When death calls best believe it’s gonna get all emotional cause I ain’t goin’ to hell without my menthol’s
Frank, Mikey and I sit on my bed in complete silence. To be honest, it’s a bit awkward. We have just finished up a six-pack. Being the heavy drinker I am, I’ve consumed about half the pack, and I am now buzzed.
I look at Mikey. He is curled up, his arms around his knees, holding his beer in one hand, just staring across the room. I frown. He really doesn't deserve to be feeling like this literally twenty four hours a day. He is young, and he needs some happiness in his life. I know that if he stays around me that will never happen. Thank God Frank decides to say something; the silence is killing me.
"Mikey, are you sure you don't want to talk about it?" he leans forward to look at my brother.
Mikey doesn't move an inch; he just continues staring at nothing.
Frank nods, looking at me, "Is he gonna be all right?"
I shrug, “I don't know man...I don't know."
I try to think about what it would be like without Frank here. Would Mikey open up to me, and only me? I don't know, and probably never will.
Finally, Mikey speaks... quietly, "Those fucking jocks…they think they run the school."
I wrap my arm around him, "Mikey...what happened?"
He doesn’t say anything at first, but then he decides to tell us his story, "I was in class today...and my teacher sprung a question on me...I had another panic attack, everyone laughed at me. Anyway, when the bell rang I was pointed and laughed at."
"Those assholes..." Frank whispers, shaking his head and taking another chug of beer.
"That's not the worst of it..." Mikey continues, tightening his arms around his legs.
The way he is talking right now...it makes me sad. He is so depressed; I don't know what is going on in that head of his. My only hope is that it’s nothing too self-destructive.
"I was walking in the hall, and literally ran into one of the jocks. He pinned me against a locker, and threw me on the ground, making my glasses fly off when I landed."
His tears start again, but Mikey tries to hide them by burying his face in his arms. I hate it when he does this; I need to know what he is feeling, so I can respond to it properly. The kid never shows emotion, so I’ve never got a clue what I should do. Instead I wrap my arm around him.
"And as I tried to find my glasses again, they were laughing at me…she…." he lifts his head up and looks right at me. His eyes are shining, but there is no emotion anywhere else on his face.
"And this all happened during my panic attack," he finishes leaving something out. "I felt like dying."
I can’t help it, I start crying with both Mikey and Frank just watching me. I’m a terrible big brother; I can't defend Mikey from anything. Shit, I can't defend myself from anything. How am I supposed to protect him?
Needing to wash away my hurt I chug the rest of my fourth beer, throwing the can across the room. Frank’s eyes are still on me, and all I can do is look back at him, my arms back around my little brother. Frank shrugs before hugging me, and I hug my brother. The three of us, we’re a team, and we’ve got to be there for each other.
I place my head on my brother's shoulder, "Mikey...I will always protect you, from everything. Until the day I die. I promise."
I really hope I can keep my word. I don’t want to lie to him anymore or make false promises because in truth that really is the last thing Mikey needs. He doesn’t need a fake hope he needs a rock. I want to be that rock.
Suddenly, my phone rings. Recognizing the number I answer it, “Hello.”
The word comes out slow and drawn out. How drunk am I right now? I’ve only had four beers.
"Jesus, Gerard, it's only two and you're already drunk…" Ray says over the phone. "Where are you? We were supposed to meet after school today, remember?"
Frank, hearing what Ray said takes the phone form me, "Ray, listen…it's been a shitting day, and Gerard had to protect his brother, okay? Give him a break."
Frank then returns the phone to me, finishing up his beer before throwing it over to where my other three cans are. There is a pile forming, and I make a mental note to clean it up before my mom comes down to check on everything. She’d freak if she knew I’d started drinking again.
"Shit, Gerard what happened to Mikey?" Ray questions, words laced with concern.
I tell him the story.
"Fuck, is he okay?"
"He's dealing with it the only way Mikey can," I answer, looking at my brother, still in the same position, drinking out of the beer can, slowly, "In his head, all by himself. I honestly don't know what to do at this point."
"Let me know how he's doing," Ray comments. "Look, I gotta go, see you tomorrow?"
“No stop,” someone in the background says. On the other end I can hear scrambling around.
“Gerard,” it’s that same accent as before. “Are you all okay?”
"Maybe," I hang up on her. My business is not hers even if we do drink together at some parties.
Tossing the phone onto the nightstand I plop down on the bed thinking of ways to get my brother to tell me the rest of the story about that ‘she’ he mentioned. I continue to think about this as I drift off into the ever so familiar blackout from the alcohol.