Then I opened my eyes.
The sickness hit me like a freight train, cleansing all previous thoughts from my mind. It was all real. I was foolish for thinking otherwise, but I've always tried to be as optimistic as possible, even when no one around me is. I'm not sure I'll be able to fulfill that role anymore.
"Mikey?" said a timid voice. I smiled sadly upon hearing it.
"Hey Alicia. How long have you been here?" She embraced me suddenly, startling me, but it was comforting to know she was there.
"You shouldn't have done that for me," I said with a frown. I heard her laugh softly in spite of the situation, but her voice suddenly turned serious.
"Have you heard anything about Gerard yet?" she asked quietly. I shook my head in response.
"Excuse me, miss," said a new voice, ordering Alicia to move out of his way. I felt angry for a second, but the feeling dissipated quickly as I realized it was someone checking the machines I was attached to.
The person exited the room, leaving Alicia and I alone.
"I heard the doctor talking to your mom," she said sadly. A knot began to form in my chest. It felt like someone was turning a crank and tightening it with every word she said. "He's suffering from something they haven't been able to diagnose. He's lost his voice."
My heart fell to the floor. Gerard had lost his voice. It couldn't be temporary.
If it was only temporary, he wouldn't be here. He would smile and steal Ray's laptop, and post a message on our website letting everyone know we were fine. If it was only temporary, all of us would be back on the bus sleeping, except for him, and maybe Frank, because they would be watching a horror movie like always.
"I have some good news for you, though." My breath caught in my throat.
"What is it?"
"The doctors said they're going to try a new surgery on him to replace his vocal chords. They don't know if he'll ever be able to sing again, but he should be able to talk, if nothing else."
I smiled, feeling happy tears come to my dark eyes. "That's great. I hope all goes well."
"I'm sure it will," said Alicia. I heard footsteps enter the room.
"Michael Way?" the person asked. I nodded nervously. "My name is Dr. Howes. I'm sorry to say that there's nothing we can really do for your eyesight. Whatever caused the damage is out of your system, but it destroyed a large percentage of the tissue in the back of your eyes. I'm afraid it wouldn't be worth the risk of infection to try and remove or replace it."
I merely sighed in response. I hadn't expected much. People go blind every day. It's not a disease, really, so there's no cure for it. I knew that. But it didn't make me feel any better.