It was a long drive to Frankie’s hospital. I didn’t mind it that much. I kind of liked the time to think before I faced my husband again. I’d come to terms that he may never wake but I still hoped.
As I stopped at the traffic lights, my mobile started to buzz since I had put it on silent. I grabbed it from the passenger seat and clicked the green button.
‘Hello?’ I asked, keeping my eyes on the lights.
‘Gee. Where are you?’ My baby brother, Mikey, asked.
‘Going to see Frank. Where else would I be?’ I laughed. I went to see Frank every day after work. Rain or shine, I was there. I’d read to him, sing and sometimes even lay with him when I was allowed.
After 2 years of visiting him, most of the nurses knew me and would let me lay with him for 10 minutes.
‘I just thought that…. Since it’s the 13th…. Maybe you’d, I don’t know. Stay home? I mean, it’s a badd day to leave the house and you could jinx his chances.’ Mikey rushed out in one breath. I waited till he’d said what he had to.
‘No, Mikes. I promised I’d see him today and I will. I don’t care for the date. It’s just a day. Black Friday means nothing to me.’ I stated, pushing my foot slowly on the accelerator when the light changed to green.
‘Don’t say that, Gee. You’ll jinx yourself and crash your car. I don’t think I can handle having both of you in a coma.’ No trace of humor could be found in my brother’s voice, and I understood why. Frank had been Mikey’s best friend for a long time and then adding me into the coma ward would break him. He didn’t show it but he was broken when he found out what had happened. He stayed strong for me though, enduring my early morning calls and sitting with me when I had done stupid things.
‘Don’t worry, Mikes. I’ll be fine. I will call you when I get to the hospital. Now, I’m going to hang up unless you want to pay my fine.’
‘Talk soon, Gee.’ Mikey giggled, hanging up before I could reply. I just laughed and threw my phone back onto the passenger seat.
I made it to the hospital by 4pm, giving me 4 hours to be with Frank. Usually I had 2 hours but I was given an extra lunch break since I had been working so hard.
I parked in my usual spot, right near the doors. I gave myself an extra 5 minutes to prepare by having a cigarette. I was used to seeing Frank but it still got to me. How could anyone get used to seeing their loved one half dead?
I called Mikey briefly, telling him I was fine and I didn’t crash.
‘Hey, Gerard.’ Samantha greeted me as I stepped through the automatic doors. Sam was Frank’s main nurse, the one to bathe him, check his tubes, heart monitor and breathing machine.
‘Hey, Sam. How has your day been?’ I asked, being polite. Her days were basically the same. Show up, check the patients, lunch, bathe Frank, check his progress, paper work then talk to me. Sometimes I’d ask her how Mr. Green was. He was a cancer patient with serious problems. Not just the cancer, but mental problems.
‘Same old, same old. Franks showing some good signs, reacting to voices and all that. Thought you’d like to know.’ She said with a smile. My heart almost jumped from my chest. I’d been told that he was unresponsive a week or 2 before and that he might have to be taken to intensive care.
‘How so?’ I asked nervously.
‘His eyes flicker when someone talks, like he’s trying to respond. I was checking him one last time last night after you left and I was singing. I noticed his eyes flickering and told the doctors. They said he’s doing so much better and his chances are looking hopeful.’ A broad smile appeared on her pretty face. Like she was proud that she was the one to notice this.
‘They even took him off the Pentobarbital. The drugs should be out of his system soon.’
I pulled her into a hug, squeezing the air from her lungs. I heard her gasp and let her go.
‘Sorry. I’m just really happy. Does this mean he’ll be waking up soon?’ I asked, getting my hopes up.
‘We can’t be sure right now. The drugs have to be out of his system completely before we know anything for sure. We’ll call you if we see any major changes.’
‘Thank you, Sam. So fucking much!’ I almost cried, hugging her again then jogging off toward room 18.
