Gerard has a dream that explains a lot of things previously mentioned.
Gerard woke up outside his old high-school in Belleville leaning against the same brick wall he had been against when he was beaten up by that jock. The area was silent; the air unmoving and serene. Knowing it was a dream, Gerard did not get up, but stayed on the ground and waited for the dream to end. He didn’t want to explore this dreaded scene. That was until, he heard the opening and closing of a door echo off the ground and walls. Looking up and to the main entrance of the building, he saw the same freshman who had carried his backpack and walked home with him on the day of his attempt. What was his name? For some reason, Gerard could not piece it together even though he had remembered earlier that day. The unnamed teenager strode over to Gerard, confidence seemingly in his step. From afar, he seemed as though he were confident enough to rule the world, but as he neared, Gerard noticed the subtle gesticulations he made suggesting self-doubt and fear. All his life, Gerard had spent hours of his day simply observing people. Watching all their dark secrets inside getting glimpses of the daylight through the person’s movements, or even through their eyes. In a way, Gerard had always known what everyone was thinking, or so he thought. This is what made him so paranoid. The teenager, now in front of Gerard, looked down at him and asked, concerned,
“Are you okay?” Confused, Gerard followed the teenager’s gaze down to his own stomach. It was bleeding. Just like on the day of his attempt. Yet he felt no pain. He felt no discomfort.
“Yeah...” he replied as he watched his abdomen flow with red. The both of them uncomfortably stood in silence until Gerard stood up from the ground and started to walk past the teenager. Just as Gerard had passed him, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Gerard turned around cautiously to face the peculiar teenager and watched his mouth move as he spoke the words,
“I have to give you your umbrella back,”
Gerard gasped awake. His limbs twitched in response to the sudden awakening from the dream. The shower still ran in the bathroom. The last words the teenager had spoken in Gerard’s dream repeated in his mind. Mikey, Gerard remembered. The teenager’s name was Mikey. Gerard threw the covers off of himself, the cold immediately gripping him. He shivered as he pulled on a pair of jeans he had lying on the floor and a brown sweater. He swiftly walked out of the room, past the bathroom and Bandit’s room, where he caught a glimpse of his daughter sleeping soundly in her bed. He grabbed his jacket and slipped his bare feet into his soaking shoes he had worn before. He stepped onto the heels of the shoes, bending the structure of it. He checked his jacket pocket for his keys, and when he confirmed they were there, he rushed outside. Torrential rain almost drowned out the sound of his lonely footsteps as he almost slipped down the concrete steps. He ran past his routine 7/11 until he neared his work. Just as he had expected, he saw the lone homeless man sitting, back to a building, with Gerard’s umbrella clutched in his hands comfortably. The loud sound of the rain splattering against the ground completely eradicated Gerard’s movements, and until he was standing right next to him, the homeless man did not realize he was standing right next to him.
“Hi,” the man said casually. Gerard sighed before replying with the same,
“Hi.” The man motioned for Gerard to join him under his umbrella. Gerard lowered himself onto the wet ground and soaking brick wall. The water seeped into his clothes and he started to shiver. To avoid silence between them while the man continually looked at the sky, Gerard burst out with the question he was dying to ask,
“Mikey?” The man’s face hardened suddenly, from a sensitive, open face taking in all the beauty of the swirling clouds above their heads, to a hard, pained expression. The man now face Gerard. Gerard noticed that the sparkle that had resided in his eyes had now morphed into a placid, cold stare. He looked away again, not looking at the sky now, but at the ground, inspecting the drops of water hitting the gray ground.
“I- I’m Michael. I didn’t go by that name except when - ”
“I’m Gerard,” Gerard said, cutting Michael off. Instead of finishing his sentence, recognition filled Michael’s expression as he said,
“Gerard? You- But you- you died in-”
“... No, I moved after my attempt. That was a rumor,” Gerard explained. After Gerard had recovered at the hospital, and after weeks in a mental clinic filled with inquisitive, glasses-adorned doctors and therapists, Gerard and his grandparents decided it was best to move and start over again from scratch. Gerard had not known where the rumor of his death had been generated, but it didn’t matter. People didn’t remember him anyway. A little anger flared in Michael’s voice as he said,
“You have no idea how much I felt when I heard you had died. I didn’t even know you until I saw you with that horrible cut in your stomach. I kept on replaying in my mind how I could have save you. You have no idea the guilt I went through. I hardly even knew you!” Michael was nearing hysterics now, revealing his true emotion unlike anything he ever done before in front of Gerard. Michael still faced the ground.
“I so glad you’re alive,” he said, his voice barely reaching Gerard’s ears through the noise of the rain. It seemed as though Michaels posture had improved greatly, like a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Why had he cared so much about Gerard? Like he had said, he didn’t know Gerard until he had met him the day of his attempt.
“If you don’t mind me asking, wh-” Gerard was cut off when he felt something hard press against the back of his head. Just as he was about to turn around, he heard,
“Don’t turn around. I have a gun to your head. Just take out your money and throw in on the ground.” Panicked rose from inside Gerard stomach.
“I don’t have any money,” he tried to say calmly, telling the truth. He really didn’t have any money. He stared at Michael, silently pleading for him to save him. The same expression of fear was conspicuous on his face. The alleged gun struck Gerard’s head, shooting pain through his scalp.
“I don’t have any money!” Gerard yelled, his voice cracking, desperate for the man to believe him. Michael sat paralyzed on the ground.
“Bullshit,” the man behind him growled.
“For the last fucking time, I don’t have any fucking money,” Gerard tried not to plead, but he was scared out of his mind. For the last time, the man bashed Gerard’s head with the gun. Just before Gerard fell to the ground unconscious, he caught a flash of Michael getting up to face the mugger.