im so afraid
“Thompson? You’re next.”
ohgodohgodohgod i cant stop shaking makeitstopplease
im so scared someone help me anyone anyone
“Miller? Jayna Mill- oh, there you are its your turn downthehalltotheleft.”
it hurts please stop im gonna throw up again dont let me throw up again
“Gerard stop bitingonyourfinger."
”Way? Gerard Way?”
“Okay Gerard- stop fighting me- comeonletsgo”
I cant do this.
Frank was sure he had suffered a heart attack. A sound like a chainsaw chopping its way through a thick log jolted him from his sleep and startled him so intensely that Frank, upon awakening, thought he might just have been attacked by a maniac with some large motorized weapon. The heavy buzzing stopped for about half a second, then started again. Frank flipped over in his bed and blindly reached out onto the dresser next to his bed. His fingers clawed against the wood, knocking over his alarm clock (he noticed with a pang of frustration that it was past midnight), until his hand closed around his vibrating phone. It was seriously going to be the last time he left it on vibrate on a wooden table. He fumbled, his fingers slipping over the plastic, before he managed to flip it open. The accomplishment felt something like discovering fire.
At first he didn’t hear anything. And then he heard crying. His first thought was that someone was hurt, someone was scared, and somehow them calling him made him either put in the same danger or liable. He sat there in the dark, the phone pressed between his ear and his pillow, feeling suddenly vulnerable and scared. Frank pulled is blankets over himself to ease the exposed feeling.
“He- hello?” he repeated. There was a sniffle on the other end. It was small and female.
He froze then blinked to himself. “Finch?” She didn’t answer right away so he spoke again. “Finch, are you okay?” His only assumption was that someone was hurting her and that for some reason her first thought was to call him and not the police. He listened to her sniffle for about five seconds before suddenly, all at once, she seemed to collapse. Some dam holding her together ruptured and all he could hear was an immense, pathetic sob.
”Frankie,” she sobbed. “I’m- I’m so sorry to c-c-shit I c-can’t t-talk- to call you. I j- I jus-” She sobbed again and Frank felt the apprehension he had begun with ease a little as it became more and more apparent that she was in no real physical danger.
“It’s okay,” Frank said slowly, softly. He was trying to comfort her, to cushion whatever harshness she was feeling. But it was about as useful as pacifying a brick wall; she couldn’t seem to hear him over her own weeping. “Hey, hey, it’s alright. Just…calm down. Tell me…”
He expected her to cry for a few more seconds before speaking but everything burst out at once. She was like a balloon about pop over and over again.
“It’s Gerard!” she sobbed and Frank wondered how, with her volume, her parents didn’t wake up from the noise. “H- he’s gone! I called his house and no one answered and he hung up on me with the other one and I’m so scared! Frank, what if he’s hurt?” Frank stopped and pulled a face to himself. He had to take in what she was saying in pieces to comprehend it all.
“Wait-” he interrupted. “…Gerard? Wait, did he…run away or something? I don’t know what you’re saying.” He listened to Finch breathe in and out. She inhaled, the breath shaky and thin, and exhaled softly. There was a silence between them in which the only sound was the girl on the other line controlling her breathing. The silence was so long that Frank thought she may have forgotten he was there. But she sighed and swallowed and finally spoke to him.
“No,” she said flatly. “No, he didn’t go anywhere like that. He was trying to kill himself or something. He kept saying that. And he was-” She coughed and cleared her throat. “-hiding in the bathroom because…I don’t know. I couldn’t understand what he was saying. Something like th-threw up and his mom was yelling at him.” He voice was thick and slow as if her nose was plugged with mucus and she was very tired. Frank opened his mouth to ask her a question but his throat felt blocked. Blocked with something he couldn’t really feel. It tasted like fear.
“Why?” he asked and his voice sounded a little bit high. “I knew he was depressed but I just didn’t think he would…I just talked to him!” Frank seemed to realize this after he actually said it. He rolled over in his bed and sat on his elbows, his hair hanging in front of his face. “I just talked to him. And he was fine.”