I took my usual seat, the comfy leather recliner the hospital had provided for me. One thing I noticed, Frank had more colour in his face. A blush even.
‘Frankie. I know you can hear me, it’s a proven fact. I just wanted to say I love you. Always have, always will. You will wake up, I believe in you.’ I told him, stroking his hand. I watched his eyes as I spoke. They did flicker beneath his soft lids.
For 3 hours, I read to Frank. Sure, he’d read Harry Potter himself a million times but I knew he liked the books so I read those to him over and over.
‘”His hand closed automatically around the fake Horcrux, but in spite of everything, in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself, in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew he must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in 10, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Hermione.”’ I finished, closing the 6th HP book and putting it back on the bedside table that held the rest of the series.
I still had an hour till I was forced to leave so I left the room for coffee.
‘Hey.’ Sam said as I made it to the coffee machine. Hospital coffee was shit but it was better than nothing.
‘Hey. You are leaving so soon?’ I asked.
‘One more round and I can leave. How’s Frank?’
‘His eyes were moving while I was reading to him.’ I said, taking my coffee from the machine. It was lukewarm and tasted like shit but coffee was coffee so I got over it.
‘That’s good. I’ll keep you posted. Now I’ll finish my rounds and lea-‘She was cut off by her pager. I watched her tilt it and drop it again.
‘Frank!’ She gasped, turning and running towards the rooms. I dropped my coffee and followed her. She had said Frank. I didn’t know if it was my Frank or another but I had to make sure. What if he was dying? Or bleeding?
I almost slammed into a few nurses that were blocking Frank’s room. I stopped at least a millimeter behind them and peered over their heads. A doctor and 2 nurses were working on Frank. I saw no blood but that didn’t easy my worry.
‘Take the tube out!’ The doctor yelled, holding something around Frank’s throat. I felt the tears leaking into my eyes.
I saw his arms thrashing at the nurses.
“Oh god! He’s awake and dying!” I took a few steps back till my back hit the wall and slid down it, hugging my knees to my chest. I let the tears fall, soaking into my jeans.
I didn’t keep track of how long I was sitting there. I saw the nurses leave one by one but I still didn’t move.
‘Gerard?’ I heard a familiar voice call. I didn’t reply. I knew what they were going to say and I didn’t want to hear it.
‘Gerard. Come on.’ I looked up. Sam stood above me with a smile. How could she smile?!
She held out her hand and I took it, letting her pull me to my feet. She started to pull me towards Franks room but I dug my feet into the floor.
‘N-No. I can’t!’ I almost yelled, fighting against her.
‘It’s okay, Gerard.’ She whispered. I sighed and gave in. I felt too weak to fight against her. I put my head down and watched my feet move forward.
I heard someone gasp but it wasn't Sam. The sound was raspy. Like someone who hadn’t had any moisture touch their lips in a while. I opened my eyes slowly and lifted my head. The bed came into view, then the blankets that fell over the edge, a lump where a body was laying then the smiling face I had been dying to see for 2 years.
‘Frank?!’ I gasped, almost falling over my own feet. His body was tilted up on a few pillows, his face was scarred and the red marks where the breathing tube was taped to his face were vibrant but he smiled. I slowly stepped towards him, afraid I had actually snapped and imagining the whole thing.
I stood at his bedside, slowly reaching my hand towards his smooth face. My fingertips grazed his cheek and I almost died. I through my arms around his neck and hugged him as close to me as possible.
‘C-Careful, G-Gee.’ Frank rasped. I loosened my grip on him but didn’t let go. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.
‘You’re alive. I thought I’d lost you again.’ I whispered, kissing his cheek and I pulled away slightly. He looked confused. For a moment, I though he didn’t know he was in a coma but how could you not know? It was scientifically proven that coma patients can hear and they remember and dream. They can do everything…. But move…. Eat…. And anything that involves being awake and fully functional.
‘A-Again?’ He whispered.
‘They kept saying you weren’t going to wake up.’ I said, kissing his cheek.
