My Life In Fragments
Desperately Seeking, Silently Waiting.
If you asked me why-- why I’m sitting here in this uncomfortable leather seat, encased by a pair of too-eager faces as I wait for this alleged professional to inject a thick sliver of metal through my flesh-- I couldn’t give you an answer. It’s just one of those moments-- those very strange, impulsive, fuck-it-all moments where you make some very strange, impulsive, fuck-it-all decisions and you don’t really know why.
“So the receiving tube will go on the inside of the nose and gently push against the nostril,” a petite body-piercer tells me as she slips her tattooed hands into blue latex gloves. “The needle is going to go through to the receiving tube and the jewelry will go on the end, slide it through, pull it up and we’re done. Super easy, right?”
Super easy. Supereasy.
“Christ, don’t look so scared, Frank. You’re not bailing out on this now,” says the tall, crew-cut boy poised a few feet away from me, an impish smile playing on his pale lips. Beside him stands a waif-like girl with black hair and frightening blue eyes, she smirks and says: “Yeah, dude, you look totally freaked out.”
I turn my head to face them both, pulling the hardest glare I can muster. “I’m not scared or freaked out,” I lie, ignoring their smug looks, “I just want to get this over with before--”
My sentence is cut short as the gloved hand of my body-piercer takes hold of my nose, gently swiping a cotton swab soaked in alcohol over the skin. "I'm going to need you to stay completely still, no turning around or fidgeting about, okay? And you two..." she gestures towards the pair of teenagers slumped in the corner of the shop-- my so-called new friends, "...don't distract him, please."
I hold my breath as she removes an angled needle from its packaging and hooks the piercing clamp onto my left nostril, lining it up with the entry mark, “Take some slow breaths for me and try to get relaxed.”
I focus my eyes on the bare white walls and coax my muscles into loosening up. I take one slow inhale, then another.
“Deep breath in,” she says and I fill my lungs to the brim. The sound of the needle tearing through my flesh is slight, barely there, but it registers none-the-less. I shut my eyes and just manage to stop myself from whimpering. “Breathe all the way out,” she tells me before pushing the needle further down. My eyes start to water and my throat tightens. The needle is pulled all the way through. I inhale, exhale, again and again.
It takes me a moment to realize that the piercer’s hands have pulled away. I open one eye, setting free several teardrops in consequence. Three pale faces stare at me quizzically. "Is it in?"
“Yeah, it’s in.”
I get up on unsteady legs and move over to the floor-length mirror to look at myself. A small silver stud--glinting in the low light-- now adorns my left nostril.
"What do you think?" a voice asks.
I lean in close until I can see my own breath fogging up the glass. Large hazel eyes look back at me, familiar but unrecognizable all the same. It feels weird. I feel weird.
My spine straightens as I turn to face the others. “It’s… cool,” I say, wiping away a few stray tears. "The new me.”
+ + +
So I started hanging out with Dominic Levi and Grace Markowitz.
Just for fun.
Just ‘cause it seemed like if I didn’t, I might die, or something equally tragic.
Things were getting to me.
People, just the way they are. And the things they say… or don’t say.
I was suffocating.
Stuck in fucking limbo.
And I needed a way out.
So when Dominic told me I’d look good with a nose piercing, I got one. Because he wasn’t just talking about a piece of jewelry or a fashion statement. It was so much more than that.
+ + +
I'm in love.
His name is Gerard Way.
He was held back, twice.
I almost touched his arm during a pop quiz on Organic Chemistry one time.
He's got dark hair and pretty eyes.
And he’s always laughing… at everything. It’s annoying. His laugh drives me crazy.
It’s the little things, really. The little things that he does that just get to me. The way he always closes his eyes, like it hurts to look at things. And when he talks out the corner of his mouth. He should really stop that. It’s not good for my health.
And there he goes. Moving through the hallway, surrounded by his usual posse-- his little brother, Michael, a ghost-pale girl with a penchant for pigtails and a blonde jock named Bob. He’s got this look on his face, a furtive smile, like he’s hiding a big secret. I try not to stare too openly. But it’s not as if he’ll notice me. He never does. There he goes again.
“What did your mom say when she saw your piercing?” asks Grace as she flicks in the numbers of her locker combination, prying open the flimsy sheet of metal.
I pull a face. “She hasn’t seen it yet actually. She’s away on business right now, won’t be back until tomorrow morning. And my dad hasn’t even noticed. I swear the man never looks me in the eyes anymore.”
Grace pauses, frowning. “Really? I thought things were good between you and your dad.”