“I think he’s going to the hospital,” Finch said. “He was like, ‘She’s gonna take me to the hospital’ or something but I dunno.” She breathed as if she might break again but didn’t. “Oh God…Frank, he’s so scared of hospitals. You can’t even imagine. You can’t. Oh my God, he must be so scared right now.” Her voice raised in pitch so that Frank could hardly hear her. “I want to help him. I want to help him so badly. But I can’t. He’s stuck in this little box and I can’t get to him.”
Frank’s whole head felt tight, as if the skin had been stretched thinly over his skull, compressing the bone, flattening his brain. But he felt nothing. The kind of nothing that was a fog over something he was going to feel; a defense system, his brain hiding the pain that, if it were to hit him right then and there, he might just splinter into some ugly, jagged pieces that he didn’t have the endurance to pick up again. It was like an ache you didn’t feel until the morning after. Frank caught himself selfishly remembering the hope he had felt about Gerard’s feelings that made him regret the situation. He hated himself in that moment and wished the cloud obscuring his emotions would disappear so he could feel about Gerard the way Finch did: as if he was his life support, his only friend, the thing the needed so badly that it hurt. He breathed a little, rubbed his eyes, and willed himself to speak.
“So what are we gonna do?”
”Let me see your arms.”
“Please, take off your jacket.”
“Gerard? Could you cooperate? We’re trying to help you.”
“Ma’am, could you take off your son’s jacket, please?”
“Did he say what hospital he was gonna be at?” Frank asked. He considered sneaking out of the house and driving to whatever hospital was currently housing his suicidal, potential partner. But after some careful consideration he came to the conclusion that they most likely wouldn’t let him in anyway and he was better off pretending to be productive by just talking about it.
“I think even if he was thinking clearly he wouldn’t have known,” Finch said. She had calmed herself and was making an effort to speak normally. “I just…I don’t know. I always thought…I was the one more scared of him being taken away.” Her voice became low and quiet as if what she was saying was too terrifying to speak aloud. “You should have heard him, Frank. I thought someone had broken into his house and like…stabbed him or something. He was crying so hard.”
Frank wanted to tell her that that’s what she had sounded like. He bit his tongue.
“Well, are we going to be able to see him?” he asked her. He was sitting on the edge of his bed now, the blankets feeling too hot, reminding him that wherever Gerard was he was probably cold and afraid. “They have…like, visiting hours and stuff. They can’t keep him in there forever. He’s got school.” Frank realized but didn’t want to admit that he was saying these things as if to convince himself, as if bitching about them might actually make some small difference. He could almost feel that Finch was thinking the same thing and was glad she didn’t say anything. He might just pass out if someone told him that they could keep him there forever. If he never got better. And he might not.
“I dunno,” she replied softly. Frank could hear that she was getting tired, that her voice was slowing and her words becoming a bit more slurred. He kicked his alarm clock over with his toe so he could see the time. The electric blue letters grinned that it was almost one in the morning. He kicked it back over so he wouldn’t have to look at it. Finch spoke again and said something unintelligible. Something about being afraid. Frank sighed into the phone.
“Hey,” he said. “I think that maybe we should…get…to sleep or something. We can call Gerard’s house and figure out what hospital he’s in and maybe…visit him during our lunch hour.”
There was a bit of silence between them, one taught and thin as if they were being held together by a metallic wire. He could almost feel her thinking, Do you really care about him?
“I want him to get better,” Frank said. His voice trembled a little and he bit his lip. The weakness felt awkward and embarrassing. “I do.”
Finch didn’t say anything for a moment. He could feel her thinking.
After a minute she said, “Prove it.”
“You can go in here to do crafts.”
“You can use to phone for forty-five minutes a day.”
