Frank discovers a Gerard he doesn't know.
I click on the first link that comes up, it appears to be a news article, I scroll down some until I come to a picture of someone holding up a comic book. At first I wonder who it is, and then it hits me like a tonne of bricks. It's Gerard. But not the Gerard I know.
The first thing I notice is his hair, it's red. Bright red, like a tomato. His hair is also shorter and he's chubbier than he is now. He's smiling, a proper wide, gleeful smile I've never seen on him before. But the thing that really gets me is his eyes, they look so happy, so alive, they actually seem to shine, a vast contrast to the dull, hopeless look I see in his eyes now.
Weirdly, the red-haired Gerard somehow seems older and less innocent. Perhaps he was in that place so long he began to forget how the outside world works. The difference between Gerard now and Gerard back then is shocking. I close the laptop and go to my room, the picture burning in my mind.
Gerard is already asleep when I get there, his mouth is hanging open and he's snoring softly. There’s a blanket around his shoulders and the duvet cover comes up to his chin, although he's folded a corner over on my side of the bed, welcoming me in. Even in sleep he has his arms wrapped around himself in a kind of self-hug. I stare at the adorable sight for a minute or two before placing a gentle kiss on his forehead and getting into bed.
When wake up the next morning, I find Gerard up and sitting on the side of the bed. We greet each other good morning, then Gerard keeps looking at me, a knowing look on his face.
"What?" I say indignantly.
"Can you play guitar?" He asks, a smile playing on his lips. Then he gestures to the guitar in the corner of my room. Pansy, my baby.
"Yeah..." I reply, grinning.
"Well why didn't you tell me?" He says excitedly. I shrug in reply, It's to early for talking.
"Frank... Could you play me something?" He asks shyly. I would like to play something, but I'd like to go back to bed even more. I begin to shake my head but one look into Gerard's big, hopeful eyes and I stop. It has been a while since I last played Pansy, too long. Maybe just one song... And once the idea is in my head, I can't let it go.
"Fine.." I say
"Yay!" Says Gerard in response, smiling at me, the excitement clear on his face. I don't mean to disappoint him but I'm not the most skilled musician in the world, but for me that's not the most important thing, for me, it's about passion. If you haven't got a passion for what you're doing, you might was well have nothing. Maybe that's why i'm finding it so hard to get a day job.
I already know what song I'm going to play, it's something I wrote myself a long time ago, but it reminds me very much of a certain someone I know now. I begin playing the first riffs which I know off by heart, then, I start singing.
"The world is ugly, but you're beautiful to me... Are you thinking of me? Like I'm thinking of you..." I carry on with the song and by the time I'm done, I'm so absorbed in the music, I could forget my own name. Gerard brings me back down to earth.
"Oh Frank, that was wonderful!" He says, his eyes moist. He's looking at me with such open admiration, it makes me feel really proud, but also a little uncomfortable at the same time. I feel my face grow hot.
"Well, um, thanks I guess." I mumble.
"Did you write it yourself?" He presses.
"Wow... I wish I could play like that." He continues. I know where this is
going. I sigh.
"Do you want me to teach you?"
"I was hoping you'd say that." He grins cheekily, then his tone softens.
"Would you really teach me?" He asks, looking hopeful.
"Yeah, I would."
"Could.. Could we start now?"
"Why the fuck not." I shrug. At this Gerard eagerly picks up the guitar and begins strumming it randomly. It's cute, but after a while I can't stand to see it being played with so badly, plus, he's not using a pick, his fingers will start to bleed if he keeps that up much longer.
"Come here," I sigh as kneel behind him, positioning his fingers in the right place. After two hours of practising it becomes quite clear Gerard is not cut out for playing guitar. He learns things quickly, but seems to forget them just as fast as he's picked them up.
"This is impossible, I'm crap." He moans, leaning his head back against my shoulder. He's frowning and his eyes are screwed up, a pout firmly set on his lips.
"No you're not! You just need a bit more practise, that's all." I encourage.
"Mmm, but my arms ache, it feels like I could just sleep for a month." He says, turning slightly so his forehead is pressed against my neck. I feel a pang of sympathy for Gerard then, sometimes I forget how tired his illness can make him.
"How about we get some breakfast?" I suggest, trying to lighten his spirits a little. "I’m fucking starving.” Gerard nods and we make our way to the kitchen. I'm planning on making a full English breakfast, like I did the first time Gerard stayed here, but it soon becomes quite clear that we are out of veggie sausages. And bread. And milk. Well, what was I actually expecting, I haven't had the chance to go shopping in the last couple of weeks.
That's my grand breakfast idea down the plug hole. Unless...
"Um, Gerard, we don't have any food, basically, so do you wanna stay here while I go get some something to eat?"
"Uh, sure." He says, flicking on the TV.
"Great, I'll only be a couple of minutes. See ya." I say, shrugging on my coat and grabbing my keys. In a flurry I step out of the door only to be met by the flashing of cameras. Wait, what? Oh god. No, this can't be happening. Someone must have tipped off the press about what happened to Gerard. There's a crowd of about 20 people all milling around me, most of them brandishing cameras and microphones, thrusting them in my face. The feeling is suffocating.
I push past the throng of men and women, who all seem to be shouting questions at me. I finally manage to get in my car, immediately starting the ignition and driving away, not caring about what ever speed limit I'm breaking. All I can think of is Gerard, and all I can do is hope and pray that he remains ignorant to the horrors outside of our apartment.