I hadn’t seen or spoken to Gerard in almost a week and a half and, to put it bluntly, I missed him. I missed having him sitting beside me in the cool breeze, his scent of cigarettes rubbing off on me. I missed listening to stories about his art. I missed his continuous rambling about beauty and the world.
I missed having a friend.
And that’s why when I did finally see Gerard again, it hurt.
I stood there about four meters away from the stone bench by the lake, the cold morning air nipping at my skin and staring at Gerard; who hadn’t acknowledged my existence yet.
He was drawing, but it wasn’t his normal calm drawing. He was muttering to himself and running his hands through his hair every thirty seconds. Then he ripped a page out of his book and threw it out into the cold water of the lake before shoving he book in his bag and digging his face into his hands.
I didn’t have the normal feeling I get when I saw him, and I didn’t hate him like I expected myself to. I, in fact, felt shy and a little scared at the same time. It was like I was meeting him for the first time, or even seeing a ghost of an old friend.
Forcing myself to step forwards, I mumbled, “Gerard..”
Gerard jumped a little and looked in my direction, breathing out heavily before resting his hands in his lap and looking at the ground. “Hey..”
Now that I had started speaking to him, I couldn’t just suddenly back down.
“Are you ok?” I asked, finally walking over to him and sitting beside him.
“No.” He chuckled bluntly and lightly, not looking away from the ground.
“Why did you just chuckle if you aren’t ok?” I asked with a small frown.
“You’ve got to laugh when you’re the joke, Frank.” He sighed.
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say. He seemed more upset than I had been.
“Is it ok to cry when you think the time is right?” Gerard asked in a whisper.
“You can cry right now if you want to..” I whispered in reply.
“I want to..”
“Why don’t you, then?”
“I want to cry, but at the same time I do not want to cry.” He said quietly, fumbling with his hands in his lap. “But, there is alot of crying when you grow up and the cold reality of life hits you..”
“You make growing up sound horrible..” I mumbled, staring at his pale hands.
“It is horrible.” He whispered as he finally turned to look at me. “How do you cope with it all, Frank? I mean, you clearly don’t cope with depression the same way I coped with it, so how do you do it? How do you make it through week by week feeling sad and worthless?”
“Well.. I don’t know..” I mumbled. “For starters, I don’t..”
“Don’t you wish you were happy?” Gerard asked.
I simply shook my head and replied with, “I don’t really want to be happy, Gerard. I have accepted that happiness avoids me. I just want to stop feeling so miserable.”
Gerard gave a small nod and looked to the ground. “It’s funny how you’re so used to the tears and pain that you can greet them as if they’re your friends.”
“I thought you said that you used to be depressed?” I asked. “Shouldn’t you know how it feels?”
“Yeah, I used to be depressed, but I spent half my time drunk.” He sniffled. “I don’t remeber.”
“You know what I think?”
“What do you think?”
“I think that it’s always the beautiful, deepest people that have been hurt the most throughout life.” I told him, placing my hand on his knee.
Gerard gave me a weird look in reply and said nothing.
“And you know what else I think?” I asked, but did not wait for his answer before saying, “I think you’re one of those people.”
Gerard then began to cry; a sight I never wanted to see.
“Gerard, please don’t cry..” I whispered, holding him close.
“I can’t help it..” He cried. “My life is going downhill.”
“No it’s not..”
“Yes it is. I’m not happy with my relationship, I’m not happy with the direction I’m heading in, and my best friend was an almost seventeen year old boy. And even then I found a way to destroy that.”
“Gerard.. It’s ok.. None of that stuff matters..” I said softly as I rubbed his back to comfort him.
Gerard looked out to the lake and whipped some of his tears away, sniffling he said, “You know what? Yeah. You’re right. It’s doesn’t matter.” He then began to play with something in his hand. “This ring doesn’t matter..” He mumbled.
“I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just a ring, right?” He said, clearing his throat as the ring slipped off his finger and he stood up. “It has no real value to my life and what I want.”
And, with a small gasp escaping from my lips, I watched as he threw the ring out into the middle of the lake; rippling the perfect surface with its contact.
“Gerard!” I gasped. “Do you have any idea what you just did!?”
“Yes! Fucking hell.” He groaned, spinning around to face me. “I know what I did, Frank! And maybe you should learn to take a fucking hint!”
“T-Take a hint?” I asked, quieting down.
“I think I love you, Frank!”
My eyes darted from side to side, I was studying him as I stared him dead in the eyes.
He was being serious.
Before I could stop myself I said, “Oh god.” In a low voice.
Gerard looked as if he was too only just grasping the concept of what situation he had just put the two of us in and whispered, “Fuck..”
“Gerard,” I shook my head, trying to be the mature one here, “You don’t love me.”
“I do, Frank! The first time I saw you sitting across the lake from me I knew you were going to be something special, I just didn’t know what. And now that you and I are as close as we are, I can safely say that I know just how special you are.”
“Gerard, just the sincerity of you telling me you love me isn't enough to prove it. You are an engaged man whose got allot going for them in life..” I said as I stood up. “Please, don't let a drop-out, insecure, suicidal, emotionally unstable, teenage boy get in the way of that.”
“I’m sorry..” I whispered, turning away from him and beginning to walk.