I've broken down in practise again. I slam my bass down, not caring where it lands and run from the room, tears blurring my vision
“Mikey Way get your fucking skinny ass back here now!”
I hear our curly haired guitarist yell after me. Why can't he just leave me the fuck alone? Nobody would believe that Ray could be so cruel. But he is. In practises he just yells at me for not concentrating, says I'm daydreaming, staring into nothingness. My hands come to a halt on my bass. I can't continue. Does he not fucking understand that? Does he not fucking understand that I can't take it. I hear footsteps behind me, I don't bother looking to see who's following me. It could be my imagination. I don't care. I just want to get away. I run towards the grand staircase, not caring where they take me. I run towards the en suite in Gerard's room, too afraid to go into my own room alone. I slam the door, happy to finally be in my own solitude. I go into the mirror above the cabinet, take out a razor and the bottle of Xanax tablets.
“You're pathetic Mikey... look at you, you can't even handle a tiny bit of criticism. Gerard won't save you now”
Ray's right. I am pathetic. I deserve these cuts, I deserve every ounce of blood that gushes out. I'll be okay when I've taken some Xanax. Calm my nerves. Calm my racing thoughts. Maybe regain some control of myself so I can continue practising without fucking up.
“There's no way you can be good enough Mikey.... no way at all. No tablet you take will make you talented”
I'm trying. I'm trying to be good enough. I practise with my bass for hours, until my fingers bleed. I just can't do it. I can't play. These new songs are too complex. Even the old stuff is difficult now. My fingers slip. I lose the notes. I'm letting the band down, I should just leave. I should leave so Gerard's dream lives. Because right now I'm killing it. I'm killing Gerard's vision. And in return his dream is killing me.
I don't think I can cry anymore. My head is banging. My nose is red and blocked. My eyes are blood shot and grey, making me look like a reject from a zombie movie. Blood is splattered on towels and my shirt, the dried blood staining my skin, fresh cuts mating with old cuts. I can't feel it anymore. I don't even feel the burn that I used to feel. I just feel numb. Numb and dizzy. The world is spinning and I don't know why. I've taken the Xanax, it should make all this go away. It should make what I see disappear. It should make me disappear. Instead I'm still here stuck in this place, haunted by voices and visions and belittled by my band-mates.
“Mikey? You in here Buddy?”
Bob's voice comes from the other side of the door. Maybe if I just stay quiet he'll leave.
“Mikey don't forget to use some air freshener when you're done in there, we don't want Gerard dying when he goes to bed!” Frank chimes in.
Gerard and dying. It always comes up. The two go together hand in hand. I lose everyone I love. It has to be Gerard next! How can Frank joke about it? How can Frank joke about my big brother dying? How can he? I can't help it. I cry. Again. I can't bear the thought of losing my brother. I can't. He's my rock. My protector. My world. I curl into the fetal position, sobbing my heart out and screaming Gerard's name.
“Mikey, it's Bob. Let me in buddy”
“What the fuck have you done to Gerard!?” I yell through the solid oak door. “I'll rip your fucking head off!”
“Gerard is fine Buddy, just open the door and come out”
“I'm not coming near you! You fucking psychopath!
“Don't be fucking ridiculous Mikey! Bob wouldn't kill your brother, you're the fucking psychopath! You can't just go accusing people of murder, especially when it's bullshit!” Frank yells back. “You're out of your tiny mind Michael!”
I hear mumbled words outside the door and footsteps. Thank God they have left.
I eventually find the courage to come out of the bathroom and return to my room. Now I wish I hadn't. Gerard is on my floor, in a pool of blood. Dead. The knife used to kill him in my hands.
“Look at him Mikey. He's dead. D-E-A-D and it's all your fault”
“That's not fucking true! Bring him back! Bring him back Motherfucker!” I scream, falling next to Gerard's body. I cry, I hit my fists against him, anything to make him wake up, to make this not real.
“Gerard please” I cry, resting my head against his chest. “Gerard come on, get up” I plead, tears rolling down my face. “Don't leave me Gee, Gee please wake up!”
“Mikey I'm awake and so is every fucker else within the vicinity”
I come face to face with my big brother, I'm so relieved he's okay.
“I love you Gerard” I sniff, wrapping my arms around him.
“I love you too Mikes” He replies, looking slightly bewildered. “Why were you shouting baby bro? Has something upset you?”
I don't know what to say. I can't tell him what just happened. I can't tell him what I just saw.
“Ummm I just had a bad dream, sorry Gee” I mumble, looking at the floor.
“It's okay Mikes, do you wanna stay with me tonight little bro?”
I want too. Of course I do. But I feel dumb. I feel like I should face this alone but I can't. Maybe with Gerard by my side I might get some sleep. I need to take my brother's offered help, I can't let Gerard down. I can't let him see me self destruct. I have to be okay. I have to fight this. I have to fight like Gerard did. I need to be strong but right now I can't be. I can't fight this. I need Gerard. I need Gerard to tell me everything will be okay and that I will make it through.
“Mikes? Are you coming with me? There's space for a little dude in my room”
Shit. I forgot to answer him. He's looking at me, expecting an answer.
“Gerard I'm sorry” I say, bursting into tears. “I'm sorry I'm ruining it for you... I'm sorry” I break down, clinging to him like my life depends on it, and right now it does.
“Come on little bro, let's get you to bed”
I continue to cling tightly to him, I can't let go. I don't want him to go. He can't leave me. He can't.
“You want me to carry you dude?”
I nod my head, unable to give him a verbal reply.
