Differences are minuscule compared to the similarities that bind us together.
He wanted to be a comic book artist. He wanted his creations and ideas to come to life through artwork and stories. I wanted to be a world-renown guitarist, telling my story through solos and lyrics, changing people’s views and altering the world of rock forever.
He wanted to escape the world, live in a daydream for the rest of his life, only to come out for food and water; stay in his head, never to be bothered or ridiculed. I wanted to put myself out there, make heads turn and shove my opinions in people’s faces. I wanted people to criticize me, to hate me, to love me, to be ashamed of who they were and be proud to be themselves.
Yes, Gerard and I were different in many, many ways. But there was something strong, something undeniable and indescribable and oh, so very pleasant that made me drawn to him, to his mind and his body (yes, definitely his body.) and never want to leave his faithful side. For six years I stood by him, consoling him when the world would grow harsh to our lifestyle, climbing onto his lap to feel his arms wrap around me, tickling him when we were wrestling just so I would win, just so he would laugh.
God, that laugh… It wasn’t much of a laugh, more of a straight out giggle. A giant grin would grace his lips whenever that giggle escaped his mouth, and his cheeks would go a bit pinker and his hazel-green eyes would get a bit brighter and his teeth would shine whiter and his skin would be smoother. And that just made him all the more irresistible.
I really do miss that laugh…
And then came that day. The eleventh day of the ninth month of the first year of the twenty-first century. The day he went to pitch his Breakfast Monkey. The day the Twin Towers went down.
The meeting was cancelled, and he came home right away. The image of him standing in the doorway will scar me forever.
His lips weren’t in that familiar smirk, weren’t that normal pink. They were pale, almost his skin color. His eyes were pale, too, if that was possible. The hazel-green shimmer that I loved so much was gone, and all that was left was a dull brown, not nearly as jaw-dropping as before. That raven hair was limp, lifeless, which was weird because no matter how down Gerard would get, it would still have the radiance and life he didn’t.
That image of him standing helpless and hopeless in the doorway was worse than any horror movie I’ve seen, than any Britney Spears music video I’ve watched, any Twilight preview I’ve caught a glimpse of. It was horrifying, and I had nightmares for straight weeks.
I ran up to him, embraced him tightly, not willing to let go. He didn’t respond; he only walked forward so he could close the door behind him. We’d stayed like that for what seemed like hours on end, utter silence, and biting cold. Finally, his arms touched my waist, and I was blessed with his touch again. I bit my lip in bitter relief, thankful he had some sort of motivation in his body; enough to acknowledge me.
I’d taken us to the sofa, sat him down gently before crawling into his lap. I wrapped his arms around me a second time, timid and nervous that he would snap any second. I was ready; I knew he couldn’t stay like that forever. He’d have to crack sometime.
Surely enough, half an hour later he shed his first tear. He didn’t cry much, just a little bit; we were lucky neither one of us knew anyone in the towers. His eyes had a new hope in them; not quite shining brightly yet, but I knew he was getting there.
This next conversation I will never forget.
“Frankie… Let’s start a band.”
I had blinked, stared at him in astonishment. Gerard Way wanted to start a band? He had to have known that entailed traveling…
“Gee, I think you need your coffee.” I had gotten up and started for the kitchen, but he’d grabbed my wrist with his thin, artist’s fingers, gripping me tightly.
“No Frankie… Well okay, maybe one cup,” I smirked and went to start the machine, him following me like a lost puppy.
“But I’m serious. I mean, what is drawing a fucking monkey going to do for the world, huh? Is it going to give people hope, is it going to give a man who’s just lost his job, house and wife something to look forward to at the end of the day? Will it turn heads and cause controversy? Being an artist is still who I am, it’s still what I’m best at… But what I guess I’m trying to say is… I want to change the world Frankie. And I want you to do it with me.”
The only sound left was the quiet gurgle of the coffee maker. When it finally beeped was when I finally spoke.
“Gerard… Are you sure about this? Do you realize what this might mean? I’ve been in a lot of bands, and it’s a lot harder than it looks. Not only is it writing songs and making tunes, it’s getting gigs and popularity… Mostly it’s finding yourself… Have you done that yet?” It wasn’t an insult, and he knew that.
He’d pondered my question while I poured us two mugs, staring at me intently with a deep concentration in his eyes.
