Gia Way is the daugher of rockstar Gerard Way. Having to deal with her mother's death at a young age and father's addiction to drugs and alcohol, Gia's life is far from perfect.
Most people don’t remember anything that happened when they were the size of a foam extinguisher. But I do.
The story I’m about to tell you starts when I was only four years old. And even before that age, I knew something wasn’t right with my mother. I knew it from her smile. When she smiled to me I knew she didn’t mean it. She was never genuinely happy. And I remember every single detail from that day when I last saw her alive.
My mother and father were never really together. Even when she found out she was pregnant with me, they decided that they would raise me together, but that was all. They never loved each other. I was the result of one night’s pleasure, a mistake. But both of my parents always made sure I understood that I meant the world to them, that they loved me even though they didn’t love each other.
That day my mother seemed even more stressed than usual. Even when she was preparing breakfast for me, she kept checking the clock, every now and then forgetting what she had just done.
By the time she set the scrambled eggs in front of me, it was badly burned and heavily spiced, but I didn’t say a word. I ate my food quietly, in fear that she might snap and start crying. She did seem like she was about to cry, and every now and then she looked at me with sadness and pity in her eyes.
After I was done eating, she took the plate from me and told me to go put my jacket and shoes on. She said we’ll go visit daddy.
I did as I was told and soon after I was all dressed, my mother came out of my room, carrying a duffle bag and her purse. Even though I asked what was in the bag, she didn’t answer.
The ride to dad’s house was silent, me afraid to say anything and mother choking back tears and trying to see the road.
At dad’s house she made me wait outside the door, but I could still hear the conversation between them.
“Gerard, you have to take her tonight!”
“I told you I can’t! If you had called earlier I could have but now it’s too late.”
“But it’s urgent, I really have to go to work and I already promised that I would go.”
“Stella, I said no. I can’t. You know I love to spend time with her but I just can’t tonight.”
“Why not? What can be more important than your daughter?”
“I’m meeting the band and it’s really important, okay? And besides, it’s your turn to have her!”
I remember that I wasn’t hurt one bit. I probably should have been, though. Mother could have taken me to work with her, she had done it before. And dad just could have canceled the meeting, he’d done that before too. But for some reason neither of them wanted me to stay with them that day.
Mother finally gave up and came out of the house, closing the door. She gave me a small, sad smile and kneeled down so we were face to face. The bags under her eyes due to being stressed and not sleeping and the wrinkles caused by heavy smoking made her look older than she really was. Her hair used to be silky and fiery red, now it seemed faded and was in desperate need of conditioner.
“Honey, you can just stay here. Your father will let you in eventually, he’s a little busy right now. But I really can’t let you come to work with me tonight, I’m sorry. You’ll understand. I promise I’ll explain everything later”, she said to me, and I nodded. I sat down on top of my bag and my mother readjusted the scarf around my neck. It was January so the weather was cold, but I could deal with it. She hugged me one more time and then walked to her car.
If I knew that that was the last time I’ll ever see her, I would’ve ran after her and begged her not to go. But I couldn’t know. So I just sat there and waved to her before she pulled out of the drive way.
And there I was.
An hour passed. I was freezing, but my father had sounded angry previously when he and mother argued, so I didn’t want to knock on the door. And besides, mother said he was busy and will let me come in when he’s ready. So I waited.
Another hour passed before the door finally opened. My father stepped out, locking the door behind him. He didn’t look that happy. I watched him walk down the steps from the porch, afraid to open my mouth (and I probably couldn’t have spoken anyway from the cold), and for a moment I thought that he wouldn’t see me. But then he stopped walking, went through his pockets trying to find something and then turned back. And that’s when he saw me.
At first I could tell he was shocked, and then he was angry, obviously because mother had left me for him after all, then... I couldn’t really tell. Was he sad? Disappointed?
He sighed and walked over to me. “Alright then”, he said to me, took out his keys and unlocked the door. “Go inside.”
I hadn’t realized how cold I was until I stood up. I had probably become numb to the cold, because I felt tingling on my legs. I walked past him to the house and he came in after me, carrying the bag.
