Gerard is tired of being loved, tired of wanting more, and especially tired of being tired.
These are the words I had just submitted to my blog mere seconds before all hell broke loose. I suppose it wouldn't hurt for me to explain:
You see, misery had all but taken over my life. Summer always held a sort of delightful torture for me. It was wonderful to be away from school, to be as far apart from work assignments and bickering classmates as the east is from the west, sure. But Summer nights were always the worst. My thoughts kept me up; my hunger to do something creative and progressive always kept me on a nauseating ledge - I would often sit up with my mind made to do something productive, and then I would be struck with the time, and think about how it always seemed to exist for the sole purpose of hindering my plans.
One night in July, something changed. My feet took me elsewhere as I took the usual route home from the library. My messenger bag filled with books, my head visiting an entirely different universe from my own. By the time I looked up, I was several miles in the opposite direction of what I had always known. I was on the far side of town, the side I rarely visited because of the stories I'd heard and the distant looks in the eyes of the people who told them. It didn't have much to offer, just a greasy service station. I took a moment to heave a laugh at the burnt out C on the shack's advert for cigarettes. Within that corner of town was also a run down diner that stayed open all hours of the day for truck drivers and the like. As shady as it seemed, I made my way inside, desperate for a decent cup of coffee and a place to analyze my thoughts.
Upon arriving at my booth, I was handed a plastic menu by a woman with less sense about her than a middle school graduate. The thing was so covered in the smudges of smeared fingerprints that I literally had to hold back the wince that was threatening to form on my face before grabbing it from her in a manner that made it seem like I was highly offended by something she'd done to me personally. I sat on the hard, wooden bench and took a look around the room. The fry cook seemed ridiculously over worked as he studied the row of orders pinned to the top of his station, his eyes beady and yearning to be given a break. At the bar was a group of middle-aged men I assumed were "usuals", as well as a busty twenty-something over at the end. I watched the way she would arch her back in such a way that her chest was heaved forward at a seemingly painful distance. She kept a compact mirror in her hand the entire time, taking a peek at her reflection just as often as she could. I could tell she wanted some attention, wanted to be called beautiful, if only for the night. I could also tell that she was more than likely a prostitute, from the way she dressed to the shade of lipstick she kept applying to her mouth. I told myself I'd ask her name if she was still in here when I was ready to leave.
The next few minutes were like a dream, the sort where you know you're asleep and so you try to decide if what you're experiencing is even a dream anymore, or in fact just your imagination running wild as your eyes stay shut. I drank my coffee without a second thought, and studied the filthy menu like it was my favorite fucking book. People came and went, including the vain girl I noticed at the bar. I must have been seated for hours, because it got to the point when people would change shifts; the staff I had seen when I first arrived was no longer present by the time I came to. I thought to myself a thing or two, like What am I doing here? and of course the obvious When am I going to leave?, when all of a sudden, a bell rang, signalling that the door had been thrown open to invite another customer in to see the sights.
I didn't think much of it, just kept my head down as I tried to decide if I wanted an omelet or not, but I was forced to notice the elephant in the room once he sat directly across from me. I was starstruck, but cynical all the same. What was he doing here? We'd not spoken in months.
"Look, if you're following me again... it's just gone on too long, don't you think?"
"Gerard, my mother works here. You know that."
And I totally did, too.
"Well, why're you here?" I asked, indicating the table with the hand that wasn't clutching onto the slick and germy menu.
"Because you look alone. I know how you get in the Summertime." He didn't even have to read my blog to know that, I can't even begin to count the many times I've told him about it, personally. I rolled my eyes coldly.
"Still... even so. I don't think we should do this, at least not right now." But even before the words had dissolved between us, I was getting up and following him out the door.
I took a moment to remember all of the good times I'd had with Frank. From the time we went fishing with glow-in-the-dark bait, to the evening when his mom caught us fooling around in her bedroom upstairs. Every fond memory I have involves him in some form or fashion. I think that's why I hated him so much.
"When did you get this piece of shit?" I asked, kicking the front, right tire on the aging muscle car he had led me to.
"Like, six months ago or something. I don't know, it runs well, daddy says we'll give it a paint job when he gets his raise in November." I always sort of enjoyed how Frank admired his dad, despite the fact that the entire city knew he was a rotten alcoholic. Never did he ever lay a hand on his family though, no sir. Just every other deadbeat that had the displeasure of running into him after cocktail hour.