“Your friends can come and visit you at THIS time…and THIS time…”
“Your room mate is asleep so be quiet, Gerard. I think he’s a boy with the same problem as you; I think you’ll be good friends.”
“…Well, I hope you get better soon. I love you.”
“Don’t talk to me like that.”
Please, don’t make me do this.
I should have killed myself while I had the chance.
Don’t you think it’s sad that they care about me so much more than you do?
I think he can suck my cock.
I hope you die.
I hate you.
It wasn’t nearly as frightening as he thought it was going to be. And, oddly enough, his worries weren’t the same since his foot first hit those sterile (sterilesterilesterile its so god damn clean its NOT clean) tiles in the front lobby. It was like waiting for bad news. The first fifteen minutes or so when he and his mother sat in the uncomfortable chairs with the hard plastic arm rests and the incessant thought that the other people in the lobby (that bitch in the coat keeps looking at me) were silently and harshly judging him was the worst. He flinched and pressed his back into the back cushion of the chair whenever the door to the hallway leading to whatever doctor’s office he was going to have to sit in opened and the woman with her little clipboard called the name of whoever was next. At some point he wished she would just call his name so he could get it over with.
It was at that point, the point when his name was called and his mother tugged on his arm because everything simply went white and he lost the ability to move, that some sort of sponge inside Gerard’s head appeared and proceeded to suck up every feeling he possibly had.
Except, of course, for hate.
And he was not a hateful person by nature. So this felt alien, as if he was inside someone else’s body, feeling their emotions instead of his own. Every time his mother spoke he wanted to lash out at her. The therapist or evaluator or whoever the hell was asking him questions like ”Do you hear voices that no one else hears?” (he was tempted to look wildly around the room and scream, “WHO SAID THAT?!” but decided against it) had also gotten pretty close to a fist in the face. But this only came when she made his mother hold him still so he wouldn’t thrash while she rolled up his sleeves, turned up the bottoms of his pant legs to look at his ankles and pushed down his waist band to check his hips. She glanced quickly at the nearly invisible scars in those places he had recently neglected and asked him if there was anywhere else he’d damaged himself. He said no and she wrote it down. He lied. Don’t check my thigh you stupid bitch.
It was after all this, though, that Gerard realized his two major problems: The first was that he was going to miss quite a bit of school. Six weeks, actually. Enough so that he would either repeat his junior year or have to attend summer school. Four weeks if he was a good boy and didn’t hurt himself in that time.
The second was that he was going to be very, very bored.
Gerard had to admit, the place gave it a good shot at making it so the residence didn’t hang themselves from boredom. There was a place to do crafts, to play board game and watch TV (the other residence had taken a liking to Scrubs and Gerard didn’t understand why anyone in a hospital would want to watch a show about hospitals; it seemed a little redundant), and do other small, mindless activities. The woman showing them around even said that Gerard could draw if he wanted. Gerard realized that the pencil sharpener was the kind you crank, the kind with a sort of twisting mechanism in it. There was no razor inside. He wanted to kick the nurse even though he knew it wasn’t her fault. Despite this, there was still very little to do. And the forty-five allotted minutes on the phone a day was only going to kill forty-five minutes out of the 1440 minutes he was there each day.
In addition to being bored out of his mind, he was also going to have to sleep in a little room (it resembled what he imagined a dorm room in some college would look like) with another boy who ”had his same problem” (two cutters in one room yeah yeah that sounds like a great idea dumbasses) . And they were supposed to talk about their feelings and sunshine and rainbows and la-di-freaking-da. He hated this kid already and the little shit was asleep. Gerard found the way he breathed annoying.
“I’m gonna go home and get you some clothes,” his mother said. Gerard grumbled something angry under his breath. His mother pursed her lips as if she had heard and was pretending not to. She said something else and Gerard sat on the edge of his new bed and didn’t hear her. He was wallowing in his own self-pity and knew it but didn’t care. “…I love you.”
Gerard said something angry and hurtful. His mother looked like she was going to cry. Gerard said something else to make her leave.
