That morning I had told Mikey that I’d go visit a friend after school so he didn’t need to come pick me up. Of course he was happy that I was starting to make friends, so he agreed right away. He even gave me some money in case I wanted to go see a movie or go to the arcade with my ‘friend’.
I still had no friends. I just had something to do.
Once, when I was about twelve years old, and I was making my dad breakfast. He was sitting by the table with an empty look on his pale face. His dark hair, badly in need of a cut and shampoo, was hanging in front of his eyes, which I was glad about. I couldn’t look at him in the eyes anymore. I could pretend like he and I were okay as long as I didn’t look at him in the eyes, because if I did, I’d be reminded of the reality. He always looked so miserable.
He was talking to me about feelings, something that he rarely did. We hardly talked as it is, but when we did, it wasn’t about anything serious.
What he told me stuck to me to this day. He told me that I should never tell anyone how I felt because they would just take advantage of me by turning those feelings against me. He told me that forgetting how to feel was a great feeling, that it granted full freedom. I of course understood that by having no feelings, he also felt nothing for me. He was my father and he was supposed to love me, but he didn’t. And I remember that I didn’t care. I understood his desire to escape.
And that was what I needed to do. My feelings were obviously connected to my nightmares, so in order to get rid of the nightmares, I just had to get rid of my feelings first. It was so logical.
I knew the way to the house by heart now. I had been there so many times. Blake was the one who provided my dad all those drugs, so of course I had gotten to know where Blake lived.
But I never liked Blake that much. He was a scary man.
“Come in”, his voice commanded when I knocked on the door. I opened it and slowly stepped in. “In the living room.”
I followed his voice and got to a room filled with smoke. It started to burn in my eyes a bit. In the middle of the room there was a couch and Blake was sitting there just in his boxers with bottles and cigarette buds littered around the room.
“Ah, little Gia”, he laughed. “What brings you here? Gerard must’ve forgotten to call first before he sent you.”
I bit my bottom lip. “My dad didn’t send me.”
“Then what are you doing here?” he asked.
“Well, I... I need help. I figured that since you’ve helped my dad, you could help me as well.”
“How old are you anyway?” he asked, looking at me like I’d gone crazy. Granted, I probably had.
“Does it matter?” I answered, shrugging, hoping he would drop it and do me this favor. “Look, I’m begging you. I need this.”
And that was all it needed. Blake was more than happy to ‘help’, especially after I told him I had money.
He did help me.
But, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. My father had never got into much detail about these things, but had he, he probably would’ve described it completely different than what I felt at the moment.
I hated every second of it.
I was nervous at first, and when I relaxed, my head kept spinning. I had never even smoked a cigarette before, let alone anything else, but I knew that what he gave me to smoke was not a cigarette at all.
But even if my head felt like it was filling with air and I would fly off to heaven any second, it still felt kind of nice. For once in my life the smile on my face wasn’t forced and I couldn’t wipe it off. I tried, just for the heck of it, but it just made me laugh.
Blake sat next to me on the couch, small grin on his face, watching me. Normally it would’ve bothered me, but now I didn’t even notice him.
I lay on the couch on my back with my legs on his lap so we’d fit, and I was staring at the ceiling. There was nothing special on it, the ceiling just interested me for some reason.
On the background I heard a familiar tune playing, and for a second I was aware of where it was coming from, but as soon as the clear thought entered my head, it disappeared, and I forgot about it.
When I heard Blake say something, I glanced at his direction and just smiled.
And that’s all I remembered.
But at least for once I got to sleep without the monsters bugging me. If you can call it sleeping.
________________________ Mikey’s POV
I had never thought it would come to this point. That I’d actually have to take from my brother the one thing he might actually still love and cherish in this world. Of course, if there was another way, I wouldn’t have done this.
But it had to be done. Because I knew that if Gerard ever decided to grow up and start taking care of himself, then he would thank me for taking Gia away from him.
Because Gia was simply not fine. I could tell. She smiled and pretended to be alright. But as soon as she thought I couldn’t see, the smile faded and an empty look took over.
But at least she was making friends. That was improvement. She was socializing, and maybe having friends could help her open up a little.
Well, that’s what I thought, anyway. So I didn’t worry. But then I realized that I should have asked Gia about her new friend, because that friend wasn’t good for her.
At first I just started to worry when the clock was nearing nine in the evening and Gia had said that she’ll be back by eight. Gia was very punctual, she wouldn’t be late. Something must’ve happened. But I didn’t do anything yet, because she just probably got so caught up in having fun with her friend that she didn’t notice the time. So I relaxed.
But as it was nearly ten, I was panicking. Now I was sure that something had happened and I cursed my sorry ass for not doing anything before. And I should have asked Gia where exactly she was going, because now I couldn’t do anything.
But then I realized that I could just call her cell. And that’s exactly what I did. But she never answered. It just went to voicemail.
