Gerard and his family gain more and more hope, but problems arise in the Iero household.
“Hey, can I talk to you real quick?”
“Yeah, sure, what’s up?”
“Well, the guys are coming on Wednesday,” he said, referring to the band members, “and I told them about you. The substitute bassist on the tour was okay, but I doubt we’ll actually recruit him as a permanent member. To tell the truth, based off what you were playing before, I think you’re much better than him.”
“You’re serious?” Frank laughed,
“Of course! They’ll be here a little after noon.”
“Oh, thank you so much,” Mikey said. He was past ecstatic. He had waited for months, practicing and practicing until Frank came home from the tour. He was disappointed when Frank had not said anything about the bassist position, and assumed that they had taken in the substitute as a stable member. Deciding to move past it, knowing that being able to suddenly be apart of a huge band was far beyond anything he could ever imagine, he continued to go to work, saving up more and more, and eventually earning the title of “Assistant Manager.” Very soon, he would be able to move out and find an apartment of his own. After concentrating on saving up money, he had completely neglected practicing bass since Frank came home, but now that Frank had invited him to try out for the rest of the band, all of his hopes had returned and excitement bubbled inside of him.
“Hey, our pleasure. Hopefully, you’ll be better than Pedicone,” he joked. “I’m so glad Gerard is getting better, Lindsey. I’m planning to have a welcome back party here once he’s a little strong.”
“Oh, no, you’ve done so much already,” she said, waving away the request.
“No, I’m glad Gerard gonna be back. I’ll host and everything, I haven’t had a party here is so long anyway.”
“Oh, thank you, Frankie. I’m sure he’ll love it.” Lindsey said.
For the first time Lindsey left the Oasis Rehab Center, Gerard was sitting in the passenger seat next to her. In the short time left in his stay, he had gained a little weight, but still needed to stay on the diet that had been recommended to him. While driving to their new apartment, Lindsey glanced over at Gerard every so often, a little on edge, not knowing how to take care of him by herself. This was the first time another facility or other people had not helped her take care of him, and she wasn’t sure what she would do in the cases when he had a bad day or not. In a week’s time, they would go to Frank’s house to celebrate, where Frank would announce the recruitment of their new member, Mikey. The tryout had gone smoothly and quite well; the rest of the band had been quite impressed at his skill level and had agreed to let Mikey play in a show, to them decided whether he was able to stay or not. After all, stage fright did change the quality of the performance greatly, and Mikey would never have been so exposed to such crowds like those of concerts. In A few months time, a new tour, along with several other bands, would start and Mikey would play at their first show, usually considered as a rehearsal to see what needed to be changed.
Finally, they reached home. Gerard had visited once before to see the bare apartment just after Lindsey had confirmed the rental, but he had not seen how everything had been placed; all the new and old furniture. This time, Bandit had come with them to pick up her father, going to the rehabilitation center for the first time. She wasn’t so sure where she was or why her father was there, but she knew that she was finally reunited with him. Most children that young would most likely have forgotten about their father if they had been gone for so long, but Bandit seemed to be different. Gerard never left her mind since he had started to disappear from their old home. Gerard felt the same about her, but was disappointed, knowing himself that he would not be reliable enough to take care of her by herself for years to come.
Lindsey unlocked the apartment door and pushed it open revealing a much nicer displayed kitchen and living room than their last apartment. Determined to create a fresh new start, Lindsey had worked endless hours in perfecting everything for Gerard’s return.
“Lindsey, this is amazing! How could you afford this?”
“Oh, this barely cost anything. I’m just really skilled,” she quipped, flattered.
“I love it,” he held her shoulder and pulled her closer to his side, letting her lean her head on his shoulder. “I love you,” he put his mouth on her head, whispering to her, and kissing her softly.
“I love you, too,” she crooned back delicately.
Frank felt the doctor’s cold hands pressing down on his throat and neck. About a few weeks before, Frank felt that his voice was weakening until he could barely squeeze out a word. When he started to feel his voice leaving, he had gotten tested for laryngitis, but nothing showed up on the results, but now that his ability to speak had gotten far worse, he had made an appointment for the bronchial exam he was in now. The doctor, Dr. Jones, was feeling his throat for cysts or polyps that could damage his vocal chords, and would then take a test by using a telescope-tube to be put down his throat and have the images created examined. The doctor finally lifted his hand’s from Frank’s tattoo ridden neck and sighed,
“I think I feel something there, but we’re going to take the next test now to confirm it." The doctor led Frank into a separate room, where he was given a hospital gown. After putting it on, a nurse led him into another room, and told him to lie on a table. Dr. Jones entered the room along with another assumed doctor and introduced his to Frank.
