For the umpteenth time today, Munky sighed and curled closer in on himself under his bed covers, unable to stop the thoughts swirling around in his churning mind.
Head had left the band. Just a few days ago, to be exact. Munky could still vividly remember the huge fight his fellow bandmates had with him about it. He had approached the others about his decision to depart and his personal reasons for doing so, wishing to have a civilized conversation regarding the subject, but all it turned into was a fight. A fight that accomplished nothing but cause them to be enraged and Head to leave the place abruptly, gathering up what stuff he had there and taking it with him to his own home. If only that night had gone a little differently, then maybe Head wouldn't hate his former bandmates as much, he thought. Now he hates us for sure.
Deep down, they all knew it was for the best for him and his health that he take a departure, but that didn't mean that they still weren't angry. They were angry that Head, their best friend and bandmate for years, had just upped and left abruptly. They were angry that he hadn't talked to them very much about his struggles with addiction and what he was going through.
“We could have helped you!” Munky recalled Jonathan’s shouting.
“No! You could never understand how this feels!” Head had retorted.
Everyone was yelling, voices gradually escalating to louder volumes as everyone tried to shout over each other and be heard. “Everybody, please stop! Stop yelling!” Munky had called out, but his pleading was drowned out by the rest of the band’s voices.
Munky was at last broken out of his reverie by a knocking at the bedroom door and someone calling to him. “Munky, can I come in?” Jonathan’s voice asked from outside the doorway. A tone of concern was evident in his request.
“Yeah,” the other responded in an exhausted manner.
From his shelter underneath the covers, he viewed a very worried looking Jon walk towards and plop down on the bed. “Can I talk to you?” he asked in a somewhat quiet way. The concern in his speech was still noticeable.
After a few moments of awkward silence, the guitarist emerged from under the blankets and sat up to face his friend.
“You don’t look too good…” the singer trailed off.
He was right. To put it simply, he felt like and looked like shit. He so very much wanted to sleep so he would just maybe feel at least a little better and stop replaying the events of the other night, but from his tossing and turning for hours today, any hope of rest seemed miniscule. He just gave a weak nod in response.
Jon looked him in the eyes. “Munky, are you okay? The other guys and I have been worried sick about you. You’ve barely left your room at all since… Head left.” Pausing hesitantly for a moment, he then continued tentatively. “Is this… does this have something to do with him?”
Munky didn’t speak at first. However, after a few seconds, he nodded ever so slightly. “Yeah…” he mumbled almost inaudibly, avoiding eye contact.
A small exhale came from Jon. “I’m sorry, man,” He placed a hand gently on his friend’s shoulder. “I wish he didn’t have to leave, too.”
The scene of the fateful night once again began to run through Munky’s head over and over, incapable of stopping. Please, just make it stop, make it stop, he thought wearily. “I really miss him,” he blurted out, regretting how he had worded the statement immediately.
Jon looked at him again. “I do too, we all do-” he started but was cut off.
“No-! You don’t understand, you wouldn’t understand,” the other spoke. That was correct. Although Jon was an understanding and supportive friend, he wouldn’t be able to understand. He would never understand how much Head meant to Munky. Would never understand how happy the two had felt whenever they would go out on a secret date or found time where they could just be alone together, and do all the other things they loved to do.
The singer’s worry was growing. “What do you mean?”
Munky diverted his gaze. “I…” He felt like a huge idiot for his earlier comment. Now he knew Jon wouldn't let up until he knew what was wrong. “I can't tell you. It’s- it’s too complicated.”
“I’m here for you. I'll listen to you no matter how complicated it is.”
The man inhaled and exhaled deeply. He held his face in his hands, wishing he knew what to say. “I just miss him a lot,” he squeaked, all of a sudden feeling tears starting to prick at the backs of his tired eyes. No, please, no no no no, he desperately thought. He refused to cry like some kind of fucking baby in front of his best friend.
Jonathan gazed at him, not breaking eye contact. “Are you sure that's all? I will listen to you if there's more. I’m here to help,” he spoke, placing a comforting hand on his friend’s shoulder again.
Upon feeling the light touch of the hand, Munky recoiled sharply and curled farther in upon himself, keeping his hands over his face.
“Munky, please! Talk to me, you’re scaring me! I swear to God, I’ll listen! No matter what it is!”
The guitarist knew for a fact that he couldn’t say anything now. Not without breaking down in tears, of course. They still threatened to spill at any moment. God, he felt like a big fucking dumbass. He merely shook his head.
“James.” Jon ever so slightly raised his voice, switching away from his nickname momentarily and taking on an even more serious tone. “Please.”
When he still didn’t move or exhibit any response, he reached over and attempted to pry away the hands obscuring his friend’s face. Munky gave a yelp of protest for a moment, but then just simply let him move away his hands. Jon would have just kept trying harder to convince him to talk if he had attempted to wrench the other’s hands away from his face. However, his watery-eyed expression was now exposed.
Jon’s eyes immediately widened. “Fuck…” he muttered. “What’s wrong?” he asked, his tone of voice now softer. Very gingerly he laid a hand on his friend’s arm.
Munky’s mind was practically screaming at him. Just fucking do it, tell him. Tell him about you and Head. Don’t be a pussy, it taunted. I can’t, I can’t do it, I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t tell him, he began to think again-
“I love him.” OhmygodIfuckingdiditIdiditohgod.
