Has the ship really sailed? Maybe into the eye of the storm.
“There's nothing to tell.”
He took me firmly by the shoulders and looked me dead in the face.
“Christine, don't lie to me.”
“How is it you can see right through me?”
“Because you're a terrible liar.” he laughed.
“It's your body language. It betrays you if you don't pay attention.--”
I looked at him, thoroughly confused.
“The way you stand, the way you carry yourself. The way your eyes dart all over the room to avoid mine. Obviously, something is bothering you. If you don't want to tell me that's fine but it's only going to cost you.”
“I didn't know you payed such close attention to me.” I couldn't help but stare at my shoes in shyness.
“I do, I have for quite some time.”
“Why's that? Do I need watching?”
“Not exactly, it just helps me understand people. I'm an artist, we observe.”
“Noted.” I said. My face must have looked like a poster for melancholy. I didn't want to tell him everything. Really though, it was only fair given the circumstances. I sat on the end of the bed and he took the spot next to me. Gerard laid his head on my shoulder. I took a deep breath and he went to hold my hand.
“You might as well tell me. It can't be nearly as bad as what I told you. I'm a living slash flick. I hate it.”
“It just bothers me how I made you bear your soul practically. I know all of your past when you haven't even asked me once about mine.”
“I just leave these kinds of things alone. I don't go around telling my life story to just anyone. Other than what shows in my music and the things I've let on about in interviews I tend to keep my mouth shut. I'm not going to ask that of anyone. Honestly Christine, if it weren't for Ray I wouldn't have said a damn thing. It was beat out of me. You know now. There's no turning back and I'm exhausted.” He raised his head from me and looked up.
“So you're saying you would have never have told me anything? That everyone would have kept me in the dark?” My tone now was a bit singed.
“Don't turn this around on me. Please.”
“How do you expect me not to?!”
He sighed. “I just meant that I wouldn't have told you so soon. Not like this.”
“I'm sorry.” I could barely speak.
He hugged me close and kissed the side of my face.
“Will you tell me what has you so upset? I really don't like seeing you like this. I feel like it's my fault. I don't want to be the cause of it.”
“It would be much easier if you beat it out of me.”
“Be quiet. I'm not going to. I don't want you talking like that either.”
Such a sense of concrete and impulsive need paired with overwhelming insecurity washed over me.
“Gerard. Tell me you want to know everything.”
“Tell me everything.”
“Where do I start?”
“Let's try the beginning.” he said calmly.
He inched himself backward to the backboard of the bed. Gerard patted the bed next to him. I crawled up beside him and took my place, he put his arm around me. I'm nervous. I'm shaking. Buck up, Christine. He went through all this hell for you. You can do this one thing for him. I looked to him like a nervous puppy for approval.
“It's okay babydoll.” he reassured.
“How much have I told you about my family?”
“Not much, you've just told me and the guys quirky episodes of your childhood.”
“So you don't know anything about my dad?”
“No, you've never really talked about him.”
“Now I know where to start. I'm the youngest of six. I have four sisters and one brother. Three of my sisters and my brother are from my mom's previous marriage. My other sister is from my dad's previous marriage. I'm the only child between my parents. My siblings were always living with their other parent. He didn't want me and refused to think that I belonged to him. My dad didn't even claim me until I was two. That's when my mom and dad got married. I remember the early years of my childhood very faintly, all I used to have was pictures. I don't really have any clear memories before the age of five. My dad is an ex Marine, but I'm pretty sure in his head he never left. He was always a strict person. Nice to everyone, but behind closed doors he was always angry and forceful. Everything had to be perfect. I can remember yelling. Always yelling. One of my strongest memories of my parents is me hiding under a table where we kept our typewriter. My dad was screaming at her for something she had done, I didn't even know what. That was the first time I saw my dad hit my mom. --” Gerard interrupted me.
“Wait a second, did he ever hit you?” his face was ridden with concern.
“I'll get to that.”
“I swear if he did he's not gonna like me.”
“Calm down Gee. Let me finish.”
“Okay I'm sorry.” he hugged me tight.
“The next thing I can remember is being on the run from him. I was about six or seven years old. My mom and I, we went anywhere. Anyone that would take us in is where we went. We never stayed long. I bounced around a lot. I remember her friends taking care of me, then we ended up at my great uncle's house. That was in South Carolina, it was a little town. My great aunt was my school bus driver. One fateful day I came home and the front yard was swarmed with police cars. I saw my dad, my first instinct was to run to him. I hadn't seen him in months. My mom was working at IHOP at the time. A call was made and she came rushing back to the house. I saw her in tears. I didn't know what was going on at the time but my dad had come to take me home. She was sobbing violently and I started to cry. The cops had to pull me away from her. They literally had to pluck me from her. I was holding on for dear life. I lived with him for a while, my mom came back and tried to salvage things for the kids, but then she was out again. My dad went through wives like clean clothes. By the time I was 12 he had already had wife number four. After her is when it really got bad. He made me play housewife. I was forced into church, my grades had to be perfect, all of my life had to be perfect. I never felt good enough. Not once. He did beat me, but not as much as he did with words. He was more about humiliation. About making you feel like you weren't even worthy to wallow in the dirt of disease, wreckage, and war.--” I paused for a moment, my voice was breaking. He hugged me tighter.
“It's okay honey. You don't have to go on if it's too much.”
“No I need to. You need to know.” I had this guttural feeling of fighting a monster within me not so willing to let go.
