bedroom cabinet. I had bought it awhile ago for self defense.
Or maybe I'd like to suffer, because that's how Pete was forced to go out. And I could use a kitchen knife. They were only a matter of walking over two rooms, and the rack would be at my grasp. But I wouldn't do it.
I was afraid, unlike Pete. No matter how much I hated my life at this moment, I still couldn't do it.
I would hold the gun to my head, telling my self over and over 'For Pete...to be with Pete...' but I was not brave enough to pull the trigger. Nor was I brave enough to slash a few holes in myself.
I stood up, moving for the first time in five hours. I walked over to the thermostat, examined it, and turned it up. It was on 75 and I was still cold. Chilled to the bone.
I left the room and went to get my coat. I slipped into it and suddenly the phone rang. I held back at first, but I figured I'd better let whoever was calling know I was still in the country. I hesitantly picked up the phone from the receiver.
"Patrick!?!?! Fucking finally!!! You haven't answered your phone in days!" said Andy.
I sighed lightly. "I know." I said.
"Well, uh, I've been wanting to talk to you about the band, Patrick. Joe tried calling too, but then when you weren't answering, he told me to keep trying. You see....we're not breaking up. Pete might be gone but" his words stabbed deep into my heart. "but Joe says he can handle the organization now. And....we found a new bassist." Andy admitted.
As if my heart could be squeezed, ripped, torn, and broken any more, I felt angry.
I slammed the phone against the wall. "NEW BASSIST!?" I screamed.
Andy paused, "His name is Jason."
There was silence. The anger died down, and hearing the name Jason reminded me of the fake name Pete used one time during an interview.
How dare the new bassist have that name. I didn't want to tell Andy that I hadn't intended to play music ever again, since it reminded me too much of Pete. I sighed.
"We're never going to be the same you know." I said as a cover up.
"Maybe not, but regardless...we still want to play music, don’t we? We'll still sound the same....just...without Pete."
"Fuck, Andy!!! You're acting like you don’t care about Pete! He's fucking dead and you and Joe are raring to go! FUCK! You know what....you know what....what if I QUIT Fall Out Boy?! I don’t give a damn about music anymore!!! Pete's gone, there's nothing left to live for. Tell Jason to drop dead because I hate him already. And in case you didn't catch the hint, FUCK YOU!" I yelled, ramming the phone back onto the hook.
I was fuming. I stormed into the kitchen, pulled down a bottle of pain-killers and popped about four of them. I leaned against the table and took a few deep breaths. My eyes drifted to the knife rack.
I could do it. I could...cut. They were right there, five feet away...all I had to do was reach out and-
I took the knife in my trembling hand and pressed it against the skin of my wrist. The blade was cold, but I was nearly shaking for it to penetrate my skin. I squeezed my eyes closed in pain, but when I finally cut through my flesh, it was a relief. I felt the wet blood running down my arm, dripping on the floor, slicking up the knife. I cut again and again, and I bled more and more. tears fell from my eyes. It hurt worse than anything besides knowing Pete was dead, and when I stopped, I knew I had another arm to go.
I opened my eyes and they were shocked to see such a bright color red so soon. Blood was everywhere all over the floor and on my hands. I pulled up my left sleeve and looked at the unscathed skin that I was about to mess up.
"Don’t do it, Tricky."
I spun around, shaking hard and sobbing now.
"Wh-Who's there...? Who is it?" I said in trepidation.
There was no answer. Slowly, I turned back to my wrist. My head was buzzing, tingling...I was afraid now. I lightly pressured the blade against my skin. A long, deep, cut was scored down my wrist and arm. I gasped as I cut it, and suddenly felt light-headed.
I looked up and grabbed a hand towel from the hook. I rubbed away the blood from my arms and somewhat from my hands, but I decided I would have to mop up the rest. I had really made a mess. I put on my jean jacket, and sniffled. I was sweating now. How I had gone from shivers to sweating was something I didn't know, nor care about.
The phone rang again. I cried lighter, tears falling down my cheeks without grace. I watched the phone ring five times, and then the machine got it.
"Pick up the phone, fucker."
I walked over to the phone slowly, hovering my hand over it.
"I know you hear me, so just pick it up. I'm tired of your bull shit, just because Pete-"
"Hello?" I said to Joe.
I heard his scowl into the phone. "You know how long I've been trying to get you to pick up?! Anyway, Andy told me that you flipped out on him earlier." said Joe.
