When Mikey got to my house, I was a mess. He found me sitting on the floor in the bedroom, looking at wedding pictures. As soon as he saw me, he dropped everything and just hugged me.
I hadn’t realized how much I missed my brother until that moment. I hadn’t been to see him since Frank and I moved away. We still managed to stay in touch, talking on the phone and such, but it wasn’t the same as seeing him in person.
There was just something about him being around that calmed me down. The whole situation felt wrong to me, though. Growing up, I was always taking care of him. Now he was here comforting me. I wasn’t going to complain. It was nice having someone to hug and cry with.
It took hours to get me calmed down again, but when I finally stopped crying Mikey loaded me up in his car and we headed to the police station.
Right now, we were stuck in traffic. “Jesus Christ! I could walk faster than this!” I was starting to panic again. My heart felt like it was about to beat right out of my chest. I needed to get to the police and tell them Frank was missing. I couldn’t be stuck in traffic doing nothing.
“Gerard, calm down. Everything is fine. We’ll be there in five minutes.” How could be so calm at a time like this. He loved Frank once, and besides that, they were best friends.
“How can you be so calm? Frank is missing! We don’t know where he is, or if he’s okay.” I shook my head, fresh tears escaping. “I thought you were his best friend.”
He sighed, “I might look calm, but on the inside, I’m freaking out just like you are. In case you haven’t noticed I’m driving, and I don’t want us to die on the way to police station.” He turned to face me, “And you need to relax because I don’t want you to have a heart attack. Just take a deep breath. We can freak out together, later.”
He was distraught. I could hear it in his voice. He wanted to find Frank just as badly as I did. It always amazed me at how good he was at hiding his emotions. But every once in awhile, something would slip through the cracks and you could see what he was hiding.
For the rest of the short trip, I managed to at least keep my mouth closed and my heart under control. It was until we were inside the police station that my heart started to pound again.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was supposed to do, so I was nervous. But I was doing this for Frank, because I loved him. And more than anything I wanted him back home with me and safe. I found the nearest officer, “Umm, I need to report someone missing.”
As I spoke, I felt Mikey put his hand on my shoulder. It was reassuring having him here with me. If I was alone, I wouldn’t be able to think straight, let alone talk to someone.
The officer never even looked up from the paperwork he was filing. “How long has the person been missing?”
I shrugged, “Well, we went to bed last night, and when I woke up this morning he was gone. So maybe, twelve or so hours.”
The officer sighed and sat up straight. The name on his badge was Turner. “Sir, we can’t file a report until the person has been missing at least forty-eight hours. Are you sure he’s not wandering around town, or at a friend’s house?”
I nodded, “We don’t really know anyone in town, and his car is still in the driveway. The only person he would visit is my brother.” I turned to face Mikey, “And he’s here. He hasn’t seen him either.”
Officer Turner nodded and grabbed a card from his desk, “There isn’t anything I can do at the moment. All we can do is sit on this for another day. If he’s still not home by tomorrow afternoon, give me a call. Then we’ll talk.”
“But what if he’s hurt? He could be dead for all we know!” I was shouting. I hadn’t meant to yell, I was just frustrated. How could this be happening? Forty-eight hours before I can report a person missing... that was the stupidest thing I had ever heard.
“Sir, I’m sorry. Please, keep your voice down.” While he spoke, our eyes locked. He must have seen something because suddenly his face softened. “You know, I’m really not supposed to do this.” He sighed, and grabbed a blank piece of paper. “What’s his name?”
“Frank Iero. He’s twenty years old, light brown hair, hazel eyes.” I shook my head, tears beginning to form. Just thinking about him was killing me. All I wanted was for this to be a dream, to wake up and have Frank lying next to me. “Please, you’ve got to help me. I can’t live without him.”
Officer Turner nodded, writing down the information I had just given him. “Well, I’ll put his name out there. After forty-eight hours I’ll file an official report.”
Mikey squeezed my shoulder. I had almost forgot he was still here. The officer handed me a piece of paper, “Write down your number and I’ll call you if I find anything.”
I grabbed a pen and quickly wrote down my cell phone number. Once I was done, he took the paper and put it on his laptop. “You two just go home and wait there. He might end up back there.” He motioned toward the card he had given me, “And if he does, call. I don’t want to waste time looking for someone who is already found.”
I nodded, “Thank you, Officer.” Without another word, Mikey led me out to the car. As soon as I was sitting down, I turned to face my brother. “I feel better knowing people are out there looking for him.” I let out a deep breath.
Mikey nodded, starting the car. “It just doesn’t make any sense, though.” He turned to face me, “Like, was he walking down the street and get picked up? Did someone break in? What happened?”
I shrugged, “I don’t know. I’ve been wondering the same thing. It didn’t look like anyone had broken in. The door was still locked, all the windows were closed. I don’t know.” I ran a hand through my hair, something hitting me for the first time. “I bet he went outside, to get some air or something. Someone from the neighborhood saw him, and did something.”
I could feel tears building again. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this sooner. It was obvious. “There are more than a few people in our neighborhood that don’t approve of our relationship.”
Mikey gripped the steering wheel tightly, his knuckles turning white. “You think this was a hate crime.”
I nodded, “It’s the only thing that makes sense.”
Just because it was legal for us to get married here, didn’t mean that everyone living here liked the idea. No, most of our neighbors were disgusted by us. They wouldn’t let their children outside if we were around, they wouldn’t even let their animals outside. Sometimes it felt like we were trapped inside our own house. But it was okay because we had each other.
I never imagined that someone would actually act on their hatred. They always seemed scared of us more than anything else. But I guess I shouldn’t have underestimated them. Knowing that Frank was probably being beaten and tortured by some anti-gay people somewhere, made me sick. He had already been through so much pain and suffering the past few years of his life. He didn’t need anymore.