1.to eat or wear away gradually as if by gnawing, especially by chemical action. 2.to destroy gradually; to consume
They say it runs in families, you know? Yeah, it's just inside you, ticking away, like a time bomb, waiting to pounce, at any time. Running through your blood, clouding your every thought, and you don't even know what it is, what's got you, what's inside you.
Until you take that very first sip.
And for some reason, it doesn't burn your mouth like it does the mouths of your friends, spluttering on some cheap ass beer they paid the older kids to give them. For some reason, you're immune. You can chug the whole fucking bottle. And when they throw up, you ask, "Is there more?"
I took my first drink when I was six, a full seven years before you took your first drink. You would've been nine, I think.
It's not like, y'know, I was some drunken six-year-old. It's not like that at all. It was just, I was so fucking thirsty, and you wouldn't go to the gas station to buy sodas with me. You called me a 'fucking annoying little asshole'. I don't think you meant that to start all this, but it made me cry. Made me hurt inside. But I was still thirsty.
And then I saw dad, passed out on the couch again. He had it in his blood too. And next to him, half-finished, was a glass, filled with what looked like Coke. And I was so thirsty, that even though dad told us not to drink ANY of his drinks ever, I took a tiny sip. It tasted funny, tasted sweet and bitter and burning all at once. I spluttered, but drank the rest of it.
My first drink, ever, at the age of six. Rum and Coke. I didn't vomit or anything, I just got weird and happy. So fucking happy. Well, not exactly happy. I don't really remember happy, I just remember, for the first time, not feeling ANYTHING. I was numb, for the first time ever.
I liked that.
After that, I'd always sneak sips of dad's drinks, when he wasn't looking. For years, I didn't know what was in them, but just that if I drank some, or a little bit more, a bit more, a little, teeny tiny smidge more, I'd feel that glorious numbness. Everything just kind of, melted away.
Nothing mattered. Not the kids who made fun of me at school. Not the bullies who beat me up, for being related to you. Yes, YOU. You're the reason. I know, it's terrible, me blaming you for this. For my problem. But it was you. They couldn't, or wouldn't, touch you, beat you up, as easily they did me. And unlike YOU, I couldn't just GO to a different school. No, I had to stay there, and face their torments. Their beatings. Their hatred. All of which belonged to you.
But I don't blame you. Because, without you, maybe I wouldn't have found that glorious little substance in a bottle that possessed all that power to make me feel...nothing. Yes. That wondrous nothing I could achieve through it.
So I drank, secretly. For years. Years and years, before you even got the idea into that pretty little head of yours. I remember, Mom and Dad used to have these horrific fights about it. About the "family problem", which was, of course, YOU. You've always been the "family problem". Our whole lives, as kids, it seemed like everything hinged on YOU. Gerard this. Gerard that. Blah blah blah.
And Mom and Dad, who both had enough bottles hidden around the house to stock a liquor store, would fight and fight and fight about your little "drinking problem". You'd be hunched over, elbows on your knees, staring sullenly up at them, black hair falling in your eyes, as they fought back and forth over you. And the whole time, I'd be crouched thirty feet away in the hall, sipping brandy that Mom stashed between the blues and the whites in the linen closet.
And you never suspected. No one ever suspected. Ever. Never ever ever. Never. I mean it. Never. I'd go to school with a water bottle of Kool-Aid and wine, and sip it all day, and no one was the wiser. Even in those younger days, when I didn't even hide the smell with deodorant, cologne and gum.
Some nights, in our teen years, you'd come home, reeking of cheap vodka and stagger drunkenly into my room, collapse on my bed and pull me to your chest. "Don't be like me," you'd sob/slur into my ear, breath stinking like vomit, "Don't be like me Mikes. You're too good for this shit."
And you wouldn't even notice that most of those nights, I was drunker than you were. Didn't notice the bottle of Bacardi I'd stashed behind my bed, or the flasks of Cuervo I kept in the bedside drawer, or even the mouthwash bottle I kept full of flavored wines.
