"This persisting feeling of involuntary solitude never went away, no matter how many people he had talking, conversing, caring about him, anything."
For a while now, Frank was put on a sleep schedule, which didn’t allow him to take random naps throughout the day. He didn’t stay in bed all day and he didn’t fall asleep in the middle of the day. He woke up early in the morning and went to bed at an adequate time every day. Besides the cripplingly horrible dreams, Frank and Gerard started a relatively normal life.
It was cooler night in the middle of March, a Tuesday, and Frank, who had acquired Gerard’s old room and made it his own, was starting to fall asleep. Gerard was doing the same in his room, and he was soon comfortable under the covers, going through the usual thoughts that went through his head. He felt Frank was getting better, slowly but surely. Many times, Gerard knew Frank woke up in the middle of the night, gasping from his dream, but when Gerard asked him in the morning how he slept, Frank said he was fine. Gerard appreciated Frank looking out for him and making sure he didn’t worry, even when Frank needed so much help himself, but he truly wished Frank wouldn’t hide anything that was causing him so much pain. Still, Gerard would never believe that Frank wouldn’t get better. Someday, he would, he knew.
Frank was able to fall asleep quickly as compared to when he first had the dreams, so momentarily after he buried himself under blankets; he closed his eyes and dozed off.
Gerard always slept lightly and always had since he was a child, so any little noise usually woke him up. Thus, when Gerard heard a small cry from through the thin walls, he quickly got out of bed and crept towards Frank’s room. Softly pushing the door open and turning on the light, Gerard saw the familiar curled up figure under the sheets, and made his way around the bed to see why Frank had made such a horrified sound. He carefully lifted the blankets and found Frank, wide-eyed, and staring up at Gerard helplessly.
“Hey, hey, hey,” Gerard whispers softly, putting his hand on Frank head and stroking his overgrown hair rhythmically. “It’s okay. What happened?”
“It hurts,” Frank said scratchily.
“Where?” Gerard asked. Recently, when Frank woke up, he didn’t feel pain, so this was unusual.
“Frank, there’s not going to be anything there. The pain will go away soon.”
“But it hurts so bad…” Gerard sighed and told Frank to sit up and lean forward so he could confirm that there was, in fact, no injury and that his pain was psychosomatic. He lifted the back of Frank’s shirt and exasperatedly looked just to ensure him that he wasn’t hurt. To Gerard’s surprise, though, there were three long, bleeding marks strewn vertically on Frank’s back, seemingly scratch marks.
“Oh my god…” Gerard whispered. For a moment, he believed that Frank’s mother did actually hurt him.
“What?!” Frank said, Gerard realized, though, that there was no way his mother could have hurt Frank. She was only a mental image. A figure of Frank’s imagination.
“Let me see your hands,” Gerard said calmly. Frank held his hands out and Gerard took them, lightly turning them over and looking at his fingernails. Sure enough, Gerard’s theory was correct. On Frank’s right hand, under his three middle fingers’ nails were traces of blood and flesh, his own. In Frank’s dream, while his mother was hurting him, probably scratching, Frank had acted out her role while he was sleeping. Frank, though, had no idea or memory of this, and asked,
“Did she really hurt me? How?” He released his hands from Gerard’s and started to feel around his back, his eyes widening once he felt the protrusions in his skin. He took his hands away from them and looked at his fingers, which were shaking in trepidation, that were covered in traces of blood. “How?” he repeated. Gerard took Frank’s hands, holding them gently and lovingly, and said,
“She didn’t do this to you. You did.”
“Look,” Gerard said, showing Frank the traces of flesh under his fingernails. “It was you.” Frank still looked confused. Why would he do something like that to himself?
“But…” he muttered.
“She’s not real,” said Gerard.
“But she is! Where did you these dreams came from?”
“ No, I mean, she doesn’t exist anymore. She’s not real anymore. She’s something you’ve created in your mind.” Frank didn’t respond for a while but buried his head between his knees, which were pulled up tight against his chest.
“I just want it to end.”
“I know. Me too,” whispered Gerard, putting his hand on Frank back to show him his support. “You should try to get to sleep,” he said. Frank sighed. He didn’t want to risk another dream, another injury, or another piece of his alleged sanity, but Gerard was right. He needed rest. Gerard got up off of the bed and started to walk towards the door.
“Gerard?” Frank said. Gerard turned around.
“Can you… sleep here?” Gerard smiled, and said,
“Of course.” Gerard climbed into the bed and under the covers, next to Frank, who seemed to be rigid and scared.
“Hey. Relax,” Gerard whispered, draping his arm over Frank’s body. “It’s okay.” Frank loosened up a little, letting his muscles ease up. “I promise. I will fix you.” Frank found Gerard’s hand brushing against his chest, giving him a warm sense of security. All this time, for years, he’d felt so isolated no matter how many people were near him. In his mind he compared it to being in a huge, empty gymnasium with perfectly waxed floors and a high ceiling. Every sound he made, echoed off the walls, and no matter what position he was in, he felt vulnerable, unprotected, and he could never get the feeling out of his mind. The emptiness and echo of the gym made him feel uneasy all of the time, and as much as he wanted to leave, he couldn’t move. This persisting feeling of involuntary solitude never went away, no matter how many people he had talking, conversing, caring about him, anything. It never went away until now. He felt so exposed all of the time, but strangely, only Gerard’s touch, even the smallest, filled the space that caused his loneliness. The echoes that ricocheted off every surface of his mind were slowly quieted and replaced with a warmer, benevolent feeling, spreading all over his body. Usually, he felt cold, shivering constantly with several attacks of strange tingling feelings throughout his body, almost mentally paralyzing him to point where he didn’t want to get up. It was like Gerard was unfreezing him. Maybe, just maybe, he really could fix Frank.
He didn’t dream anymore that night.
A/N: Sorry! Short Chapter! I'm not very sure on this one. I'm not very good at interpreting how people love each other given that I've never been in a situation like it (forever alone)