“Then I'm listening. Whatever you need to say. I'm listening.”
“I was quite suicidal. I was a cutter. I'd spend so many nights crying myself to sleep. I just wanted it to end. I just wanted someone to love me. The right way. Not that hell. Not like that. High school came around and my social life picked up, I fell hopelessly for a guy who played with my emotions like his favorite toy. I clung to my friends, my music, my hobbies. Then came wife five. She was absolutely batshit clinical definition crazy. The only credit I can give her is that she gave me the courage to stand up to him. I did too. I rebelled more and more towards the end of it all. I escaped when I was sixteen. I made a run for it. I got myself landed in foster care. I bounced around in the system for a bit, did a lot of things I'm not proud of. I stole a lot. I was promiscuous with boys. I helped my foster sisters sneak around. Drugs, booze, bouncing from boyfriend to boyfriend. It only got me into trouble. My grades suffered but I loved my friends. I straightened out in my last home. My mom was finally getting herself together so I kinda followed suit I guess. I was released to my mom the summer I was seventeen. We moved around even more, struggling with money and stability like always. I was happier even though it wasn't perfect. I managed to graduate in the midst of the insanity. My mom was unemployed again and I had been supporting her. I made sure she had somewhere to go and I was off to college. I could finally breathe. I still am haunted by own demons Gerard. I wonder all the time if anyone can ever really love me. The flashbacks I get. Sometimes I just feel so worthless--” I broke down. I couldn't help it.
I just caved into him. He held me. I could feel him crying too. He held me so fiercely. Hearing him cry hurt even more. I could hear him forcing “I'm sorry”s through his tears. Suddenly he pulled my face directly in front of his own. Gerard's hands were placed firmly on each side of my face. His eyes looked straight into mine.
“I love you Christine. Please don't forget it. You save me all the time. Babydoll I never knew you had so many scars. Here I am. Making new ones. I am so sorry. I love you. I love with all of me right here right now. All of me until I'm six feet under. I'm dead without you. You hear?”
“Gerard I'm so scared. What are we going to become? Are we really good for each other?”
“You listen to me, right now. I may not be good for you but goddamnit I'm going to try because you're perfect for me. I need you Christine. Please stay.”
“... But we're so fucking dysfunctional.” I cried choking on my tears.
“Who gives a damn? I'm sitting here telling you that if you just try. If you just have a little faith, that I'm going to make you happy. You promised. Don't back out on me now. We've been through so much already.”
My tears still fell but the choking subsided. Doubt was prepared to swallow me whole. I was so torn. I averted my eyes. My mind was going a million miles a minute.
“Can't you say something? You're making my nerves go crazy. Well the few I have left.” He looked to me helpless, wanting eyes. Gerard's hands moved to my own to hold. I honestly didn't expect myself to feel this way after telling him. It just made me feel like I dug myself into a hole I'll never escape alive. Come to think of it, Gerard was the only guy I ever loved that I revealed my past to. The only people that knew were Alicia and my family. Alicia didn't even know the full story. He looked at me still. I looked back at him finally, worried and confused.
“Okay maybe you're too jumbled to talk right now. I get it. I'm just going to do one thing. Please just let me.”
He loosened his grim on my hands. Gerard took my face again with one hand. He gently pushed the hair out of my eyes. Like a virgin, he slowly approached my face. His hazels met my blues just before Gerard kissed me softly. I opened my mouth a bit, kissing him back, letting it deepen. It became so solemn, deep, desperate. He clasped the back of my head with a fistful of hair. Gerard paused just to breathe and kissed me again but just once. He backed away.
“Now. Tell me you don't feel anything. Tell me you don't love me and I'll let you run like you probably should have a long time ago.”
I was breathless but I was less afraid. These were the moments I knew who he really was. He was just a man who wanted me to love him. Nothing less, nothing more. Get yourself together Christine. This was bound to happen eventually. He's pleading for you to stick around. So do it. Why are you being so frigid? Talk to him, I thought. My conscience really kicked in at this point, helping my mouth to move.
“Never start what you can't finish, right? The start ship sailed a long time ago. I'm here. For you. The anchor is down.”
He put his forehead to mine.
“You really are my angel. Heaven help us.”
I gained more courage to speak.
“Gerard please know how terrifying this is for me. I know how badly you can break me, how badly I've been broken. We're both so messed up, but I don't know how to live without you. I'm looking at all my possible futures in my head, right now. There's not a single one without you in it. Maybe it's not healthy. I just know what my heart feels and my head's getting in the way. Loving you is the most debilitating thing I've ever been through. For once in my life I need someone. It's you, Gerard. I admit it. I need you. No matter who you are, who you've been, who you may become. The scariest part is that I trust you, with all of me. You could destroy me, all over again, like I have been before. And I'm welcoming it with open arms. Perhaps I shouldn't, but I am.”
“You're right. You probably shouldn't. I'm so thankful you do though. From today on. No more bullshit. No more secrets. You ask, I tell. I mean it. I want to try, for you. For us. I hope the anchor stays. Even when we feel like sinking, I hope it stays.”
“If I wanted to leave I'd be gone by now.”
“Seriously. Where have you been all of my life?”
“I don't know—” I stopped and wiped my face of tears. “Playing hide and seek?”
“Well you're the best damn hide and seek player I know.”
He laughed. I laughed with him. I went to hug him and his arms enveloped me. In that moment, I just knew. I knew we were going to be okay.