Where They Are Now.
Where They Are Now.
Frank shifted in his chair nervously. It had been ages since he had seen himself on TV, so this was a big event. His now nearly teenaged daughters were over for the weekend, and making popcorn in the kitchen. Even his ex wife Jamia had called to say she was tuning in.
VH1 was holding a documentary on the band My Chemical Romance. A band he had played in for many years. They had interviewed him just weeks before, as they asked him about the history of the band, what happened when they broke up, etc. They had been very aggressive about wanting their information, and they had mentioned they had talked to the other former band members as well. Frank was very eager to see how Mikey Way, Gerard Way, Ray Toro and possibly even Bob Bryar was doing nowadays.
"Dad, it's 6!" Lily yelled at him from the kitchen as they hurriedly poured their beverages.
Frank groped around for the remote, and turned on the television. Cherry and Lily came and sat on the floor in front of him. They all stared wide eyed at the screen.
Some videos of a younger Frank played on the screen, along with footage of his old bandmates. A woman's voice began to speak.
"My Chemical Romance: a band that in its 13 year long career withstood controversy and worldwide stardom alike. Starting from a humble beginning in New Jersey, this band climbed its way to the top winning the hearts of millions, and the disdain of others."
A clip of a cross armed Marilyn Manson appeared, and Frank snickered.
"With an infamously loyal fanbase, the band's separation was a tragic event to many. It left many wondering 'What could have happened?' VH1 has the story, and a glimpse at where each of them are now."
They then showed a brief shot of Mikey speaking, looking old and haggard. Frank openly gaped. He heard Cherry say "No way, Uncle Mikey!"
The intro over, the documentary began. They talked about the bands very beginning, which placed much focus on a young, raven haired Gerard Way. Frank smiled at seeing young Gerard with his slight hunch and his chubby face. The camera scanned over Gerard's artwork, and it all came flooding back. Frank knew he still had a few of Gerard's sketches in his scrapbook. Most of them had been drawn specifically for him, and a few of them Frank had just kind of taken. But he couldn't help it --- they were so nice.
The present day Mikey made an appearance a few more times during this, talking about how much his brother loved art and drawing. A small smile had crept on his face as he reminisced. Frank wondered why present day Gerard didn't make an appearance to talk about it himself.
Cherry and Lily asked no questions -- they had heard Frank tell this story a million times over. They still giggled seeing footage of awkward Mikey with his glasses, or fat Gerard, and of course their father's crazy stage antics.
After a commercial break, the documentary delved into the days of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. Every time a song came on, Frank mouthed along with the lyrics. Three Cheers had always been one of his favorite, if not his favorite era. Although he raised an eyebrow at the haircut he had. Clips of Ray were shown, and then finally, footage of a present day Ray commentating. Ray had finally cut his infamous afro. His hair was still curly, but short. He definitely looked older, but still good. Much better than Mikey had, anyway. They talked about Gerard’s alcoholism and drug addiction, and Frank’s heart plummeted. He found his eyes diverging away from the screen as they showed a drunk, high Gerard stumbling around the tour bus. He wished Cherry and Lily didn't have to see it either.
They talked about his close call with suicide, and Frank felt afraid as though it was happening all over again. Bert McCracken then made an appearance, and Frank laughed. Bert looked extremely haggard and wrinkled. His hair was also now short and looked as though it was thinning. Yet he still dressed in punk attire. Quite frankly, he still looked like the drug dealer he once was. Frank wondered what he was doing now. But all Bert talked about was his friendship with Gerard, and how it ended over issues with alcoholism. Bert admitted the fight was petty, but he had lost contact with Gerard long ago. Frank knew better, he knew Bert and Gerard went beyond friendship, but he didn’t feel the need to let Cherry and Lily know that. And then came the story of Gerard's seventeen day recovery that inspired hundreds. And Frank felt just as proud as he did back then.
And then came the Black Parade, and Frank experienced an array of mixed emotions. With Mikey’s mental issues, the over exhaustion that the tour brought, the drama with the media, the break off with Eliza Cuts, and of course, Frank and Gerard’s stage antics, it had been an absolutely insane time, with plenty to talk about. Frank felt slightly uncomfortable about any mention of "Frerard" in front of Cherry and Lily, but he knew they understood it was all for show. As far as they knew anyway. Mikey came on and talked about their stay at the Paramour mansion. Frank felt like they were blatantly not showing Gerard at this point. Whether he couldn't participate or they were saving him for later, Frank didn't know. Mikey, Ray, Bert, Brian or anyone they had shown so far hadn't mentioned how Gerard was doing now. It was unnerving really. Of course, the band had broken up on a bad note, and they had all lost contact eventually. Frank would figure Mikey would at least know how Gerard was. Those two were the two closest brothers on earth! Frank felt more disappointed than he would admit at the idea of not getting any new Gerard footage.