“Please tell me she didn’t make you sit outside all that time. If I had known you were there...” he mumbled, helping me take off my scarf and jacket. It was warm inside the house, but I was still cold.
“She said you’d let me in”, I said to him quietly.
“I’ll talk to your mom when I see her. But now I really have to go to that meeting. Can you be by yourself for a couple of hours? I’ll try to make it quick.”
I nodded. I knew that this was really important to him, so I didn’t argue.
“Okay, so you know where everything is right? Eat if you’re hungry, watch TV, take a bubble bath or go to sleep, whatever makes you happy. But don’t open the door to anyone and don’t go to my bedroom, okay?”
Again, I nodded. He kissed my forehead quickly, grabbed his cell phone from the table and left again, and I was left alone.
My father, you see, is a singer for a band. I don’t know much about it though, I’m not that interested in neither of my parents’ work, but I do know that they both love what they do very much. Otherwise why would they spend so much time and thought on it? When my mother takes me to work with her, I just have to sit in her office while she runs around the building or reads papers.
I had only met one of the other people in dad’s band, and that was his brother so of course I had met him. His name was Mikey and I really liked him, he had even babysat me once. I just don’t see him that often.
That evening I watched TV for a couple of hours until I fell asleep. And I slept soundly until my father so kindly came to wake me up.
“Gia”, he said quietly, shaking me. His voice was soothing, it had always had a nice affect on me. When I was still a small baby he used to talk to me for hours and I would just stare at him. Or so I’m told. My memory might be good but it's not that good.
“Gia, we have to go”, dad said, standing up straight. “You have to go to your mother’s.”
Without a word I got up from the bed. This was odd, considering I fell asleep on the couch. But I suppose he must’ve carried me to my room. That’s the bright side of your parents living separately: you get two rooms all for yourself. Yawning, I got up and stretched my arms. I didn’t know what time it was, I couldn’t read the clock yet, but it must’ve been early since it was still a bit dark outside. I chose some clothes from the closet and put them on before going downstairs.
“What cereal do you want?” my dad asked when I went to the kitchen.
“Tiger cereals”, I answered. There was always a various selection of cereals in dad’s house because he never bothered to make real breakfast. I ate quickly because I knew that dad was in a hurry.
Sometimes it’s difficult. Having to balance between two homes. But you get used to it. Both of my parents were really busy sometimes, and if they were busy at the same time, they had huge fights about who has to have me. So they pretty much moved me around the town constantly. But like I said, you get used to it.
We arrived at mom’s house and even though dad was in a hurry, he made sure I got inside safe. He carried my bag inside and went to the kitchen to write a note for my mom, seeing as she was still probably sleeping. I went to her bedroom to make sure she really was there. And in a way she was.
For a moment I just stared at her. It took me a while to realize what had happened. There she was, my mother, laying lifeless on the floor, her eyes wide open, face pale and lips only slightly parted. My gaze drifted from her face to the puddle of blood around her.
For some reason I didn’t panic. I didn’t even feel sad. I knew she was dead and I didn’t feel anything.
Maybe it was the shock. I couldn’t take my eyes away from the scene in front of me. I didn’t acknowledge my dad running up to me and carrying me to the living room. It was like he didn’t exist anymore, like my mother didn’t.
It was only later that I found out that mother had left a suicide note on the kitchen table. Dad must’ve read it and realized what was going on when I didn’t come back to say bye to him right away. I just remember thinking that he must be disappointed that now he can’t go to the scheduled meeting he had.
He told me to sit on the couch and not go anywhere while he calls the cops and an ambulance. Right, like I was going to go anywhere.
The next hour was a mess. People came in, people went out, my dad was all over the place and freaking out, and a few police men and women tried to talk to me.
I said nothing. I heard them tell dad that it was best that he keeps a close eye on me because I was clearly still in shock.
After that dad approached me. I could tell that he was scared and tired. I knew he was in a difficult situation, having to raise me all by himself.
Dad sat down on the couch table in front of me and looked at me in the eyes. He tried to smile, but I could tell it wasn’t real.
“Well kid, I guess it’s just you and me then.”