Minutes later, just as I turned around to face the machine and was about to take a sip, I felt his arms wrap around me from behind. “Yes, Frankie, I do believe I know who I am and what I want in life, and what I want to give to the world. I mean, obviously I know it won’t be easy. Worst thing’s worst, it’ll get no where and I can write comics again… But the more I think about it, the more I believe it’ll all work out in the end… Somehow, we’ll make a crash, one people won’t recover from.”
I smiled and drank my coffee for the rest of that half hour. His arms never left my waist, and his coffee went cold.
Turns out that Gerard’s feeling had been right after all. His brother, Mikey, played bass, and knew two guys; one played drums and one played guitar. The five of us met up and jammed, and it all just clicked after that.
The next few months skyrocketed and we got signed to a record label, and then an even bigger one.
Soon, we were fucking world wide.
We had fans everywhere, and I mean that. We got to go to Japan! Fucking. Japan!!
And Gerard was…ecstatic. I’d never seen him happier. Not when he’d proposed to me, not when we’d gotten unofficially married. This band… this ‘My Chemical Romance’ thing …It had saved his life, and apparently a hundred million others, as our fans so graciously told us every day we had a show.
But Gee hadn’t forgotten…
He hadn’t forgotten what started this passion.
He hadn’t forgotten what he vowed his message to be.
He hadn’t forgotten why he’d started this band.
We were playing a show in one of the largest venues in the fucking world tomorrow, and it was being broadcasted. Live. With millions upon millions of people watching. And listening.
He was going to use that to his advantage; he was going to speak, and people were going to listen.
We were on our tour bus, driving to the hotel nearest the venue when it happened.
To be honest, I don’t even remember all of what went on. All I know is that it was raining hard, thunder storming if I’m correct, and we were in a rush to finally find a hotel.
Gee had been drinking coffee, just like always, when there was a sudden stop – very sudden, I was thrown onto the floor from my top bunk – and plates and shit was thrown everywhere.
I won’t go into details; it’s hard enough for me as it is.
All you need to know is that Gee got a big fucking gash on the side of his head that bled a whole fuck of a lot. And for your benefit I’ll tell you later that night Mikey found some blood on a broken plate that had obviously been thrown from the cabinet shelf.
I remember sitting in the plastic chair next to Gerard’s hospital bed at damn near midnight, staring blankly at those poor, blue-tinted lips. He was hooked up everywhere; they even put an IV in his hand. Half of me was shocked that they were able to get it in, but then I remembered: he’d been knocked unconscious.
His heart monitor was irregular, and he’d lost a lot of blood. Like, too much for a person to keep living for much longer. Mikey was standing at the end of the bedside, our drummer, Bob, holding on from his right side, and Ray, our guitarist, clutching Mikey from his left. Tears were streaming merciless down all three faces; they knew how this would end – we all did.
Even with that knowledge, I couldn’t cry. I mean, I’d been crying for all my life.
I cried when I lost my dog Hallows in a freak car accident when I was eight.
I cried when my first acoustic guitar was chucked out the window by a drunken father, just after I’d learning how to play Iron Man.
I cried when my dad got arrested for DUI, and never had a chance to say good-bye to me or my mom because that was his twelfth time, and they decided to just fucking skip the court ruling because we all knew how it would end.
I cried when my dad’s dad died of a heart attack, and my father couldn’t come to his funeral because he was in jail.
I cried when I first told my mom I was gay, and she disowned me and sent me to live with my uncle in Belleville.
I cried when Gerard and I had our first fight, and I cried for every fight after that.
So you see, I’ve done a whole hell of a lot of crying in my day. I just didn’t have it in me to cry at Gerard’s broken bedside, even if he was covered in needles and hooked up to everything and anything and looking sicker than ever and slowing losing his life to some freak, out-of-proportion accident.
That night Gerard died.
He never woke up to say good-bye.
He never woke up to play that show.
The next day, we didn’t cancel the show; we made all of our songs instrumentals. In Gee’s honor, the four of us each read a bit of Gerard’s speech. I was the only dry-eyed human in the room.
So yes, Gerard and I always had our differences. But differences are minuscule compared to the similarities that bound us together.
Gerard Arthur Way
1977 – 2009
So long and