Will Tristan live?
This Ain’t a Party, Get off the Dance Floor
-On top of the collapsed North Tower-
Tristan’s hand limply moved off the straight board as the paramedics moved her body out of the mangled tower and toward an ambulance.
Gerard stood on the rubble and watched as the paramedics worked on Tristan. They had her hooked up to monitors and they realized that she had stopped breathing. Her had heart stopped. She was dead.
Gerard felt himself crying and he couldn’t look away. The paramedics rolled past him with Tristan toward an ambulance. He ran with them and got up into the ambulance with Tristan. He said he wouldn’t leave her.
As they ambulance drove down the road toward the closest hospital, Gerard watched in vain as the paramedics worked tirelessly and hopelessly on Tristan without any luck. She was still flat lining. Her face was pale as snow and her skin was cool to the touch, but Gerard still held her hand the entire way.
They arrived at the hospital and the paramedics took the gurney into the emergency room doors and Gerard ran in behind them. They disappeared behind some red doors and he wasn’t allowed to go through them.
Gerard sat down in the visitor room and placed his head in his hands and began to cry softly.
She was dead.
Not too long after he arrived at the emergency room, Frank, Jamia, Mikey, Donna, Don, Mr. Iero, Mrs. Iero, and Blaine all arrived and sat with him. They all waited for news on Tristan’s condition, but it was a few hours before they heard anything.
“Are you Miss Iero’s family?” All heads shot up and stared at a male doctor.
“Yes I’m her father,” Tristan’s father stood up and shook the doctor’s hand.
“Her condition is critical, but stable. We repaired the damage on the right side of her body and set the bone in her left leg. As of right now we are waiting for her to wake up to process the rest of the situation. You can see her now. She’s on the second floor in the critical care unit, room 213. We are gonna transfer her to New Jersey in the next couple days if her condition gets better,” The doctor spoke with a steady and confident tone.
The whole group got up and went to the stair well and up the stairs to the second floor. They all reached room 213; Tristan’s parents, brother, and cousin went in first, while Gerard, Mikey, and their parents waited for them to come back out of the room. They all sat in the chairs right next to her room. Gerard looked up at the clock and saw that it was after midnight, which means it was now September 14, 2001.
Twenty minutes later, Tristan’s family came out of the room and sat down with Gerard’s parents. They spoke with Donna and Don, while Gerard and Mikey went into Tristan’s dark room.
Gerard walked slowly to her side. She was in a hospital bed with oxygen lines ran across her face and a tube down her throat. She had bandages everywhere and her left leg was lifted up in the air. Her heart beat was steady now and she was alive.
Mikey just looked at her and smiled with the thought of knowing that she was alive. He watched as his brother picked up a chair and sat it next to Tristan’s bed.
Gerard took a seat next to her left side and took her hand. He didn’t leave that spot for hours. He fell asleep with his head against her bed.
Gerard slept in that position for the next several hours, until he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see his mother trying to wake him.
“I have your bag, sweetie…you need to change your clothes…” Donna said in a low whisper.
Gerard looked at her with heavy eyes and then down at himself. He was covered in ash, dust, and Tristan’s blood. “Alright…I’m gonna go change real quickly…I’ll be right back,” Gerard said and paused as he got up and added while looking toward Tristan, “I won’t be far…I promise.”
Donna heard what he had said and she felt tears escape her eyes.
Gerard disappeared for a few minutes. When he returned, he had changed into clean clothes and he’d washed all the blood off his face and body. He took his seat on Tristan’s left side yet again and took out his sketch pad.
He drew the entire room including Mikey, Frank, Jamia, and Blaine, who were all seated on his side and he drew Mr. and Mrs. Iero and his parents who were on the other side of her hospital bed.
Gerard drew and watched as she had to have help breathing with a breathing machine and every hour on the hour, they drew blood. She never woke, but her face was peaceful.
Gerard did a few more sketches and the last one he did was of Tristan.
The hours grew long and by late in the afternoon on the fourteenth, the doctors decided that Tristan was stable enough to transport to a New Jersey hospital. They took her by helicopter and allowed Gerard to ride with her. Tristan arrived at Trenton at about seven in the morning on the fifteenth. She was still in a coma. It had been two days at this point.
Even at the Trenton hospital, Gerard hardly ever left Tristan’s side. Donna made sure he ate something once a day and everyone else went in and out all day in Tristan’s hospital room.
Gerard stayed with Tristan every night alone. He would sleep with his head laid against her hand and she never woke. Gerard never showed his true feelings toward her before and he regretted it so much. And even if you were blind, you would still see that he cared very deeply for Tristan.
