On the other side of the barrier.
A/N: Yeah, I know this is showing up late as hell. But shit needs to get done, sooo....
Part Two: Gerard
On the other side of the barrier -
Gerard's point of view.
I'm trying to learn to use sign. Looking over books and guides, remembering my counseling, my hands try to make motions that I feel are meaningless. Mikey is helping me, because he says he needs to learn too -- so we can have a more permanent method of communication than writing on a pad.
They want a permanent method, because chances of my voice coming back to me seem slimmer and slimmer each day.
Good lord, I've tried.
I've spent nights in my room, using all my breath on screams that have no sound. I've been watching movies that used to make me piss myself laughing, hoping they could force out a chuckle. I could almost feel something rise up out of my throat from time to time, but there would be nothing but silence as a result.
I feel like my voice was a bird, a songbird, like Elena used to call it --- a songbird that's flown away, vanishing into the vast sky. Without it, I can neither chirp nor tweet. I can do nothing but emit these heavy, burdened sighs.
I've even stuck my finger down my throat a few times, just to see if vomiting my guts out would at least produce a gagging noise. But alas, nothing came of it other than Alicia's cooking.
In this quiet chaos, I can barely come to terms with what happened between me and Adam. The visible scars and occasional jabs of pain still remind me, but I'm simply under too much pressure to spare it more than ten or so minutes of thought.
In the past few months, Frank Iero, my guitarist, has become just about my favorite person in the world. He's the only one of my friends and family who aren't pulling me every which way, desperately trying to resurrect my voice, and in turn, the band.
They're all worried about the band.
I've pushed multiple times that they can carry on without me, with the aid of a replacement singer. But they hold on to their ethics, saying that it wouldn't be the same. Yet I can still hear the disappointment, the hesitation in their tones when the subject is brought up. The only one I might believe is Mikey.
"We went in this together." he says to me over lunch one day. "I wouldn't move on without you. It wouldn't be right."
I want to bring up the time we toured without him, but I'm too lazy to remember how to sign all that --- so I just shrug and take a long sip of my tomato bisque instead.
Spending time with Frank is much less awkward, at least for me. He doesn't go through the set of preset lines for every fucking conversation I have nowadays, which are as follows:
• "How is your counseling going?"
• "How have you been feeling?"
• "Your learning to sign? How interesting!"
• "I'm so sorry about what happened, I was shocked when I heard!"
No, Frank just hands me a cigarette, which I really shouldn't have, and we sit quietly together on some nearby bench, or in some alleyway. He doesn't try to make any conversation at all. He doesn't talk to anyone else, either. Occasionally, he'll turn to me and smile. I like that.
He must enjoy it too, to some degree. He keeps coming over. I don't ask him to, he just shows up. I actually begin to worry that I'm taking him away from his family too much. When I write this out to him (again, too lazy to sign it), he shakes his head.
"No dude, Jamia's cool with it. She knows you're going through a rough time. And it's not like our families aren't used to us disappearing randomly, right?" he laughs, but then stops abruptly. This makes the laugh sound nervous, and I wonder if it's because he only then remembers that I don't have a family anymore, or because he's lying about Jamia.
I think it's a little bit of both.
Still, who's complaining? I need him -- everyone else is driving me mad.
I'm driving me mad.
Frank once walked in while I was repeatedly slamming my head against the wall of my bedroom. He ran towards me and nearly tackled me into my bed, which was just behind me. I started crying --- mutely, of course. I expected him to yell, but he just held me down for a while, stroking a hand through my disheveled hair.
"Please don't do shit like this." he whispered before finally getting off of me.
I wanted to say I was sorry, but I couldn't. Not because I couldn't speak, or sign, or write it out.
Simply because I'm not sure that I was.
My frustration consumes me more and more as each month passes without progress. My voice feels unattainable -- flown away, and gone forever. Other worries begin to plague me, such as the fact that my career may well be over. My band, the one thing that was my true emotional therapy, may collapse when I need it the most. And it was my fault, worst of all.
The truth was that this could have all been avoided.
I was the one who aggravated Adam. I teased him. The divorce with Lindsey had left me feeling worthless.
And I wanted to feel worth something.
So I had told Adam, no sex until I felt ready. I wanted him to work for me. I wanted him to really put his back into it. I wanted to be the prize to a challenge, not some freebie or hand out.
And he did. He worked very hard, proving himself more than worthy. He was perfect. He was romantic, he was sweet. Even the guys had agreed -- he was spectacular.
But I became complacent. I kept making him wait, while accepting his gifts and affections.
Then that night -- that night I came home from recording -- I guess he decided he was tired of waiting.
It was, at an angle, my fault. I just hate that he punished me so harshly for it. He ripped away the best part of me. My voice, my favorite aspect of myself.
My trust is broken.
I am broken.
"Will you show me?" Frank asks me at four in the morning, his voice barely above a whisper.
I turn on the bed to face him as he leans over me. Our eyes meet, and he stares back at me caringly before he adds, "Please?"
I sigh again, that burdened sigh which is the only natural reflection I can give of my emotions. I am not sure what to do. Thus far, no one has seen but Mikey. I had intended on keeping it that way for some time, possibly forever.
But I feel like I owe Frank some debt of gratitude. He has been so patient, and I have been so scared. If anyone else deserves to see, it's Frank.
So I get off my bed, and I begin to strip.
Frank remains on the bed, watching.
My body has healed for the most part. The bruises have faded, but there are scars that I'm told will remain there forever. My legs are marked by zig zags and random lines. My ass is splotched with burn scars. Most of my lower half is the ghost of a massacre.
Frank comes closer, hopping off the mattress, and for a moment I think he's going to touch me. But he retracts his hand back to his side, and I am relieved.
I don't want anyone touching me, not when I'm this exposed.
I think he senses my nervousness, and he takes a step back. He smiles sadly and says, " Well, I still think your naked self is sexy as hell."
And to this, shockingly, I think I emit the smallest, tiniest laugh.