“They were,” I tell her, trying to keep the bitter edges of dejection out of my tone. “But ever since I came out, he’s been really shady, you know. He barely even acknowledges my existence.”
“Shit, that sucks," the girl says as she shoves several fashion magazines and a carton of Camels into her backpack. "But at least he doesn’t seem angry, right? I mean, he’s not screaming and shouting or signing you up for ‘fix my kid, he likes the dick’ clubs.”
I snort loudly and roll my eyes at her. “I know it might seem a little sick but I kind of wish that he would. At least then I’d know what he’s feeling.” I swallow once and press my temple against the cool metal of a locker. “The distance… the silence… it’s even worse than that, I think.”
Grace shrugs and offers a kindhearted smile, “I suppose.”
Right then, the morning bell rings out shrilly through the hall and a mass of wayward zombies begin their slow trek to first period.
“See you at lunch.” I tell her as I turn on my heel and head for English Lit.
+ + +
I just look-- I can’t do much else at this moment with every one of my limbs having turned to lead, heavy, so heavy I want to fall to my knees-- but I don’t. So I look… with widened eyes and a slacked jaw, a fast heart and buzzing blood-- I look. Thin curtains drift lazily in the breeze, curling like sun-brightened fingers, tempting me… drawing me further in with soft insistence. But the dulling light of late afternoon spills in, casting dark shadows and reminding me that my time is scant. Reminding me that I don’t belong. ‘Beautiful, gorgeous,’ I want to say. But I don’t, not trusting my tongue to form the words. Instead, I extend a pale hand and I touch.
“You want him, don’t you?” Grace’s voice drills through my daydream haze and I straighten up abruptly.
“What?” I choke out, cringing at the sound of my own crackly voice.
Her cherry-coated lips twist to the side in a way that would be comical if I wasn’t so on edge. “Gerard Way. You want to have sex with him.”
My eyes quickly scan the cafeteria, gut twisting at the thought of anyone having over-heard, but everyone seems too immersed in their own commiserations to even care. I shift in my seat, looking up at Grace with warning eyes. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She merely scoffs. “Oh, come on, Frank. I see the way you look at him. You totally want him.”
I bite the inside of my lower lip, cursing myself for being so damn obvious. Of course she knows. Everyone probably fucking knows.
I take a breath and steel myself. “I just… I just like the way he’s always leaning against stuff… he leans great.”
The blue-eyed girl’s grin falters as her features turn to stone. “Oh my god. You really want to fuck him.”
I let out a puff of air, pushing my tray of inedibles away. “Fuck him. Touch him. Talk to him. It doesn’t matter what I want. You know why? ‘Cause he doesn’t even know I exist.”
Grace’s grin returns in full force as she wraps her slender fingers around my own. “Well, we’ve got to change that, don’t we?”
+ + +
The sound of silverware hitting ceramic plates is about the only thing that’s keeping me from dropping dead.
Breakfast with the family, when did it become such a fucking burden?
I empty the remaining contents of the maple syrup bottle onto my pancake stack, making sure that it’s drenched to the point of absurdity. You see, I can’t bring myself to eat a well-balanced, home-cooked meal in front of my mother. It just means too much to her. But I will make an exception for pancakes (because they’re delicious) only under the condition that they’re soaked with enough syrup to rot me from the inside out.
Mother has barely said a word to me since she walked through the door this morning. And I’ve done her the same favor. She’s keeping her cool but it’s only a matter of minutes before the wrath of seven hells is unleashed. I can tell by the pinkish color dinging my dad’s cheeks that she has already laid into him for allowing this to happen under his watch.
The silence at the table is deafening, a heavy weight on all our shoulders. But still, I wait.
One beat, then another.
My mom’s fork drops with a thud. “What in God’s name were you thinking Frank? A nose piercing!?!”
And there it is.
She pinches the bridge of her nose in her habitual pose of exasperation. I try not to scowl. “A reaction,” she says, looking directly into my eyes. “Is that what you want? You want me to react. Well here you have it, son. Here’s my reaction.”
I shake my head rigorously, a surge of frustration coursing through my system. I open my mouth to let out a slew of fiery offenses but stop myself suddenly. I take a slow breath. “A reaction from you? Is that what you think this is about?” I swallow once. “I regret to inform you that not all roads lead back to you, mother.”
She swallows her tongue, jaw set, and throws a heated look in my father’s direction. The man offers a small shrug before lowering his eyes and continuing on with breakfast.
I take one final sip of my orange juice and rise from the table abruptly. “I going to school,” I tell them, not bothering to wait for a reply.