Kinda sad Frerard, to do with the 'Day of the Dead'/'Dia de los Muertos'.
This is a very short one-shot based on the Mexican tradition of the 'Day of the Dead', or, in Spanish, 'Dia de los Muertos'. This is a time around the Halloween/Samhain period when family members and friends of deceased people attend local graveyards and pretty much they have a partaaaay. They bring food and drink (TEQUILA, YO) and shit like that to cemetaries to honour the dead. It's what's associated with sugar skulls, you know, the elaborately detailed colourful skulls hipsters wear on their sweaters (as they sip Starbucks and listen to Underground and upload it to Instagram) and is this really awesome tradition. A pal of mine helped me write this since we both kinda attended a service last Halloween because our school took a trip to Barcelona around Halloween.
Me being me, I turned it into a Frerard one-shot which I am currently writing from my tent in the Oxygen festival so it's muddy as shit (ARCADE FIRE WERE SO GOOD OMGZ AND FLORENCE + THE MACHINE ASKED MY MATE WHERE THE TOILETS WERE AHHH) and I'm kinda claustrophobic but eh, whatever. I'm on my crappy half-broken Blackberry so if it's completely abysmal don't hate me. The title is from a totally awesome Pixies song.
Friend: *looks at my phone, sees what I'm writing, scoffs in disgust* Fan fiction, really Lorna? What are you, some illiterate twelve year old who makes band members have sex with each other?
Lorna: No. I'm a literate seventeen year old who makes band members have sex with each other. *finger snap* SUCK IT.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE listen to the title song when reading. We'll be best friends forever if you do. *cheesey grin*
Also, I DO NOT want some twelve year old snot with pigtails ripping into me because I mention alcohol and Gerard in the same fucking sentence. You are not his mother. I ain't either, but you know what I'm saying.
God, Gerard thought to himself as he huddled closer inside his jacket. I'm so gonna die.
He shuddered at that last word; die. Since the Accident (Gerard often labelled it with a capital A; he felt it symbolized the grave and morose importance behind the word) that had taken place just over seven months ago, he had rarely involved himself in situations that required him to dwell on the subject of death. He never watched the news in fear of hearing of a murder (which, in downtown Jersey, was rife) and refused to attend funerals. He'd shudder at the sound of the word and whenever a death-related song would air on the radio he's snap it off with superstitious paranoia.
So this was why being in a graveyard at midnight was doing Gerard's neurotic mind no favours.
He treaded carefully with nimble feet, minding not to catch himself on a dissident briar or conspicuos headstone. His shoes squeaked in the fresh mud, thanks to the previous night's torrential and merciless downpour of rain. He was shivering with the pungent, relentless cold, and he acknolwedged with slightly bitter acceptance that jeans and a Social Distortion shirt were not suitable attire for night-time cemetary perusings. Wet, frightfully viscous mud seeped into his Converse at a slow and skin-crawling rate. His teeth were chattering like rapid jackhammers. He considered going back, but the bead roped around his wrist seemed to burn against his skin.
No going back now. Not after all he'd been through.
Following the Accident, Gerard had fell into a macabre and depressing stupour of lost hope. He no longer had the energy nor the motivation to smile and his life seemed so fruitless-pointless even-without him. Music became nothing but loud noises in his ear and words became blurred on the pale book parchment he would be reading from. He had spent several months wedged in a tight, monotonous routine; get up, mope, watch television, mope, go to bed. His mother-in-law-to-be had urged him to find love again somewhere else-Gerard had been struck dumb. Not even at the suggestion of forgetting his heavenly six years he had spent with their son, and the love of his life, but to expect him to muster up enough feelings to experience for another person.
Someone who wasn't...him.
