Why should anyone care? He's just That Boy. Just like me and you. FRIKEY one-shot. Read, review, rate and feel my love! :P
There was always That Boy. The one with dorky glasses and feathery hair dusting his face to hide the bruises; the one with somehow bright brown eyes; the one with skin pale enough to be paper and the physique to match that of an A4 sheet.
Yeah, That Boy.
I hate him. I absolutely despise everything about him from his deep voice of profound meaning to his lopsided grin that I often see getting knocked off of his face in order to replace it onto the face of someone else. Usually by my friends. Never by me. I could never hurt anyone, let alone That Boy. I know I said that I hate him but that’s only because the alternative would be so unbearably worse; liking him, loving That Boy like my heart aches to, would be like suicide. Because That Boy is always hurt and to love someone is to feel their pain, a pain far greater than any of That Boy’s tormentor’s or myself could ever live with.
I’ve been watching That Boy since the second half of freshman year, taking time to understand all of his little habits and the reasons behind them. For example, he always sits with his arms wrapped tightly around his tummy like some sort of shield. The reason behind it is that he’s so used to being picked on that he feels the need to constantly have his body guarded. And that’s why I can’t let myself fall in love with him; That Boy is constantly being hurt, usually by the other members of my football team, and I know there’s nothing I can do about it. A fact that stings me now but would be completely impossible to live with if I ever won his heart.
Like I said, I’ve been watching That Boy since we were freshmen. We’re now juniors and I’m still no closer to finding out That Boy’s name. Perhaps I don’t want to; perhaps I’m happier as knowing him as That Boy because with a name I’d have to face the fact that I’m letting a real human being with feelings and a family get hurt. Sometimes to the point of blacking out. That happened once, actually. That Boy blacked out on the restroom floor, making me push past my gang of friends and shoo them away before they killed the poor kid. And then I left him there, bleeding and alone, on the cold tiles. Because to help That Boy would be to fall in love with him and lose all of my friends. Lose everything that stops me from being in That Boy’s position. So I left him.
And I’ve hated myself for it ever since.
“What exactly are you suggesting, Iero?” Snarls the animalistic voice of the infamous Bert McCracken, making me flinch where I stand in my blood red Converse high-tops. “Are you out of your fucking mind?”
I hate Bert, hate him like God hates Hell, yet I follow him around like a lost sheep half the time. Meaning that I get to see what he does to That Boy first hand every day, from the taunting to the slamming his head against the sharp porcelain of the restroom sinks, and I’ve had enough. Right now I’m making a stand on the behalf of That Boy because I know from experience that he’ll never make it himself. Hell, I’m finding it hard myself and I’m not the one who gets beaten up almost every day.
You’re probably wondering why I hang out with someone as obviously obnoxious as Bert. I often find myself wondering the same thing. And every time I come up with the same answer; because I’m scared. Being friends with Bert McCracken is synonymous with safety at Belleville High, being his enemy is synonymous with pain and being nothing to him is synonymous with the words potential victim.
But I’ve had enough of standing by as I watch That Boy get hurt over and over and over again. He’s not like any of the other kids I’ve seen Bert swing at; they’re either people who are just as bad as Bert is or they are more than willing to fight back. That Boy, on the other hand, just takes it from him without so much as forming a fist. That Boy’s never done anything to deserve it; in fact, I think he’s probably one of the nicest people in the entire of New Jersey. Admittedly not hard, but still something of a feat for a brutally bullied sixteen-year-old.
“I just think you should give him a break, y’know?” I stumble over my shaky words, eyes down and focussed on a crack in the ground. “You might end up seriously hurting him if you’re not careful.”
Although I’m trying my hardest to sound firm and immovable, like I normally do with everyone other than Bert, my voice ends up wobbling too much for me to even stand a chance of getting through to my friend. Besides, my point was weak; I know full well he doesn’t care if he seriously hurts That Boy. I don’t think he even knows That Boy’s name himself, let alone care whether or not That Boy gets wounded.
“And you have a problem with that because?”
I want to punch him. Hard. Hard enough to make him see how much it hurts to have it done once, never mind every day of the school week.
Instead I look into the blazing fires of madness in his eyes and at the fast-forming fists by his side.
“I-I don’t.” I gulp, ignoring the gnawing guilt in my gut. “Sorry, I was just being stupid.”
“Good. I was worried you were going soft on me, Frankie.”
I should have just kept my mouth shut, it was a doomed mission from the start and it’s only gotten worse since my small attempt at defiance for the freedom of That Boy failed. What few lessons I have with That Boy have become a living Hell for me to sit through. Before I’d take every opportunity I could to look at him, to imagine what it would be like to talk to him and know him as more than That Boy, to hold him in my arms as he cries about what’s being done to him instead of just sitting back as I let it happen.
Now I find it physically agonizing to look at That Boy, kind of like I’m going to throw up at the sight of seeing something so perfect so destroyed by another kid. His eyes, once bright in their own little way behind his glasses, are dull and broken; like the eyes of a taxidermy, haunting in their closeness to what was once full of life and joy. His skin is almost never pure white anymore, just blue or purple or green or black. Sometimes even red. It’s like he is the canvas and life is a tantrumming toddler being let loose with too many buckets of paint.
