"shit. What the fuck?" I open my eyes and a crowd surrounds me. I look up at the stage and see the same guy I saw last time just dressed in all black. I still can't make out who he is. The guitar starts to play.
"Hand in mine into your icy blues and then I'd say to you, we could take to the highway
With this trunk of ammunition too I'd end my days with you in a hail of bullets.
I'm trying, I'm trying
To let you know just how much you mean to me."
The same lyrics again. I walk further in the crowd and I am about to see his face when someone pulls me back. I felt the same squeeze again. It was Harry. He pulled me into a kiss but I pushed him away. And when I pushed him away, my surroundings shattered into pieces.
I open my eyes. There is pure darkness again. But this time, I'm laying in Annie's bed and I can hear her snore. I sit up and look at her clock that is resting on her night stand. 4:35am
I go into the kitchen and get a drink of water. I had the same weird dream again and why do I remember these lyrics? Well, not all of it. I can only seem to remember that last part but I know there was more to it...
I place the cup down and make my way back to the room through the darkness. I lay down again and try to go back to sleep but I just can't. I've lost all my sleep. So I lay there and look up at the ceiling till I get bored and step out into Annie's balcony. In New York, no one ever sleeps. There is still people walking around. Mostly drunkies and there are still some stores open like restuarants, night clubs and bars. I look over the city and see the sun's light barely coming up the horizon. It's pretty chilly out here. I go back inside to grab a sweater but I spot Annie's cigarettes. Haven't smoked one in a long time.
I grab one and her lighter and step back outside with a sweater on.
I hesitate. Should I do it? Then I remember the promise I made Gerard and put the cigartte in my pocket.
He broke your heart and left you all alone in the cold without a care in the world. Are you really still going to keep that promise? Out of rage, I take the cigarette back out and light it up and take a puff.
"this is for you my dear." I say loudly and take in a long puff that burns my lungs and makes me cough.
I smoke another cigarette before I get disgusted of the smell and taste and go back inside. Annie is still sound asleep and snoring. I go into the living room and go online on Annie's computer. I check my email and watch YouTube videos till 7am when Annie wakes up.
"so you've been awake since 4 and smoked 2 of my cigars?" she sits down across from me at the table as she serves coffee.
"yeah sorry. I had a bad dream and couldn't go to sleep afterwards and you left your fags outside so.. Yeah."
"stealer. Anyway, Henry's coming over today with his girlfriend. I told them you were here."
"yeah I think that's her."
"Oh god, she's an old high school friend. I can't wait to see her."
"they're coming around 8."
"ok cool, I'm going to get ready."
"you're not going to finish your food?!" she yells as I'm going through my suit case.
"not hungry anymore but thanks!" I run into the shower.
"rude!" I hear her yell and I laugh as I turn the shower on.
"Annie its 8:10 already! Where are they?" I comb my hair as I yell at Annie who's taking a shower. She opens the curtain and frowns.
"will you shut up? They're coming!" I hear a doorbell ring.
"oh my god it's them!"
"oh you!" I run outside and open the door.
"oh my god!" I yell and hug Henry.
"Edith! I'm so happy to see you!" he spins me around. "I cannot believe you two are still together." he puts me down and all my attention goes to Linda who looks sexier than ever.
"Linda oh my god, I haven't talk to you in such a long time!" I hug her tightly.
"I can say the same. You look so different."
"you do too. I see you dyed your hair black. It looks good."
"thank you. And you cut your hair."
"yeah I did, c'mon lets go inside." I pull them both in and we talk in the living room.
"when did you arrive?"
"just a few days ago."
"where's Annie?" Henry asks.
"hmm, of course."
"do you guys want anything to drink?"
"we'll have some water." Linda answers and Henry sighs.
"she's been trying to keep me in shape."
"I can tell." Henry looks a lot more muscular and fit than the last time I saw him as well as Linda. She looks healthy just.. A little bit chunkier.
"we've been working out together." she shoves him a little with her elbow.
"that's very nice. You guys look good."
"Oh please, not me. But you look good, a lot skinnier though. Not that you were fat or anything." Linda says and Henry's snorts.
"oh shut up. I wasn't. Well yeah, I've been dancing ballet for 8 years straight."
"wow that's a long time."
"I know. What have you two been up to?" they look at each other and smile.
