Mikey tells Gerard about their grandma's visit and what he believes it meant.
Mikey sat the coffee cups down. “Here, it’s nice and strong.”
Gerard opened his eyes and sat up. “Thanks” he muttered.
Once seated across the table Mikey spoke, “Gee, tell me what happened in Savannah.”
“I told you already. I found her and forced her to come back with me.”
Mikey took a sip of his brew then shook his head, “Gee, please. I want to understand.”
Gerard sighed trying to let go of the anger that filled his heart. “When I got there she was in the office. I told her I needed to talk to her alone.” He took a deep drag before continuing, “Shit, I had rehearsed in my head what I was going to say so many fuckin’ times. I’m such an idiot. I really believed all I had to do was tell her I loved her and it would all be okay.”
“So you told her?” Mikey asked.
“Yeah, I told her. I fuckin’ told her everything. I told her something I’ve never told anyone else hoping she would understand that was why I had acted like I did.”
Mikey gave him a surprised look, “You told her something about your marriage I’m guessing.”
Gerard looked down into his coffee cup, “Yeah.” He whispered.
Mikey realized that whatever Gerard had shared with Willow was something his brother had not told him. He’d always known something had gone terribly wrong in his brother’s marriage to cause him to turn so bitter, to be so hurt. The fact that he had told Willow showed how much he loved her. “So what happened when you told her?” Mikey asked softly.
Gerard gripped his coffee mug tightly because his hands were shaking. “She started crying and I really thought she was crying for me, you know? I thought she was crying cause she understood what had caused me to close off my heart.”
“Gee, I don’t understand.” Mikey said sadly.
When he looked up Gerard’s face was pale, his eyes lifeless. “About what happened in my marriage?”
“That’s not important.” Gerard said looking back down.
“I think it is. I want to understand.”
Gerard looked up again but this time his face was contorted with pain, “Fine. You want to know? My wife hated me so much she aborted our baby. She never loved me and finally was done pretending.”
“Oh fuck.’ Mikey uttered, “I’m sorry.”
Anger fueled his words, “Yeah, well so now you know. My wife didn’t want my baby and she didn’t want me” He paused then continued letting all the pain and anger out. “No, that’s not true. She wanted me for some things. She wanted me for what I could do for her but she fuckin’ didn’t want my baby.”
Mikey’s heart was heavy now that he finally understood his brother’s pain and the consequences that pain had caused. What had happened had caused his brother to change. It had wounded him so deeply he’d grown bitter. He spoke softly.” And you think that Willow used you too.” Mikey said beginning to understand.
“She did use me.” Gerard spat. “She wanted a baby and she got one.”
Mikey shook his head, “Gee, no. Willow loves you. You have to know that.”
“No, I don’t know that.”
“But how could you not know?”
Gerard took another deep drag filling his lungs with smoke. “If she loved me she never would have left me.”
“Gee, she believed she was in love with someone who didn’t love her. How many times did you make it clear you would never love again? Fuck, you told her you didn’t love her.”
“I may have said it but she had to know the truth. I mean even though she couldn’t hear my thoughts when we touched she had to have heard them at other times. Shit, I was lying when I spoke but in my head…” he trailed off and blinked rapidly. “She had to have heard the truth. She just had to have known.”
Mikey was beginning to understand just how things had gone so terribly wrong. He knew he had to make his brother understand. “Gee, I have to tell you something.” He took a deep breath, “Willow can’t hear your thoughts at all.”
Gerard frowned, “What are you talking about? The only time she couldn’t hear my thoughts was when we were touching.”
Mikey shook his head, “No, that’s not true. Once you and she became intimate she couldn’t hear your thoughts at all. Nothing.”
Gerard digested the information slowly, “How do you know that?”
“She told me.” Mikey admitted.
“Why didn’t she tell me?” Gerard said struggling to understand.
Mikey took another sip of coffee then tried to explain, “Gee think about it. When we first met Willow it was obvious she considered her ability to hear people’s thoughts a curse. Remember how she said that most of the time you wouldn’t want to hear what people are really thinking?” When he saw Gerard nod he continued, “But then she met all of us and suddenly her abilities, the things that had made her feel like a freak, changed into something different. She was with us, we knew the truth and still we were her friends. For the first time in her life people truly knew the truth about her and accepted her.”
Gerard snuffed out his cigarette while considering his brother’s words. “Yeah, I understand that. I get that. But that doesn’t explain why she’d lie to me about hearing my thoughts.”
Mikey sighed, “I’ve thought a lot about that and I think I understand. Willow finally had what she’d always wanted. She had friends who accepted her. She had a man who she loved, a man who knew about her abilities. She didn’t want to lose that.”
“But why would me knowing she couldn’t hear my thoughts change that?”
