Frank is left reeling in the wake of Gerard's suicide.
He lies in his bed, eyes clouded by a veil of pain and exhaustion. He does not sleep. He cannot sleep. He has not slept.
The hours go by slowly. One o'clock. Two o'clock.
The streetlight outside his window is flickering. He watches it. He curses it. He wants it to stop flickering. On or off, just not flickering.
He knows he is being ridiculous, feeling angry at a streetlight for flickering, feeling angry at the world for continuing without pause. Gerard would not have stopped the streetlight flickering, even if he were still here. And he is not. Gerard is gone.
The photographs are all gone from their frames, hidden face-down in a desk drawer. Frank cannot bring himself to look at them. He cannot bear to see Gerard's frozen smile, cannot bear to look into his eyes.
The streetlight continues to flicker. Frank cries.
He muffles it with his pillow, because if his mom hears him again she'll send him to counselling. He probably needs it, really, but he doesn't want to go. He doesn't want to talk about it. What could he say that would explain?
My best friend is gone.
That sounds like he'd gone on vacation, moved away, run away from home. It isn't right.
My best friend is dead.
That is not something he wants to say. He knows it's true, but saying it out loud, Gerard is dead, makes it real.
My best friend killed himself.
Yet that does not fully explain; does not fully explain why Frank can't sleep, or why he can't breathe, or why a flickering streetlight makes him want to cry.
My best friend killed himself and I couldn't save him.
And yes, that is the crux of it- that Frank never saw it coming. He had been completely blindsided. The news of Gerard's suicide had hit him like a rogue wave, pushed his head under and held him there with no idea which way was up. He was drowning on dry land. He could not breathe.
The streetlight stutters out. Frank suddenly wants it to come back on.
And he wonders, now, if Gerard knew. He wonders if he knew how much he meant to Frank, if he knew that he was pretty much everything to him. He wonders if he knew as he died how devestated Frank would be, or if he thought of him at all.
He wonders how he could be so very aware of that struggling streetlight, but not notice that Gerard had been floundering until it was far too late.
He looks at the pictures. He doesn't know why. He just needs to see them, needs to remember Gerard the way he was before instead of the way he was in the coffin. It hurts to look at them, they tug at his chest- to see Gerard smiling, pulling faces at the camera, or holding up his latest masterpiece, sometimes with an arm slung over Mikey's shoulders, sometimes Ray's, sometimes Frank's. He recalls every occasion, and he sits there remembering. He laughs and he cries at the same time, and he almost wonders why he's putting himself through this; yet at the same time, somehow, it helps, comforts him.
God damn it, Gerard, why'd you have to go and do that? he whispers into the darkness.
The darkness does not answer, nor do the photographs.
But the streetlight flickers back to life.
Frank's heart is aching in his chest.
Gee, he sobs.
The streetlight stays on, and does not flicker again.