Bob came on and started talking. He had packed on a lot of weight, yet he looked happier than the others. He mentioned he had children at home, and Frank felt great to hear it --- Bob would make a great father. Bob talked of nothing bad about the band, and simply reminisced on the crazier times they had. Frank knew he wouldn't. What caused him to leave the band was an argument between him and Gerard, but Bob, being the mature person he was, still talked of Gerard as a good friend. They talked about The Daily Mail. The suicide of that young girl. How My Chemical Romance came under fire for it, and how the MCRmy fired back. Shots of people holding up protest signs, signs that said things like "MCR saved my life!". They talked about the MCRmy, and how dedicated the fanbase was to defending their bands honor.
By the end of the Black Parade segment, Frank was holding back tears. He knew he was likely to get emotional during this, and he had been correct. A thought crossed his mind as he felt his cellphone vibrate. He checked the screen and saw that he wasn't the only one thinking it. A text message from Ray Toro said "Hey" with a smiley face. Frank texted back "You watching too?", and got the reply "Yes and I miss you. I miss all of you.". Frank then wrote the next text message "I think its time we need to get together again.", except this time he added two more recipients: Gerard and Mikey Way.
Lindsey came on to speak, along with Jimmy and Chantal Euringer. They talked about Gerard mostly, as he was the only one they really hung out with. Lindsey still looked beautiful. Matured, certainly, but she had a very distinguished look about her. Very classy. Her hair was long and blonde. Her eyes still held that same dreamy sparkle. She talked about how she and Gerard got together. His goofy ways of flirting and trying to be seductive. She talked about their sneak outs at nights. And finally their marriage backstage at the Linkin Park show. Frank wondered how much of this information Gerard had permitted her to talk about on national TV. Typically Gerard liked to keep these things private.
Finally they hopped onto the Watchmen segment. The beginning of the bands reunion. They all talked about how good it felt to play again. Mikey talked about his attachment to Watchmen the comic. Frank was still texting Ray back and forth, but he had not gotten a reply from Gerard and Mikey. Ray mentioned he had tried to text them a while back, but still nothing.
And then Danger Days. The last era that the band ever saw. The screen showed a red headed, skinny Gerard, just as Frank had last seen him. It was ironic, how the documentary established how happy they were at the time. Which they were, until the fight. They had felt on top of the world. Frank saw himself explaining that on the television screen. Mikey explained the Killjoy plot line that had been set up. Ray talked of how they brought that to life. Bob was shown no more. But soon enough, Michael Pedicone came onto the screen. Cherry, Lily, and Frank simultaneously roared with laughter -- Pedicone had hair! While everyone was losing it, there he was with hair! And he looked great!
They talked about #SINGItForJapan. They talked about Glenn Beck. They talked about the World Contamination Tour. They talked about their spin off shows as Mad Gear and Missile Kid.
And then finally, around 6:54 PM, the documentary hit the subject that many had been waiting to hear about: the break up. Frank doubted they would get this right, as he didn't give them much information himself. He wasn't sure how much the other guys had told them. Yet right before they talked about the subject, the documentary finally revealed the reason as to why Gerard was unavailable for comment. The woman announced: "Gerard Way currently battles with early onset Alzhiemer's and now resides in a nursing home in New Jersey."
Frank's jaw dropped. That couldn't be right. Why would he have not heard of that? Frank saw Cherry and Lily look at him with shocked expressions themselves. Frank stared at the screen for a while before snapped himself out of it, and yanked out his cell phone to make a few phone calls.
"Mr. Way, you have a visitor."
Gerard snapped his head up to see a man opening the door for a younger man. The younger man walked inside and looked at him sheepishly. He was short. A bit chunky, with short hair. Large green eyes. Lots of tattoos. He looked extremely nervous. Gerard wondered as to why.
"Can I help you?" Gerard asked.
"Gerard, it's me -- Frank." the man spoke.
Frank? Who the hell was Frank? Gerard of course wouldn't say such a rude thing to a guest, as he didn't get them very often. Well, given the exception of that brown haired one with the glasses -- Mitchell was his name? Mitchell was his friend. Sometimes Mitchell would call them brothers, but Gerard wouldn't say they were that close. Personally he thought Mitchell moved a bit fast. He really did have a brother, but he hadn't seen him for a long time.
But this Frank talked as though Gerard was supposed already know his name was Frank. Gerard debated as to whether or not he was going to pretend to recognize him, or risk seeming rude and be honest.
"I'm sorry, I don't think we've met before..." Gerard admitted. He saw the man's face fall a little, and Gerard felt guilty.
“You really don’t recognize me?” the man frowned. Gerard shook his head.
"Well, let me tell you about myself then." The man named Frank walked over and sat next to Gerard on the bed. Gerard thought it was a slightly imposing gesture, but he kept his mouth shut. He was genuinely interested in what the man had to say. After all, he didn't have much else to do.
"I once had this best friend." said Frank. "We had a band together. I played guitar and he was the singer. He had the most beautiful fucking voice. And he was very beautiful. And very inspiring. And I loved him very much."
"What happened to him?" Gerard whispered.
"He... he got sick. And now he's gone. I miss my best friend so much."
Gerard saw the one named Frank was about to cry. Feeling immensely sorry for this man, Gerard reached out and grabbed Frank's hand.
And for one, small fraction of a second, Gerard felt like he was somewhere he had been before.