jean loved frankie so much; she always had. from the moment they met at the blue lady in chicago years ago, jean was head over heels, and with every moment they spent together she fell more and more in love. everything about frankie may was so beautiful. she was a talented performer, with a voice that brought jean to chills every time. her face was just so beautiful and radiant, and her laugh ever so contagious. there was something different about this woman and jean couldn’t help but love everything about her. ever since she’d started writing poetry, this is what she’d wanted. she was the quiet half of a famous singer-songwriter duo. she had money, friends, motivation, and a beautiful house. and she shared everything with the person she loved the most.
she wanted to stay with frankie forever. she wanted to spend early mornings making breakfast together, and late nights watching the love of her life sing her words to the crowd.
but staying was getting progressively more difficult as she watched the person she loved slowly destroy herself day by day.
she wished there was something she could do. she wished one day she could make a little wish and frankie would wake up her old, happy, healthy self, but every day was the same. when she woke up, she always woke up with dark circles under her eyes, and when she weighed herself in the morning, it always said 92 pounds, if that. when she was offered breakfast, she always said no and made herself a coffee instead. she was always stuck in the same state she’d been trying to break out of since she’d first blown up.
only now she’d stopped trying.
a thick fingers combed through greasy red hair, twirled it around themselves, and gently massaged her scalp. jean could hear her housemate’s labored breathing as she lay in an uncomfortable silence with her head resting right on her lap. her skin was pale, almost translucent, and her eyes were sunken and unfocused.
“can i get you anything to eat?” jean sighed, asking once again as if she didn’t know what the answer was gonna be.
“you know i’m never hungry.”
she felt so utterly helpless as she heard frankie’s stomach growl in protest.
“are you sure you don’t want something?”
“no, i am fine.”
she couldn’t force her. she couldn’t if she tried.
she tilted her head as to look out the window at the unusually bleary sky. droplets had gathered on the window, and clouds blanketed the humid atmosphere. then back down to the spindly figure in her lap. if she was being completely honest, there were times she’d thought about leaving. nothing was more painful than watching her friend go through this, and as much as she wanted to help, it was taking its toll on her. a part of her knew the inevitable truth. leaving frankie was in her best interest. frankie was toxic. she was completely dependent on other people, and her drug habits left her constantly paranoid and irritable. she would often roam the halls of the estate mindlessly, as if looking for a source of danger. her mind was scrambled and she was spiraling out of control. she was drowning. jean was going down with her, hand in skeletal hand.
“i love you.”
“i love you so much and you need to get help.”
hearing that statement, frankie immediately sat up, and when she met jean’s eyes, it scared her.
“so you’re going to give up on me.”
“no?! frankie, look at yourself! you’re nothing but skin and bones, you can’t go on like this!”
“oh, i can’t, can? im going to die, and you’re going to live. that’s how it always is, isn’t it.”
“frankie may!” jean was raising her voice now.
“you are doing this to yourself! i can’t help you if your not going to let me help! i’m trying, i’m fücking trying but i can’t!”
“so you’re giving up on me.”
“damn you!” jean stood up, hand resting on her hip. tears hung on the lid of her eye, and she could feel her nose start to burn as she tried to hold them back. frankie sat with her arms crossed. the room was silent, save for the two women’s breathing.
“look. frankie, i’m done with this. either you’re going to go to rehab, or i’m leaving.”
this was all it took for the redhead to lose it.
“you can’t just leave me like this, jeannie!” she cried out.
“don’t you love me?”
“i do, i do!”
frankie reached for the half empty bottle of vodka on the coffee table and opened her mouth in preparation to yell, but swallowed her words. she could feel heat burning in her temples. there was ringing in her ears, a creak as jean once again sat down beside her. and then there was nothing, as the singer felt soft arms wrap around her and lost herself in a comatose sleep.
jean sighed as she listened to the addict’s slowing breaths: she couldn’t leave. not now. this was frankie, this was her best friend. and underneath all of the drugs and makeup, she knew she was in there somewhere.