Over the next few days I continued going to the lake, as usual, but every time I’d go I’d make sure that I’d bring Gerard’s drawing book just in case he comes looking for it. He hasn’t came to the lake in three days, so I’ve got his book with me right now.
I sighed as the cool midday breeze flowed through my hair, causing my fringe the gently whip my cheeks as I stood on the lakeside and stared down at my refection in the lakes murky water.
The sixteen year old boy I saw staring back at me was nearly unrecognizable. His hair was messy and his skin was a pastel olive colour. He looked abstract. Messed up. Only his eyes persisted in clarity. Wait, no. More than clarity. They burned with such an obvious hatred for me.
I didn’t want to believe it, but, in a way, I knew it was me. This depressed, hate filled boy was me.
I met my reflections gaze and my heart seemed to stop beating. As soon as I looked into my own, cold eyes. As soon as I realized that this was me and I can’t escape it. I can’t escape myself.
Even with my eyes turned away to the grass underneath my feet I could hear my reflection beckoning me to look at it again. Telling me that I can’t escape it.
I hugged Gerard’s book tightly and tried my hardest not to look back at the depressing reflection.
“Frank?” I heard a soft voice say from behind me, causing me to jump and spin around. I spun around to see exactly who you think it is; Gerard. There was something different about him from the last time I had seen him, though. He smiled at me and said, “Sorry for scaring you, I didn’t really recognize you with your hood up.”
Quickly I took the hood of my old red hoodie down and mumbled “It’s ok..” as I studied him.
“What? Is there something on my face?” He asked, wiping his face discreetly, but not discreet enough for me not to notice.
“No, but there is something different about you.” I frowned. I then noticed that it was, in fact, the length of his shaggy black hair. Instead of falling to his shoulders, it now fell just below his chin. Titling my head to the side and staring at his hair I spoke, “You got a haircut.”
“Oh.. Uh..” Gerard went a charming shade of red as he began to play with a bit of his hair. “It looks bad, I know. My fiancé made me cut it and I didn’t really ha--”
“You’re engaged?” I asked without thinking beforehand and cutting him off midsentence.
“Yeah.” He slightly smiled.
“Aren’t you a little young for marriage?” I asked. “I mean, this is coming from someone younger than you.. But.. Yeah..”
“I look it, but I don’t act it.” Gerard smiled. “Besides, Eliza and I are ninety-nine percent sure that we’re ready for this.”
“Oh, well, it’s your life, I don’t even know you. I’m just an obnoxious teenager; you don’t have to listen to my opinions. But, on slightly the same note, congratulations.” I shrugged. “When’s the wedding?”
“In a few weeks, actually. That’s why she made me get a haircut.” Gerard told me with a small smile.
“On other note,” Gerard smiled, brushing his fingers across my chest as he begun to tug at his book, which I was still tightly hugging, “I believe you have something of mine.”
I let go of the book and blushed, looking to the ground. “Y-You, uh, you left it here.. The other day.. And I figured that I’d hold onto it until I saw you next.”
“Thank you.” Gerard smiled, placing a hand under my chin so that I would look at him. “You’ve got to start looking at people when you speak to them, ok Frank?”
All I could do was give a light nod in reply.
After that, without another word, Gerard walked over to the stone bench and sat down, pulling his bag onto his lap and crossing one leg over the other as he rummaged through it. He pulled out a cigarette and a lighter and smiled at me, beckoning me to sit beside him. So that’s what I did. I walked over to him and sat beside him on the cold bench.
I didn’t really have to worry about how cold the bench was because Gerard was sitting close enough to keep me warm. And it was nice. It felt like I had a friend.
“You don’t mind if I smoke in front of you, do you?” Gerard smiled.
“Oh, no, not at all..” I mumbled, watching him light up the cigarette.
Once the cigarette was lit and hanging from the corner of his mouth, he reached into his bag and pulled out a pencil, studying it’s led tip before he placed his drawing book on top of his bag and opened it to a new page.
“I was looking for this thing everywhere.” Gerard chuckled softly, holding the pencil with one hand and the cigarette with the other. White smoke seeped through his lips every time he spoke. “I’ve got allot of work to catch up on for my art classes. I wasn’t able to do anything but painting projects because we were given canvases for them. But, for anything else, especially drawing, I need my book. And I didn’t have it so I was pretty much screwed.”
“Sorry. I should have chased after you when you left the book..” I mumbled, watching him sketch.
Gerard looked at me and smiled, “It’s fine. But you’ve got to loosen up in life, Frank. You’re too edgy about everything you do and say.” Gerard then took his cigarette out of his mouth and placed it into mine. “There. Try that.”
I, of course, coughed and splattered out of automatic reaction, and Gerard just chuckled and continued what he was doing.
“Are you seriously struggling with that?” Gerard laughed, taking the cigarette from me. “It’s as simple as breathing. You inhale.” He said as he placed the cigarette into his mouth. “And then exhale.” He said as he blew the smoke out. “See.” Gerard then passed me the cigarette so that I could try again.
I did as he had done; I inhaled the smoke from the cigarette and held it in my system for about three seconds before I let it out again.
“See, like that.” Gerard smiled.
“It tastes like poison.” I coughed.
“You’ll get used to it.” He muttered, going back to his drawing.
After a few minutes, Gerard’s drawing began to form into something I could see clearly.
He was drawing someone with their back to us and their arms folded tightly across their chest. Their feet was doing that awkward thing where one is flat and the other is on a tilt. And, not until he pulled out a red pencil, had I noticed that he had drawn me.
Gerard smiled at me and ripped out the page. “Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.” He told me, then went to throw the piece of paper away, but, before I could stop myself, I jumped up and snatched the paper from his hands. Gerard looked stunned.
“I’m sorry..” I mumbled, blushing from embarrassment. “It’s just.. Such a good drawing shouldn’t go to waste..”
“At least someone appreciates my drawings.” Gerard smiled.
“Everyone should. They’re amazing!” I told him. “I wish I had skills like you, Gerard.”
Gerard just smiled like it was the first time he was hearing this from anyone. “Frank..” He finally spoke.
“Are you doing anything today?” Gerard asked with a small smile.
“Uh.. Not that I know of..” I mumbled, kicking my foot slightly. “Why?”
“Well, Eliza is doing some things for the wedding and shit, so I’m not doing anything today and I was wondering if you’d like to hang out or something? It would be nice to have some company for once instead of walking around town alone..”
At first I was a little surprised, I mean, no one ever asks me to hang out with them. Especially nobody like Gerard. But this was the first time in ages I’ve had social contact with any other human being so freely, so of course I wasn’t going to say no.