A week ago, a good friend of Gerard's who had worked with him at Dark Horse during the publication of the Umbrella Academy, Ray Toro, had given him a call to see how he was going. Gerard had plastered a smile on his face to apply the pseudo-cheer in his voice and had forced several laughs out whilst talking to the man. The laughter flowing from his mouth made him cringe with embarassment and shame; it was robotic and superficial, shrill with grief-induced hysteria. Gerard, who had lost his life seven months ago in concurrence with his love, had little to offer on the conversation-front. Ray had, in his cordial nature, talked of his plans this coming fall.
"I'm taking a little trip with Christa to Mexico City," he had said. Gerard had been gazing longingly at a picture of him and his boyfriend smiling toothily together, arms draped around each other. "You know, for our fourth anniversary. Her mom died in May and she wants to get there in time for the Dia de los Muertos."
Gerard was in no part Hispanic but, thanks to his eclectic viewing of foreign zombie flicks, he recognized the word he dreaded since the Accident: muertos. Dead. He shuddered but put forward a question for the first time.
"Dia de los Muertos?" He had questioned rather innocently, feigning disinterest. "What's that?"
"All Soul's Day," the other man had answered. His voice had taken on a surprisingly heavy, dark tonality and Gerard felt a tingle dance down his spine, despite the hazy October afternoon it had been. "An old Mexican tradition based on something the Aztecs used do. It's to honour the dead-loved ones go to their grave and celebrate their lives." Gerard was biting back his tears. "To let them know they're still in their memories, you know? That they're nowehere near forgotten."
There was silence on the other line. Ray grimaced and sighed.
"Gerard? Oh man, I'm so sorry, I just lost control there. Me and my fat old mouth, huh? I didn't mean to upset you, dude. I hope you'll forgive me..."
But Gerard had dropped the phone to the floor and sprinted to fetch his laptop. His fingers seemed so eagar to type in the letters they very nearly knotted together; he soon overcame his clumsiness and let his eyes trip over the search results Google had provided. The sound of Ray's voice, muffled from the poor reception of the phone dangling over the edge of the table, reached Gerard's ears but didn't sink in.
He had one week until the final night of the festival known internationally as Dia de los Muertos. It started on October thirtieth (the day before which he had come to love years before this) and would conclude three days later, on the second of November. From the informative forums and blogs he read in the week coming up to the Day of the Dead, the first day was allegedly the most sentimental and superstitious. Celebrators of the worldwide festival also recommended beads to buy to attempt a near-flawless connection with the deceased.
You can bye the beeds from website like ebay and amazons, one lingually challenged (but well-meaning) blogger wrote on a Spanish forum. Sum under $5. Chain with skull beed. Ask for 'calavera'.
Gerard, however, took a more personal approach to the day dedicated to lost souls. He knew his time was limited, so he visited a local religious store to ask for the beads, but found the effort ineffectual when the stern, severe woman behind the counter had offered him only rosary beads or crucifix chains. He was frustrated; Dia de los Muertos, was, after all, a reformed Catholic tradition that was heartily enthused and encouraged in Catholic parishes across the length and breadth of Spanish-speaking countries.
He was perusing the side streets when a brightly coloured, heavily decorated store caught his eye. The shop was almost stuffed with content; as if it was a pinata filled with candy being beaten savagely by gluttonous, zealous children. A musky smell fell from the cramped doorway and mystical, dreamy music bubbled from within; Gerard felt drawn to the store like a moth to light. He stumbled inside; a toothless woman draped in a multi-coloured shawl was talking in rapid Spanish (Gerard so presumed) to a customer as she showed them a glowing red candle marked with the cross of St. Anthony. Gerard stood awkwardly, finger darting out to touch something occasionally, a dream catcher, for example, or a small box with numerous coloured swirls on it. He was engrossed in a photoframe constructed of stained glass when he received a cautious, polite tap on the shoulder.
"You need anything?" She said in a high, wavering voice. Her basic sentence structure suggested she had only learned a skimpy amount of English. She noticed the word 'calavera' written hastily on a piece of paper peaking from his pocket; Spanish for the word ' skull', correlating to the word 'sugar skull', an ancient artistic symbol of the Day of the Dead. She nodded knowingly and wagged her finger at him.
