Categories > Theatre > Rent0 Reviews
Roger goes through withdrawal and Mark can't let things go on any longer. slash MR
It was not the best way to pass the time, but it let him tune things out for at least a little while. For every blinding flash outside was one less bang against the door across from his place on the couch. Every spattering of water against the window was one less sob he heard emanating from the other room. Every clap of thunder was one less hateful cry ringing in his ears.
Tonight was particularly rough for Mark. It had been only a week to the day that he had deceived his friend by locking him in his room. Mark took away every piece of drug paraphernalia, pointed object, anything that could be remotely harmful to an individual who was seeking to do harm to themselves. Mark even went as far as to block off the fire escape that lay outside the rooms’ only window.
For the past seven years he had known Roger, Mark had watched him dabble with drugs. A hit every now and then, but never anything too bad. Mark hated it regardless of whether it was once a month or once a year. He knew all it took was one time of taking a little too much…
Watching Roger stumble into the loft on those nights was pathetic and heart wrenching. Having to put up with his high friend was difficult, but not too hard. Dealing with the self-proclaimed rock star when he was coming down from the high was another thing entirely.
How many blows to head had Mark taken, just because he recommended that Roger stop using? Enough bruises were given and forgotten for Mark to be camping vigilantly outside the room.
It angered him to hear his best friend rationalize that it was a social drug, and that it made everything feel heightened and brighter. It pissed Mark off to no end to know that Roger did smack to be happy and to have fun. They used to have fun didn’t they?
Wasn’t fun hanging out at a club with your closest friends? Playing music, writing a new song, watching home movies, having dinner and laughs. Those things were fun. Those were the things that made Roger smile, that made his eyes sparkle.
Then suddenly everything changed one day.
April was a care free girl with long flowing red hair and a dazzling smile. Mark could see why Roger fell for her so quickly. Though he privately questioned the legitimacy of those feelings, he was never one to rain on anyone’s parade. He was the observer, not the narrator.
A pang of hurt gripped his throat every time he looked through his lens to see Roger smiling at April, sliding the baggie into his eager hand.
Mark would turn his camera away anytime they kissed. Mark was a filmmaker, filming the real world as he saw it. And those kisses were never real as far as he could see.
Mark rose from his chair musing on that thought as he went to get some water. He stopped suddenly, glass poised under the faucet. We do still have water, right?
Thankfully that had not been taken away from them. Sipping it languidly, Mark thought about April.
She probably was not a bad person. Mark was sure that had Roger hooked up with her when she was clean he probably would not have hated her so much. He would have still thought Roger could do better, and it still would have hurt him to watch them kiss, but he would have been happy for Roger’s sake.
He never really questioned why it hurt him to watch them kiss. It just did, and that was enough personal explanation for Mark. He was an observer of others, never himself.
April, at one point in her life, was probably a sweet girl, but that was not the case when she came into their lives. She was an addict. And every addict takes someone down with them. She chose to take down Roger, and that was unforgivable in Mark’s eyes.
“April! I’m so sorry,” Roger cried out, banging his fist against the wall as the thunder raged outside the loft.
Mark sighed; he wanted more than anything to open the door and hold his friend, telling him it would all be okay. Except, he couldn’t promise that to anyone, let alone Roger.
He really is delusional if he thinks he did this to her. Why doesn’t he see that she is the one that’s destroying him slowly? Every needle they shared, she was killing him. Every whispered word, she was killing him. And even now in death, her memory was destroying him from the inside out. Mentally he was broken; physically he was being betrayed by his own blood cells, and for what? For a few late night romps and a case of HIV that would never leave until he did? The sweet girl I saw behind her glazed eyes didn’t deserve to die, but that junkie whore should be burning in hell.
Finally the crying died down to a dull whimper. The silence was filled by the dripping water and wind blowing through the cracks of the loft.
Mark heard a quiet beep and walked over to the kitchen counter, opening Roger’s AZT pills. He took one out, filled the glass of water and sat down on the couch. Next to him laid his camera, messenger bag and a suitcase. He knew it would be risky to walk in there so soon after Roger had calmed down, but he was going to have to try.
Praying it wasn’t too early in the game for this to work. Something told him it would though. It had too.