"well, that's kind of what we wanted to talk to you and Annie about.." Henry answers, "we plan to get married."
"married!!?" we hear Annie say as she joins us in the living room.
"hello cousin. You look fat." Henry gets up and hugs Annie.
"you're a fucking bitch. I was about to say you look sturdy but nevermind." they hug in a lovable manner as they insult each other. Nice.
"hey Linda." Annie says and hugs Linda. Then we all sit and talk.
"so tell me about this marriage thing." his cousin asks.
"well yes, we're getting married in a few months from now."
"why so early? or have you guys been planning for a while?" I ask.
"no you're right. We want it early because.. Linda here is.. Pregnant." he touches Linda's belly and she smiles.
"what?!?" Annie and I gasp.
"a kid before marriage?!" Annie says and sprays them with holy water that's actually normal water form Linda's cup.
"sorry. I'll get you another cup." she gets up and goes in the kitchen.
"that is so cute. I cannot believe it. I'm happy for you two." I smile as I pretend to wipe off a tear.
"and we want you and Annie to be our main brides maids."
"I am honored."
"and this is great. We're glad you're living here now."
"how many months are you?"
"I'm barely 6 months."
"you can't even tell."
"I know, I'm glad because I've never wanted a big stomach."
"well I am so happy. It's so great."
"I know, we're happy too." they kiss lightly on the lips. I find them so cute. I'm glad Henry has found his soulmate with someone beautiful like Linda.
Annie cooks up some brownies and we eat them as we talk about life and the baby and the marriage and all these wonderful things.. Till the topic comes up. Linda and I are sitting alone in the balcony.
"I'm sorry Edith but, if you don't mind me asking... Have you talked with Gerard or anything?" I cock an eyebrow as the question sinks in.
"no Linda, I haven't."
"oh, I was just wondering since its been, you know, so long."
"I know but, I don't think he'd want to talk anyway. I asked for him a long time ago but he didn't want to talk to me so I finally gave up there."
"oh I'm so sorry."
"it's okay. It happened a long time ago."
"have you been seeing anyone since?"
"um no actually. I did have like 2 other boyfriends but that's it."
"she's currently seeing someone right now." Annie adds joining us with Henry.
"oh really? Who is he?" Henry asks.
"well, I wasn't planning on saying anything but now that this bitch said it, I want to ask you guys not to say anything please?"
"sure, we promise."
"you too Annie!"
"his name is Harry."
"ooh, how'd you guys meet?" Linda says.
"that's very nice. I'm glad. Are you happy?"
"of course, otherwise we wouldn't be dating." I smile feeling hurt inside.
"ooh! Ugh, that was a big kick." she places a hand over her belly.
"aww it kicked? Can I feel it?"
"sure." I place my hand over her stomach. Maternity is a beautiful thing. I feel the baby move and kick me.
"oh my god.." I grin and furrow my eyebrows and blink my eyes. A tear rolls down my cheek. Then Linda comes and gives me a warm hug.
"don't worry, I know how you feel. Remember Bob and I?" she whispers.
"see? Probably Harry is for the better. I'm sorry that I brought this topic up."
"why do you say I'm crying because of that?"
"because I can tell you still love Gerard." I start sobbing now. She's right, I still do love Gerard. Even though I have resentments for him, my love for him is bigger. Henry and Annie leave Linda and
me alone in the balcony. She lets go of the hug.
"just seeing you pregnant and happy, makes me feel really full of joy but at the same time sad. It makes me feel like I won't ever find the same love I felt with Gerard."
"you will Edith. And maybe with Harry. Just let the good times role between you and Harry. He can be your way out of this burden."
"I guess so. But I'm worried Linda! I've been thinking about Gerard a lot. Even when I'm with Harry. Just knowing that I am really close to him gets me anxious to go look for him. But I know he won't want to see me.."
"well, I don't know if that's for sure. I haven't seen him in so long. But that last time I saw him, he looked very sad. Maybe he misses you."
"I dont know, he was probably sad for something else."
"I can't fill you in on anything because I don't mess with his problems anymore. He's become more aggressive since you left. But I can tell you for sure that you should go and look for him. You'll never know unless you try."
"I guess so."
"I'm going to have to go Edith. This baby is kicking me harshly. I need to lay down."