“This is Dr. Giamatti. He’s an otolaryngologist, and he’ll be testing you for the vocal chord polyp.” Frank nodded. Before, when he had made the appointment to get tested, he had been measured out for anesthesia and other medicines for the duration of the procedure. After lying down on the table, a mask was lowered onto his nose and mouth, making the nervousness of his heart and mind slowly dive into mindless black.
Frank woke in a recovery room as if no time had passed. Because it was not a serious operation, the anesthesia he was given was very light, and he woke up in a matter of minutes after the procedure was over. Once he shook off the tiredness, Dr. Jones and Dr. Giamatti entered the room, a small stack of papers and scans in Dr. Jones’ hands.
“Mr. Iero, based on the images we got from the procedure, it seems that you do have vocal cord cyst, meaning that you won’t be able to sing for a while.” Frank’s eyes grew wide. A vocal cord cyst? His only job required him to sing and now that he was incapable of it, what would happen? What would happen to the band? It could take months, or years, depending on the severity, for him to return to singing, and even if he did recover, his could very well have completely changed. But to confirm he understood, Frank nodded his head.
“You smoke, yes?” Dr. Giamatti asked. Frank nodded. “I’d completely stop smoking for the sake of your voice and try not to use your voice. It won’t heal your voice, but it will definitely prevent anymore damage to be done before we decide what will be best for you.”
He mouthed a thank you, and was told that he would receive a call as to what should happen once they analyzed the images a little more.
Jamia was sitting in the waiting area, reading a book that she had brought from home, anticipating Frank’s return and an update on his voice. Once Frank made his way over to her and stood in front of her to get her attention, she looked up and immediately asked,
“How did it go? Is your voice going to be okay?” Frank shrugged, and managed to say,
“There’s a cyst. Can’t smoke. They’ll tell me later.” His voice came out in rasps and found it far more difficult to produce sound. He knew that the thought of not being able to sing had not fully sunk in yet, but soon, he would have to decide what would happen with the band. Admittedly, none of them had the voice for a lead singer; their voices weren’t strong enough. For the second time, Frank might have to postpone the tour, if not cancel it all together, upsetting the fans even more.
After leaving the hospital, Jamia drive both her and Frank home. There was no conversation in the car, only the radio, fixed on 107.1 World Class Rock, played softly. Jamia knew Frank had a lot on his mind; he always had interesting topics and conversations being created constantly in his thoughts, but being that he was unable to speak, nothing was said, and she missed their little talks. But above all, she missed hearing his laugh. It varied at times, but it was usually a high giggle, extremely contagious, and never failed to make her smile. She felt horrible. Frank's whole life was based off his voice and ability to play the guitar and now that the former had been taken away, she wasn't sure what would happen to him or the fate of the band. Once they got home Jamia would ask, and he would write it down, if he had an answer. For now, all the cigarettes in the house would be thrown away, something she had wanted for years, and they would do anything else to prevent anymore harm to his voice.
While Jamia paid the baby-sitter for taking care of the children, Frank started to collect the packs of cigarettes stashed around the house. He had been meaning to quit, especially with young children in the house, but he had never got around to go through with it. With a vocal chord injury, it was the perfect excuse to start what he wished he could have accomplished before. Once the baby-sitter left, Jamia came to the kitchen where Frank was collecting the packs of cigarettes. So far, he had collected about a dozen packs, and was still searching for more. Jamia started to look around for more before asking,
"What are you going to do?" The question was general, but topic was given. Frank brought out his phone and typed something onto it. After fooling around with the settings, he commanded the phone to speak the words he typed into it. Proud of himself for finding a new use for his phone, he grinned, and pressed the screen to allow the machine-produced woman's voice to say,
"I'm not sure, but I think I have an idea." Jamia nodded slowly. She was worried, but she trusted that Frank would figure something out.