“She was afraid, Gee. Can’t you get that?”
Gerard shook his head, “No, I don’t get it.”
Mikey took another drink of coffee before speaking, “Gee, Willow knew that you believed that the only time she couldn’t hear your thoughts was when you touched her. She was afraid that if you knew the truth things would change between the two of you. She admitted to Ray that she felt so pathetic because she was afraid you’d stop touching her if you knew the truth.”
“What?” Gerard pulled out another cigarette but halted before he could light it. “You’re saying Ray knew too?”
“Willow told him.” Mikey explained. “She broke down and told him that day at the Paramour when Brian arrived. She was so upset when he found her out in the garden that she told him the truth.”
“Fuck.” Gerard muttered then flipped open lighter. He took a deep drag trying to make sense of everything. “So she can’t hear my thoughts at all, any time?”
Mikey shook his head, “No.”
“That means that when I walked into that office in Savannah and sat down in front of that deck she couldn’t hear anything I was thinking.”
It was obvious to Mikey that Gerard was beginning to understand, “That’s right. She couldn’t hear that you were thinking how much you loved her.”
For several minutes the brothers sat in silence each lost in thought.
“How could she ever think I’d not want to touch her?” Gerard finally whispered.
Mikey smiled sadly. “Gee, think about it. Think about her life. Until we met her she believed the only person that had ever truly loved her was her aunt. The way her parents treated her fucked her up. She had no one and then she met all of us.” He added softly, “And then she met and fell in love with you and I believe that in her mind she didn’t want the time you two had together to change. She didn’t want anything to happen that would change what you two had.”
When he reached for his coffee cup Gerard noticed his hands were shaking. He gripped it tightly and took a long drink while letting everything Mikey had said filter through his brain. “But why did she get pregnant? She told me she deliberately did it.”
“I honestly don’t know, Gee.” Mikey admitted.
Gerard still could not let go of the anger. “None of this changes the fact that she deceived me.”
“And you deceived her.” Mikey said looking him straight in the eye, “You let her believe that you could never love her.”
His hardened heart still refused to soften, “So maybe because she believed I’d never love her she decided to get back at me. You know do something that would benefit her in the long run.”
Mikey sat back and crossed his arms with an angry look. “That’s really what you think?” He challenged.
“Yeah” Gerard replied noting his brother’s anger but refusing to let go of his own.
Mikey shook his head and took a deep breath, “So that must mean you question grandma’s love for you too?”
Gerard gave him a shocked look, “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Gee, grandma brought Willow into our lives. Do you honestly believe she would have done that if there was even the slightest possibility Willow would hurt you?”
“But she used Willow to save you that night.” Gerard answered refusing to consider Mikey’s question.
“Yeah, she did. Willow saved my life that night.” He said softly. “But Willow wasn’t with us just for me and you know that. If that was true why would Grandma show me Willow alone crying after she’d left us? Grandma wanted you to find her. Grandma knew you needed to find her.”
Gerard sat in stunned silence for several minutes while he considered Mikey’s words. Finally he said, “Maybe grandma was wrong.”
Mikey tried to take a calming breath but it didn’t help. He knew what he was going to tell his brother could possibly damage their relationship but in his heart he knew it had to be said. “Gee, I saw Grandma tonight right before you called.”
Gerard’s head shot up, “What? You saw her? What did she want? Did you understand?”
Mikey uncrossed his arms and sat back. “Yeah, I get it now. I understand what she was showing me but at first I was just fuckin’ confused.”
“Well what was it?” Gerard asked.
Mikey thought a moment before answering. “I wish I could really explain to you what it’s like. I clear my mind and suddenly there are so many images. They come so fast that sometimes you just start to comprehend one when another shoots through.”
Gerard sat up straighter, “What was she showing you? What were the images?”
Mikey smiled sadly, “They were all images of you and grandma together. Some of them I recognized because I remembered them. Some were things I’d never seen.”
Gerard was struggling to understand, “Images of me and grandma? Like what?”
Closing his eyes Mikey began to recall the images. “I saw you and Grandma sitting at the kitchen table. You were painting with that art set she bought you. Grandma was smiling as she watched you.”
Gerard’s head was suddenly filled with the memory. “I remember. She was telling me that someday I would be a well known artist.”
Mikey continued, “I saw you and grandma at that art supply store. That one down by the school?”
Gerard nodded, “Oh yeah. She used to take me there all the time and buy me supplies.”
Keeping his eyes closed Mikey continued to recall the images, “I saw you and grandma sitting at the piano. I saw the two of you walking together at an art show, I saw you both at the schools art exhibit. She was looking at that painting you did for the show.”
Gerard frowned, “Oh you mean the one that didn’t win. I remember grandma telling me that the judges had been wrong. That I should have won.”