A soft knock came to Roger’s ears and he jumped at the sound. Shaking and sweating, his eyes darted around the room quickly. He was looking for a quick exit. A way to escape from the disappointed gaze that would soon be on him. Mark was probably the only person that could make him feel miniscule with one look or word. Roger hated that about him.
“Roger,” Mark’s voice was quiet and questioning.
Roger made no move to answer. He hated Mark for locking him in here, his sanctuary turned prison. Mark was supposed to be his best friend, but he was hurting him so much. All Roger needed was one more hit, just one more. Like a goodbye kiss when you both realized the relationship was over. That’s all Roger wanted, closure. A chance to treasure the sweet escape just one last time so that he could let it go peacefully.
The door opened and Mark walked into the dimly lit room. It was a disaster. Posters on the walls were torn, clothes strewn about, his guitar haphazardly placed on the edge of the bed. The smell was the worst though. The smell of sweat soaked every aspect of the room.
Despite the cold, Roger sat numbly on the edge of the mattress, his shirt was nowhere to be seen and his body was wet. Mark wondered where the sheets had gone until he saw them draped above the blocked window.
“You could have at least given me a view,” Roger said slowly. It was the first time he had spoken directly to Mark in a weak.
“I just wanted to bring you your AZT for the night,” Mark said, closing the door behind him as he set the water and pill on the table.
Roger leaned over without a word, taking the pill and a slug of water to wash it down.
Moments passed and Mark shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot.
“You hate me, don’t you?” Mark stated as a question, but felt it to be fact.
“You’re holding me prisoner, of course I hate you,” Roger snapped coldly. He raised his glossy eyes to Mark’s and felt some kind of satisfaction at seeing the pain his words caused. It was better than disappointment.
Mark flinched back, but stood his ground. Roger was his friend, his brother, his better half. This was not the Roger he knew. His Roger was buried in there, somewhere far away, but Mark would never give up as easily as the guitarist hoped.
“I didn’t want to do this, Rog. You left me no choice,” Mark said sadly, looking at the floor, gaining his composure.
“Don’t Rog me, Cohen! Don’t act like I’m your friend! You don’t fucking care about me, you never did! You’re locking me in here so you can film me; use me to ease your guilt. You’re trying to make me hurt so you’re story will be better. You’re going to leave me for dead, you’re killing me!” Roger screamed jumping to his feet in front of a nervous Mark.
Mark was timid. Mark would back down. Mark always did.
Roger was loud. Roger was in his face. Roger was seething with hate.
“No,” Mark said calmly. This was tearing him apart. He was absolutely terrified of Roger when got like this and would usually leave the room quickly. Waiting outside the door until the screams died down. But not tonight.
Tonight as the wind howled just a tone under their voices, Mark would not be moved. He was done getting physically abused for lending emotional support. He was done being a punching bag for Roger’s withdrawal. Something was going to happen. Mark Cohen did not know what, but it was going to be severe.
Roger shoved Mark against the boarded window, delighting in the thud the blonde’s head made against the wood.
“Run Mark. This is as restrained as I am going to be for the night. If you let me go, then we can go back to the way things were. We could be happy again Mark. Don’t you want me to be happy?” Roger’s words were soft, but his eyes were menacing. His grip on Mark’s shoulders grew tighter as he plowed on.
“I don’t want to hurt you, Marky. But you’re hurting me and-,”
Something snapped inside of Mark at that very moment. His eyes grew dark, his posture grew strong, and for once in his life he could not hold back.
Mark shoved Roger away from him and moved so he was standing in front of the door.
“I’m hurting you?” Mark said, his voice condescending and enraged. “I’m fucking hurting you?!” His voice echoed in the room and Roger grew still. It was Mark’s turn to step angrily towards Roger.
“For the past seven years I have taken emotional and physical hits from you when you were high. Knowing full well you would never remember them the next morning. For the past three months I watched as the supposed love of your life sucked the life out you,”
“Don’t you bring her into this!” Roger hollered, his fist clenching at his sides as his body shook from withdrawal and anger.
“And why not, Davis? She’s the reason you feel like you’re all alone suddenly. She’s the reason why you’re shaking, why you’re crying every night, feeling sorry for yourself. She was the selfish one that killed herself and left you to deal with a disease that she gave you. A disease that is going to take you from this world slowly and painfully. It’s gonna rip you apart until there’s nothing left but a hollow shell, a body…A corpse, just like her,” Mark spat out his words with such venom and truth that Roger couldn’t see the tears in his best friend’s eyes.