And that's how it went on, just like that. No one ever noticed. Ever. They were always so fucking focused on Gerard, they forgot little ol' Mikey tipping back bottles in the corner.
The only difference there's ever been between you and I in that regard is I'm just better at hiding it. And I've had a lot more practice. Gum, deodorant, cologne, lotions, body sprays, anything to hide the smell. Eyedrops and glasses, so no one ever saw my eyes. No one ever bothered to ask why I refused to get contacts. I barely spoke, so you'd never hear my voice slur. I walked slowly, so you never saw me stumble. You never saw anything. And you never even fucking bothered to look.
When we formed a band, nothing changed. Nothing. Except your drinking. That increased. A lot. Mine did too. But once again, all eyes on Gerard. No one look at Mikey. No one pay any mind.
I kept alcohol, any kind of alcohol, within arms reach of wherever I went. A flask in my pockets, bottles hidden in my suitcase, under the seats, behind the food, in my bass case. Anywhere that worked, I had something hidden.
I drank constantly. So fucking much. Every beverage got at least a two-shot infusion, every second I could wiggle away, I downed at least a mouthful. Gum became my best friend. We drifted apart, but that's okay. We were both too drunk to notice. And no one noticed me. Only you.
There were days, Ray or Frank would come to me, begging me to help them get you to move or something. You'd passed out, you were being uncooperative, something. And only your baby brother, who you adored, could do anything. I remember helping to drag you into the van, drunker than you were.
I was drunk during your intervention. Bet you didn't know that, did you? I was so fucking drunk, I could barely see. They thought I was so choked with emotion, there were tears in my eyes. My slurring was because I was in such emotional turmoil.
Bullshit. I was so numb right then, I couldn't feel a word I was saying. And I don't even remember what you said to me.
And then, you got clean. Quit drinking, quit drugging, quit whatever. Everyone was so fucking pleased with you, as if you'd just fucking won some kind of medal. Like proud parents of the retarded child who'd finally learned to shit in the toilet and not on the carpet.
And still, I drank. I drank and drank and drank and drank. And sometimes, at my most sober, which was rapidly progressing to not very sober at all, I'd laugh a little. I had to. Because, really, it was fucking hysterical. Everyone just thought I was this shy little guy who didn't talk because he was shy. I didn't do much, because I was shy.
They don't know the real me. Nobody knows the real me anymore. Not even you, I don't think. The real Mikey, he started dying when I was six fucking years old. The real Mikey started dying a slow, painful death at the hands of the overwhelming numbness that drunk Mikey needs to survive. Piece by piece, bit by bit, sober Mikey kind of vanished. Drunk Mikey, that's the Mikey you all know.
And he's not a bad guy, right? People like this Mikey. YOU like this Mikey it seems. This Mikey, he suits you. He's the Mikey that should've come in the first place. Quiet Mikey. Shy Mikey. Good little boy Mikey. If I'm this, it means you get to bask in the attention, get to suck any of the stray eyes your way. You can have everyone totally focused on you, because your baby brother is so drunk he can't even think.
Sometimes, I just have to ask myself, "How can they not see? How can they not know?", but then I realize, Ray and Frank, Bob and Brian, how could THEY know? I already said, they don't know real Mikey. The only person who knows is you.
Why then, Gerard, Gee, big brother, don't you see? Why don't you know?
How can you not see me dying right in front of you? How do you not even fucking see that I'm swallowing poison every second of every day? That I'm being gnawed alive from the inside by this?
They say it runs in families. They say this addiction, this need, this whatever, runs in the blood of family members. I share blood with you. I share a band with you. I share my life with you. I share this disease with you.
And if you can't help me. If you can't save me. If you can't notice me, dying, right here.
Then one thing we won't share in is my destruction from this.
I'm being eaten alive, Gerard.
Please, just fucking notice me.
Before I disappear completely.
Just fucking notice me.
Thanks so much for reading! Hope you enjoyed and would leave a review or two. I'm torn between leaving this as a one-shot or adding more chapters. Let me know what you'd like! :)