I should have told you what you meant to me.
Frank and I had been sitting in silence since his confession. I’m scared. I wish I could repeat those words. I wanted to tell him that I was scared too and that it was okay.
I wanted things to be okay.
But things weren’t okay and neither of us knew how to fix it.
Each turn I made was wrong and I was running out of mistakes to make. When would Frank see right through me? When would he... save me?
Because that’s what I was waiting for. That’s what I always waited for because Frank had always been the stronger one. How had I not gotten that before now?
“I need you.” I finally broke the silence.
I’d been messing up because I’d been running and running was getting me nowhere. I needed to stop running from Frank and instead run to him because for all of the pain he’d caused me... He’d caused me just as much happiness. He was the one that could terrify me; He was the one that made me feel safe.
I’d been fighting for that feeling to return but I couldn’t get that feeling without Frank.
It was all starting to make sense.
“I’m right here.” Frank mumbled, scooting closer to me.
I lowered my eyes to the ground, focusing on a patch of the carpet. “I need more than this though.”
“What- what do you mean?” Frank sounded frightened.
It all made sense.
He was too afraid to be there for me in the way that he had once been there for me but that was what I needed. I needed the old Frank. This Frank was frightened of falling in to other old patterns, like... getting addicted to drugs and hurting his loved ones. So he was ignoring who he was.
That’s why everything felt different.
“What are you thinking right now?”
“Nothing.” That was a lie.
“What are you thinking right now?” I would repeat the question a thousand times if I had to.
“I’m thinking your lips look perfect, and I want so badly to kiss them.” Frank admitted, licking his dry lips.
“Then kiss me.”
“I - I can’t.” Frank moved away from me, as if I were a disease he had a strong possibility of catching.
“You can.” I urged him. “You can if you want to and you want to so why won’t you?”
“I can’t keep fucking running.” I snapped, after a spell of silence hit us once again. “I can’t keep running from you.”
“Then don’t run.” Frank whispered, refusing to make eye contact.
“I need you Frank. I need the real you, not the tamed version of who you never were. I’ve never known you to hold your tongue when something is so obviously on your mind. I’ve never known you to keep your lips to yourself. I’ve never known you to be this fucking shell of who you really are!” I’ve never known myself to curse so frequently in such a short span of time...
Frank just sighed, “You aren’t going to make me mad.”
“Why not? Does this new and improved Frank not get angry?” Why couldn’t he just be himself? That’s all I wanted!
“I’m not going to get mad at you Hayley, not at you.” The calm in his voice was starting to get under my skin, causing mild irritation.
“I need you!” I repeated for what felt like the millionth time. I grabbed on to Frank’s arms, shaking him. “I need you to wake up! I need MY Frank. Where is he?” My voice was starting to crack and as Frank winced I let go, remembering his injury.
I didn’t want to hurt him but... him not being him was hurting me. I just wanted him to snap out of it but I didn’t see that ever happening.
The look in his eyes told me he didn’t want it to happen.
“I remember every single thing you’ve said to me. I remember it all!” I was yelling in his face but it wasn’t making a difference. He was just sitting there, remaining calm. If anything, that was simply making me angrier. “How do you think I knew what to do, just what would get under your skin? At first I didn’t even understand. I just thought I was trying to get away but that’s not true. I just wanted you. I needed you. All along, it’s been all I’ve ever needed.”
“I can’t.” Frank shook his head, “I can’t be who you want me to be.”
I knew the words would sting but I said them anyway. “I’ll find someone else then.”
Frank’s face noticeably paled. “You’ll... find someone else?” He slowly repeated it, dumbfounded.
“If you won’t give me what I want then... yeah.” I sounded so terrible. Is this all I’d become, just some manipulative bitch?
“And what exactly is it that you want Hayley?” Frank suddenly stood, staring down at me. “Because I don’t quite understand. There is no choosing. You either want all of the old me or the new me. You can’t piece parts of me together. I’m not a goddamn doll.”
“Then stop acting like it.” Tears were clouding my vision but I still hadn’t cried them. “If this is who you honestly think you are...” I poked him in the chest, above where his stitches were. “Then those drugs did more to your brain than I thought.”
“What do you mean?”
I shook my head, which suddenly hurt quite a lot. “I don’t even know anymore Frank.” I rubbed my forehead as the tears dripped down my face, leaving a sticky residue. “I feel like we’re faking it and I don’t want to fake it anymore. I just want you back. I want my Frank back, the one who... the one who knows what he wants and goes for it. The one with the killer smile, and the outstanding personality. I want the man I fell in love with. I need... the man who made me feel safe.”
I held my breath as I waited for Frank’s response.
It wasn’t quite what I had expected but I couldn’t blame him. “I can’t be that man anymore Hayley.”
I didn’t know what to say to that.
I didn’t even know what to do.
Everything I’d been chasing after was now impossible to achieve.
The man I’d fallen in love with was right in front of me and yet completely unattainable.
I turned away, letting my feet guide me to the door. “Please don’t go.” Frank’s words held no meaning.
“I just... need to get some air.”
He didn’t say anything.
As I walked out on Frank I felt nothing.
There was nothing between us because he wasn’t Frank.
And without Frank I wasn’t sure who I was.
I’d spent a good portion of my youth with him, becoming a part of him. He was a part of me but now that part had died.
Despite any attempts he wasn’t coming back.
No, Frank’s fear was stopping that from happening.
Maybe it was for the best.
I needed to spend the rest of my life finding out just who I was because Frank wasn’t all I had. I might have to dig a little deeper but I wouldn’t give up. I wouldn’t let Frank be the end of me.