Kat even showed up at the hospital on the sixteenth, but not to make sure everyone was ok. She came to yell at Gerard and he sent her away and told her to not to bother him again. She was super pissed and left, but you could tell that she would be doing something in the future.
The days passed slowly and still Tristan did not wake. The doctors were coming less and less every day. Gerard didn’t lose hope that Tristan would wake soon.
On the seventeenth, Gerard sat next to Tristan like always. He even took a warm wash cloth and washed her face gently. His mother walked in while he was doing it and she had to walk out quickly before he saw the tears that ran down his mother’s face. She knew how he felt about her and why he had never admitted it, she’ll never know.
Mid afternoon on the eighteenth, everyone but Gerard had gone home. He was writing a song that had been stuck in his head.
“That’s if you still have one that’s left inside that cave you call a chest and after seeing what we saw…can we still reclaim our innocence and if the world needs something better…lets give them one more reason…now.” Gerard wrote about seeing the World Trade Center towers collapse with the woman he loves, inside.
Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of movement coming from Tristan. He looked up to see a very still Tristan, still not awake. He looked back to his song. Not a minute later, he heard a choking sound coming from Tristan. He looked up to see her eyes open and she was choking on the tube that was down her throat. Gerard got up and pushed the call nurse button and took her hand. She squeezed it and remained in a panic of not being able to breathe. The doctors arrived quickly and helped get the tube out of her throat.
-Tristan’s Point of View-
My eyes flew open and I was choking. What was in my throat? I looked over to the my left to see Gerard. He got up quickly and pushed a button near my head and took my hand. I squeezed it and struggled to breathe. Finally, a few doctors helped get the tube out of my throat. It hurt so badly. Then the pain hit me from my leg and side. Tears streamed down my face and I tried to talk, but nothing came out.
“Calm down, Tristan…you’re fine…please calm down,” Gerard begged and got up on the side of the bed and pulled me to his chest. I listened to his heart beat through my sobs and I was alive. How was I alive? Why was I alive? Come on…..God….it was over…why am I back?
Gerard held my head to his chest to try to comfort me, but I was in so much pain that it only helped a little bit.
Gerard reached over and picked up the phone. I closed my eyes and concentrated on his heartbeat.
“She’s awake!!” Gerard spoke into the phone as the person on the other line picked up and said hello. “Yes…just now…she’s awake…yes you need to get down here now…I don’t know how long she’s gonna stay awake…the doctors left a couple minutes ago and they were speechless…no…she isn’t talking…I don’t think she can because of the tube that was down her throat…she woke up choking on it…yea…it scared me and her too…no I haven’t called her father yet…or Frank…would you?...thanks mom…ok…ok….I’ll see you in a little bit…I love you too, mom…”
Gerard hung up the phone and continued to soothe me by running his hand over my head and holding me against him with his other. I reached up and put my free hand on his cheek and he looked down on my face and smiled sweetly. He leaned down and gently kissed my forehead. I held on to his face for a few minutes and smiled a weak smile at him. I let my hand drop and I tried not to think of the pain that I was currently in.
The next few hours went by in a blur of my family’s faces and the Way family’s faces. They all smiled at spoke to me, but I was unable to respond to their questions. There were several doctors that came in and looked at the monitors and looked at my wounds. A nurse came in and changed my bandages while Gerard and my family went out of the room. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they seemed to be in high spirits which made me smile on the inside.
The nurse left and Gerard reappeared into the hospital room.
“How you feelin’ sugar?” Gerard smiled and sat in the chair next to the left side of my bed.
I looked his direction and smiled weakly.
“You look better, Tristan. Everyone left because the doctor is gonna sedate you in a few minutes to keep your pain at a minimum.” Gerard took my hand and kissed it lightly. I smiled and gripped his hand in reassurance.
A tall man walked in and said, “Miss Iero, I’m Dr. O’Malley and I’m gonna give you a sedative to help you with your pain by keeping you asleep for a while.” I nodded and he put the medicine in my IV. He smiled and left the room.
Darkness consumed me.
Nearly two days later I awoke to a dark hospital room to extreme pain. I gasped for air and tried not to move my leg or my side.
“Tristan what’s wrong? Are you ok?” I heard Gerard’s panicked voice from the darkness. He rushed toward me and tried to calm me down.
I calmed a bit and realized that I was still in that same room and he was still there with me. He never wavered or left my side the whole time. Why would he do that? Did he feel some way toward me that I did toward him? These thoughts consumed me and made me forget for a moment the pain I was in.
I looked at him and tried to smile as I became calm from his touch and the thoughts in my head.
A few hours later Gerard showed me the song he had been working on. It was morbidly beautiful.
I wrote a little bit, “It reaches in and tears your flesh apart as ice cold hands rip into your heart. That's if you've still got one that's left inside that cave you call a chest and after seeing what we saw, can we still reclaim our innocence and if the world needs something better, let's give them one more reason now.”