"oh god, um okay. Let me help you." I help her get out of the balcony and into the living room.
"we should go honey, the baby is kicking and it's bothering me."
"are you fine?" he takes her from my hold.
"yeah I just want to lie down. I'm sorry Annie, we're going to have to go."
"it's totally fine. It was nice seeing you guys." we exchange long goodbyes and soon after, it's only Annie and I in the house.
"Annie I'm going out. Can I borrow your keys?"
"sure. Where are you going?"
"I'm going to visit my mom."
"oh alright. Take care."
"bye." I close the door behind me and exit the buliding into the parking lot.
I drive all the way to New Jersey on my own with low music playing in the background. The sun is high and bright at 3pm. Before I go over to my mother's house, I make a quick stop down memory lane and visit some places.
First stop, Belleville High School.
I park right outside the gate and exit the car. I step on the side walk and lean on the car and look over the school. It looks no different. I look over the parking lot and remember when I would come to school with Frank and Emma or Ray and Bob or with Gerard. Oh the memories. I get back in my car and drive around the school to the football field. I remember the time when we all came to watch the school game. It was so funny because we weren't even paying attention. We were making fun of Victoria's friends who were cheerleaders. Then I look further in, close to the school buliding and spot the tree where we hung out. I sigh and remember the time when Gerard asked me out under that tree. I remember we carved our names there when we comepleted 6 months. As I was walking towards the gate, I wasn't thinking and just climbed it and ran over to the tree. I remember my first day of school here when Frank was my first friend and when I met Gerard for the first time. I don't know what I am doing but I decide to hug the tree. I go around it and find are initials. GW+EL with a heart surrounding it. I trace my finger over it and cry and sit down and sob in my knees.
"oh Gee, I love you." I say to myself. It's the first time I've said "Gee" In so long. After I've calmed down, I walk back to the gate and jump it and go for my second stop; the super market.
I park my car inside the shopping center and step out just to find the super market closed down.
"what" I question in shock. I walk closer to the place. They're building something new inside. I hear someone close a door next door where the doughnut shop is. It's Frank
I quickly turn around so he won't see me. I grab a newspaper that's lying around and pretend to read it as I sneak a peak at him. He's closing the shop. He turns around and walks right by me. I don't want him to see me just yet. I watch him go into his car and drive out of the parking lot. I go in front of the doughnut shop and look inside. It still looks the same just a bit modified and cleaner. I squint my eyes to see something posted on one of the walls.
Under new management: Frank Iero
So he's manager now? How cute.
I go back in my car and now, I head to my third stop; my mother's house.
I park right in front. I forgot how close this place is to the market. I step outside and stare up at my mother's window. The lights are on. I wait for someone to walk out of the building. Luckily, someone goes out and I catch the door to go inside. I get the elevator and walk down the hall slowly. I take a deep breath once I am in front of my old home and then I knock.
I close my eyes when I hear the door open and open them when my mothers voice fills my ears.
"Edith?" she says.
"hi mommy." I step in closer and hug her gently. She's getting old.
"oh my Edith. Edith Edith. When did you get here?" she closes the door and we stand in my mom's hallway.
"a few days ago. I'm sorry I didn't call, I wanted it to be a surprise. Oh mommy I've missed you."
"oh sweetie." she hugs me again with her fragile arms.
"come. Sit." before I sit, I inspect the living room. Everything is still as it was 7 years ago. I sit in my old couch as my mom brings me some of her famous cookies.
"oh mother. I remember these." I take a bite off a cookie and it brings back so many memories.
"are you just visiting Edith?" she sits next to me on the couch.
"no. I'm moving back. But I'm living in New York with Annie. Remember Annie?"
"oh yes. That girl has always been a bad influence but I love her like my own daughter. How is she?"
"she's fine. She's changed a lot. She's studying to be a professional photographer."
"ohh, good for her. How about you? Did you get a job here to choreograph something?" she giggles.
"no, I moved companies. I'm in a contemporary company now."
"I'm happy for you Edith. Now tell me, why are you so skinny?" she grabs my arm and squeezes it.
"oh mom, it's ballet. C'mon."
"I know honey. But you are beautiful anyway."
"thank you. You're not bad yourself."
"oh no," she giggles, "this old lady is getting old."