Gerard decided the next morning, the first morning he stared at the off-white walls next to his bed and listened to that kid’s annoying breathing, that he was going to blow all of his forty-five minutes on the phone at once. Just that day. He’d train himself to save ten or fifteen minutes in case he was in desperate need of Finch or Frank sometime later, but on that day he was going to talk until the phones exploded and he fell over laughing.
So he went over to one of the nurses who went into an office to give him a plastic card with his name on it. There was a serial number on it and he was to swipe it in the slot next to the phone so he could call his friends. At the end of forty-five minutes, the phone would turn off (beeping when there was five minutes left so he knew when to close to conversation) and the numbers would be reset later that night on some computer in some room. Gerard pretended to act interested and practically sprinted to the phone.
He swiped his card, pounded in Finch’s phone number so quickly he thought that he may just have broken the phone, the let it ring. The white clock on the white wall (is everything in this stupid place white?) said it was just after eight-thirty. He hoped she was somewhere where she could answer the phone. It rang once and his heart fluttered with doubt. It rang again and he clutched the plastic. He felt like crying. It rang once more and there was a click.
Gerard felt himself nearly explode. “Finch?” He heard her gasp on the other line.
”Gerard?!” she cried. “Oh my God! Oh shi- are you okay?! Where are you?”
Gerard felt tears spilling over his eyes. Not with sadness or longing, but with joy. “Yeah, yeah, I’m okay. I’m…I’m in the hospital.” Finch asked him which God damn hospital and he told her. “I’m so glad you picked up. I only get a little while on the phone and I wanted to use it all today to talk to you and Frankie.”
“Yeah, I’m at home today,” she replied breathlessly. “My mom was like, screw school you get the day off and I was like, yes, thank you Jesus.” She breathed a little then asked, “What’s it like in there? D’you have to like, wear all white gowns or something like chemo patients? Because I always imagine that for some reason.”
“No, no,” he replied, waving his hand even though she couldn’t see him. “I’m wearing my clothes from yesterday because my mom was sort of stupid and didn’t bring me any.” He looked around. “The lights are really damn bright. I’m practically have a seizure. So…I guess you should come here if you…seezj easily.” Finch snorted a laugh into the phone.
“I’ll check with my doctor. Anyway, I’m coming to see you. All the time. Even if I have to break in. I’ll wear a white jumpsuit and a mustache and say I’m a janitor. Then I’ll take you away and we can ride into the sunset with…chocolate. Yeah.” She made a sound resembling ’Wee!’ and Gerard laughed.
“Definitely.” He breathed a little, then asked nervously as if embarrassed. “Does Frank know?” He heard Finch sigh.
“Well…” she began, her voice a bit thin, a bit guilty. “…This depends. Would you be mad?”
Gerard weighed his options, decided on what he could handle to hear, then said delicately, “…No?”
“Then yes. Yes he does.”
He sighed and wished he had something to sit down on. His legs were getting tired.
“I’m sorry,” Finch said softly, her voice sounding tiny and sad on the other line and Gerard wished he wasn’t so alone. He rubbed his nose with the back of his hand.
“No, it’s okay. Really. He was gonna find out when I didn’t go to school for six weeks anyway.”
Finch sputtered. “Six weeks? What the hell are you there for six weeks for?!” She was suddenly quiet. “You’re gonna miss your birthday.” Gerard didn’t say anything at first then forced a laugh when really he wanted to disappear, to fall into a black hole.
“You guys can just come see me, I guess.” He frowned and twirled to chord of the phone around his finger. “Did Frank say anything?”
“Just that he wants you to get better.” She didn’t say anything, then she sighed. When she spoke, Gerard could tell she was smiling. Just a little, so the corners of her mouth were turned up. “…I really think he likes you.”
Gerard smiled a little. “Yeah. I do too.” He kept curling the chord. “And I’m gonna get better. I promise.”
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