"You think we don't care about Pete? We loved Pete too, Patrick...he was a friend to all of us. But life goes the fuck on. You can’t just hide out in your house for the rest of your life just because Pete isn't there to hold your hand in the real world."
I sniffled again, and tears sprung into my eyes, "No Joe! Life for me cannot go on without Pete! Don’t you see that I have nothing left to live for?!" I shouted.
"Fuck, Patrick! I'm telling you all this because we care about you! If you don’t get over Pete, your feelings are going to eat you alive! I'm sorry if I sound heartless, but Pete is gone...you need to get over it!" Joe's voice got softer with every word. I could tell he was crying too.
"I...I can't." I whispered. Then I placed the phone gently back onto the receiver.
I looked at the door, and decided I needed to get out.
I walked up the busy city street, admiring the night lights. I basked in the romantic music and lights and sounds that filled the air, but I had no one to share it with. Everything in the world seemed to be made for two....for lovers.
As I passed people on the sidewalk, I couldn't help but feel like I was living in two worlds; the real, working, bill-paying world and in a small world of my private grief and sorrow.
I got further and further into town, and as I did, I just started to tear up. Crying never helps anything, but it was almost as if my eyes cried on schedule, that they were so used to it, they did it involuntarily.
I couldn't stop thinking about him. Pete was everything in my mind...everything I did...everything I thought...all of it was Pete, Pete, Pete.
I noticed that there were no more streetlights. I was at a corner, and across the street was an old coal handling building, old and falling apart. For some reason, I walked in that direction, instead of going back home. I found myself slipping behind the wrought iron gates and into to area with the building. It was extremely dark, and everything was only able to be seen in shadowed form.
Rocks and rubble crunched with my every step. I didn't know what intrigued me, didn't know what force drew me to this place. But...I was here.
I picked up my hands, and they were shaking. I looked at the old building with sympathy. Poor run-down thing.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a tall shadow flit across the way in front of me. I gasped and jumped.
"Hello...?" I whispered.
The shadow shifted, and it seemed like it was....looking at me.
"Show yourself." I demanded. I was so very afraid, I was shaking. Thunder crackled above and made me jump again.
"Damn thunder..." I said under my breath. The shadow inched closer, creeping oddly.
"Wh-Who are you...?" I said shakily. The shadow did not speak, but it came closer and closer to me and thunder rumbled anxiously.
Suddenly, the shadow was right there. It really was a shadow; I couldn't see its face or its body or hair...not even its eyes. It seemed to be merely a 2D, dark, form.
It was standing right in front of me, millimeters from my face. It felt oddly familiar, but I was still scared, trembling.
It lifted its arm and touched my nose, right in the center.
It was a ticklish feeling, but I didn't laugh, I cringed in fear. Then the shadow lifted both arms and put them around my neck. I had had enough then.
"Get away from me!!!" I yelled, backing away but tripping and falling on my behind. The shadow closed in, and tears hit my cheeks.
I heard a whisper, "Patrick...?"
I looked around wildly but it was only the shadow and I. I tried to scream but no sound came out. I couldn’t. I stood up just as it had its arms around my neck, and darted. I ran headfirst into the gate, no doubt bruising my forehead, but I slipped back out of the fence and ran down the side walk. I ran and ran, and I knew it was the wrong direction. But I had to get away, I couldn’t let the thing catch me. So I kept running, even as I hit a back road in the woods.
Soon, I started to walk instead of run. I was out of breath, and it was beginning to pour. The rain hit me in huge droplets, not unlike the tears on my face.
It was still dark, and I didn't know where I was going. I didn't know my way back from where ever I was. There was rustling in the brush on my left side in the woods. I walked a little slower, listening, and something crept out on all fours in front of me.
It was black, black like the shadow. All dark and shapeless. It stood slowly, and I saw that that was exactly who it was; the shadow.
"Stop following me! Get away!!!" I sobbed. It walked up to me, and I thought I heard it making some kind of noise. It was...shushing me.
"Please, don't cry Tricky..." it said quietly. It came closer and amazingly, I stopped and wiped the tears away.
"Who are you!?" I exclaimed. The shadow shook its head and hugged me close to it.
I pushed it away roughly, "WHO ARE YOU, I SAID!?"
It didn't answer, but hug its head.
Headlights shone behind me, and the shadow darted back into the forest. I turned around to see a car slowing down as it got to me.
"Is that Patrick?" Andy asked in astonishment.
Joe screwed up his face in confusion, "What the fuck is he doing out here?" he opened the car door and stepped out.
I looked on aimlessly.
"What are you doing, Patrick?" asked Joe.
