If you have not been following my instructions so far, please do it for this chapter, if nothing else. It will make the story so much better. Just wait until you get to to the dashes to start the song. Thank you.
Ãˆ buono per vederla. Anche se non abbiamo mai incontrato, chi so lei Ã¨.
Perdonarme, per favore.
Forgive me, please. I forget so easily. It has been so long since I've spoken to anyone, let alone in English. I've become accustomed to Italian. It's amazing how quickly I seem to learn things when I have nothing else to do. What I told you was that it's good to see you. Even though we've never met, I know who you are.
Do you realize how agonizingly slow time passes when you have nothing to do?
I don't know how long I waited for them to come. I knew they would understand where I had gone, eventually. So I remained here, learning a new instrument: the piano. I picked it up almost as quickly as I learned Italian, for I've always wanted to learn both fluently. The time passed mind-numbingly slow as I awaited their arrival. I couldn't wait to show them.
But she almost didn't let me see them.
She is the girl in the painting. A ballerina, one who once performed here. She died long ago, fading into nothing more than a mere memory when the theater finally closed. Everything within remained the same: her dressing room was untouched, as was the music box she left behind. She never knew who gave it to her.
She told me it is unwise to return to the land of the living. It only brings more pain, and not only to the people who see you. To yourself as well.
But I managed to convince her to let me see them. I didn't care how much energy it took. I had to see my brother again. I had to see all of them.
Now, as I walk toward my beloved piano and finger a long-forgotten melody, I realize she was only trying to protect me.
I am certain you know this song. It was the very first song to emanate from the speakers of those who bought our CD. Our first CD./I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love./ It has a certain Italian flare to it, something people should have learned to expect of me. There were many things people should have expected of me.
The melody itself is based on an Italian lullaby, one that my grandmother used to sing to me when I was a small child. It always lulled me to sleep within a few seconds. I felt like I owed it to her to use it on our first album, because without her we never would have become a band.
I decided to try and write a new version of it, one that is slower and even more achingly beautiful.
I will play it for you now, if you will be patient enough to listen.
Ah, I see that you recognize it now. Don't look so surprised. Wait, what did you say? You want to know what it's called?
Forgive my over-flourished accent. I can't help it.
I play it for her. The girl with a soul as broken as my own who also occupies this theater. She helped comfort me through the time when I came to terms with my own death. I realized there would be nothing I could do about it. I cried, and, yes, I hurt myself. It is possible to bleed after you're already dead. You can't die, of course, but you can still feel pain. Emotional pain, mostly. When the shock of it all finally wore off, I thought I would be alone for the rest of eternity, until one by one my bandmates slowly joined me.
But I wasn't alone. She helped me through it. Sometimes tears come to my eyes as I remember her story. She was murdered as well. I can still see a faint scar across her throat, from where a jealous enemy slid a knife across it and ended her life forever. She died lonely, with no friends or family to comfort her. Broken. Bleeding. Alone. And beautiful.
Beautiful even in death. Bell'anche nella morte.
That's how we found each other, I think. We never would have met even while I was alive. But death transcends all time...I believe love does, too.
She's laughing at me, asking if I would please get off her stage, I'm interrupting her practice. I smile back as she lightly floats out of the room - no, not literally. She walks with so much grace that I can only describe it as floating. But we are dead, so it may be floating after all. I couldn't tell you. I only practice the piano now; I don't pay attention to the minor details like that.
I felt like someone had ripped my heart out when I saw my brother standing on that stage.
Still very much alive, as I had hoped. I could see through the curtain that Frank was waiting backstage, and I could feel how badly he wanted to perform again. I wanted to tell him he should join another band, because playing is what he loves to do, now and forever. But I know what he would say. "I'm only in one band, Gerard. This one."
My Chemical Romance.
Il mio Idillio Chimico.
No doubt you're wondering what I think. The answer to the question: do I want them to keep performing or not?
That's not the correct question to be asking, il mio amico. My friend, I only want them to be happy.
I had been hearing whispers of a fight between Bob and Ray. I heard it from every New Jersey native that walked by the theater. Their whispers were like sirens to me. My best friends, fighting? It didn't seem possible.
So I was relieved when they apologized to each other. All I can hope for now is that they will all be happy.
I hope Mikey will, too, because I hate seeing him so miserable. I know he misses me immensely. I know he wishes I were still alive, because we would still be performing if that were true. We would still be a band. And all of us would still be friends.
What? You want to know if I would perform again, if it were possible?
No. I wouldn't.
Because I've already told them - my band and our fans alike - everything they need to know. Our music is there, laced with my messages like tea with cyanide. So undetectable, yet so deadly in the wrong hands.
In the right hands, though, even cyanide can save lives.
I just want them all to be okay. I want them to feel loved, to feel like someone cares about them and always will. Because I do. And I always will.
I would never be able to leave if I wanted to. It took too much energy out of me to visit my brother, even for just a few minutes, when I wanted to speak to him for a lifetime. I only managed to say two lines to Ray and Bob. And Frank...I never got to see him at all. I knew he was there, watching Mikey speak to me and thinking he had gone insane. But I didn't want him to see me. He already understood, whether he thought so or not. He knew that the band wasn't performing because it would be like trying to bring me back. He didn't need me to tell him how right he was. He knows. He always will.
I would also have to leave my love forever if I went back. And I could never do that. Neither of us would survive the heartbreak. Don't say there's not much we can lose, because your heart can always break. Alive or dead.
I begin playing Romanza again, just as she tiptoes back into the room and slowly dances to it, like a beautiful, perfect, white bird.
I am content with my death. It no longer scares me into complete shock nor causes me to awaken in the middle of the night with painful sobs (yes, the dead can cry). Because I know I'm not the only one. My soul was not at peace when I died. It is now.
That is not to say I am happy about being dead. No one is. We all wish we were alive again. The difference is the circumstances. I would only want to be alive again if I could bring her with me, and that would disrupt everything that brought us together in the first place. I would much rather stay here, in this cold state of peaceful death, than return to warmth and true life without her.
I can see them walking out into the rain now. Mikey and Frank are crying, and I'm not surprised. I'm equally unsurprised when Ray and Bob share a smile, knowing they'll be alright. All of them.
I would appreciate it if you would leave now. I've said all there is to say.