I felt useless. And just now I realize what parents must feel like when their kids grow up and become independent. I was freaking out.
Seeing as Gia had been a bit reluctant to come here in the first place, I figured that she could’ve gone back to Gerard’s.
“Alicia, I’m going over to Gerard’s”, I told my girlfriend while I was already putting on my jacket. “Gia might’ve gone there.”
“Okay. I’ll stay here in case she turns up.”
And then I was out of the door. The drive to Gerard’s house wasn’t that long, mainly because I was speeding. It was a miracle that the police didn’t stop me, but I was just glad that they didn’t. I was in a hurry.
Gerard must’ve been sleeping because the house was dead silent. Now that Gia hadn’t been in the house for a while, no one had cleaned up. There were empty bottles and cigarette butts all over and clothes scattered here and there.
I looked through the downstairs, but there was no sign of Gia. Then I went to look in her room. Again, she wasn’t there. Gerard’s room. Not a trace.
My brother however was sprawled across his bed, obviously passed out. He had never looked worse. I sighed and started to wonder if taking Gia away from him was a good idea after all. What good had come out of that plan anyway? Gia was nowhere to be seen and Gerard’s addiction seemed to only be getting worse.
“Gerard, wake up”, I said loudly, but he didn’t budge. I groaned and went to pull the sheet from under him so he rolled around and fell on the floor with a thud. He mumbled something and tried to climb back on the bed, but only managed to fall down again.
“God damn it, Gerard”, I sighed, walking over to him. “Come on, you need to take a shower. A cold one.”
It was like he didn’t even notice me, he just kept mumbling about something I couldn’t understand and allowed me to help him up and to the bathroom. I helped him into the tub where he instantly crawled up into a ball. He was still wearing clothes, but it didn’t matter to me or him. The clothes he wore probably needed a wash as well.
I turned on the water and Gerard started shouting something, but again I had no idea what he was saying. I just let the cold water hit him and sat down on the washing machine, waiting for him to calm down and get some sense into his head.
And that took a while. But in the end, Gerard looked completely lifeless, lying in the tub, the water drops hitting his face. The only sign of him still being alive was the heavy breathing.
“Earth to planet Gerard”, I said and he looked at my direction in surprise.
“What are you doing here?” he asked with a not so happy tone. He was slurring with his words a bit, but at least he wasn’t talking crazy anymore
“I’m helping you get started. And I want to know if you’ve seen Gia today.”
Gerard scoffed. “It was you who hasn’t let me see her for weeks, wasn’t it? So how could I have? Probably brainwashed her to think like you and mom anyway...”
“So you haven’t seen her?” I asked again, just to make sure.
“Why do you ask?” he asked, getting suspicious. “You haven’t lost her, have you?”
I sneered at him. “No. Just misplaced. But hey, if you do see her, give me a call. And for god’s sake, get a hold of yourself.”
I left him in the bathroom and went back to my car, wondering if I should try calling the cops.
I couldn’t move. I tried to get up, but it was like my brain had lost all connections to my body. I just wanted to lay there in the dark and not exist to the rest of the world. Is that too much to ask?
“Hey girl, take this”, I heard him say. I took the small, white pill he offered and popped it into my mouth. I didn’t even care what it was.
I couldn’t describe what I was feeling. On the other hand I was about to hurl because my head was really woozy. It was like flying or being underwater for too long. Then again... I also felt really good. Like that stuff with dad and Mikey didn’t matter anymore. It was just me now. And I couldn’t stop smiling. I was happier than I had been ever in my life.
And the best part? I could sleep. For the first time in weeks I was actually able to sleep without having nightmares haunt me.
Well, even though it was a good idea to do what I did, Mikey still didn’t agree with me. Of course I didn’t tell him where I was or what I was doing. My excuse to being late was that I simply lost track of time. Apparently that wasn’t good enough for Mikey.
“Do you have any idea how worried I was?!” he snapped, looking at me like I had just eaten his candy or something. I just sat on the couch, trying to look ashamed of my actions. But to tell you the truth, I didn’t regret one bit. I had helped myself, and that couldn’t be a bad thing.
“Gia, look at me”, Mikey said, and I was forced to raise my head and look at him. “I was so scared that I lost you too. Don’t you ever do that to me again.”
I nodded. I knew that he was dead serious. Too bad for him that I stopped keeping my promises a long time ago.
He was silent for a moment before he continued talking. “There’s a tour coming up. But I’m not sure if your dad is doing well enough to go, so...”
“He’s doing the best he can”, I said quietly, feeling the need to defend my father. It wasn’t his fault, it was the damn drugs.
“Yeah”, he nodded. “Okay, well I’m going to go sleep now. I was up all night.”
I watched him leave the room. I was alone again. I couldn’t help but smile. I lay down on the couch and sighed. For once, I was nearly happy. Or at least I thought I was.