Like I said, my goal is to make you cry, so I'm hoping.
Who the Fuck Gave Him A Rockstar?
But apparently Gerard wasn’t done.
“What’s with all the tattoos?” he said, interrupting the silence.
“Huh? Oh, um, I don’t know. They’re…there I guess?
“Why’d you get them? It’s an interesting theme you’ve got going there.” Egan looked down at the tiny cross in the crook of her elbow, next to scars from the needles. All of her tattoos were crosses, or angels or rosaries. Theme indeed.
“I got them because…I can’t really explain it. It’s um, it’s like…a protection thing. In my house, there were crosses above every door and my mom always carried a rosary with her and wore a crucifix and was just convinced that things like angels watched over us every minute of the day and…It makes me feel close to them I guess. My parents, I mean. And some superstitious part of me still believes they offer some sort of guardianship or maybe I’m just sentimental or something. I don’t know, and talking about it is starting to make me feel really stupid.”
“I don’t think it’s so stupid. My mom, she’s got this rosary that was her mother’s—my nonna’s, the one who taught me Italian—and she keeps it with her. It means a lot to her and to me too. It’s kind of beautiful actually, it’s this old Gothic era looking black affair, all the beads are black and the metal links on the chain are pretty dark too and the crucifix is silver. My nonna always had it with her, up until the day she died.”
Egan wasn’t sure what to say to this or whether it even constituted a reply, so she asked a question instead.
“What was your grandmother like?”
“She was ridiculously amazing, just…she could do no wrong. She was—“ he laughed a little”—she was definitely old school Italian. Always making these pastas and sauces and these different types of breads that were so delicious and really, really rich Italian food that was borderline heart-attack inducing but so good. She had this one dish she’d do—the name escapes me—and she would mix shrimp and clams and oysters I think with linguini style pasta and make a cheese sauce from scratch to pour over it…my God it was good.” His eyes looked up towards the heavens before he closed them and leaned back, a peaceful smile on his lips.
Egan hadn’t realized she was smiling and when she laughed out loud at Gerard’s blissful expression it took her by surprise. She blushed and ducked her head down, reappearing with a slight scowl. The corners of Gerard’s mouth were turned up when she met his eyes. Against her will she cracked a small smile in return.
“Tell me about your family.” Gerard said.
“Well, both my mom and dad were full blood Italian. I don’t know why they decided to live in Tennessee, it’s not the first place you’d think they would live by any means. I mean, I saw plenty of the Hispanic population, but the Italian community? Not so much. But I loved it there and they did too. My mother—“
“What was her name?”
“Mariel. She was so beautiful to me. She was tan and strong, but not like you would think, her muscle was all lean and stretched out, not like a body builder, more like a swimmer. She had the most amazing hair, she kept it down to the middle of her back and it was so beautiful, it looked like a dark brown ocean the way it waved and curled. Her family had lived in Salerno before they immigrated to the U.S. and she had been back there to visit often. She used to tell me about visiting her grandmother there, she had a house by the coast, and my mother would go down to the ocean every day when she stayed with her. She was madly in love with the ocean, she always had been, water had some inexplicable pull on her. Her eyes were blue actually, just the color of the sea. She loved to drag off family, friends, whoever for a weekend vacation to the beach. We’d drive to North Carolina and stay in a cheap hotel there for a couple of nights and just spend our days at the beach. Sometimes she’d even kidnap me from school to take me.”
“She probably would have terrified my brother, Mikey. Large bodies of water of any kind scare the shit outta him.”
“Yeah, she probably would have.” Egan laughed. “Okay, so now you tell me about Mikey.”
“He’s my brother, he’s one of my best friends—“
“Wait,” she interrupted. “I changed my mind. Tell me about your friends.” Gerard smiled, a sad sort of smile. He hadn’t talked to his friends or his brother since shortly after the engagement ended.