"Ahh, I know what you wanna," she said, briefly dipping her hand in a box behind her. She rootled inside it, her heavily jewelled hands flashing with the sparks from assorted coloured rings and bracelets.
Finally she drew a long gold chain from the box, dotted with three small, turquoise skulls in irregular intervals along the necklace. The little skulls had crooked grins fixed on their thin lips and stitched eyes with a yellow tinge surrounding them. She dangled it in front of Gerard so he could only nod at her superlative guessing skills, mouth slightly open. The skulls' slightly manic simpers seemed to spread gradually; the eyes flickered, almost winking at him.
Gerard paid three dollars for the chain and left the store.
And now he was standing here, in Jersey City Main Cemetary, standing in front of his boyfriend's grave. His name, carved in gothic illuminatic letters, brought sparkling tears to the young boy eyeing them up currently. Red roses placed precariously in a glass vase stood vigilant, loyal guard by the headstone. The grave was kept neat and orderly and the epitaph was engraved on cold, exquisite grey marble.
It was the first time Gerard had ever visited the grave. He never could bring himself to before.
FRANK ANTHONY IERO
OCTOBER 31ST 1981-MARCH 6TH 2010
MAY GOD REST HIS SOUL AND THE SOULS OF THE DEAD
Gerard set his small bag of goods down, felling the waterworks begin to start already. He brought a hand to his eyes and wiped sloppily, harshly at his leaking hazel eyes. From the bag he withdrew a bottle of vintage Chablis and two elaborately designed flute-glasses. He also brought out an Oreo biscuit, because his boyfriend, even at the ripe and mature age of twenty eight, had always been ridiculously attatched to the cookies. All the while, he was very fastidiously watching the skull chain dangle from his neck, swaying ever so gently in the chilled breeze. New Jersey either had a sparse Spanish dispora or they simply didn't feel like heading out on a deathly cold November night; Gerard was completely alone in the graveyard.
Or was he?
Gerard picked up the winebottle, tears running full force now, streaking his cheeks in river tributaries. He popped the cork from it and tipped the fruity clear liquid into the glasses. He held one in his left hand and placed the other carefully on the headstone, casting a small, blurry shadow over the 'A' in 'Frank.' Through his sniffling and snuffling, the man gazed down at the grave with blurry vision and saturated eyelashes, bottom lip trembling.
"H-hey b-baby," he started off shakily, stuttering like a broken down train. "It's me, Fr-Frankie." One almighty sniff. "G-Gerard."
He swallowed hard on the growing lump in his throat and cleared his clogged oesophagus. He attemped once more, shuffling his feet, scarely believing his boyfriend was buried beneath the soil, just a matter of feet below him.
"I know this is r-really dumb but I....I was talking to Ray last week....you know Ray, he's....oh, never mind." He inhaled quickly and tried relax his shoulders, leaving his jaw slack. He swallowed another lump and inhaled deep into his stomach. His eyes fluttered shut and he resumed talking. He sipped at the wine. "It's this thing called the Day of the Dead, babe. Or Dia de los Muertos. Where people go to graveyards at Halloween and basically visit the people they love who've died. It's this Mexican tradition, started by the Aztecs ages ago...."
He trailed away pathetically, sucking his lip. He shuddered and suddenly his throat was attacked by an almighty sob. He gasped from the force of the cry wanting to escape; and he let it.
"I miss you!" He screamed, clutching the wineglass. He hadn't let himself cry for months; he had been a shell of a person, devoid of all emotion. "I miss you so bad....I love you...I want you back, I need you!" He fell to his knees, disrupting the soil and throwing his arms around the freezing cold gravemarker. The marble was refreshingly cool beneath his hot, flushed cheeks. "Why'd you go that morning, Frankie? Why did you take your car that morning to work?" Tears were still spilling from his eyes at an increasingly rapid pace. "Oh God, I cried so much. I cried more than anyone else at your funeral, Frank," he finished sadly.