“Oh wow Tristan that is beautiful. I’m gonna use that verse in this song. So you co wrote it with me. When you get out of the hospital will you help me put music to it with your guitar?” Gerard asked with a bit of hesitation in his tone.
I nodded and smiled as big as I could. Gerard’s face lit up and he smiled.
It was great to finally get to go home…well not my home, but the Way house. I was sitting in the backseat of Gerard’s silver Subaru XT, which he said he never had to wash. I giggled at the thought, but only under my breath. It was the twentieth of October. Eleven days before my sixteenth birthday and Frank’s twentieth birthday. I was still in a lot of pain, but I was coping with it by not talking. I hadn’t talked since I died. I didn’t want to speak for fear of breaking down. Gerard was ok with my silence. I kinda think he relished in it, so he didn’t have to talk about what happened either. Everyone else, however, was not, but I remained adamant. I walked with crutches and I was in physical therapy three times a week for the next three months. This was the first day I was able to leave the hospital. I was well enough to finally get out of that kind of hell.
The car stopped, Gerard and Mikey got out. Mikey got all my stuff and Gerard opened the door for me. I thought he was gonna help me up, but instead he picked me up and took me inside the house to his room, where I was supposed to be staying for a while. My dad was in and out of town, so Gerard and Donna volunteered to help take care of me while I was in recovery. I was very grateful for their gesture.
Gerard set me down on the couch, “There you go, sugar. I hope I didn’t hurt you,” Gerard stated with concern written all over his face.
I shook my head no and looked around the room. Gerard got up and went up stairs.
I hadn’t been in there for thirty-nine long days and was so happy to be back. It looked the same…dark with one beam of sunlight coming in from Gerard’s small window above his bed. His bed was unmade and had dark sheets and black bedding. His night stand was overrun with pencils, paper, comic books, and other art supplies. There was one framed picture that sat on it, which was of him and me after graduation. It was peculiar that I hadn’t seen it there before. Why did he have that?
I noticed the wall along Gerard’s desk was decorated with drawings and photographs of me. I got a strange painful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I lay down and closed my eyes to close out all the pain and feelings I have.
“Hey Tristan…Tristan wake up…Tristan everyone is here…” Gerard spoke ever so sweetly and laid his hand on my shoulder.
I opened my eyes and smiled. Gerard helped me to sit up and then he lifted me up in one swift moment into his arms. Gerard then carried me up the stairs to the kitchen where his parents, my parents, Frank, Jamia, Mikey, and Blaine were sitting. They had all come to welcome me home.
I smiled and tears escaped my eyes as Gerard sat me in the wheel chair and pushed me up to the table.
“Still not talking, huh?” My father pointed out the ever so obvious.
“Nope. The doctor said it might be a while. The tube damaged her vocal words a bit and he also said that the shock from this whole ordeal might have something to do with it.” Gerard answered as he took his seat next to me.
I knew the second thing he said was somewhat true. I really didn’t want to talk and I really didn’t want to talk about what had happened. I knew if I was able to talk they would be asking me questions incessantly. That last doctor’s visit was somewhat hard.
“Well Miss Iero, I have some rather terrible news to tell you and some good news. The good news is you will walk again with some physical therapy. The bad news is the damage from being crushed under so much weight and the way your body was in the collapse has damaged your uterus and fallopian tubes to where you may never be able to have children. Somehow the compressed state of your body damaged those particular organs to where you are lucky you don’t have to have a hysterectomy at this age. I am very sorry.” Dr. O’Malley was gentle and I nodded that I understood.
Gerard rubbed my back to comfort me, but I was ok. I was fifteen why would I even think about having children right now. Now I never would, so it really didn’t matter. I never foresaw children in my future anyway.
-Back to reality.-
The rest of the night was filled with their laughter and stories from when I was a baby and when I stayed the night with Mikey and Gerard. Stories from when Donna baby sat me over my lifetime. The Way house was my home really if you really took into consideration the time that I had spent there since I was born. I enjoyed the reminiscing and was glad no one asked me about my experiences with the collapse. Everyone left rather late and Gerard carried me down the stairs to the basement. He laid me on the couch and covered me up. He then leaned down and kissed my forehead. I smiled at him as he walked over to his bed.
I fell asleep rather quickly that night and dreamt of being with Gerard. Would that ever happen? Does he feel something for me too? I don’t think so, but there is starting to be evidence toward the other. I wouldn’t tell him how I feel though; especially at my age…it would just be wrong.
