Popularity is a strange thing.
Gym. Such an ugly word, even without the meaning to back it up. I always hated the word, it seemed to roll of my tongue all wrong and somehow fall in a heap out of my disgusted lips. The meaning behind the word wasn't particularly welcomed either.
My school required Gym, or Physical Education courses to be taken at least one semester every year. You can play a sport, swim, hell, you can play pingpong, or you can get stuck in a sweaty class with all the other rejects and physically unfit kids.
It always amazed me how Gerard was in my class, taking no choice activity such as football with his friends. He somehow ended up in the class along with me and my curly haired best friend, looking out of place. His polo shirts weren't welcomed in the class of misfits. Though I suppose no one was a bigger misfit than Gerard.
Gerard was a loner in the class that had been split up by cliques, though some of the wannabes tried talking to him at the start of the lesson. He didn't respond, or shrugged them off. He as fine with being surrounded by cliques of nerds and punks like me and Ray. He as fine with being alone.
"Kids, it has come to the teacher's attention that there is a strong group of cliques here. In an effort to stop the cliques from fighting and encourage friendship, we're going to partner you up and you'll work with that partner for the semester. Okay?" The Gym teacher, an fit elderly woman with silver hair announced to the class, her speech followed by moans from the students. I certainly didn't want to get paired with someone I couldn't stand; but I suppose no one did. "None of that! Now, when I call your name I want you to collect a racquet for badminton and I'll tell you your partner."
Person after person went up, some more happy with their partners than others. At least there are no down right enemies in Gym. Though a fight between a nerd and a drama freak could be interesting, I didn't really want to deal with that in gym. The class is bad enough without the old bag harping on us for fighting.
"Franklin Iero!" The elderly creature announced, and I stood up off the hard wood floor to collect my props for today's sport. I made sure to take my time choosing a racquet; the school's gym budget was shit so half of the racquets handles were wooden and splintering, the stringed sections coming apart in some cases. I got a good one, and a shuttlecock from the old, skinny woman in blue polyester shorts and long tube socks in the color of white.
"You'll be partnered with Mr. Way." The teacher told me. My eyes widened. I... I was going to be partnered with Gerard? Working with him... Would be strange. Awkward, perhaps. He was popular. I wasn't. We, being of different social status, couldn't talk or laugh with one another. It was considered unacceptable, even of the cast system wasn't in use any longer. Maybe I could learn something about him, though.
The gym teacher called Gerard next, and he searched for a racquet of his own before deciding on one. The handle was all taped up and no doubt sticky, but at least the head only had the holes that were supposed to be there. When the teacher told Gerard with whom he was going to be partnered with (that would be me), his eyebrows raised but he said nothing. He walked over to me and we stood about ten feet apart, and I hit the shuttlecock to him.
Gerard hit the birdie back to me, and it became a mellow match of wrist snapping capabilities. The trick of badminton was to flick your wrist to hit the birdie, not move your whole arm. When you just used your wrist, it saved energy and increased aim. We didn't move our feet, we remained rooted in our spots because we were in complete control of the game.
No words were exchanged, Gerard was silent as we passed the shuttlecock back and forth. There were no compliments on each other's skills, no jokes about how inappropriately named some pieces of equipment were. If I had been partnered with Ray, I would have had to listen to where exactly I could shove my shuttlecock, about how smooth the shaft of the racquet was.
But Gerard and I were silent, we just played badminton like we were instructed. Gerard was frowning, but it was strange. It was a frown that told you he was displeased, but it wasn't the frown or broken look he'd sometimes wear outside of school. He was frowning for the wrong kind of sad.
I was kind of scared of Gerard. How he could completely change his personality so suddenly, so often. It was amazing, it was strange and it had me so interested in why. Why would Gerard be two people when he could be one, why risk his popularity for his habit of dressing and acting like a misfit after school?
It didn't make sense, and I wanted to know why. Why he did it. So of course I had to start a conversation in gym the next day.
"So... How is it going with Sarah?" I asked him between passes of the shuttlecock. Sara was rumored to have blown Gerard in the supply room yesterday, so of course I thought that would be a good way to start a conversation.
Gerard scoffed. "What are you talking about?"
"Um, well... Rumor has it she blew you in the supply closet. It is true, isn't it?" I explain, trying to seem like I knew what I was talking about. I knew the rumor, of course, I just didn't know how to properly talk to someone of the popular status, even of Gerard is a normal human back at home.
Gerard chuckles. "Tsk, no. That never happened. I don't date."
My eyes widened. Since when do the populars not date? He must have been some kind of mutant. He didn't date, didn't play any sports. How the fuck was he popular? I decided to ask.
"Well, it wasn't that hard. I'm reasonably well looking, and I know how to behave properly for one of them. I know the music they like, the shows they watch on the television. When one of the popular girls tried to have sex with me once, I said I wouldn't tell her boyfriend if she made me popular." He shrugged.
My mind was blown. Gerard became popular by saving a cheerleader's doomed relationship and acting the part? It couldn't be that easy, could it? No... But why would he ever want to be popular? It seemed like such a hassle, talking to people about stuff you didn't like.
"Why do you want to be popular?" I asked.
"I don't." Was all he said, and the subject was dropped. We didn't talk for the rest of the hour, just passed the birdie back and forth between us. It wasn't tense, it wasn't awkward.
Gerard wasn't wearing his fake frown, either.
His eyes were suddenly filled with sadness, overwhelming emotional pain I'd never seen him display at school before. He looked like he did at home-- lost, broken and beat down. The damn blue polo shirt ruined the effect, though. It made the image that much more twisted in such a wrong way, it really did amaze me. The way Gerard made his clothes and actions at times contradict was almost artistic, sadly artistic in a way that made you want to either watch him forever or pull your arms around him and hug him, comfort him.
Gerard Way; the popular misfit who wants to drop the popular part of his title, yet won't. Why does he keep his status if he doesn't want it? He could come to school in his clothes he wears at home and his popularity would be gone. Absolutely destroyed. Yet he doesn't.
well... Crack, this is here early because you asked so nicely. I have writers block with the next chapter to the extreme, and was going to do a double post on the 9th but fuck it...
Ah, I'd like to thank xXLaylaXx for pointing Oi some errors and helping me with this!