“What the hell has a cheese sandwich got to do with your divorce?”
It’s dark here. And quiet. Way too quiet. Shit, why is it so quiet? The cold air burns my skin, I can’t move. I want to but I can’t. Something’s coming. I try to move my feet but they’re glued to whatever the hell I’m standing on. I can’t run, can’t breath, can’t even find the courage to scream...
Gerard sat up in bed, drenched in ice cold sweat. His heart hammering against his ribcage he cast a look quickly around the bedroom. There was nothing there.
“Goddammit!” he heard LynZ sit up at once, bumping her head against the headboard. Swearing inwardly, she rubbed the back of her head, frowning as she looked over at her shivering husband. “Dreams again?”
He nodded briefly and rubbed his eyes. She put a steadying hand on his back, leaving it there until the shaking subsided. “You wanna tell me what it was about?”
He shook his head, gulping down lungfulls of air. “Nothing,” he managed to gasp finally. “Go back to sleep.”
He closed his eyes and wiped sweaty strands of hair off of his forehead. LynZ watched him awkwardly, at a loss for what to do or say. “How can I when I know that you can’t?” she asked.
He lay down beside her and put his head on her shoulder. She kissed the top of it and snaked an arm around him. His skin was cold.
“The dreams are my problem,” he said. “Not yours.”
“But I’m your wife,” she sighed for what felt like the millionth time. “I’ve got the right to know what you’re dreaming about.”
He grinned up at her mischievously. “Only if the dreams are about you.”
She smacked him playfully across his bare chest. He laughed and planted a kiss on her jaw. “Sleep now.”
Glancing at the alarm clock on the bedside table next to her, she groaned. “No point now,” she said, propping herself up onto her elbows. “Gonna have a shower.”
Gerard watched her get up, yawning and cross into the ensuite bathroom as he waited for his heart to slow down. Damn, what a dream. He’d had it before, nearly nightly prior to marrying LynZ and having Bandit. He’d thought they had stopped. Yet never had it seemed so vivid in the past, so real...
He let his head fall into his hands and the room stopped spinning. He heard the water splash across the tiles of the shower, heard Bandit waking up, heard a television set switching on in a house nearby. He started to breath normally.
“Hey, is everything set for the get-together-thing tonight?” LynZ’s voice called from the bathroom.
“That’s tonight?” Gerard answered wonderingly. “I dunno...what else needs doing?”
“Well, food can take care of itself,” she replied. “But I was also thinking maybe...”
Gerard wasn’t listening. He had completely forgotten about the little “get-together-thing” that was sure to blow into a gigantic house party if word got out that he and his wife were supposed to be hosting that night. All to celebrate the success of one album. Well, he supposed they did need something to celebrate, what with Frank and Jamia’s recent divorce. He hadn’t seen Frank properly since.
Coming out of his reverie he realised LynZ was still in full flow. “Sorry, what was that?”
“I said that it might be fun if we all had some kinda game to play,” she yelled. “Like...Spin The Bottle or 7 minutes In Heaven or whatever.”
Gerard raised an eyebrow. Since having Bandit his wife had become obsessed with playing games recently. It was either cards or scrabble or hide and seek if she was feeling particularly impish. Must be a mother’s thing, he thought to himself.
“Erm...okay,” he said. “We can do that.”
At that moment Bandit chose to emit a high pitched cry that pierced Gerard’s ears with an intensity that threatened to knock him over. Hands over his ears, he hurried into her bedroom and lifted the squealing infant out of the crib. Holding her securely against his shoulder he shushed her until the cries subsided into gurgling giggly noises before steadily carrying her downstairs and into the kitchen where he filled up her bottle with warm milk and gave it to her. Just as he was burping her against his chest the phone rang and he put her in her high chair before hurrying to answer it.
“Hey, who is it?” he answered.
“Hey dude,” Frank’s reply came crackling through the receiver. “What’s up?”
Gerard’s face broke into a smile. It had been a long time since he’d heard his friend’s voice.
“Well, in the past 5 minutes that I’ve been up I’ve managed to rob a bank, assassinate the president and blow up the Eiffel Tower,” he joked. His smile grew wider at the sound of Frank’s laugh. He hadn’t heard him laugh in a long time either. “What about you?” he added, his tone growing serious. “How’re things?”
“Pretty good actually,” Frank replied heavily. “Not managed quite as much as you have just now but I managed to look at a cheese sandwich without bursting into tears.”
“What the hell has a cheese sandwich got to do with your divorce?”
“Nothing at all,” said Frank. “But it’s a start, right? Listen, I’m coming to your party thing tonight.”
Gerard was taken aback. He’d invited both Frank and Jamia along with the rest of the band and Jamia had responded straight away with her texted “Yes.” He tried hard to cover his surprise as he said “Really? You sure?”
“Yeah,” said Frank. “No point in hiding from everything right? Raise your voice ever single time and all that.”
“Does Jamia know?”
“Nope,” Frank’s voice contorted with sadistic humour. “I wanna watch her face when I walk through the door. I can imagine it now. Shock. Then disbelief. Then acceptance. Then anger. And finally disappointment when her fist fails to connect with my skull.”
“Jeez Frank, what did you do?”
“Nothin’ at all,” he said sharply. “Anways, I’m coming to your house tonight whether you want me or not. Even if you don’t let me in I’ll gatecrash like the juvenile child she thinks I am. Let her have the satisfaction of thinking she’s right for a change.”
“Of course I want you to come,” said Gerard hurriedly. “Wouldn’t be the same without you. I’m just surprised. Surprised and pleased. And proud. I’m really proud of you, Frank. That’s some crazy shit you’re smoking otherwise you’re made of strong stuff.”
“Yeah well,” he could just see him grinning over the phone. “Gotta start again somewhere, right? Be seeing ya, dude.”
“And you,” Gerard returned before hanging up the receiver. He was actually filled with grudging admiration for his friend, however badly Jamia claimed he had treated her. There were two sides to every story after all and he was pretty sure he’d be hearing both of them that evening.
He looked around to see Bandit clapping at something only a kid her age could see and gave an exasperated smile. It was gonna be one helluva rough night.