The next week went by with the tick of the clock. I caught up on my homework and was actually ahead in all my college classes. I sat with lap top on the couch and wrote endless papers. I was bored, but there was nothing to do. Gerard drew a lot and wrote a few songs, which I helped with some choruses and phrases. Life was different. Really really quiet and kinda sad….I missed the old times more than ever. I still was having trouble understanding why I was still alive when all those other people died. Why? I’m not any better than any of those people. Why?
Kat made a few appearances over the last week. She wasn’t happy that I was there all the time now, but she didn’t say anything to my face. I mainly found these things out by Mikey chilling with me or Gerard just telling me everything like normal. He said he really didn’t like her any more…never really did, but didn’t know how to end his relationship with her. He didn’t want to hurt her. I knew how I would do it and it wasn’t pretty. Something requiring a body bad, a partner to help dispose of the body and a nice place to hide the remains…and I had many ways I would do it too.
I helped write more songs with Gerard…he seemed amazed with my thoughts that I presented.
“And if they get me and the sun goes down into the ground
And if they get me take this spike to my heart and
And if they get me and the sun goes down
And if they get me take this spike and
You put the spike in my heart”
“Wow I could totally do a vampire song with this…” Gerard sat next to me on the couch and read what I had come up with. “Why did you write this?”
I smiled and just shrugged. Gerard laughed a small laugh and reread what I had written and jotted down some notes.
“Do you care if I use this in a new song?” Gerard asked.
I shook my head no and smiled. Gerard hugged me.
“Thanks, sugar,” Gerard smiled again and got up from the couch and proceeded back to his desk area and wrote for a long time.
Mikey came down a few hours later and watched old horror movies with me. He soon fell asleep on my shoulder and I didn’t mind. I looked over at Gerard and he saw Mikey on me.
“Hey Mikes!” Gerard yelled and laughed at his drooling brother.
Mikey jumped up out of his sleep and instantly remembered where he was and he flipped Gerard off and got off the couch. “Sorry Tristan,” Mikey sleepily said and left the room.
I furrowed my eyebrows at Gerard and shook my head.
“What?” Gerard innocently asked.
I rolled over on my side and fell asleep.
-October 30, 2001-
The next day, Gerard and Mikey were getting ready to go to a concert in New York.
“We won’t be out to late…I locked the door and I have my cell if you need me. I know you won’t call because you aren’t talking, but you at least know it’s there if you need me…umm mom is upstairs if you need help,” Gerard leaned down and pulled the blanket up to my chin as I watched old movies on his TV. I nodded, letting him know I was listening to him. He hesitantly left.
Mikey shifted his feet uncomfortably. He had been standing in this venue for hours. They were at a show for one of Gerard's favorite bands. Mikey had taken Gerard in an effort to cheer him up. Although they hadn't had another breakdown, Gerard had been clearly depressed none the less. He was taking care of Tristan. He still hadn’t told her how he really felt and was scared of rejection and losing her again. Mikey tried to have talks with him. Gerard told him of how he had seen the bodies falling. How he had seen people's lives being taken. How he dreamed about it. How he felt like his life, everything had done up till now was just this huge waste of time. How he felt guilty for not doing anything better with his life. He told him how he felt when Tristan’s tower fell. He literally felt his heart break and he couldn’t breathe. Mikey tried to console him through various approaches. He talked to him about how his art was beautiful, and that it wasn't a waste. He told him he needed to talk to Tristan about his feelings toward her. He told Gerard he was still young, and there was plenty of time to do something worthwhile. Gerard didn't think so.
Mikey realized now that music spoke a different language. A higher language. As he looked at his brother now, who was ecstatic and entranced by the sounds of his favorite songs, Mikey felt that music was telling Gerard things that a million talks could never have accomplished. Gerard seemed to have noticed that Mikey was staring at him. He turned to him and smiled a beautiful smile that made Mikey smile even wider. He would always love Gerard's smile.
The show ended. Mikey and Gerard spent a long time talking about the band they just saw, Gerard acting like a total fan boy. They got in the car, ready to head home, and Gerard turned to Mikey.
"Ya know something?" he said "I think we should start a band."
Mikey laughed, “Gerard, I don't know how to play anything. And I can't sing for shit."
"You could learn! Tristan can teach you! We'll work on it together. I’ll call up Ray to see if he’s up for it. I heard he was playing drums and it bums me out to hear that. I'm just saying, it's something I think we could do that would be worthwhile. I mean even if we don't get a lot of fans or anything, if we can just effect maybe one person..."
Gerard trailed off, and Mikey saw that he was looking back at the venue from which they just came. Mikey understood what was going through his head. Gerard had a hopeful twinkle in his eye. And Mikey could never say no to that.
"Okay Gerard, we'll start a band." he chuckled.
Whether or not they were really going to do it, Mikey figured, it wouldn't hurt to let him dream.