His eyes were swollen and bloodshot, his hair 2 or 3 days unwashed, and his shirt was soaked down the front with tears. He looked like hell, but I don’t think anything physical could even begin to describe the hell he must feel inside of him.
“Where the fuck is my b-brother?” He cried, running over towards Ray and I. “Where the fuck is he?”
“In there.” I said, pointing to the doors into intensive psych. “We’re allowed in when he’s stable, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour from now.”
“Stable? They don’t fucking know? We’re relying on them to keep Gerard safe and fix whatever the hell is wrong with his brain, and they don’t know shit about when we can see him? I’m his brother, I have a right-“
“They need to make sure he isn’t going to lash out or do anything to put either us or himself in danger.”
“My brother wouldn’t lash out. He wouldn’t put us in danger if his life depended on it.” He snarled.
“Mikey, do you know why he’s in here?” Ray asked, starting to lose his calm exterior. “Do you know half of what went on while you were back at the hotel?”
“Yes, you fucking called me and I got out here as fast as I could, I didn’t even eat or shower or do anything else humans are supposed to do because my brother is sick. He’s really sick Ray, and I’m scared as hell.”
His shouts and cries trailed off, and the once carefree, silly Mikey was reduced to nothing, sobbing in Ray’s firm grip.
Once again, Ray was showing no signs whatsoever of distress or upset. He knows it, he knows that Mikey needs stability right now, not empathy. That old saying “misery loves company” is only true up to a certain point. And right now, we – especially Mikey – are so far past that point, it no longer exists to us.
Mikes, I’m trying to keep myself together. I’m trying to keep control. But the sight of you ain’t making it easy.
I love you.
Ray, Mikey and I all scrambled off the floor and ran full-speed ahead towards the doctor standing between the doors.
“Yes, how is Gerard?” I asked anxiously.
“He’s stable. You can go see him for a few minutes, but only a few. We need to talk to you.” The doctor answered. “He’s four doors down on the left. I’ll come find you.”
“Thank you, thank you…” I cried, pushing the doors aside and bolting through them faster than I intended to.
“Four doors to the left…” Ray said to himself. “Room 782, this is him.”
“Guys…” Mikey’s weak voice called out to us.
“What’s he going to look like?”
What is he going to look like? He shouldn’t be on oxygen, he’s stable so he should be conscious by now… I wonder what they’ve done to him.
“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.”
I started to push the door open, but something kept me from pushing all the way. Something doesn’t want me to see Gerard as he is. Something doesn’t want me to know why, how, or even what.
“Frank?” Ray said. “You going in?”
“Yeah.” I sighed, pushing the door open.
Please be okay. Please, Gerard. I fucking need you.
We fucking need you.
Lead-feet carried me closer and closer to Gerard and even though I knew I was looking straight at him, my eyes wouldn’t take it in. My brain blocked out the sight of my best friend, my life, lying in a hospital bed, held down by leather restraints, hooked up to a drip sedative, fighting for whatever it is that he’s lost.
“Gerard…” Mikey whimpered. “Gerard…”
“Sedatives. I’m pretty sure he can’t hear us.” Ray said, all emotion sucked out of his voice.
He sounds about as dead as my precious Gee looks.
“Frank, how are you doing?” He asked.
“I can’t honestly say.” I replied. “I mean, I just can’t believe that’s Gerard. Until now, this whole ordeal felt so real. So fucking real. But now, it’s like I’m standing here, looking at him through a television screen. He’s not real, I’m not real. None of this is real.”
“It’s real. That’s Gerard.”
I really didn’t want to hear that, but deep down inside I know it’s true. That lifeless, pale, half-dead being in front of me is the same guy I called an animal only a week or two ago. What happened? What took place for him to become this, this… fragment of himself?
My lead-feet carried me closer to him, until my knees hit the cold steel of the hospital bed.
“Gerard, I don’t know if you can hear me…” I whispered. “But this isn’t the end. We’ll fight for you. I don’t fucking care if we have to spend every penny My Chemical Romance has ever given us, we’re putting these pieces back together. We’re getting you back, I promise.”
“Frank, please don’t make promises.” Ray spoke softly from behind me. “I don’t want you to lose hope, but what if all the money in the world can’t fix him?”
“Don’t say that, Ray. I don’t want to lose my brother.”
I turned around for a second. Ray held a crying Mikey in his arms, rocking him back and forth gently as tears rolled down from his own eyes.
I sat down beside Gerard and peered over at his sketchbook. He didn’t acknowledge me or put it down, he just kept staring at it. Most people would take offense to this I suppose, but this is just Gerard. Always in another world, yet completely in the moment. I don’t know how, but he has the ability to act like nobody else exists, but he picks up on everything. He can hide a million feelings and emotions and thoughts with a face like piece of paper.