I didn't reply. I just turned and stared at the spot where the shadow had disappeared, and let out a shaky breath.
Joe sighed. "Alright...well obviously you aren't going to talk. Come on, get in the car." he said. He grabbed my arm roughly and pulled me to the car. I slid into the back seat and Joe slammed the door.
He got into the driver's side and started the car.
"How did you get out here...? Don’t tell me you walked!" Joe exclaimed.
"I...ran." I replied.
Joe and Andy exchanged a glance.
We started down the road. "Why were you out tonight?" Andy asked me. I swallowed the lump in my throat.
"I just...needed to get out." I said truthfully.
"Well you could have asked for a ride to where ever you were going! Do you realize how dark it is walking on the side of the road this late at night?" Joe asked.
"I don't know where I was going. And yes...it was so dark that....everything seemed like a shadow..."
"You gonna be alright if we drop you off at home?" Joe questioned.
"Y-Yeah..." I replied.
Back at home, I removed my jacket and examined my wrists. There was dried blood all over my arms and over the cuts. My hands were still tinted a reddish brown too. I washed them in the sink and then attended to the blood on the kitchen floor.
After that, I curled up in my bed, wishing Pete was lying next to me. I would do anything for him to have his strong arms around me right now. It was so empty without his warmth next to me. I shut my eyes, wondering about the shadow I'd seen earlier. Who had it been? Why hadn't it been exposed in the headlights? Why did it know me?
I cried myself to sleep.
And I dreamt:
I opened my eyes and I was in a room that was completely white. The walls, the floor, and the ceiling. I was the only thing in it until I turned around and saw that no, I wasn't alone.
There was Pete. He was dressed completely in black but he had gigantic white, fluffy, wings protruding from his back. My eyes widened.
"P-P-Pete...? What are you- but how- you have /wings/....?" I stammered in awe.
He smiled and nodded. I smiled back and ran to him, throwing my arms around his neck. I placed kisses all over his face, his cheeks, his chin...
"Oh, Pete, it's so good to see you!" I exclaimed. He hugged me and kissed my forehead.
"It's good to see you, too, Patrick. How are you?"
"I'm horrible without you, Pete! I can't do anything without thinking of you! I'm constantly crying and getting stomach aches...I'm a mess." I told him sorrowfully. He hugged me tighter.
"Be strong, Patrick. It's okay...I'm still around, even if you can’t see me." he reassured. I wiped tears from my eyes.
"I love you, Pete...I wish you never left me." I whispered, nuzzling his shoulder and sniffling.
Suddenly my hands started tingling. I backed out of his arms only to see flames enveloping his feet and creeping up his body slowly. He was gasping and crying.
"Patrick!!! Patrick, help!!! Help me!!" he exclaimed. I panicked. Fire was filling the room and covering his body.
"PETE!!!" I screamed.
Pete was screaming in agonized pain.
It went black.
I sat up in my bed, gasping for air. I was soaked in sweat.
I stood up stiffly and walked to the living room to adjust the room temperature. After doing so, I looked at the time. It was 9AM.
I sighed heavily and rubbed my sweat-dampened hair from my forehead.
What was I to do now? Surely I wasn’t going back to bed.
So instead, I decided to take a shower. A nice, hot, shower that might refresh me a bit.
As soon as the hot water hit my body I completely escaped. I escaped to a place where Pete and I were happily eating PB&J’s under the old tree in my backyard. I escaped to a place where we were skipping through the park in the utmost care-free manner. I escaped to a place where we had written our first album. To the place where we’d first made love. I escaped to the place that we had stayed on that night so long ago when we were so overcome with fame that we just needed to breathe. I escaped to every good time me and Pete had ever had together and suddenly everything came together.
Pete had been right when he said he’d never leave me. I still had my memories. My very fond memories that I will never forget. And no one can ever take that from me, but I can take them to the grave. It was just as Pete had told me when we released Take This To Your Grave
All of a sudden I just feld a wave of complete happiness wash over me. And I started to laugh. I just started giggling away right there in the shower as I covered myself with soap.
And I thought, ’Pete, you clever little dog! I’ve still got you in my heart.’
I washed myself off and turned the water off.
I couldn’t believe that I had, all this time, been too afraid to think of those old memories. Those memories were the key to unlocking myself from this depression.
I dried and dressed.
“You always were a believer, Pete.” I murmured into thin air. I was alone, but the room wasn’t empty. I knew Pete could see me. I knew he’d always watch over me until that one day that I’d finally meet up with him again.
“And believers never die.”