I-Hop, 12:15. Don’t bring Ray.
Why does Mikey want me to meet up with him? And why can’t I bring Ray?
I take a deep breath. Relax, Gerard. He’s your brother, not a psychopath trying to kill you.
So somehow I end up sitting at a booth in the nearest I-Hop, waiting for my brother to turn up. I keep seeing the waitress at the counter giving me sympathetic looks. I want to stand on my table and yell; I’m not being stood up, my brother’s just late!
Obviously, I don’t do that.
Eventually Mikey comes in. The first thing that I notice is that he’s soaked. It hasn’t been raining, and Mikey’s never liked swimming? How did he get so wet?
But as he comes nearer, I also see how completely and utterly wasted he is. He sits down in the seat across from me. I lean forward, now desperately focused on getting him somewhere else before he makes a complete fool of himself.
“Mikey,” I hiss, “I can tell you’re shitfaced. Come on, we’ve got to go...”
I manage to shove Mikey outside and into my car. He sits next to me in the passenger seat. He’s not talking. At first I think he’s angry at me, but when I hear small snuffles I realise he’s actually fallen asleep.
I keep driving until we reach the park where we played our first show in California. I get out of the car and drag Mikey along behind me. At the first bench we reach, I push him down and slap him. Hard.
“Ow, Gerard, stoppit...” drawls Mikey.
I squat down until my eyes are in line with his. “Just wake the fuck up and tell me what you came to tell me.”
Mikey rubs his eyes and shakes his head to get rid of the wetness. He sniffs and looks up at me, and for the first time I notice that he’s crying. “I’m so fucking sorry Gerard. I just love you too much.”
It’s only when he says that that I realise how much I’ve missed him. My only brother.
I hug him tightly and protectively. I’m the older one. I should be keeping him safe. I hadn’t realised it, but Mikey had been protecting me with everything that he did, everything that he said.
Mikey was being a good brother. I was just being ungrateful.
As we hug each other it starts to rain. It pours down like a waterfall but neither of us even tries to cover ourselves. Eventually though, just like when I kissed Frank – only this wasn’t romantic, at all – we have to break away.
“I’m sorry too, Mikey.”
“No, no,” sniffs Mikey, “you don’t understand. I’ve been so nasty to you because I’ve been hurting about Frank. It’s just...” Mikey trails away.
I snap back into reality and stare at Mikey. “What? What is it?”
Mikey wipes his eyes and looks up at me. “Frank and I... we weren’t just friends. We were dating.”