A sharp breeze ran through the graveyard, gushing past Gerard like a warm breath. Why was it warm? This was near winter, for God's sake.
"I can barely live without you," he whispered, running the tips of his fingers along the engravings of Frank's name. He hiccuped weakly and rested his forehead against the stone. "Even the font they wrote your name in is pretty."
A sudden thought popped through the air: at least it's not Comic Sans.
Despite his appearence and surroundings, the comic book artist let out a wild, shrill giggle to accompany the random, Frank-esque thought. It hadn't been of his own thinking; he was sure of that.
He let his eyes shut as his tipped the glass lightly against the grey stone.
"It's vintage Chablis," he murmured, lips barely just brushing the surface. He could feel that warm breeze brewing softly again. "From the fifties. We bought it in France two years ago when we took a holiday to P-Paris," he stumbled again, remembering how Frank had fucked up the language so badly and how the maid had walked in on them making love on the four-poster bad. He hiccupped a small laugh between his sniffs. "You kept pronouncing the 's' in chablis and the waiter got so annoyed at that really fancy place-God," he said, his laughing bubbling under the surface of grief, "you acted like such a douche. Everyone kept talking about what stupid Americans we were."
He tipped the glass to his lips again and then began eagarly chewing on the Oreo biscuit.
"It was meant for when we got married," he could barely force out, eyelids flickering in an effort not to let the tears burst their dams. "But that's never gonna happen now, so..."
His hands were shaking badly now. He was rocking back and forth like he was catatonic.
"I miss everything about you. Every single thing." His voice was soft and effete. "Your cuddles. Your kisses. The stupid things you used to say. That stupid, nerdy laugh. How much you hated Nu Metal," Gerard cooed, breaking a second biscuit apart to lick tentatively at the white cover. "And the reason I w-wanted to d-do this was because I want you to fucking know that, baby. I want you to know I'm never letting you go. Not fucking ever."
Slowly, with great detail of emotion and care, he pulled the chain with the calavera on it, the small blue skulls, from his wrist. They were so much more beatific and beautiful in the dark; the blue glowed brightly in the midnight theshhold. The grins had tamed down to warmhearted smiles. The gold glittered whenever it caught the light spilling from Gerard's flashlight. He held it in his palm for just a moment, admiring the apparent glow it emitted.
He slipped the chain over the headstone, the gold chain cascading the right side of the headstone. The warm breeze suddenly seemed to seem blossom of Frank's natural scent of coffee and cigarettes. It reminded Gerard of how they used to hug and he would suddenly be enveloped in that musky mix of caffeine and nicotine.
Surprisingly, tears did not come. His eyes seemed dry.
Frank did not emerge from the shadows nor rise from his mahogony coffin; he remained still and stiff, hands rigid and meshed together. Gerard had not come here expecting miracles a simple three dollar chain and an expensive bottle of liquidised grapes simply could not provide. He had come here to be with Frank, feel him, experience his boyfriend's distinct and dramatic presence. Frank was gone and he knew that; but it was ambrosial to feel such a heavy and laborious weight removed from his slender shoulders. He had held himself together all these months, just barely surviving life itself, like a discarded toy. Now he had shared some time with his lover, his boyfriend, his life.
A large breath and a watery smile later, Gerrad was leaving the grounds of the graveyard. He had left the glass of wine and several biscuits resting by the headstone as well as the newest Thursday album Frank would have fan-boyed over. He had cleaned up after himself, taking the bottle of wine with him and bading a brief farewell to Frank; pressing his lips to the stone. He gave the chain one last glance and set off in the November chill. He glanced at his watch; it had just struck October thirty first. Frank would have been twenty nine.
"Happy birthday, sugar," Gerard murmured.