All Roger saw was red as he thrust Mark up against the wall, his hand wrapped firmly around the filmmaker’s throat. Bits of plaster fell from the torn wall and fell onto both of them as Mark gasped for air. He tried to pry Roger’s stone grip off of him, but it was no use.
“Take that back!” Roger hissed, teeth bared an inch away from Mark’s face.
“Fuck you, I don’t lie to my friends,” Mark replied his voice hoarse. Mark’s blue eyes stared sadly into Roger’s and a switch was flipped inside the musician. He loosened his grip on Mark’s throat just enough for Mark to turn things around.
Roger was strong, but the withdrawal period had visibly weakened him. Mark hooked his foot behind Roger’s knee quickly, breaking the other man’s stance enough for his arm to fall away from Mark’s throat. Roger stumbled back a little giving Mark the space he needed. Without a moments hesitation Mark drove forward reeling his arm back before delivering a hard hook to Roger’s jaw.
Roger teetered on his heels before falling next to the foot of the bed in shock.
“Fuck, that hurt!” Mark yelped, somehow not expecting his knuckles to ache as much as they did.
Mark stood next to the shocked heap of man that was staring at the floor ashamed. The filmmaker rubbed his throat absently, as he panted, trying desperately to catch the breath that was stolen from him a minute before.
They stayed like that for a few minutes. Not moving, nothing but breath and silence passed between them.
“I’m sorr-,” Roger started, but Mark cut him off.
“Stop it, Rog. Just,” He let a long sigh escape his lips before he carried on. “Stop feeling so sorry for yourself. You’ll only waste away by doing that…I know you feel alone, but you need to stop thinking you’re in this alone,”
“She left me,” Roger whispered to himself more than to Mark.
“And you think you slowly killing yourself means you wouldn’t be leaving your friends?”
“You guys could carry on without me…I’m going to die and leave you all anyways,”
“There you go again…This is not just about you, Rog. I’m here for you right now, but I don’t have to be if you want that to change…” Here it goes
Roger looked up for the first time since he landed on the ground. He touched his lip and felt how bubbled it was. His jaw hurt, despite everything he was impressed with the way Mark handled himself. He always envisioned Mark as defenseless, needing his protection, and suddenly the roles had been changed. Now it was Mark who was protecting him.
“What are you saying?”
Without a word Mark walked into their living room and stood by the couch. Waiting for Roger to follow him.
Roger got up slowly, brushing the plaster off of his chest and shoulders. How hard did I fling him against that wall? I could have killed him. Mark could be dead and it would be because of me…
“This,” Mark motioned to the couch as Roger stood in his doorway. “This right here is my life. My camera, screenplays, and clothes,” Mark took a few steps so that he stood in between the loft’s entrance and the couch.
“That,” Mark’s hand waved towards his room. The door hung open wide. There was nothing in there. The posters were gone, the clothes picked up. There were no folders and papers scattered about, no film reels laid out across his bed. It was vacant except for a pillow and a bed sheet. “That is an empty room,” Mark said, sadness evident in his tone.
Roger’s eyes widened in understanding and he flinched in fear. Mark was leaving? Mark couldn’t leave. Who would be there to keep him company? Who would advise him when he had writer’s block. Who would remind him to take his AZT? Who would laugh, scream, and cry with him?
“You’re leaving?” Roger said, his eyes were filled with hurt and terror at the thought of truly being alone. Not just alone in his withdrawal but in life.
“I’m tired, Roger. I can’t keep fighting for you to stay alive and with me, if you don’t start fighting for yourself too. I’m going to bed tonight. And as soon as you walk out that door for another fix, I walk out for another existence. This is you’re chance, Roger. You seem to not deem my presence as friendly anymore. And there’s nothing I can do about that. I love you, Roger, read into that however you want, it doesn’t matter to me, I have nothing to prove or lose. But I will not watch you waste away like this, you mean too much for me to give up on you, but I will if it’s what you want. So here’s your choice. If I wake up in the morning and you’re not in your room. I’ll know what you’ve chosen and I’ll walk away without ever looking back. But if I wake up and you’re here…” Mark’s voice trailed off to a whisper as he blinked his tears away.