He picks me up, wrapping his strong arms tightly around me. Finally I'm safe.
I sit on the edge of Gerard's bed, watching him do his bedtime routine. It feels weird. I haven't slept beside him for years. Only when I get homesick on the tours. I miss it I guess, I miss having someone's warmth beside me. I miss being close with someone. I miss being held. Thinking about it I don't think I ever have had anyone hold me properly, not even Alicia.
“Are you going to sit on the edge of my bed all night Mikes?”
“Ummm no, sorry Gee.. I'll go” I get up and walk towards the door, not making eye contact with my older brother. “I'm sorry Gerard” I start to cry.
“Hey... come on Mikes, it's okay” He comes towards me, I pull away from him. Afraid of what he'll do.
“Mikey, what's wrong dude? Are you scared of me?”
I can't stand to look him in the eyes. I don't know what's wrong with me. Why am I afraid of Gerard? What do I think he's going to do? I can't answer any of these questions. I don't know what I'm afraid of or who I'm afraid of. I fear everyone and everything. I want to be alone. I've kicked and screamed for Gerard to be here but now he is I can't take it. I just want to be alone. What if he sees the marks? I can't let him. I can't let him know what I've done. What she's done. It's my fault she hurts me. I disappointed her. I'm not good enough for her. I'm scared Gerard will turn on me too. I'm scared he'll hate me if I tell him what she does.
“Mikey? Are you coming to bed little bro?” Gee's already got himself comfortable, leaving a little space beside him for me. “Come on Mikes, I won't bite you”
He won't hurt me. He won't hurt me. He won't hurt me.
“Of course I won't Mikes, why would I hurt you?”
“Ummm no reason.”
Fuck. I've made an idiot of myself. Now he knows something is wrong, now he knows I'm afraid of him.
“Has someone hurt you Mikes?”
I go quiet. I don't know what to say. Do I tell him? He'll go mental if he knows Alicia isn't treating me properly. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to tell him.
“I need the bathroom” I lied, running out of the room quickly.
I run towards the grand staircase, I don't know where I'm going. Just away. Away from here. Away from Gerard and the awkward questions he's bound to now have. I just want to be alone and I am but not the way I want it to be. I'm alone surrounded by my demons, who will never leave. I have to at least try to socialise with my band-mates but right now they are what's causing my downfall. I don't want to have to explain myself to them. I don't want their constant staring and criticisms. I don't want their pity. I want their approval. I want to know I'm an equal. I know that I'm not. I know that both personally and musically Ray and Frank are bigger, better and more gifted than I am. And Bob, I'm never speaking to that motherfucker again. Speak of the Devil.
“Hey Mikes, you're up late. On your way to the kitchen to get coffee?”
How can he speak to me so casually after what he's done? I continue on my path as if Bob hasn't approached me.
“Mikey? Are you okay Buddy?”
He puts his hand on my shoulder.
“Get the fuck off me Bryar!” I'm not strong enough to push him back but I try. I put all my energy into pushing that monster off me.
“Woah woah woah Mikes, what's wrong dude?”
He's trying to lure me into a sense of false security. I will not fall for his kindness.
“You know full well what you did” I scream back, trying to break his grip.
“Mikey, you don't still think I hurt Gee do you?”
His blue eyes are full of hurt and regret. If he was going to hurt me, he would have hurt me by now wouldn't he? Maybe he's just prolonging it. Prolonging it to see what he can get from me. Like her.
“Mikey look at me Buddy” His kind Chicago accent washes over me, soothing to my ears.
I fall into the trap. I look into his eyes. I don't see evil. I see kindness, friendship. He wants to help me.
“Mikey I wouldn't harm you and I wouldn't harm Gerard, do you believe me Buddy?” His voice is pleading, begging me for forgiveness.
I break down. Again.
“Bob I'm sorry Bob, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry Bob” I sniff, clinging onto him like a small child looking for protection.
I feel his huge muscular arms clamp around me in a vice like grip, holding me to his chest protectively. I feel so stupid for doubting him. He must think I'm such a fuck-up. He's right. I am a fuck-up. A fresh batch of tears fall as I think of how cruel I've been to guy who's tried to help me.
“Hey come on Mikes, don't cry Buddy” He smiles, wiping away my tears with the pad of his thumb. “I might have to sing if you cry, and nobody wants that do they?”
I hear his kind words but they only half soothe me. I can't hear it. I only hear the bad stuff. I curl further into Bob's chest crying harshly, pain thrashing it''s way through my body. I feel him rocking me gently, it feels good being held by someone. I feel so protected in Bob's arms, against his chest. Him running his fingers through my hair.
“You going to stop crying Mikes or do I have to sing?”
“I'm sorry Bob. I'm sorry for everything. I'm sorry I'm a fuck-up. I'm sorry I'm not as good as Gerard and Frank and Ray. I'm sorry I let you and the guys down. I'm sorry.” I cry harder, ignoring Bob's pleas for me to stop.
“Mikey, look at me Buddy.”
I obey. My hazel eyes meet his blue eyes once again.
“Listen to me Mikes, you are not a fuck-up. You deserve just as much credit as Gerard, Frank and Toro. You haven't let us down and you have nothing to be sorry for. You've been through a lot Buddy, don't be so hard on yourself. And I am always here for you to talk to, okay Buddy?”
I listen to his words. Believe everything he says. Bob will not lie to me ever. I believe that.
I turn and head back to Gee's room. I needed that boost. I needed that chat with Bob. I feel slightly better but I'm still deceiving him.