I don’t understand why he doesn’t tell a teacher.
No, I do understand. He thinks it’s his fault. How do I know that? I walked in on him in the restroom, glaring at his reflection as though it were a serpent and asking it why the mirror can’t just show the reflection of someone normal, of someone who doesn’t get bullied for reasons that no sane person would comprehend.
I wanted to walk up to him, tap That Boy on the shoulder and tell him that I know. That I see it all and that I care because I really fucking do. I wanted to cradle him and soothe him as he broke down on the floor. But I didn’t. I couldn’t.
It would have cost me everything.
“Hey, c’mon, keep your eyes open, Kid.”
I get one lunchtime detention, literally turn my back for ten minutes, and That Boy ends up sprawled on the restroom floor with his hands clutched over his stomach and panic running rampant in his bottomless eyes. And Bert’s nowhere to be seen. A sure sign that he knows perfectly well that he went too far and doesn’t want to be found near the scene of his crime.
There’s so much blood seeping out of That Boy’s nose and lip that I’m half terrified he’ll choke on it right before my very eyes. This kid, That Boy, is someone I’ve never even spoken to before and yet here I am, his head in my lap and my words working urgently to keep him awake whilst I think what to do with him. I could call for help, but then Bert would get into trouble and he’d find out it was me who told.
I could abandon him here in the clinical mess of the toilets. But then I’d have to live with the guilt of doing nothing again. I can’t just leave him here, not whilst he’s like this; bleeding and crying and looking at me as though I’m the greatest person in the world just because I’ve stopped to notice that he’s hurt.
“It’s gonna be alright, Buddy. You’re gonna be just fine.” I smile down at him, receiving nothing but a terrified whimper in response. “I’m not here to hurt you, I just want to help you. Is that okay?” He manages to summon up the strength to nod before dropping his head heavily back into my lap as though his agony is weighing it down. “I’m Frankie, what’s your name, Buddy?”
He looks like he’s about to possibly consider saying something when I hear a pack of feet stampede through the door, hastily followed by some senior with a mess of black hair and eyes matching That Boy’s dropping to his knees next to me. The senior turns to look at me with a look that starts off as desperately grateful, but ends up in one of the most terrifying glares I’ve ever had directed at me. The kind that tells me it really is safer for That Boy to stay as That Boy and not become My Boy.
“What the fuck have you done to him this time?” The older boy snarls with a voice that contradicts the gentle movements of his hands pulling That Boy away from me and into his chest. “Can’t you just leave alone for fucking once? He’s just a kid and you’ve destroyed him. I hope you’re happy.” His words are full of so much venom that I’m surprised I’m not dead with the spiteful way they’ve been injected into my system.
This vampire-wannabe is right though, I’m just as much to blame for the destruction of That Boy as Bert is. After all, I let it happen when I could have stopped it years ago. I was just too fucking cowardly to.
“Shush, it’s alright, baby bro. I’m here now.” He whispers down to That Boy, apparently his little brother, and my heart all but smashes at the sight.
And, because it’s the cowardly thing to do when faced with pain, I run away.
Get up and leave the brothers to it, not even apologizing or stopping to learn That Boy’s name like I’ve waited to do for far too long.
I’m just too fucking cowardly.
I think Bert scared himself with how bad he got That Boy last time, at least that’s the only explanation I can come up with for the fact that he’s not hitting him nearly has hard or as often as he was just last week. It’s mostly just verbal now, which is a lot better than getting beaten up every day.
Of course it isn’t right.
Cuts and bruises heal; words bury themselves far too deep for them to be tended to by soft human hands. Thus meaning that That Boy has gotten a hell of a lot worse since our restroom encounter, he doesn’t even show up to class half the time anymore. Not that anyone other than me ever notices. Why should they? He’s just That Boy in an overflowing sea of people. Apart from he’s too far out for anyone to save, so why even bother?
Because he’s a fucking human being, a human being with a cleaner soul than anyone else in this hellhole.
Michael James Way, Mikey to his friends, passed away last night from asphyxiation through hanging. The reasons for his suicide remain unclear to his family who knew him to be a happy but shy boy; any knowledge would be gratefully received by the family. The Way family invite all who wish to attend to his funeral at Belleville Crematorium next Thursday, eleven thirty am. Flowers welcome.
That’s all he got. Sixty-six words in the obituary pages of the local newspaper.
Because he’s just That Boy everyone forgot to care about and nobody remembered to love.
Apart from me; I never forgot and I will always remember who he is long after everyone else forgets.
He’s That Boy, the one who could have just as easily been me or you, and his name is-
His name was Mikey Way.
So much more than just That Boy.
A/N: Thanks for reading and sorry for writing such a depressing one-shot, I’m not entirely sure where it came from but hey-ho. Anyway, I hope you liked it and please let me know what you think! :)