“My friends…are the greatest thing in the world to ever happen to me, hands down. When I was younger, I was always really lonely. I had Mikey and we were closer than close but when you’re kids age differences matter more and he’s 3 and ½ years younger than me. Actually, this whole group of close friends thing is really more of a recent occurrence. They’re basically just they guys in the band. Um, Mikey, Ray, Frank and Bob. We get into crazy shit together.” He chuckled at something remembered. “Like Frank. Frank’s real short, maybe 5’4” and absolutely covered in tattoos--he looks a little like you in that respect—and a bunch of piercings and he has an inability to sit still for very long. And he’s really energetic and keyed up normally, but this one time someone gave him a can of one of those energy drinks—I think it was Rockstar—and he went fucking crazy. Before we even knew what was going on he’d downed three more and was bouncing off the walls. Literally, he had this thing he would do where he’d run at a wall really fast and he could run up it and turn a back flip. He did that for almost an hour before he moved on to amateur gymnastics. He ended up fracturing his wrist in two places. When we got to the hospital, the first thing we did was request sedatives. He still couldn’t sleep though. Man, he was wired for the next twelve hours.” Egan was laughing out loud, holding her stomach at the image of this dwarfish Rockstar driven maniac turning flips. Gerard started laughing too and pretty soon neither could stop. It had been so long since either of them had laughed and it felt so good.
And they talked like that all night long, telling each other their life stories (For real this time) and laughing and frowning and gasping in all the right places. Sometimes one would cry, like when Egan finally did tell Gerard about being forgotten in the cemetery that day. Gerard didn’t attempt to stifle her with clingy actions like hugging or wiping away her tears; he just let her cry it out. They both shed silent tears when Gerard told about losing his grandmother and battling with his addictions. They related on those planes: Both had loved and lost, both had tried to drown their pain the only way they knew how. Gerard outright sobbed, as did Egan when Egan told him about the worst night of her life. She had been sixteen and so hyped up and depressed and haunted by memories she didn’t want to keep but couldn’t banish. She had been living in a shelter for a while and she lay on her cot crying and crying and crying until she was exhausted and dehydrated and couldn’t move because of how much she hurt and was weighed down by all the things in her life. And she had stared at the ceiling through blurry, salt crusted eyes and hoped to God that He would get her through the night or end it right there. That had scared her so bad, that night. She had honestly thought she wouldn’t make it through the night, she would just die of heartbreak. She’d never considered her mortality until then. And Egan sat and listened as Gerard yelled and screamed about the kids who had been the worst little motherfuckers and bullied him and people like him and how the world disappointed him and all the stupid shit that happened and all the senseless hurt and violence. She understood what he was saying. They understood each other. They went to raw, painful places and showed each other their scars and compared war stories. And it felt so fucking good to say all of this they had both kept to themselves for too long, things that festered as wounds on their hearts and ate them up until they projected their pain and bitterness on the outside were now finally seeing the light of day. It was like breathing deeply in for the first time in a very long while.
Author’s Note: Salerno is a town on the coast of Italy. And I recommend to all of my readers that they right now pause, lean back in their chair or straighten their back, just make sure your chest is open, and breathe deeply in and out. You would be surprised how easily people forget to do that and sit there doing the whole shallow breathing bit and depriving their brain of oxygen. It’s not good folks. I hope I moved you somehow with this chapter. Egan’s worst night of her life was my worst night as well, but I was at home in my own bed and I was 13, and I honestly did not think I would live through the night. I couldn’t see how it was possible. So I hope I projected some of my feelings through this writing. Also guys, I love you and writing this story, but this chapter has drained me and I am up to my ass in projects for school. My brain throbs sometimes. So please have patience with my updating. *Finally, I love you all. If you think you are going down too far and can’t see how you’re going to make it through the night, don’t sit there and fucking wonder. Tell someone you’re having a bad night, tell them you’re depressed, tell them your most cherished wish is currently to jump off a tall bridge, but get someone to help you and hold you down to earth. You’ll make it.*