"but you're still beautiful for your age. You're 50!"
"I know honey. I'm half way through life." we both giggle.
"have you talked to your sister?"
"no actually. We haven't talked in quite a while. How is she?"
"she's doing good. She's coming for Thanksgiving."
"oh that's wonderful. I can't wait to see her. Is she still with Mikey?"
"surprisingly yes. They've made it this far being separated for 4 years."
"so talk to me about Canada." she grins as she listens attentively at my stories with the company and Carlos and my dad. I show her my tattoos and ask for forgiveness for my rebellions when I was smaller. I tell her the truth and she just laughs at my selfish acts. We continue talking for hours. The sun sets when she cooks something for us to eat.
"any boyfriends?" she asks as we eat dinner.
"hmm, I'm dating someone." she's the only one that I don't hesitate to talk about these things. She's my mother and I trust her.
"hmm how lovely. When will I get to meet him?"
"soon. We're not official yet."
"have you talked to anyone else? Like your old friends?"
"no. I'm doing them little by little. I want to surprise everyone. I've only seen Henry and Linda. Did you hear they're getting married?" she gasps. "oh my goodness, that's wonderful. When is the wedding?"
"in a few months from now."
"oh I'm so happy for them."
"listen, Frank has an early announcement for everyone.. He's hosting a dinner party on Thanksgiving. And you're one of his close friends so he'd appreciate it if you went."
"oh I hope I can make it mom. You know.."
"I understand sweetheart. Hopefully things get better." she winks at me and takes a bite off her food.
She was washing dishes when I got a sudden idea.
"mom, can I check out my room?"
"oh sure. Go ahead." I get up from the couch and I eagerly go inside my room and turn on the lights.
My furniture is still the same but a lot of things are packed and it's clean. I go through my old stuff and find many photos and memories. There's barely anything that's Jade's. Of course she would take anything that she finds. I left a whole bunch of pictures behind so I won't have to look at them and miss NJ. But I can't believe I left so many. In a box, I find the Halloween photo with Frank, Emma, Gerard and me. I get emotional when I look at it and store it in my bag. Then I come across the Swan Lake video Ray recorded for me and I cry again. I hold it close to me as I sob on my own.
"Eddie? Oh Eddie.." my mom comes in and hugs me. I've missed my nickname Eddie. Hardly anyone ever calls me that now. My mom hugs me and strokes my back. She has been the only person so far that doesn't bring Gerard's topic up.
"mom, I miss him mom. I can't get over him. It's been only hurting me for these past years. I love him mommy." I sob on her shoulder.
"it's okay sweetie. I understand it's okay. Something magical will happen real soon okay? I just know it. God has something big planned for you." she whispers. I don't understand her but I don't question it. I just let it roam in my mind.
"thank you so much mom. It was great being here again." I step outside into the hallway.
"thank you Eddie. I appreciate you coming and giving me a surprise with your visit."
"I promise you I'll visit you often okay? Don't you get lonely?"
"thank you sweetie but I don't actually. Mikey and.. Gerard come by often as well as the others."
"oh.. That's very sweet of them. Well I have to go mom, It's getting late."
"okay sweetie. You take care alright?"
"sure will. You too. Goodbye mom, I love you."
"love you too." and the elevator door opens and I step inside.
I drive my way to my fourth stop and that's my last stop for the day; the park nearest to my house that connected Frank, Gerard and Mikey, Ray, and Bob's house. We use to hang out here all the time. I park in the parking lot and walk along the sidewalk that goes around the park. I breathe in the fresh cold breeze of Belleville. I walk all along the park and hit the spot where we all had our last picnic as friends before we split and I see the fireflies roaming around. I go and catch one and it just brings me memories again of that night. Too bad I didn't have a jar, I would have kept the firefly but I had to let it go. It was getting darker and darker by the second and Belleville is pretty dangerous by night and I'm here alone so I decide to make my way back to my car.
As I drive back home, I take a route through my neighborhood and make a quick drive by Gerard's house. I park without turning off the car and just stare at his house. I see Mr. Way's car and another car I don't recognize. All the lights are turned off though. Except the garage one. Through the side door, I see someone come out and it is Ray. I know because of his fro and I smile, remembering special moments with my big brother. I decide I can't take this anymore and instead of tearing up again, I go back home to New York.