“Ray…” I said, wiping the tears away from my cheeks with my sleeve.
“You really think he can’t hear us?”
“I don’t think so.”
He smiled and shook his head, tapping his pencil on the cover of his book.
“Not sure yet.”
“It looks like an angel.”
“You can’t see angels.” He said calmly, yet with all the confidence in the world.
“What makes you so sure of that?”
“I just know. Gut feeling.”
“Ray...” I said again. “Do you think we can see angels?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t really given it much thought. Not really on the top of my priorities right now.”
What does that say for gut instinct, then?
“Frank, Gerard isn’t an angel.” Mikey cried from beneath Ray’s arms. “And we’re not gonna let him become one. Not for a long time, at least.”
The door creaked open behind us, and the same doctor who let us in stepped through.
“How are you doing, men?” He asked, leaning against the wall just inside the door.
Nobody answered, because nobody could. Nobody wants to say “we feel like our world has just fallen apart before our very eyes”.
“Would you mind stepping into my office with me for 10 or so minutes, and we can discuss a few things concerning Mr. Way?”
“‘Course not.” Ray said, letting go of his grip on Mikey and helping him towards the door.
“Bye, Gerard. We’ll be back.” I whispered before I followed them.
The doctor led us into his office on the other side of the hallway. He pulled up three chairs for us, and we sat down in front of his desk, facing his cold, looming figure.
He’s only cold and looming because he decides the fate of Gerard, and you know it.
“So, might as well just cut to the chase.” The doctor said. “It’s my obligation to tell you exactly what’s happened with Mr. Way so far, and exactly what is going to happen. Security took him away to one of the meeting rooms on the third floor, and we questioned him. A bit of a mental test, you could say. We could tell just by talking to him for the short time we did, that it was physical. It wasn’t mental. We led him into one of the basic check up rooms – as we call them – and Dr. Adams performed basic tests on him such as reflexes, eye tracking, and blood pressure. There, we discovered that his eyesight is deteriorating, and his reflexes are slower than they should be. Not substantially, but they are definitely below average as far as sensitivity.”
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
I am going to kill.
“We then proceeded to take him to the lab in order to perform a few simple tests. One of the nurses remembered what you, Mr. Iero, said about not giving him injections, so we gave him a mild sedative, waited for it to kick in, and then tried to get a quick sample. As Dr. Adams lowered the needle towards his arm, he must have been awake enough to catch it out of the corner of his eye, because he then proceeded to punch Adams right in the eye, knocking him to the floor. He’s currently at home with a concussion.”
He glared at us as if it were our fault. It’s not our fault, any more than it is Gerard’s.
And it isn’t his fault. You wouldn’t blame a diabetic for their insulin consumption, would you?
“From there, the nurses took Adams away to get him taken care of as needed, and I with the help of security transported Mr. Way into intensive psych. We put him in restraints and questioned him, but once again we could tell nearly straight away that it wasn’t going to go anywhere. We had no choice but to put him under heavy sedatives in order to run a few basic scans and an MRI.”
“But do you know what’s wrong with him?” I asked, trying to get to the point without all the hooflah.
“We think we know. It isn’t a 100% diagnosis, but by the time we know for sure, there would be no point in a diagnosis.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Let me show you.”
He reached into his desk drawer, pulled out a small black sheet, and held it up to the light.
“See this?” He said. “This is his brain.”
That? That is Gerard’s brain? Looks like a bunch of squiggly lines to me.
But the more I stare at it, the more I can see the vague outline of a human brain. It’s a bit of a sad sight, really.
He pulled out another sheet.
“This is a healthy human brain. Can you see the difference?”
This isn’t kindergarten class, this is Gerard’s life we’re talking about.
“They look different, but I can’t pinpoint it.” Ray answered, obviously having more patience than myself at the moment.
“This brain…” He said, pointing at Gerard’s. “Is lacking black space, which in the MRI scan, represents healthy brain tissue.”
“And that means…?” I prompted.
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
“Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, is a disease in which the brain tissue degenerates. Eats itself away, in a sense. It is a rare disease, and notorious for being very fast-progressing, compared to other diseases of its kind. In Mr. Way’s case, it is even more fast-progressing than what is typical. I’ve worked with two people previously with Creutzfeldt-Jakob, and I can tell you that what we’re working with right now is very rare, and very scary.”
“Well what can we do?” I asked, raising my voice more than I meant to. “We have money, we have millions. We can-“
“There is no known cure for the disease.” The doctor said.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
“We can pay to have research done-“
“Mr. Iero, this is a hard thing for me to say. But by the time we could possibly analyze his DNA enough to possibly begin to work on a cure, it would be too late. Creutzfeldt-Jakob has a 100% mortality rate, and almost always kills within a year of the onset of symptoms. By the look of it right now, I’d give Mr. Way about 3 months.”