Gerard is finally discharged from the hospital, only to be sent away from his family once again.
“Gerard, we’ll let you settle in today and get you acquainted with the center. Our nurses know exactly what pills you have to take every day, and you can call in for them at any time. Let me know if you have any questions.” Gerard smiled and thanked him kindly even though he didn’t like the center or the people. The name of the facility itself seemed to be mocking him for his weakness towards alcohol: Oasis Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Center. It was no paradise in hell, as an oasis was in a desert, but the same depressing scene as the hostile outside world. He was struggling as it was, being separated from his family for even more time, and he could not get his thoughts together at times, and was not able to remember simple things that he done not even moments before. He often found himself speaking before he thought about what he was going to say, as if he had the psyche of a small child. He could not express how he felt, as he could not pinpoint exactly how he felt, or the reasons. The only thing he was sure of was that he had failed at everything. He couldn’t keep his job, his health, his family, or his sanity. He had failed Lindsey, and he felt incapable of anything anymore, or so he thought. Though he had been without alcohol for a while, he still felt as if he needed it to cope and grew nervous and agitated when he seemed to need it most. His occasional unfiltered actions were the result of this, and often looked down upon by the ignorant nurses taking care of him and people who were only bystanders. He was fully aware of his actions afterwards, and regretted not being able to control or do anything about it. He very slowly evoked his past memories of when he started to drink again, and eventually remembered being fired and entering his car before drinking himself in a coma. Yet he still did not regret getting drunk. Of course, he was penitent for hurting Lindsey, Bandit, and their whole lives, but he did not feel remorse at all for being addicted to alcohol. He found no wrong in it. It made him forget about everything that caused him pain and discomfort inside, and the physical pain ensued was no competition. Gerard would far prefer the physical pain than the crippling, mind-consuming mental anguish he had experienced. Lindsey, on the other hand, could not grasp how Gerard felt about his addiction and how he was hesitant to go to rehab. She knew that he felt ashamed of what he had done to his family and that alcohol was the cause of this, but she could not understand how he thought that the poison that had ruined everything to be such nectar. Fortunately, Dr. Schechter would help Gerard understand this, and make him realize that alcohol should not be used for emotional management. Lindsey only hoped that Gerard would grasp this and soon return the person he once was.
Together, Lindsey and Gerard unpacked Gerard’s bags into the drawer in his room quietly, barely speaking. Gerard moved slowly, one hand lightly on his torso, covering his already healed wound, but protecting it just out of habit. Eventually, they finished straightening the room out and settling in. The both of them stood in the middle of the room, unsure of what came next, until Lindsey reached inside of her bag to fish something out. She brought out her black wallet, and opened it. With her fingers, she picked out a piece of paper from one of the small pockets and handed it to Gerard. Gerard took the small paper in her hands and flipped in over to look at what was printed on it. The paper itself was not bigger than his palm and was frayed at the corners; on it was a picture of Gerard holding Bandit for the very first time at the hospital. His brown hair was ruffled and messy, and his expression was tired from stressing over Lindsey’s painful cries. His eyes portrayed pure enchantment, looking at the small creature that he realized was a part of his life from that moment on, and his mouth was open, smiling, cooing nonsense at Bandit, barely able to contain his happiness. Gerard could scarcely remember this picture before, but recalled the moment perfectly.
“Lindsey, thank you…” he said, reminiscing the momentous day he had first seen their daughter.
“Please get better for her.”
“I’ll visit sometime on the weekend, Gee, I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Lindsey squeezed his hand opposite to the one holding the picture lightly, and waved goodbye. Lindsey left the doorway, and Gerard waved at the empty hallway, immediately missing her. It was only about noon, and based on the schedule he was given, lunch would be coming soon, along with a surprisingly large amount of medication. He held the schedule paper in his hand, analyzing each time slot. Almost every other day, there was a group session with at least 10 other people to talk about their issues, all of them patients of Dr. Schechter. Gerard mentally cringed at the thought of exposing himself to strangers and decided he would not talk, but only listen during that time. Otherwise, when everything was private, he knew he would have to eventually talk to Dr. Schechter. Today, being that it was the first day, he would have a meeting with the doctor, who would explain everything about the center and what steps he would go through promptly at 1 in the afternoon. For now, a nurse, or assistant, Gerard could not tell which, entered his room with a tray of food. Hopefully, the food here would at least be slightly less disgusting than that of the hospital. Alongside the food were small cups of medication to be taken before and after the meal. The nurse/assistant instructed which he should take first and stated that she would come back in half an hour to see whether he had taken them or not. Clearly, they knew he was more independent or capable than most, and was not required to constantly be monitored. The nurse left the room for Gerard to eat his food: an Italian sub with a small bowl of fruit. It looked far more appetizing than the sodium free soup and bread the hospital had given him, but at the moment, or every day it seemed, Gerard had no appetite and did not want to eat the sandwich. He took the pitcher of water placed on a nightstand and poured it into a glass beside him. Swallowing the pills with the water, he took the bowl of fruit and chewed a couple grapes distastefully. It seemed to Gerard that nothing tasted good, or was simply tasteless. Not wanting to be forced to eat, he tore apart the sandwich, making it look at least partially eaten and ate a couple more pieces of fruit, knowing that he would feel weak later without any food and took the rest of the pills. It was only ten minutes past 12 so Gerard decided to take a short nap before going to Dr. Schechter.
It was Saturday, at the end of March, and Frank would be returning that night from his tour. Cherry and Lily were jittery and excited for their father’s return, and Jamia was trying to contain Miles, who had started to crawl just after Frank had left while Mikey and Lindsey entertained Cherry and Lily. From over the phone, Frank claimed that the tour had gone satisfactorily and that no one had gotten hurt or injured. At around 6 in the evening, Frank opened the front door, along with a few suitcases, and was reunited with the twin, who ran over as soon as the doorknob turned. Frank laughed, picking up the two girls and teased them; glad he was back with his family. He kissed Jamia, who was holding Miles and put the twins on the ground to take Miles. Fortunately, Jamia had taken the dogs into the other room so they did not jump all over everyone, but Frank opened the door they were scratching on and the multiple dogs came running out, leaping and stumbling around everyone’s legs. Cherry and Lily ran around giggling, along with Bandit, who had grown accustomed to the dogs, shrieking and giggling as they chased them. Jamia complained jokingly how hard it would be to get them to calm down, but was glad she had Frank back home.
“How are you guys?” Frank asked, directing the question towards Lindsey and Mikey. Lindsey broke forth the good news of being able to find an adequate apartment, good job, and nice rehabilitation center to which Gerard had been dropped off that day. Mikey claimed that he was feeling great. He didn’t have any pain anymore, and was glad that he was capable of doing everything he could do before and return to his job.
“And Gerard?” he asked.
“He’s doing well, I think. He’s much better in terms of mood and actions, but he could be better. Hopefully, rehab will help.”
“That’s good. Maybe I’ll come along when you visit.” Lindsey nodded, thinking that Gerard would love to see Frank after having him gone for month. The rest of the night was filled with laughter and excitement, as Frank saw Miles crawl for the first time and as he discussed the most memorable moments of the tour. While they were joking around, Lindsey brought up that she planned to move into their apartment in Lodi at the beginning of April. Hopefully, Gerard would join them not long after and they would finally return to normalcy. Though she looked forward to the change, she knew she would greatly miss Frank, Jamia, and Mikey, and all the help they had given her, so she dreaded yet anticipated the move within the month.
A/N: I don't really like this chapter. It's kind of a filler I guess :P