Day in and out, the only feedback Frank Iero has ever received is disappointment and disgust. With much deliberation, this troubled young man has found a way to finally fight back and end the pain ...
"Frank! Frankie?" his mom would call from time to time. The guilt would get to her after a big blow out, and that maternal side of Mrs. Iero would come out for a season and lend some affection to that darling son of her's. That same son who allowed her to tear apart his life whenever she so chose. That same boy who could be found on any given night tucked up in his bed with a knife to his wrist, letting that perfect, controlled pain get the better of him. It made him actually feel like there was more to life than what he'd endured already. It made him ready for the part of life that was hidden from those imprisoned in their very homes. It made him lust for the very life he had never been able to live.
"Honey, I know we fight a lot but... I really do love you. Always know that." Mrs. Iero would call through the locked door. Frank knew all too well that this soft part of his mother would be gone by morning, but he couldn't fool with climbing down from bed to unlock the door and embrace her in a hug they'd never shared, because the pain he felt was immense, but truly and completely of his own doing. And by the song of her voice, he swiped away droplets of blood that could very well pass for stains of ink on his bedspread. And the stone expression on his face never faltered.
Nearly a year flew by and Frank's situation was still the same. Fights every morning, having the anger and resentment brew all throughout the day at school just so the conflict could be picked up and carried on as soon as he came home. He'd go to bed with a face streaked with tears and a sudden defiance heavy in his heart. His will to escape was infinite and yet he was still so powerless.
"Why don't you ever smile, boy? C'mon! Give us a smile!" the folks at church would always say. It embarrassed Frank to have so many people talking to him at once. He was always sure that one day they would see him smile a weak grin and be content. But the day never came and their demands only grew into desperate pleas, eventually catching the ears of Frank's parents so they could pesture him as well.
"Doesn't it humiliate you, son? To be looked down on all the time? For God's sake, Frank! It's not like someone just shot your dog in front of you or something! Smile for them so they'll think you're happy once in a while. I don't know why you have to act so sad all the time..."
Their words hurt. Frank would sometimes practice his smile in the mirror, wondering how he could improve it; wondering when he'd finally get to use the damned thing. He was not a fake boy, mind you all. Frank Iero saw the different faces of his parents and vowed to never be like them for as long as he lived. Because being genuine with everyone was much better than being someone else to please the public. His logic was sound, but spat upon by those who held him dear. A mess, they'd say to one another. Every family member and every friend seeing Frank for what they truly thought he was. A problem in need of being fixed. A teenager living a stupid phase he would eventually grow out of so that one day he too could be normal just as the rest of them knew they were. But Frank's growing days were hardly going anywhere at this point. They all grated his last nerve; made him absolutely sick to his stomach. If the world was going to be full of people like them, there was no place for a boy of his nature to be.
And that's why he did it. Each person you talk to will say it was for one reason or another. "He was a very sick young man." "He was troubled." and perhaps that all was true as well, but it was certainly not Frank's main motivation. No, Frank did it for one reason and one reason only. To finally experience the largest and most important thing life had to offer: Death.
So one sunny afternoon when both parents were out of the house and the bus had just pulled out of sight, Frank set to work, preparing for the event he had marked in his brain for quite some time. Every movement, even his thoughts, were all mechanical. Steps one through six, final result. It was a plan, mapped out in his head and destined to succeed. He could practically hear the audience cheer him on to the finish line.
Frank walked to the kitchen with such beaming determination, if you had been there you would have thought he was on a mission. Slowly he pulled the drawer out and watched the gleam of each knife emptied from the butcher's block until a particular weapon caught his eye. The largest and most sharp of the group. He'd seen his mother use it on a number of things before, but never something quite as special as what he had in mind.
Then Frank walked to the printer on the table inside of his father's office and grabbed a single piece of paper to leave his infamous message. It would be short and sweet to match Frank's attitude on the whole ordeal. He'd given no deep thought to his actions, he simply had his sight firmly on something and began to aim.
After ascending the stairs to his room, Frank peeked inside and raked the room with his eyes until they landed on a black-capped marker teetering on the edge of his dresser top. He picked it up and left the room, hoping never to return again.
