Liv and the past
Gerard placed the blanket over her little body and stood back. "Poor kid. That lip looks painful."
"She'll be okay." Monica whispered, "It wasn't your fault."
He took Monica's arm and they walked out of the family room and into the kitchen. "I almost missed catching her at all." His voice held the fear he had felt when he say Elle jump.
"It could have been so much worse, Gee. Don't blame yourself."
"Shit, the first time I really get to spend time with her and she gets hurt."
"Hey, get used to it. I won't even tell you about the time I dumped Kelly out of her basinet."
He smiled as they sat down at the table. "Other than the accident this has been one hell of a great day."
Monica took his hand in hers, "Now you can understand how easy it was for me to fall in love with her."
He squeezed her hand, "Yeah. Shit, when she told me she "luved me" it went right to my fucking heart."
Monica glanced at the clock. "So, what are you making us for dinner?"
Gerard laughed, "Sure you don't want to go out to eat?"
"Nope, my man is gonna cook." She leaned over and kissed his lips, "Dinner and then later tonight."
"Start that now and they'll be no dinner." He pulled her out of her chair and into his lap.
“Shit” Liv threw the bloody washcloth in the sink. The back of her head ached where it had hit the brick wall. She hadn’t realized it was bleeding until she had tried to run a brush through her long tangled hair. Now as she looked at her reflection in the mirror her eyes filled with tears. She looked as bad as she felt. Thank God Elle wasn’t here.
Liv grabbed another washcloth and held it to the back of her head. Slowly she made her way out of the bathroom and back into her room. Without pausing she moved across the room to the small table beside the bed. She closed her eyes a minute willing herself to stop. It was futile. She slowly lowered herself to the floor trying to ignore the pain that was pulsating through her body. The wooden box under the table called out to her. It's contents begging her to remember. Liv wanted to stop herself. She had promised never to open this box again. She had promised herself that this part of her life was over, buried. Promises were made to be broken. Her fingers shook as she lifted the lid to reveal the items within. These were her treasures. The only things she had left to a life she had forsaken.
Setting down the washcloth she totally forgot about her head, she forgot about the pain in her side where Joe’s boot had connected. She only thought about the first item she lifted it out. Just a piece of paper. Only a note. It was the first thing Gerard had ever written to her. There was nothing really special about it. It was a note asking her to hang with him after a concert. She had been living with some of the roadies on the tour at the time. She and Gerard had only talked a few times and it had shocked her when she had found the piece of crumpled paper.
Don't know if you remember me. I'm the guy who helped you pick up the set lists last night.
I was wondering if you wanna hang tonight after the concert and talk.
She smiled at the way he had signed his last name. How could he have thought she wouldn't remember him? Her mind traveled back to that night so long ago. She had found him smoking a cigarette by the van after the concert. He was talking to some guys then and she had stood back watching him. Suddenly, as if he could sense her there, he had looked up and smiled. They had ended up in a coffee shop talking for hours. He had told her about his plans for the band. She remembered the fire in his eyes, the way his hands gestured. She remembered everything about him. He had needed someone to listen. He had needed someone to share his dreams. She had gladly been that person. Hours later they had returned to the fairgrounds. He had been hesitant to say goodnight. So had she. Gerard walked her to the van she was staying in and had mumbled a goodnight before turning to leave for his own van. Liv remembered watching him walk away a moment then turning. Suddenly she was spun around and his lips had crashed against hers. It had shocked her but only for a minute. She had returned the kiss with an equal amount of passion. Several days later she was living on the My Chem bus with him.
Bringing herself back to the present she lovingly removed the next item, a small black leather book. It was a tome of love sonnets. Gerard had given it to her several months into their relationship. Her hands shaking she opened it to reveal the inscription..
To My Liv
I wish I could put into words my love for you as eloquently as these authors.
Tears were filling her eyes as she set the book down. Why, she asked herself was she doing this? Not even the pain in her heart could stop her now.
The dried flower she lifted out next crumbled in her fingers. It was the sole survivor from a wreath of flowers that had adorned her head. The wreath was from the day she and Gee had found the field of wildflowers. She closed her eyes and remembered the day. She could smell the scent of flowers in the air; feel the sun on her face. That day was the closest she had ever come to telling him the truth. She let the faded, crumbled pieces fall from her fingers back into the box.
If only I could stop this she thought but it was impossible. The pain in some way was making her feel alive. The photo she lifted out was of Gerard in the bear suit. Stupid man he had scared her so much that day. Leaping from the stage as she had watched had caused her heart to stop beating. She remembered pushing her way thought the crowed to reach him. Her heart hadn't started beating again until she had seen him open his eyes. Her fingers had run over his body making sure he truly wasn't hurt. His lop-sided smile had reassured her.
Carefully the photo was placed on the floor so that the last item could have it's moment. So it too could make her remember. The plastic gum container rattled as she pried off the lid to reveal the gaudy plastic ring inside. Once more the past claimed her. She and Gerard had fought earlier in the day. About what she couldn't remember. They had left their stifling hot unairconditioned apartment still arguing as they walked to a nearby shopping area planning to soak up some free cold air. Suddenly Gerard had stopped and ducked into a small grocery store making Liv even angrier. She had stood waiting for him taping her foot. When he had reappeared she had been prepared to tell him off. Her mouth had opened but snapped shut when he took her hand and placed the ring on her finger.
"Some day’ Livie I'll replace this with a real ring. Someday we'll have it all, I promise.”
The ghost of his voice echoed in her head. "Someday...someday."
Finally the pain was too much. Liv replaced the items and closed the box. She knew Gerard thought she had left him without taking anything. Truth was he had never known about the box. It would have made her seem vulnerable in his eyes. She never wanted to see that in anyone’s eyes. Liv never wanted to depend on anyone. They only hurt you in the end. She had learned that lesson early in life. In her heart she understood that was why she always pushed Gerard away. He had gotten too close. He had almost made her feel trust. Trust, and love. Two things she had never wanted in her life. The two things she didn't believe in. It wasn't until Elle's birth that love had barged into her life so forcefully she hadn't been able to deny it.
The morning she had left Gerard the box had remained in their apartment safely hidden. By the next afternoon Molly had snuck in, taken it and brought it to her.
Liv closed her eyes and thought about Molly. She was the only true friend she had ever known. Was she all right? It had been stupid to go into that neighborhood today looking for her. She hadn’t seen her for over a year. Still when she had heard that woman downstairs say she had seen Molly living on the streets Liv hadn’t been able to stop herself from going. Drugs had taken a toll on Molly. They had stripped her of her beauty and her self-esteem, just as they had almost done to Liv. Just as they would have done if she hadn’t gotten pregnant with Elle.
Liv looked over at the clock. She needed to get cleaned up before Elle came home. Pushing the box back under the table she slowly pulled herself up and began to walk. A wave of nausea overtook her. She barely made it to the bathroom in time. Now as she sat on the cold floor, vomiting, she let the tears flow down her cheeks. This was what it meant to be vulnerable. She hated herself for it.