Frank is running out of time to make the right move. A three-part short story.
Precisely when Frank’s eyes adjusted to see the time on his clock radio, his alarm went off. His body operated like clock work, knowing what time it was before his mind did. He promptly shut it off and groaned. “Same shit, different day” he thought. He was tired, no, exhausted by how routine his life had become. It was the start of a new week but there was nothing new about it. He was as normal as someone like Frank could get, and he hated it. He’d left his beloved Jersey home to be with his boyfriend and band mate in Los Angeles three years ago at the tender age of nineteen. Save for the apartment they’d moved into, he’d lost everything four months ago. His boyfriend broke things off for someone else and, in turn, he was kicked out of the punk band he so adored to be in. Although money was often scarce, the band was their only source of income so once his ex moved out of their apartment, Frank was left with few options. He knew he couldn’t go back to the East coast; it just wasn’t a viable choice. His mother had warned him several times before he left that it was a bad idea but he’d insisted he knew more than his age would lead people to believe. He couldn’t show her she’d been right; she couldn’t know he was a failure. As far as she knew, Frank still fell asleep next to his boyfriend, not his beloved guitar. To her knowledge, Frank was still playing several local punk shows, not selling punk and hardcore vinyl at a local record store for twelve hours a day. He pulled on his worn leather jacket, he decided he was going to make today different. He wouldn’t just watch the hours tick away at work, get take out, and come back to his filthy apartment to play guitar until depression didn’t allow his fingers to move anymore. No, today he was finally going to move on from his old life.
Frank walked down the street, headphones blazing a playlist of Black Flag, Minor Threat and Jawbreaker. He was conjuring up a plan inside his tired mind. There were two things that would bring back the Frank full of energy that could not be stopped even by Frank himself. Foremost, he had to play for an audience again. Sure, the loss of his boyfriend didn’t mean he’d lost interest in his guitar but it seemed to just make him feel worse. Having the thing he loved most, what he was most talented at make him sad just further deepened the sadness. He had to get up on the stage, feel the energy of the crowd, feel the sweat drench his clothes and his ears pulsate from the loud noise of punk music. As he opened up the record store where he worked, he decided he’d get back into the music scene. “I’ll check out a few shows, talk to some people, avoid him at all costs, and join a band. Local bands are always losing members, I’m sure I’ll find one with potential who could use a guitarist” he contemplated. The second part of his plan was to finally say more than a few words to Gerard. Frank thought Gerard was magnificently attractive which is probably why he wasted what little extra money he had after paying rent and buying a few boxes of macaroni and cheese so as not to starve at the coffee shop where Gerard worked. He could’ve made coffee at home but after seeing Gerard’s smile with his perfect rows of childlike teeth, he kept going back. The first few times Frank had gone during his lunch breaks, he would just stare at Gerard’s porcelain skin, his upturned nose, his messy yet perfect raven hair and his thin pink lips that begged to be kissed. Gerard caught him staring and that perfect smile was directed at Frank. Since then, they’d been exchanging simple pleasantries but always with infectious smiles. They both knew they were attracted to each other but Gerard was too reserved to make the first move and Frank was afraid Gerard’s smiles were just friendly smiles; he couldn’t be sure if Gerard was gay or not. Nevertheless, that day Frank decided he would no longer be frightened by rejection and would make a move on his coffee server before it was too late. If only Frank knew just how fast he was running out of time.