Two days after the incident, Kurt was released from hospital, but was required to go back for testing. The ‘fit’ as they had called it, was not induced by any kind of drug or substance. With the tests so far, they had found nothing – there was no explanation for what had happened.
Kurt had promised Krist and Dave faithfully that he would continue to seek medical attention and advice and they were relieved, pleased, satisfied that he was going to get some answers. In his mind, however, things were different and really, he had no intention in doing so at all. Probing, testing, pushing him – it wasn’t something he wanted happening to him. He could cope.
That had been the first ‘fit’ or attack that he had experienced in a long time. It would pass. It was probably stress-related, or something to do with his ongoing depression. He didn’t need advice or tests. He was fine.
After two weeks, Kurt announced that he had the all-clear from the doctors. Krist and Dave believed him, but Kurt was a good liar and could make even the most simple thing sound convincing. They didn’t question him or what he said and they seemed happy about their friends’ clean bill of health. Nothing more was said about it, after that. They didn’t feel the need to.
The screams were so immense and the room was hot and crowded. The walls were pulsating with the volume of the amplifiers, the lights were low and orange and red colours lit the stage.
The black sea of people moved in time to the drum beat, jumping, bopping, moshing and crowding together, hands in the air, feet stamping on the ground and their own steady stream of lyrics could be heard very slightly as Kurt started finishing their fourth song of the evening.
The air in the room was dry and musty and smelled of sweat. The song finished and people screamed and cheered and clapped. Kurt turned slightly to Krist, he began the bass line, Dave came in seconds later with the drums and Kurt began to play.
The crowd were ready for the next song, jumping around with excitement, anticipation and a want to hear the next set.
The intro only caused them to scream louder, jump around more and make more noise but then, Kurt’s riff stopped, the amp let out a shrill whine and he crumpled to the floor, his guitar sprawled half over his chest and shoulder, the rest of it on his face and slightly on the stage.
The crowd screamed, cheered, clapped – they thought it was all part of the show. Kurt was well known for doing stupid shit on stage, no one ever really took things too seriously, aside from a few conformist types who thought what he did was ‘too outrageous to be considered acceptable’.
Even Dave and Krist thought he was just having another one of his ‘moments’. Dave stood up and looked over his drums, seeing Kurt lying on the floor.
He glanced at Krist and Krist had already taken off his guitar and walked over to Kurt. The crowd were anxious now, concerned and worried. It didn’t look like part of an act anymore.
“Fuck, Dave! His eyes! They’re rolling into the back of his head!” Krist screamed and Dave bolted, standing with Krist in shock. Kurt was jolting, shuddering, his breathing was laboured and high, and almost like someone suffering a fit of epilepsy – but it couldn’t be.
They would have said so at the hospital, months before. They had tested for that before Kurt had been released, surely. And Kurt had said the tests afterwards had all been good, he was fine and he was –
Krist suddenly looked to Dave. “He lied to us! The fucking bastard lied!” He realised, finding himself panicking now, as the medical team approached from the wings of the stage.
Despondent to the raised cries of the crowds, Dave followed the medical team off, as they removed Kurt on a stretcher. Krist turned to them, leaning forwards into Kurt’s mic.
“I’m… so very, very sorry. I, I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what happened. All, all your money will be reimbursed. You’ll get it all back. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, please, just – just go. I’m sorry.”
Kurt had not been rendered unconscious like before, but he was required to go to hospital and get checked over. He was sitting in one of the bays, in bed, waiting to be seen by a doctor. He felt so tired and weak.
Everyone was so friendly and nice and he hated the whole fabrication of it. No one was that nice. No one was so friendly that they had a constant smile plastered on their face to the point they looked like fucking clowns.
He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to focus on his own thoughts – anything to take his mind away from the clinical wash of the hospital and the clowns that ran it.
“Why did you lie?”
Kurt opened his eyes slowly, looking to Krist, locking his gaze and Kurt suddenly felt very guilty. Krist stood, his arms folded, his face almost emotionless.
“Where’s Dave?” Kurt asked softly, looking away, now, avoiding Krist’s stare.
“Why did you lie, Kurt?” Krist repeated, not moving, not averting his eyes – he was adamant.
“I didn’t lie… I just… I didn’t -”
“Tell the goddamn truth.” Krist finished.
Kurt looked at the blanket covering him. The soft wool was a coarse green colour – only the kind you would find in a hospital. Kurt couldn’t think of anyone who would actually choose a pea-green coloured blanket, which looked like it had been sicked back up.
His little plastic nametag was white and looked too big for his wrist, even though it was on its tightest setting. He swallowed a little, trying to clear his throat and moisten the dryness but he jumped slightly when Krist stepped over.
“Kurt!” He said, his voice suddenly becoming very loud. “Why did you lie?”
Kurt looked at him now, worried, ashamed, and guilty. “Because I didn’t… I didn’t want to know.” He said, very softly. He glanced to the old faded curtain behind Krist and sighed. “I didn’t want to know what was wrong with me. I had this before. I mean, a long time ago, I had something similar and the one a few months back… it was the first one in a long time, so I thought it wouldn’t matter. But I didn’t go because I didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to find out because - ”
Krist sat down on the plastic chair, moving closer to the bed. He seemed calm now, compassionate – more like the Krist that Kurt was so used to. He stopped Kurt.
“Everyone gets scared, Kurt. I was fucking scared when I found that lump on my head, but for fucksake, it was just a fucking wart.”
Kurt smiled a little at his recollection. Krist had been so worried it was something serious. He had gone to the doctors as soon as he had found it after asking almost fifty people what they thought it was. The doctor had told him it was a wart and given him some ointment to get rid of it.
“How do you even get a wart on your head?” Kurt grinned, looking at Krist, who had flushed a slight red. He hated being known for The Man With The Wart On His Head.
“I don’t know, but Kurt – it scared me and I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to know what it was. I didn’t want to find out. I didn’t want to hear the truth about it, but Kurt… that little wart never resulted in me fitting on stage, or collapsing in interviews.”
Kurt looked away again and nodded very slightly. “I know the first time it happened, I was twenty I think. And I knew I was stressed. I thought it was because of stress.” He said, softly. “It’s not like… a fit. It’s more like… a panic attack. It feels like a panic attack.” He resounded.
Krist nodded, and they both looked up as the curtain was drawn back. Dave looked tired and pale. “They want to take him now, we need to go back to the waiting room,” he said, looking at Kurt.
Kurt couldn’t judge Dave’s expression. He seemed angry, annoyed, upset – a lot of things all at once. Maybe he was pissed off because Kurt had lied. Maybe he was angry because Kurt hadn’t told them anything. “Dave?” Kurt suddenly asked.
Dave looked at him; the glare was still cold and accusing. “It’s okay, Kurt. They just want to do some tests.” He said, almost dryly.
“Dave, I’m sorry.” Kurt said, as one of the nurses approached. “I’m sorry!” He said, his voice rising slightly.
Kurt was never sorry. Or if he was, he never stated it in a way that made him sound childlike and afraid. It was like he was being scolded for something – like a parent to a child and he felt the need to explain himself.
Dave didn’t allow him to and glanced quickly at the nurse who was waiting patiently, before walking to Kurt’s bedside. “Just… don’t lie to us again, Kurt. Don’t fucking lie again.” Dave said, before stepping back and allowing the nurses to wheel the bed away.