‘But you are alive and awake and I love you so fucking much, Frankie!’ I cried onto his shoulder. I was a real emotional mess. I didn’t know how I was feeling, angry one moment, happy the next?
I clutched to Franks robe, making sure he couldn’t leave me again.
‘I-I love you t-too, Gee.’ He hugged me back, a few tears slipping from his eyes to my shirt.
‘I don’t mean to ruin the moment…. But we’re going to have to take Frank now.’ Sam said, shuffling her feet. I pushed Frank away a little, taking in his image as much as I could though the tears that flowed from my eyes.
His hair was longer, no more dye in it. Just plain chocolate brown. His tattoos were all hidden on purpose.
I saw Frank attempt to say something but caught himself. He looked me in the eye, asking to speak for him. I nodded and leant forward till his lips were at my ear.
‘W-Where are t-they t-taking me?’ He whispered, a little shake in his voice.
‘Where are you taking him?’ I repeated his question.
‘Just to down the hall so we can check him out. You know, blood pressure, heart tract…. Oh, and Gerard… will you be taking Frank home?’
I thought for a moment. Could I take him home? I mean, would he want to come home with me? We were still married but I had almost killed him.
I looked to Frank, asking him silently if he’d come home with me. He nodded, smiling wide.
‘Of course.’ I whispered.
‘Sam, could you leave for a moment? I want to talk with my husband.’ I said, not looking at her.
She didn’t reply but I heard the door close quietly.
‘I’ve missed you, Frankie.’ I whispered, looking him in the eye.
‘I c-could hear y-you, you kn-know? E-Every word you s-said, every b-book y-you read, every song y-you s-sang to me. I c-could hear y-you.’ He whispered back. I smiled, happy he heard all those words I had spoken in my darkest times. So many times I had told him I wanted to kill myself, or injure myself enough so I could be induced into a coma as well.
‘That’s a lot to remember.’ Frank touched my face, running his fingertips across my cheeks, along my jaw then let them halt at my neck, caressing my skin.
‘2 years worth of words, literature and made up songs.’ I sighed.
‘2 y-years?’ Frank asked, letting his hand drop. I nodded, watching his face drop.
‘T-that’s a r-really long t-time, G-Gee….’ I heard some hidden intentions behind his tone, like he wanted to ask but was afraid to.
‘If you’re hinting about someone else, then stop. I married you, Frankie. Through health and in sickness, I will be here for you.’ I stated, kissing his nose. His smile re-appeared.
‘I th-thought you w-would have l-left me b-by now.’ He whispered again, hanging his head a little.
‘Why would I do that? I love you, Frankie. I’m not ready for our marriage to end….. Unless…. That’s what you want.’ I almost choked. Maybe he was hinting that I should find someone else. Maybe he heard Sam and wanted to be with her.
‘Oh y-yeah, I-I’m just g-gonna wake up f-from a c-coma and l-leave m-my husband f-for n-no r-reason. I may b-be stupid, b-but I-I’m n-not that st-stupid.’ He almost giggled. I guess his throat hurt a bit. He did have a plastic tube shoved down it for 2 years.
‘I never said you were stupid, Frankie. Just a little slow at times.’ I joked.
‘Now, come on. I think you should get checked out. Then we can sit and talk forever.’
‘Promise.’ I wrapped my arms around his waist and pulled him onto my hip. He still fit perfectly.
‘W-Won’t we g-get in trouble?’ Frank asked, letting his head fall onto my shoulder.
‘It’s not up to them. Plus, you’ve been in that bed for 2 years, I think it’s time you made that step out of it.’ I smiled, kissing the top of his head.
I stopped outside the room I knew too well. Over the years, I had been admitted to the rehab clinic for my drug and alcoholic problems. Frank, on the other hand, wouldn’t be asked questions, be poked and prodded with needles and sticks. He would simply learn to walk, talk and remember.