Mikey opened his eyes. “Of course she did.”
Gerard was so lost in the memories he didn’t hear the tone of his brother’s voice. “What else?”
“I saw her smiling up at you, watching you on the stage at Maxwell’s.”
“Oh.” Gerard said softly, “The only show she saw of the band.”
Mikey nodded, “Yeah, I even saw her sitting alone sewing that fuckin’ Peter Pan costume. I saw how much she loved you.”
This time the tone of his brother’s voice reached his brain. “Mikey what’s wrong? Did she show you something else?”
Mikey needed time to get his emotions under control. “Mostly she just showed me images of the two of you together. She was showing me how much she loved you.”
“Bro, Grandma loved both of us.” Gerard said suddenly believing he heard a slight tone of jealousy in his brother’s words.
Mikey smiled sadly, “I know that. Gee. The last image she showed me was a memory that I always keep in my heart. It’s the one I always think of when I think of grandma.”
“I don’t understand.” Gerard said, “Why did she show you those things?”
Mikey had been dreading this moment. “Because she wanted me to understand something.”
Gerard stared at him waiting.
“Gee, sometimes you act like grandma only belonged to you. How many times in interviews do you talk about her only occasionally saying ‘me and Mikey’s grandma’? It’s like she was only your grandma, your protector, your biggest fan.”
Gerard’s eyes narrowed, “No, I don’t.”
“Yeah, you do.” Mikey prepared himself for the anger he was sure his brother was going to vent. “You really do.”
“Well if I do I can’t help it. Grandma was always there for me. She was always there when I needed someone.”
“She was.” Mikey agreed softly. “In her eyes you could do no wrong.”
“And you think that was wrong?” Gerard challenged.
Mikey looked down into his almost empty coffee cup. “I think grandma realizes it was wrong.” He whispered.
Gerard could see his brother was trying to keep his emotions under control so he tried to hold his anger, “You don’t think she should have always been there for me?”
Mikey looked up and blinked several times before speaking, “Gee, please don’t get mad about what I’m going to say but I have to say it.”
There was no expression on Gerard’s face. “Go ahead, say what you really think.”
Mikey took a deep breath, “I think grandma was trying to let me know that she realizes what she did, even though done with love, caused something wrong to happen.”
“Wrong?” Gerard repeated. “I don’t understand.”
“What I’m saying isn’t done with jealousy.” Mikey needed to make him understand, “I know how close you and grandma were. You were her favorite.”
Gerard interrupted him, “Mikey, grandma loved you just as much as me.”
“I know.” Mikey nodded, “I really do. But that doesn’t change that fact that you two were closer than me and grandma. I think in you she saw so much talent, so much potential and she didn’t want you to waste that. But I think that because she doted on you so much it sorta went wrong.” When Gerard didn’t speak he continued, “She spent so much time with you, always supporting everything you did. I remember that art show. She told you that you’d been robbed. That you should have won first prize. She was always telling you shit like that.”
It was hard for Gerard hold his temper but he tried, “So you think she spoiled me and in turn I became a spoiled adult?”
Unfortunately this was what Mikey had been afraid of. He’d been afraid this was how Gerard would take what he was saying. “Gee, she did spoil you. But she did it out of love. She did what she thought was right. She pushed you and praised you constantly.”
Gerard was shocked by this whole turn in the conversation. “Just spit it out. Tell me what it is you’re trying to say.”
This time Mikey couldn’t blink away the tears so he rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand, “Gee, your pain is not deeper than anyone else’s pain. Your hurt not any worse than anyone else’s hurt. Grandma’s actions made you believe you were special and you are but….”
Slowly Gerard began to understand. “But not any more special than anyone else.”
Mikey spoke quickly, “That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just trying to say that I understand now what happened with your marriage. It was fuckin’ brutal what she did but Gee…people get hurt and they move on. Your pain isn’t so deep that you can’t move on.”
“It isn’t anymore special than anyone else’s pain.” Gerard said softly.
Mikey felt his heart drop. He thought he’d messed up everything he wanted to say. “Shit, I’ve fucked this all up. I’m sorry.” He wiped his eyes again and looked down.
Gerard sat looking at him completely lost in thought. When he spoke his voice shook with emotion. “Mikey, I love you.”
Mikey looked up, shocked.
The smile Gerard gave him was sad, “I understand what you’re saying.” He said before looking down.
Minutes passed in silence. Mikey hoped with all his heart his brother truly did understand and Gerard continued to think about all Mikey had said. It was Gerard who finally broke the silence. “What image did she show you that was your best memory of you and her together?”
Mikey felt fresh tears threaten his eyes but this time they were not wrought in sadness. This time they came with fresh hope.