Next, Frank shuffled over to the hallway bathroom, hesitating only once before turning the knob and walking inside. Before closing the door behind him, Frank stopped to use the counter as a means to bear on. He popped the lid of the marker off with his teeth and began to scrawl a large, sloppy message on the paper before him.
Look who finally smiled!
Frank winced for only a moment before jamming the scrap of paper between the door and facing so that it would be found right before he was.
The young man turned to the tub and eyed the faucet before bending down to twist it on. Hot water gushed so harshly that Frank could only watch, forgetting to put his plan into action. Finally the hypnosis of his actions wore away and he was able to complete his mission. He lunged forward to shove the stopper over the drain so that the bath would fill up nicely and put the finishing touches on his stage. But what would a stage and props be without a little costume makeup?
Frank stepped over to the mirror mounted right above the helpful counter and dared to look into his own eyes - a move he failed to make but once every so often. He searched for something that had been extinguished ages ago. He was already a ghost in his eyes and in the eyes of others'. A meaningless, fragile boy with no evident potential. Frank was useless to himself and everyone else. Never able to help those who truly needed it and only willing to make the pain go away for himself. Even as he listened to the heavy, leaking water being thrown from the spout, he was reminded of how selfish he was being. Of how very wrong this all was. He was going to Hell. He hoped It would at least be welcoming. Maybe the demons in his head would personify themselves into potential friends once he moved into their home. Maybe the fire of which he grew up learning would come down like rain and simply scald him away until the agony gave him nothing else to worry about.
Maybe none of this would happen and he'd be suspended in the dark forever. Frank quite liked that idea as he mulled all the possibilities over in his mind.
So without further ado, Frank leaned in closely, marker still in-hand, and began to create for himself a smile that would take many minutes of scrubbing to wash away. Try as he did, the curves were not as even as he would have liked, but all in all, he looked beautiful. Like a fucking clown, the type of exuberant thing he always wished he could go see if the circus ever came to his tiny town. He would be his own clown, dressed down of course, but with plenty of red paint to coat his entire body. Frank would be a dopey, beautiful creature for the first time in his life. Frank was very pleased.
With a wide smile tattooed on his cheeks and a hefty dose of adrenaline gushing about his system, Frank took the final step. He grabbed the large knife from where he had sat it on the counter and walked with it over to the bathtub, now full to the brim with scalding water. Frank stepped in, a large rush of wind leaving his body at the same time as he exhaled sharply and breathed in just as fast. The pain was already immense from the sharp shoots of heat wrapping around his legs and torso. Frank reached above his head to twist the knob away from him, cutting off the liquid being fed into his personal pit of death. After taking a few calming breaths and allowing himself to adjust to the steam, Frank brought the knife up to his sleeved arms. The fabric of his shirt was already damp and sticking to his skin, so Frank chose to cut through it all instead. Making the first cut was unbearable and, for a moment, actually made Frank re-think this all. But once he looked down at the water around him, he knew his choice was in the right. A tinge of pink had been added to the gallons encasing his body and Frank's heart pumped so wildly with desire that the pain he was feeling had shifted into a thing of the past. Frank took the liberty of carving long, strong streaks into his arm, watching the water around him turn from a light, frothy red into a scarlet, lovely coating. His hand, now weak with blood loss, took a turn with the knife to make the same exact mess of his other arm. Frank looked down at his body with such vile concentration, you would think the boy was performing surgery, desperate to save the life of his patient. But that assumption was indeed as backwards as they come, for Frank's main objective was to take the life right out of his victim instead. And he was nearly there.
"Mmhmm... oh..." Frank whimpered a time or two, swallowing the cries that were to be expected with a dose of pain so great. The foggy, light feeling surrounding his head nearly made him vomit. The air was sweet, the stench of copper heavy. Frank inhaled very shallow breaths, the smell almost causing him to be sick. With a final flick of the wrist, Frank made the decision to stop there and let the consequences set in as he hoped they would. He did not bother in praying for a quick demise. That was not his goal, and was honestly the farthest thing from his mind. He simply sat in anticipation for his life to come to an end, and when it did, he had the most genuine smile you could ever imagine sprawled so effortlessly across his face. Frank was finally smiling, and in tandem with the household's loss, the world smiled too.