“What?” Jon’s brow furrowed.
Munky instantly regretted his words. Fucking stupid, stupid, idiot, why in hell did you do that, he’s going to judge you, he’s going to laugh at you, his panicked thoughts now jeered.
There was no turning back now. “I love him,” he managed to croak a second time.
“What do you mean you-” his friend halted mid-sentence. “Oh.”
Munky’s eyes were wider than saucers as he came to the realization. Frankly, he was terrified. The other didn’t seem to be reacting well to what he had just revealed.
“P-please don’t laugh at me- please don’t kick me out of the band,” he sputtered, barely being able to speak from the tears waiting to break out any second.
Jon’s expression had changed from one of shock to one of confusion. “Munky, I…” he started, looking at his friend who seemed ready to fucking bolt.
“Please, p-please, I swear I’ll do anything, just don’t kick me out please-”
“Relax, I’m not kicking you out of the band. You’re not going anywhere. I’m not going to laugh at you.”
He blinked, staring back still with large eyes. “Really…?”
“You don’t hate me…?
“Of course not, why would I?”
“I… I just thought… I thought that you…” The other man tried so desperately to hold back the wall of water behind his eyes, however to no avail. “I thought y-you w-would judge me for being gay or think I’m g-gross or something or t-that I’m s-some kind of freak,” he choked out, taking in deep breaths between words while the tears began to flow in rivulets down his cheeks, dripping off his face and making small spatters on his lap.
“Oh, Munky- please don’t cry,” Jonathan spoke softly, offering his arms to his friend, which he gladly accepted. He pulled the other into a tight but gentle hug. Munky clung to him like he would disappear if he loosened his grip, hiding his face in his shoulder. “You know I would never judge you for something like that.”
The guitarist’s crying gradually became more intense. The deluge of tears just kept coming and coming. “A-a-re y-you sure?”
“Yes, I’m 100% sure,” Jon answered, continuing to speak in a calm tone.
This statement caused him to cry harder. Tentatively, the singer placed a hand upon the other’s back, rubbing in a soothing manner to help him feel at least a bit better. This went on for a little while, there being only silence between the two other than Munky’s crying, until he began to speak. “Head and I were together for a really long time,” he sniffled.
“How long?” Jon inquired.
He was silent for a few long moments. “...since ’98…” he finally mumbled quietly, covering his face in Jon’s chest.
“You were dating for seven years and never told anyone?”
“We were terrified to,” he responded, a fresh wave of tears coming on. “Us dating was risky enough on its own. Telling anyone was basically a death sentence. If people found out, our careers would be done for. Korn’s reputation would be tarnished. Our whole lives would be ruined. We didn't want to do that to you guys...”
Munky continued on to recall more about the timeline of the hidden relationship, and by the time he had finished, he was full-on sobbing. “I already m-miss him s-so much, Jon,” he sucked in air between his words. “I’m so scared for him a-and he’s probably never gonna t-talk to me again.”
Jon continued to hold his friend close, letting him cry it all out. He could feel his t-shirt gradually being soaked even further with tears and snot, but he didn’t mind. “Munky, I know that he didn’t act very nice to us recently and at all the last night he was here, but he doesn’t hate you. He’ll talk to you again.”
“How could he not hate me now? He… he left so that must mean he…”
“You two were dating for almost a decade.” Jon glanced downwards at the other man, face still buried in his sodden shirt. “He wouldn’t just suddenly change his mind about you overnight. You’re both a big part of each other’s lives and he wouldn’t just throw that all away.”
Munky didn’t respond for a minute or two, but Jon could tell he was thinking over what he’d said. “I guess you’re right…” he sniffed quietly. After another few minutes, he finally removed his head from its cover of being curled up to his friend. Fortunately, he was beginning to calm down. The flood of tears had decreased to small dribbles, and his sobs were gradually slowing to smaller sniffles and hics.
“Maybe you should give him a call?” the other suggested. “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. He probably misses you as much as you miss him.”
“Maybe…” Munky answered in a smaller voice.
“You should try. I don’t want you to be sad and talking with him will make you feel overall better.”
“Mmm…” he hummed in agreement. Perhaps he actually would try calling, he thought.
The two men sat silent together once again, Munky slumped against Jon, his head resting upon his shoulder, and a relieved Jon with his arm around Munky’s back, still holding him near.
“Thank you for talking with me.”
He couldn’t help but smile. “You’re welcome, man. I’m here for you to talk about anything anytime.”
He noticed a tiny grin dance across his friend’s mouth.
“Are you feeling better enough I can leave you by yourself?”
“Alright.” Jon stood up and turned around to leave, almost arriving at the bedroom’s doorway when he heard Munky’s voice.
“Um, Jon? Can I ask you one more thing?”
He shifted his gaze to the direction of the other. “Sure.”
“Could you please not tell the other guys about this? I… If I ever tell them, I want to do it.”
He nodded, “I got it. I won’t tell anyone anything.”
“Thank you,” the guitarist called after him as he exited.
Munky was glad to be feeling more at peace, and glad that he had a friend like Jonathan to turn to when things became bad. He moved to pick up the phone, dialing Head’s number which he knew by heart.