"I'm sure it'll turn out nice enough." I said, hoping that my current niceness would somehow retract my previous statements.
I got in and took a seat before watching Frank adjust himself at the wheel. I can't tell you how many times I've watched him like this; all focused and void of any expression whatsoever. His fingers gently curled over the top and then just rested there as he turned his head for an order from your's truly.
"I really don't care, at this point." I said mindlessly before setting my sights at what sat in front of me. Some lame, scratched up sticker on the dashboard and a couple of Sharpie scrawls. We kept quiet the whole ride there, and even stayed that way for a few minutes once we were parked. We somehow found ourselves at some old camping ground two towns over, a place we used to spend practically all of our time hanging around. I kicked around god knows how many rocks before planting myself at the roots of a massive tree some three feet from one of those cheap, outdoor grills paid for by the city. I felt the knobs and jagged points of each curved root as I stepped on them blindly. It was so dark, and quiet, except for the chirping of more insects than you and I both wish existed.
"You look sad." Frank said quietly.
"And you look lost, like you always do." I snapped back, instantly wishing I'd kept my fucking mouth shut. "S-sorry, I just..."
"No, Gee, you're totally right. I don't know what I'm doing here anymore. Nowadays... I just can't believe I've made it this long without trying to fucking kill myself or something. I'm stuck, I guess. I can't let go of anything. It's been 11 months since we've graduated, you know that?"
I nodded, though I knew he probably couldn't see me.
"And in all that time, I've only had the chance to be sad and to fucking stay that way. I'm sick of it. I'm tired." There's that word again, always creeping up into my personal life like a fucking virus.
"I know, baby. I know."
I could tell he was shaking off the urge to say something hateful towards my sudden turnaround. I couldn't blame him. After all, I can be a goddamn monster at times.
"When's it going to get better, huh?" Frank asked. I couldn't answer him, and I think he knew I couldn't, because we both know I'm just as lost as he is in all of this.
"Just come over here, okay?" I asked, well, ordered. He listened, just as he always does. We met in the dark, we found each others hands and just stood there until I made the first move. I knew that boy's fucking face like you wouldn't believe. I found his mouth in an instant, but decided to tease around it first. He responded almost instantly, his fingers holding onto mine as firmly as he could stand it. After brushing my lips across Frank's and pressing my mouth to the corners of his, I laid one on him. He sighed a quiet Thank you before meeting my touch with a few of his own.
For a while it was all simple, me and him. We met early on in high school and clicked instantly. We started off as friends. I don't think we really knew we were gay, or at least I know I didn't, but we could detect that there was something very different about us in comparison to most of the other guys around school. From what I remember, I never had that hard of a time dealing with the teasing. It wasn't all that bad, and even if it had been, I don't think I would have cared. But Frank let every single word strike him like the beating of a fist. Sometimes I'd watch him physically flinch and wonder how much more of this he could actually take. Frank wasn't strong like most of us chose to be, he let his weaknesses broadcast themselves on the fragile skin he wore over those old bones of his. Sometimes I'd notice a scar or two during the times we were alone, but I'd never say anything, and he'd look me right in the eyes and watch me pretend not to care. I regret that most of all, I think.
"Do you love me, Gerard?" Frank asked with the deepest sorrow I'd ever detected in him.
"More than I wish I did." I replied. I felt him hold me closer, as if he was trying to fuse our skin together. I wouldn't put it past him to try.
I didn't even need to ask him the same question back, I knew, hell, everyone knew. Frank loved me with a love that was much more than what the kids of today would consider love to be. Frank loved me in an old fashioned sort of way. I think he'd court me if he could. And I hated him just as much as he loved me, which he also knew, I'm sure. So much has gone on, so much shit and anger and shattered promises have been wasted on this fucked up relationship. I wish I could say I was through with it all, but that would be a brutal lie.
"Wanna go back?" I asked softly. I was resting my chin on the top of his head as I said it, and I knew even before he was able to tell me that the vibrations tickled him so.
"That just depends, I guess. Wanna spend the night with me?" he asked, holding his breath.
"You know I don't. But I will, I guess. If it makes you happy."
"Nothing makes me happy, anymore."