Mark knew that tomorrow morning everything would change, for better or worse. He didn’t need to view this through his lens. He had no need to announce the time, or narrate his emotions. Whatever happened would be final, and they would go from there.
“Goodnight, Roger. And goodbye if I don’t see you,”
The filmmaker walked into his room, closing the door quietly behind him, yet it resonated in Roger’s ears. The storm had died down he noticed. He looked at the small bucket on the floor. It was filled to the brim with water, about to topple over the edge. He picked it up carefully and brought it to the sink. The ceiling wasn’t leaking anymore.
Roger sat in shock, Mark’s words playing over and over in his head.
You seem to not deem my presence as friendly anymore
“When did that happen,” Roger mused quietly, resting his head in his hands. “When did he become my enemy? How could he even put up with me after all I’ve done to him?” His body shook as images of him spitting harsh words at Mark and fists connecting to the small frame of his friend. How many punches had he thrown so blindly and why did Mark stay and take them all?
I love you, Roger, read into that however you want, it doesn’t matter to me, I have nothing to prove or lose
The words floated through Roger’s mind and landed swiftly on his tongue.
“Love?” Roger shook his head, trying to shake ideas out of his mind, “Is your love why you put up with me. Somehow I always thought there was something different in your eyes some days, but I was too lost to see any further…”
Roger ran a hand through his sweaty hair and rubbed his eyes. He got up slowly from the couch, he barely remembered sitting down in the first place. He stumbled tiredly to the door.
The sun was up and shining brightly into Mark’s eyes. He opened them slowly and peered out the small window in his room. The clear sky betrayed the fact that water had been dripping from the hole in roof, and that the lone tree on the corner had broken a few branches in the wind.
He shuffled over to his door and yawned. He was nervous to open it, but he knew he had to eventually. He needed resolve.
The loft was bigger somehow. Nothing had physically changed. Mark’s camera and suitcase were still on the couch, the bucket was still under the spot where the water had been dripping.
Mark’s eyes drifted to Roger’s bedroom door. It was closed and that made Mark nervous.
What course was his life about to take? Would he be moving away? Would he find another corpse? Or would he find nothing at all?
Mark’s hand rested on the door knob for a long moment before he turned it. Opening the door his hands shook nervously as he poked his head inside.
“You’re here,” Mark said, his voice a mixture of amazement and surprise.
Roger looked up and nodded, he looked pale and there were visible tear tracks on his face.
“I’m alive,” Roger whispered to his friend timidly. He looked up at Mark and straightened his back. “Can you help me keep it that way?”
Mark smiled and bit his lip before nodding slowly. “Of course,”
“I know it doesn’t change things, but I am sorry…and I want you to know that…well when the time comes and I’m out of this head space and the drugs are gone from my system. I want you to know that I- I want to be, well something, to you, and maybe we could…” Roger did not have the words, barely intended to say as much as he was, but he looked pleadingly at Mark who was smiling.
“Rog, we’ll take about it when the time comes okay? When you’re ready, we’ll have that talk, but for right now relax and try to get better. I’m here for you,” Mark was thrilled at what Roger was trying to convey, but he knew there would be time for that later.
The two friends shared a long embrace, both glad that events had not destroyed them.
Mark walked over to the couch, picking up his camera, bag of screenplays, and his empty suitcase. He carried the suitcase as it hung open by his side.
He walked into his room and placed his things on his bed gently. He smiled to himself stupidly as he closed his door, slowly taking the objects and clothes he had piled in the corner behind it. He placed his posters back on the wall, took his films out of a box and put them on the bed, and pulled his laundry basket out from behind the door.
Roger watched in amazement. Mark had bluffed.
“How did you know I wouldn’t go?” Roger asked, shaking his head at his roommate in disbelief.
“Truthfully? I didn’t,” Mark admitted, shrugging his shoulders.
Roger nodded dumbly. That was far from what he was expecting, yet it made perfect sense.
“Where’d you learn to throw a fuckin’ hook like that?”
Mark laughed uncontrollably and Roger smiled as he saw the twinkle return to the filmmakers gaze. There was no disappointment, Roger liked that. It was far from over and they both knew it, but at least now they were on even ground.
They weren’t alone. They were bruised and battered, but they were alive. And they intended to stay that way.