Ryan Ross spends a sleepless night with a cup full of coffee and a mind full of melancholy.
It is another sleepless night for Ryan Ross. Another night of tangling himself in the white cotton sheets of his queen-size bed with no rest to show for his efforts.
There is no rest for the wicked.
It is another night of the sheets gradually slipping from his body, gathering around his feet and ultimately dripping fold by fold onto the floor. And when his sheets have abandoned him and he cannot concentrate for the sound of his own breath, Ryan Ross arises.
His footsteps along the hallway floor are starkly audible against the quiet murmur of the air conditioner and the gentle hum of the fridge as he pads toward the kitchen. (/Pit pat/, go his feet. /Pit pat/.) And the creak of the overused hinge cuts too sharply into the stillness as he eases open the cupboard and pulls down the coffee from its place on the shelf, right between the sugar and his sanity.
Tonight is another night he allows himself to sit at his small kitchen table and stare at the sign hung upon his wall as his coffee percolates - the piece of driftwood folk art Brendon bought him in Vancouver that now mocks him with the words Carpe Diem scrawled across it's watermarked, imperfect face in a smirking sort of calligraphy. Why he doesn't take it down, Ryan doesn't know. Why he lets it taunt him night after night, after he's given up the hope of closing his eyes to his utter hopelessness... It doesn't make any sense; Ryan's never been this sort of masochist.
Carpe Diem. Seize the day.
Tomorrow will start with another sad, sorry morning of staring at a blank page until his stomach has shriveled in disgust and his eyes have glazed over. And then the hands on the clock will slowly swirl until night has beset him again, and then the process will repeat. Or maybe Brendon will call, and Ryan will swallow his tongue in his attempts to find any words to tell him. He'll answer with curt no's and yeses and slight movements of his head he knows Brendon will never see from 20 miles away through buildings and phone lines. He'll lie when Brendon asks how the writing is going and he will decline when Brendon offers to come over and maybe hang out.
Even if perhaps he shouldn't. Even if he knows it will break them both a little more.
Ryan had always thought himself to be the type to run towards something. Ryan is an artist; he creates. He created his band. He created his record deal. He created his own rising star. At least he likes to think so.
Seek and thou shalt find.
But this thing he shares with Brendon was spontaneously generated. It alone gives him faith in evolution. He never went looking for these curling tendrils of God-only-knows-what that wrap around his stomach, that coil between his liver and small intestines. He never asked to be rooted to the spot by just one smile, just one laugh, just one touch. Nothing has ever frightened and exhilarated him so much - and now all he wants to do is run, get as far as he can from this uncontrollable urge to spout bad poetry about princes and wood nymphs and falling asleep in your lover's arms.
The coffeemaker clicks and Ryan is drawn from his tired contemplation. He will get nowhere tonight, as he did last night and as he did the night before. The sign is not a riddle for him to solve; there is no hidden meaning lurking below its surface, no secret he can extract by staring long enough or hard enough into the blackened lettering.
And even with his back turned as he pours himself a cup of his drug of choice, he can hear its school-yard jeers - its whispered words of fag and coward and fake - which Ryan chooses to ignore, to deny, as he has his entire life thus far.
That which does not destroy us makes us stronger.
He will not let anyone one or anything dictate to him who he is. He can be anything he wants to be - he's a fucking rock star, for God's sake. Not evolution, not biology, not even the God he claims he doesn't believe in (but whose name he still curses) has any right to tell him differently. He can be straight and brave and real if he wants to be. And he does. He wants it more than he'll admit, even here in the dark of night to the ghosts in this empty apartment.
He doesn't have to be kept awake by thoughts of Brendon's chapped lips upon his, that ridiculous sign, and the rebellious streaks of moonlight that dance across his ceiling to the beat of some ancient, forgotten drum.
Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem. Carpe Diem.
These are tears that don't belong in his eyes and sobs that don't belong on his lips. These are feelings he doesn't want, didn't ask for, shouldn't have to bear, and yet they have taken up residence within - somewhere between his liver and small intestines - and they will not leave. No matter how he pleads, he cannot make them.