I nodded, again in the dark where he probably couldn't even tell, and silently agreed with his pathetic statement. Great. Now my life had the potential to be exciting again. This was going to be hell, or worse, as I'm sure anything involving Frankie has the potential to be. Sometimes I wish he had never been born, so that I would never have had to see that angelic face of his - the one that made me cry into my pillow almost nightly.
"C'mon." Frank muttered before taking my hand and leading me back to his old, battered car. We sat inside for a while before pulling out to go anywhere. We just kissed, and when that got boring we kissed some more because neither of us had been able to do so in months. I kept my eyes open through most of it because I knew his would stay clamped shut. He had some new freckles peppered over his face since the last time we'd been together. I think he'd gotten tanner, too. I had to shut mine tight when he let out a moan, though. Those sounds would inevitably be the death of me. Frank had a habit of releasing the most dazzling of noises; moans and whines and whimpers I could jerk off to for a week. They were all genuine too, which I think was the best part.
I once heard someone say that time waits for no man, but I think that night it earnestly did. I spent an eternity with him in the shittiest car I'd ever laid eyes on, and wondered if perhaps this could be the ending to all of my sadness and disdain. I knew better though, I always did. We'd go back to throwing punches in a week's time, and I would enjoy every waking moment of it. I just hope that one day we're able to settle down, maybe once we're through with college and start careers of our own. I can see Frank being the sort of person that stays in my life forever, which some might think is a good thing, but really it isn't.
You see, I'm worried that eventually, I'll run out of hate for the bastard. You can only hate someone for so long until there's nothing left inside of you; all of your negativity is spent. And then your eyes may be opened to all of the good in them, all of the beauty and the previously undisclosed opinions they might have that you could very well agree with. And maybe, just maybe you might even grow to feel the very opposite of hate, to love them like you've never loved before. And this is what bothers me, because if I eventually learn to love Frank in the adorning, whole-hearted way he already loves me, it's very possible that at the same rate, he could start to see my flaws and my failures and the absolute wretchedness I posses, and begin to hate me for the first time, in a way very similar to how I feel now.
I don't know what I'd do with myself if my freckle-peppered Frankie ever chose to loathe me like that. I couldn't imagine feeling what he does and not having it felt for me in return. Maybe it's what I deserve, after all, I've put him through it for four years, but it certainly isn't what I want. Maybe we'll learn how to stop fighting by then though, and none of that will ever have to come to pass. I sincerely hope so...
Those thoughts and so very many more clouded my brain as I ascended the brick steps that led to Frank's parent's house. His dad was undoubtedly intoxicated, and I know for a fact his mom was still at the diner, so the house pretty much felt like ours. I watched him lay on his lumpy mattress and curl into a ball just like he used to. I kicked my shoes off and sat at the foot of the bed, keeping an eye on him all along. The tears began, just as they always did, even when I wasn't there to console him. Frank left so many pieces of himself on this bed, even when he didn't mean to, he did. All of the tears he's shed, and the screams he's released, they've all ended up here for him to rest on top of after a long day. I can't imagine his former woes are very comfortable, but a bed's a bed.
"Shh, it's okay. We're gonna get out of here, Frankie. We've got to."
"You promise?" he asked, the waterworks catching up to his nose, creating a mess.
We both knew I was lying, but the promise felt as real as it must have sounded. I would probably always be around to tell Frank that everything was going to be just fine, and he'd always be there to drive me around late at night when I lose my way.
Finally, I leaned down to find sleep just as Frank had, and found myself thinking the word "tired" all the while. I'm so exhausted with all of this. With living, and with love, and with not being able to give the people in my life the emotional responses they deserve. Sometimes I'd break down like this alone in my own bed, and wish I could have a boyfriend just like Frank, but who wasn't Frank. Don't ask me why I resent him so much, I'll probably never know. It might have something to do with the way he's always been there for me without even a shadow of self-preservation, probably thinking something along the lines of "This time, things will be different." Most likely though, I bet it's the way he's never failed to love me. I don't think I really deserve such consistence from someone when all the rest of my life is just an unpredictable mess. I can't stand the way he sticks out like a sore thumb, always there to remind me that none of the rest of my life is perfect the way he nearly always seems to be.
I found myself crying again, I thought, before I finally drifted off to sleep.
"Don't be sleepy anymore, Gee. Things are so much better when you actually want to be awake." Frank whispered either in my dream or next to me, one.
I'm scared one day he'll hate me. The day he does will be the day I teach myself how to die.