Does Frank get what he wants even if it is the wrong decision?
After 5 hours the trauma was all over. No more tubes shoved down my neck down my throat. No more ice cold water rushing into my stomach and no more gagging to the point of throwing all the pills I had taken back up.
My throat was red raw and burning, I could barely speak. My father was sat in a chair next to me in the hospital ward. He didn’t really know how to be affectionate so he just sat there awkwardly without saying a word. I know what he was thinking, though. He was thinking about how none of this would’ve happened if mom was still here. I could also see the pain in his eyes as he knew there was no way to get her back.
“I…I erm…” I managed to choke out. My throat felt as if it was on fire every time I made a sound. My father turned to look at me, I could see the pain in his eyes and it made my insides ache. “I w-want to go to school.” My voice cracked as I spoke.
“Your tutor will be back after the…the funeral, like I told you.” He muttered turning away.
“I want to go to public school.” I coughed.
“Don’t be stupid, Frank.” My father replied.
“Yes you are.” He said abruptly standing up. “Grab your stuff, we’re going home.” He said coldly before marching off in the direction of the door.
I was sat at the back of my English class, listening to the sound of Miss Williams’ voice as she explained Macbeth to us in a monotone, lifeless voice. I couldn’t concentrate on the lesson. I only had one person on my mind. Frank. Worried about him would be an understatement right now. Every thought that entered my head was pushed aside with the worries: will Frank be okay? What if he does it again while I’m at school? Was there anything I could’ve done to stop this? How can I help him?
He hadn’t made a very good impression on my new friends either. I knew it wasn’t his fault he acted like that; he was one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met and his anxiety issues are just a part of him.
All I wanted right now was to be with him; making sure he was okay. He had been going through a lot of shit he didn’t deserve lately.
“Is Gerard Way in here?” An elderly woman’s voice squeaked from the front of the classroom. The whole class turned to look at me.
“Y-yes I’m here.” I said looking up at her from the back of the classroom.
“Please can you come with me.” she smiled sweetly. I grabbed my bag and chucked it over my shoulder. I walked quickly out the door; I could feel every pair of eyes in the class on me as I walked nervously.
The only thing running through my head at that moment was “It’s Frank. Something has happened.” My stomach ripped with worry as I hurried after the small elderly lady. My hands grew cold and sweaty and my gut felt sick.
We stopped outside an office and she held the door open for me. I stepped into the small dark office. The blinds were shut and everything was blue: blue chairs, blue carpet, blue walls. The only things in the room that weren’t blue were the pale wooden desk that stood awkwardly in the centre of the practically empty room and the wooden shelf stacked with blue folders.
“Don’t be nervous, honey. Principle Barnes is a lovely man.” The elderly woman said handing me a glass of water. I heard the door shut behind me and the worried thoughts got worse and worse as the seconds ticked by. He is in hospital again. He has taken something more dangerous this time. He is in a critical condition. He is…dead.
The image of Frankie’s small body lying motionless and white on his bathroom floor filled my mind:
His father wonders what his son is up to; he has been in the bathroom for a while now. He opens the door wearily to find the only family he has left, dead on the floor. Suicide- because all the pain in his life was too much and the death of his mom had pushed him over the edge. His father collapses on the floor and holds his only son’s lifeless body in his arms and cries. He has nothing left. Nothing at-
“You must be Gerard?” A tall man with grey hair said stepping in front of me. I hadn’t heard him come in and the sudden sound of his voice made me jump.
“Uh, yeah. That’s me.” I said trying to hold myself together.
“Nice to meet you Gerard. I am Principal Barnes.” He said offering his hand I looked at it for a few seconds; I hated shaking hands. He lowered his hand awkwardly and sat down opposite me.
“You are probably wondering why you are here, it’s nothing bad.” He said placing a folder on the table in front of me. My heart ached with relief. Frank was okay- I was just paranoid. “This is a folder issued by your counsellor about you, that your previous schools have added to over the years.” He opened the folder and the first page was from middle school. “Would you like to take a look?”
6th September 1990
Gerard had to be removed from class today due to an incident where he punched a class mate for allegedly calling him names. He is on strike 1.
27th September 1987
Gerard tipped over a table and 3 chairs today, due to an argument with the teacher. The cause of the argument is unknown. Gerard is on strike two.
16th December 1987
Gerard threw an encyclopaedia at the teacher today. He was removed from the classroom and sent to a 7th grade English class were he attacked a boy who was supposedly provoking him. This was his third strike so had been suspended from school for two weeks.
I sniggered at the statement issued by my former middle school teachers.
“Suspended within your third month of middle school, Mr Way?” Principle Barnes questioned raising his eye brow at me.
