I glanced up from my cereal bowl - which had been the centre of my attention for several minutes – to find the clock declaring 8:30. I sighed, and tried to dectect signs of movement from Mikey’s room, but like everyday for the last month, there was nothing but silence.
‘Mikes! You’re late for schoooooooool!’ I yelled up the stairs, a bit of stray milk running down my chin. There was a pause until a grunt of recognition sounded, and slow footsteps made their way downstairs.
My brother (or the shell of him) wandered into the lounge. His hair was in complete disarray and bruise-like purple hollows lay underneath his eyes, which looked red from crying. His skin was pale, and even under his jacket I could see how thin he was. My heart twisted in pain, how could I see him like this?
‘Mikes,’ I whispered softly, trying to reach out to my brother. His gaze met mine, eyes dead, looking past me. Without a word, he turned and left, the door closing with a resolute ‘snick’. That was it. I was getting to the bottom of this.
Discarding my beloved cereal, I headed upstairs. I slipped through his door, and stopped in shock. All his posters had been ripped down, leaving only faint marks of blu-tack. Without them, his room looked awful, bare and with no personality. It was like he’s never been there. I stepped in, feeling terrified to what I might find. What even was I trying to find? I wasn’t sure, but I knew there must be something. I sat at the familiar desk, the chair squeaking as I lowered my weight.
I hesitated, gathering my breath before opening the top drawer. It was empty. I exhaled, half in disappointment and half in relief. I closed it sharply and yanked open the second one. It too was empty. I stuck my hand in and fumbled around, feeling nothing but the coarse wood. As I pulled out my hand, it brushed past a small object. The contact sent my heart pounding, and I slowly pulled out what seemed to be a small, black notebook. Staring at it momentarily, and seriously debating to put it back and go downstairs, denying that I ever invaded his privacy. I had to read it though. Concern for my brother was drowning out all morals. I slowly opened the cover, recoiling as if it would burn me. It revealed plain paper, to my disdain. I flicked to the second page, which was crammed with the familiar scrawl of my brother’s writing. I took another deep breath, and began to probe into my brothers thoughts;
"I’m not me anymore. I am the names they call me, I am the bruises they give me, the poisonous thoughts clouding my head. Everything they do, is crushing me deeper into this, but all they do is nowhere near what I can do to myself - what I think about myself.
I’ve never felt more alone, but I pretend to Frank, it’s easy to lie over e-mail.. Just a ‘(:’ and lies about my day covers it, but it’s getting more difficult, my lies wearing thin and over used. I feel like I’m running out of time, until what’s left of my friends leave me, bored of my silence, or until Gerard confronts me about this whole thing, or until Frank moves on.
I am empty. I feel nothing – no, I feel everything. Every look, insult, snigger and rumor behind my back. Each is pushing me further. The days are relentless terrors, never giving up. I’m going to snap soon, I know it. I need help, but from who? No one cares. The only person that does is miles away, leaving a new life without me. Gerard would be willing to help, of course he would, but what can I say? ‘Yes Gee, that’s right. Your little faggot brother is in the darkest pit of suicidal depression. He hasn’t eaten in days and gets his ass handed to him everyday by a bunch of douches at his piss-poor excuse for a school. You proud of me?’
I don’t want anyone worrying about me and my problems. So I’m going to carry on. Pretending to smile for Frank, ignoring Gerard’s attempts to help me, as much as I want to crawl into his arms and tell him everything.. I will carry on. My life a lie."
I read and read until my eyes blurred with tears, obscuring the pages and it’s deadly writing. I knew, I knew things were bad, but this? This? I’ve been blind. My hands were shaking and limp, causing the book to land on the floor with a thump. My mind was racing, tears streaming. I bent to pick up the book, daring myself to read more, but as I did something caught my eye. Mikey. He was standing motionless in the doorway, staring at me, panic wild in his eyes.
‘Shit.’ He breathed, dropping his bag and edging out the door.
‘Mikey don’t – please. I can help you, I can try. Please don’t go, I can’t let you leave knowing you feel like this. I’ve..I’ve been so blind.’ My voice broke and I stood up, stepping towards him. I grabbed his wrists, wincing at how thin they felt, how cold. ‘Just let me try to help.’ I looked at him pleadingly, but he didn’t return the gaze. Tears were gathering in this eyes, and the looked at his feet despairingly.
‘No one can help me anymore.’ With surprising strength he yanked his arms free and collapsed on his bed, not even mustering the energy to leave the house. I sat down next to him, unwilling to leave him alone.
‘Mikey, that’s not true, I can help – or at least try to. Frank can help, we love you.’ At the mention of Frank his eyes snapped open and glared at me, a look I hadn’t seen often before...
‘Tell Frank and I swear to God I’ll kill you.’ He closed his eyes again and fell silent.
I leant to kiss his cheek. ‘You’re not alone, Mikes. Never.’
I left the room, leaving my brother to sleep. After all, sleep is the only escape.
R+R? Thanks for reading, my lovelies.