‘Mr. Way, I don’t think that is a good idea.’ The doctor said as I walked through the open door, gesturing to Frank on my hip. Frank gripped me tighter, tightening his arms and legs.
‘I-I like i-it.’ Frank whispered, just loud enough for them all to hear. The doctor sighed and proceeded to set up the metal bars that Frank would be using.
‘Well, Mr. Way, could you please sit Frank in the chair over there?’ The doctor asked, pointing towards a large chair that sat next to a tale with all kinds of tools like needles, scalpels etc.
I tried to pull Frank from my hip but he wouldn’t let go.
‘Baby, you have to let go.’ I whispered. He just shook his head and held on tighter.
‘What’s wrong? They won’t hurt you, I promise baby.’
‘S-Stay with m-me, p-please?’ He begged.
‘I wasn't planning on leaving.’ I whispered, kissing his lips gently then setting him down in the large chair. He shifted a little, probably feeling a little exposed. He was just in a hospital robe that covered his arms, body and a part of his thighs. I wasn't sure if he had anything underneath the gown, I had never looked since I would have felt like a pervert.
‘Okay, Frank. We’re just going to take a blood sample, check your blood pressure and access your heart rate before we get you to do a few physical activities. Is that okay?’ The doctor asked, holding a needle in his hand. I took a few steps back but trying to keep close for Frank.
Frank nodded, taking in a deep breath.
The needle plunged into his skin and I broke out in a cold sweat. I had to sit down before I collapsed so I took the seat on the opposite side of the room.
After a few minutes, the doctor said it was okay for me to look again. Frank had curled into a ball on the chair, hugging his knees to his chest. I jumped from my chair and was at his in a second.
‘Baby, what’s the matter?’ I asked urgently, placing my hand on his knee.
‘I-I’m cold.’ He whispered. I breathed out in relief.
‘H-Hold me, G-Gee?’
I picked him up from the chair and sat down with him on my lap. He curled in another ball, his head on my shoulder.
The doctor and nurses finished with the medical check and asked Frank to walk. Of course, he was given the metal bars for support. I stood at the end, his prize for finishing the test.
‘Come on baby, you can do it!’ I cheered as Frank took the last steps to me. I held onto his waist as we waited for the doctors to finish writing on his progress chart. He held onto my shoulders, balancing himself since he hadn’t moved in a long time.
‘H-How long t-till I c-can leave?’ Frank asked me, shifting is feet a little.
‘I’m not sure, baby. I’ll ask later.’ I told him and he nodded.
‘Thank you, Frank. You are free to go back to your room now.’ Sam said, leaving with a smile.
‘Come on, babe. You need some rest.’ I took Franks hand, willing him to walk with me. He managed it to the door, which I was proud of, then I put him on my hip again.
‘I-I’ve s-slept for t-two years. I-I d-don’t want a-anymore!’ Frank near screamed in my ear. I was told to expect this. The emotion run Frank had in his body had to be released and he couldn’t control his emotions sometimes.
‘S-Sorry.’ He murmured.
‘It’s okay, baby. But you do need to rest. You need the strength to get better and then you can leave.’ I said as I walked down the pristine white hall.
‘I know. I j-just don’t w-want to lose you a-again.’
‘You won’t lose me, baby. I’ll be here as long as you want me… and as long as I’m allowed to stay.’ I smiled, laying him gently into his bed and pulling the covers up.
‘C-Come back t-tomorrow?’ He asked, taking my hand in his. I felt my heart swell. I was so happy to have my Frankie back.
‘Of course, baby. You don’t have to ask. Now get some sleep and be good. I love you.’ I kissed his forehead then his lips, savoring the taste that only Frank Iero could possess.
‘I-I love y-you t-too.’ He whispered, closing his eyes. I kissed his eyelids then left with one backwards glance. No matter how many times I’d seen him, my breath would always catch when he was asleep. His peaceful face, the way his lips would part slightly. Just beautiful.
Gahh! So many mistakes!