“And?” I laughed. He flicked over the next page.
23rd March 1988
Gerard has been permanently expelled for flooding the boy’s bathroom during lesson 3 after being supposedly ‘dared’ to do it by a fellow class mate. This school will not tolerate behaviour like this, we don’t want him back.
“Let’s see…what about your first high school. Let’s take a look at the statements from then.” He said flicking forward 3 years (about 8 pages of statements).
29th October 1990
Gerard was removed from class today after threatening the teacher. He has been put in permanent exclusion from classes with the teacher and will have to spend history classes with the head of department. He has been given one warning.
9th November 1990
Gerard skipped 2 lessons today before being discovered smoking behind the sports field. He had been issued another warning.
12th February 1990
Gerard has been permanently expelled from the school for setting fire to a book at lunch time today. He has also had his lighter confiscated.
“Out of those three things, the last one is the only one that is true.” I smirked. It was true. “I’ve never smoked in my life and all that about threatening a teacher that is bullshi- a lie…it is fake.” I laughed.
“You’re not here because of whether they are true or not, you are here because I want to make sure nothing like this happens again. This is your 7th school, Mr Way. Make it your last.”
“Yes, sir.” I said just as the bell signalling the end of the day rang. In a few minutes I would be back with Frankie.
“You may leave.” The principal said standing up.
“Thank you, sir.” I said hurrying out the door.
“I’ll think about it.” My father had said after about the billionth time asking him if I could go to public school. We both knew it was a bad idea but I didn’t want to be alone any more. Gerard had made 3 friends on his first day at high school and I never made any since I started kindergarten. If I was completely honest with myself, I guess I was jealous that people got to spend more time with him than I did. He was mine. And that girl that was all over him yesterday, what was up with that?
1 week later
I hadn’t left the house since mom’s funeral. Every painful second of it replayed in my head over and over again:
A sea of people dressed in black sat in rows down the cemetery in front of where my mom would be buried. I could hear people’s sobs from behind me and the rustling of leaves as my dad made a speech. I didn’t listen to a word he said. I couldn’t concentrate properly. Sat next to me was Gerard; he squeezed my hand tightly the whole time. It felt good to know he was there with me.
I stood up slowly at the end and lay a bunch of flowers on her coffin once the whole thing was over. I turned around and Gerard pulled me into the tightest hug he had ever given me. He let me cry into his shoulder and he stroked my head. I felt so safe with Gerard. I never wanted to leave his arms.
“Come on Frank, let’s go home.” He had said. He tried to pull me away from her but I collapsed onto him. We fell to the floor and he pulled me into an even tighter hug as the tears began to flow again.
Most of the people at the ceremony had disappeared inside as the rain began to pour from the gloomy New Jersey sky, but Gerard still held me in his arms as I cried.
“I love you Gerard. I love you so much.” I sobbed into his chest. I don’t know if he heard me but he kissed the top of my head and buried his forehead into my neck.
“You’re so brave, you know that?” he had said, I could feel his cheek against mine. That was when I noticed he was crying too. He had been crying the whole time. “I don’t like seeing you upset, Frankie.”
Now, lying in bed all alone, I realised how lucky I am to have a friend like Gerard.
The door clicked open and my dad stepped into my room.
“I have phoned up the local high school and there is a place available.” He said smiling slightly.
“Thank you so much!” I grinned up at him from under the bed covers.
“I do want you to go, Frankie, but I don’t think you are ready for it. But, if you think you are then I will support your decision. You hear me?” he said sitting down at the edge of my bed.
“Yes, daddy.” I smiled.
“I’m so proud of you, Frank Iero.” He said ruffling my hair. I giggled as I straightened it out again.
“Get some sleep, your first day is tomorrow.” He said switching off my bedside lamp and shutting the door as he left.
I pulled the duvet up to my chin and closed my eyes. I was overwhelmed with tiredness right now; the only thing I wanted to do was sleep.
The only thing I dreamed of that night was my mom. Nothing really happened but she was there smiling and graceful- just like she was when she was alive. She was talking to me but I couldn’t quite make out the words she was saying. Her voice still sounded young and beautiful as she spoke. She was dressed in all white and her black hair was silky and her skin flawless; just how it always used to be. Her eyes lit up as she laughed, she looked very happy.
“I love you, mom.” I whispered.
“I love you too, sweety.” She said clear enough for me to understand.
“I miss you.” I whispered again.
“I will always be with you, honey.” She smiled.
But then she turned around and began to walk into the darkness behind her. I didn’t want her to leave, I wasn’t ready yet. I wanted her to tell me everything would be okay. I wanted her to tell me so many things but most of all I wanted to hear her voice in my ear. But she was gone.