to live in clips dispensable as curls
of footage on the cutting-room floor quick
close-up cut to the chase what did I miss
it's all middle over before you know it
freeze frame on us in the park end credits
~ "Dreaming of You"
Somehow I always knew I'd end up here, Rog. Sitting on the floor alone next to my beat-up projector watching old footage I shot of our broken family of friends flash on the wall you painted white for this very purpose. Not all of it is of you, but you do show up somewhere in most of the reels. We were always together, so it was impossible for you not to have. It's kind of funny cause you almost never wanted to be on camera, yet there you are. For your 25th birthday I even made you a ten minute movie of all the times you'd told me to get that camera the hell out of your face, and it had you laughing for days.
So here I sit with no one but my movie friends to keep me company. It's better that way; I'm not ready to face the living yet, not when you're not among them. There goes a shot of Angel and Collins dancing. Put on another reel and there's you tickling April. Cut to Maureen and Joanne fighting. Zoom in on Mimi's laughing face. Another Maureen and Joanne fight, then they're making up—or making out, depending on your view—and a quick shot of you making gagging faces in the background.
New reel, this one unmarked. Zoom in on your face. No, not a zoom in; you're trying to take the camera from me. I appear to be putting up a valiant fight, but the camera is ripped from my hands anyway. You hand it to someone and step back and I can see where we are. The park. Central Park, actually, for our yearly excursion across the city. Suddenly, I remember the day as if I was living it, and I hear the dialogue to the film, though there's no sound except the clicking of the reel running through the machine.
"Close on Mark," you said, making fun of my habit of dictating camera actions. "Always the filmmaker and never the film. Well, no more!" Then I'd made fun of you back for being a total dipshit.
After a short scuffle, friendly pushing and shoving and a quick punch in the arm, we ended up smiling brightly into the camera, squinting to block the sun. Close on Mark and Roger: companions, roommates, best friends, together till the very end. I beam at whoever is filming, stretching upwards to level the difference in our heights. You smile at me fondly and ruffle my hair. Zoom in on your arm that wraps around my shoulder and pulls at me and becomes an impromptu hug. "My best friend," you mouth to the camera.
Fade to black. End credits. No more movies today.