A week later and I find myself sat in the waiting room of the School's resident therapist once again; in my usual slot, 4pm, on a Wednesday. Just the same as the last twenty-three months. I stare out the window and see nothing. Nothing but a blotchy grey sky covering a broken city, filled with hopeless hearts and the misery of a million wasted opportunities.
Eventually, movement on the edge of my vision disturbs my contemplation and I look towards the office door. Muffled voices. Sighing. Shuffling papers. "Yep. Fine. I'll wait."
The door flings open and a tall boy steps out. He's wearing all black; a leather jacket, skinny jeans and pointy boots. He looks tired, conflicted - almost as if he is arguing with himself internally - and angry. Still, he has an air of Russell Brand about him as he walks towards me and sits in the chair next to me but one. I look down into my lap and fight the almost-uncontrollable urge to look at him again. I pick up the small plastic cup on the table next to me and take a sip of water, though it seems to get stuck in my throat halfway down. Nothing goes right for me these days, Jesus I can't even drink water properly.
I look up as the stranger gets up suddenly and walks straight towards me. I freeze for a second, paralysed by anxiety and fear until I realise, he's not heading for me, he's heading for the book case full of old magazines behind me. Thank god. I look back down and study my own hands in my lap until I hear a muffled grunt. The stranger has tripped over something and is currently getting up off the floor, and he doesn't look happy at all. I gulp as I realise my tatty school bag on the floor at my feet... he must have tripped on it. Oh fuck.
"What. The hell. Is your problem?" He seethes, "Can you not see your fucking bag is in the fucking way you little shit?" His eyes are narrowed, empty and crazed and his face seems to shift, as if he's somehow gone, it isn't a person behind those eyes, I'm not sure what it is.
"Oh... Uh.. I'm so sorry.."
He blinks once and when he opens his eyes the light is back in them, the dark emptiness has gone. "Ugh. Just shut the fuck up. I can't be bothered with this."
He sits back down and I stare at the wall in front of me, not daring to look anywhere in his direction and listening to the sounds of the therapist moving papers and opening and closing filing cabinets. We sit in silence for exactly four minutes before he sighs loudly.
"Look, I.. uh, I'm sorry about that okay, I know it wasn't your fault," he mumbles, and his face has returned to how it was; his voice is calm, and once again he looks tired. When I look, really look, I can see the exhaustion in his eyes. I can't help but feel sorry for him, even though his whole presence terrifies me.
I don't speak, afraid of saying the wrong thing, so I just sit and try to breathe normally. Sometimes I really hate the fact that I get so anxious in situations like this. Sometimes I hate the fact that I can't talk to other people, that I'm not confident to interact with people I don't know. But right now, although the silence in the room is awkward and uncomfortable, it doesn't bother me. It's not as if I'm going to be the one to strike up a conversation, and anyway, I'm used to silence. In fact I've grown to like it - I understand it and I can control it.
It never lasts for long though.
"Do you like it?"
My breathing stutters, "wha-uh.. excuse me?"
"Therapy, seeing the shrink, do you like it?"
"Do you?" I reply quietly, avoiding eye contact by staring down at my shoes.
His blank expression doesn't falter until he blinks slowly and looks at me. "Well I'm being forced to be here so.."
"Yeah, me too.." I agree to his unspoken thoughts.
"How long have you been seeing her?" he asks.
There was a time, I remember, when I would never have answered questions like this; never have told a stranger anything about my life, but this has been going on for so long now, it's easy to answer. It's easy to pretend like I don't care.
"About two years," I pause, "what abou-"
"Gerard Way." The therapist appears in the doorway across the room, looking at the boy with her eyebrows raised, a stern expression on her usually calm face.
I guess the stranger is Gerard then. Unusual name...
"All my patients, including Frank here, come to me in complete confidence. It is absolutely nothing to do with you. You cannot ask personal questions like this, Gerard. Remember what we talked about?"
He doesn't respond, just turns his face slowly, menacingly, towards her. But she ignores him and looks satisfied with herself as she gives me an almost-sympathetic smile and turns to head back to her office.
"Excuse me?" he says slowly, "You bitch, I have the right to ask the kid a question for fuck sake it's a free country ain't it?" he spits. He stands, his face reddening and bloodshot eyes wild. She opens her mouth to speak again but stops abruptly and gasps as Gerard lunges towards her and grabs her arm. He breathes heavily, "Leave me, the fuck, alone" he whispers harshly into her ear before he lets her go and she dives back into her office, eyes glassy with tears of shock.
He turns to me, shaking with anger.
"It only gets harder you know, this.." he seethes, gesturing around him.
"What do you mean?" I hear myself whisper. My eyes are wide and my heart is beating heavily in my chest; I can feel the blood being pumped, pushed, surging around my body with every frantic heartbeat.
"Problems don't go away," he spits, "They stay with you, growing and changing into something worse. This fucking, therapy, won't sort them out for you, Frank." He turns, flinging the door open and walking angrily down the corridor.