Memory

          Everyone always called me the "Drama Queen", all my life I was always Maureen the Drama Queen. And they wouldn't be lying if they said that; I'm always overreacting and I always have to be the center of attention. I don't deny it, and once I used to be proud of it. So much has changed since then, my friends, life in general. I remember a time not so long ago when everything made sense, when my life meant something. It was only five years ago but it feels like a century.

Midnight, not a sound from the pavement

Has the moon lost her memory?

She is smiling alone

In the lamplight, the withered leaves collect at my feet

And the wind, begins to moan

I still can't believe all that's changed in five years. Five years ago I'd be living with Joanne, and on an average day we'd spend the night with our group of friends, Roger, Mimi, Angel, Collins, and Mark. Five years ago our biggest problem was what would we eat for dinner that everyone could agree on, Angel and Mimi in particular were so picky.

Memory, all alone in the moonlight

I can smile at the old days

Life was beautiful then

          I'd give anything to turn back time and live that part of my life over again. Not because I'm unhappy with the choices I made or anything, even though I'd change some if given the chance, but because I was just so happy. I had friends that at least cared about me somewhat, I had a girlfriend who would give anything for me (most days); in my strange world, everything was perfect.

I remember a time I knew what happiness was

Let the memory live again

          It all started that Halloween night; I had been getting dressed in the bedroom, I had the best costume ever, I was going as a Dominatrix. I was just fixing my hair when Joanne ran in and hugged me. Now that's something she didn't do often so I was confused, and when I asked her what was wrong she looked at me and I could see the tears in her eyes.

          "Angel's dying," she had whispered, she was so quiet I could barely hear her.

Eventually she was able to tell me Mark had called to tell us that he had just received a call from Collins who was frantic because Angel had gone into a horrible coughing fit and was beginning to cough up blood. Angel had been growing steadily worse ever since the spring, we all knew it was only a matter of time before the virus took him, but still I could barely begin to fathom life without him. Even though Angel had just been released from the hospital, Collins wanted to call an ambulance but Angel had told him not to; he said that he would rather die peacefully in the teacher's arms than in a loud and crazy ambulance or hospital. I didn't remember much that night, though now things are beginning to come back to me. We went straight to Collins and Angel's apartment, Mark, Roger, and Mimi were already there, and Angel was already dead.

Every street lamp seems to beat a fatalistic warning

Someone mutters and a street lamp gutters

And soon it will be morning

Everything went downhill from there, Roger ran off to Santa Fe without so much as a glance back, Mimi fell further into her addiction, Mark hid even more behind his camera, and Collins was beginning to crack under the pressure of being left alone with such a sorry group of people. I think the only reason Joanne and I stayed together as long as we did was for Collins's sake, we just couldn't bear to cause him any more pain.

We heard nothing from Roger until a week before Christmas when he suddenly appeared again, and it seemed like something was finally going right. Christmas Eve Joanne and I had yet another fight and I had stormed out, only to find Mimi huddled in a corner of the park; she was delirious and I could see her fever was high. Together Joanne and I brought her to Mark and Roger's, and miraculously she survived, telling us a crazy story about Angel steering her back to life. Angel's miracle didn't last long though; Mimi could only do what she knew all her life and that unfortunately was drugs. Her body was so weak that it couldn't take it, and we lost her barely six months later.

I guess the loss of two people so close to him in such a short amount of time was too much for Roger to bear, not to mention April dying the year before. We did everything we could, Mark especially, but Roger didn't want to hear it. He began to hate life, and everything in it; he began shooting up again, something he hadn't done for a year, and he made life unbearable. One day the four of us, Mark, Collins, Joanne and myself, came back to the loft to find the bathroom door locked. I had experienced this once before with April's death, and my heart told me nothing good was going to happen. Mark and Collins were able to break the door down and we found Roger sprawled on the floor; an empty bottle of sleeping pills lay abandoned next to him. It didn't take much to figure out that Roger had swallowed the whole bottle in order to take his life; I guess in a way I don't blame him, his life was hell anyway. On the counter I found a razor, I figured that he had meant to slit his wrists, as April had, but had chickened out and swallowed the pills. I hid the razor in my pocket before anyone else could see it, I don't know why.

Daylight, I must wait for the sunrise

I must think of a new life

And I mustn't give in

          The rest of us couldn't take it; I know I couldn't. The only way I know how to deal with my problems is to just get away from everything. I was with a different person every night, and I didn't care one bit. Joanne eventually got sick of it and left, I haven't heard from her in years.  It would be wrong to say I miss her, even though I do, because I know I deserve it. And I know she deserves better than me. I think deep down I always knew that; she was a successful lawyer with a great life and I was a newly outed performance artist still with my boyfriend who had no clue I was a lesbian. Maybe she felt sorry for me, maybe I was just some pity case. I guess it doesn't matter now.  She's gone, and she's not coming back.

When the dawn comes Tonight will be a memory too

And a new day will begin

          So that brings us to now. Collins has moved in with Mark, they seem to be helping each other through the pain of their losses. I'm glad that they can be there for each other; I know they've both lost so much already. But I also know this won't last much longer either. Collins is getting sicker each day, it seems like he held on in order to carry out Angel's job, to keep us together, but we've fallen apart anyway. He'll stay as long as he can, for Mark's sake, but I don't imagine he'll be with us much longer. I used to be hopeful, but hope died a long time ago.

Burnt out ends of smoky days

The stale cold smell of morning

The street lamp dies another night is over Another day is dawning

          It's funny, I met Mark before I met any of the others, and I had dated him for a while too. It began with us, and now it was going to end with us. I think that may be what I'm afraid of the most. Sure I care about Mark, I think that's the reason I waited so long to tell him about Joanne, but that didn't go over as well as I had hoped. There's always a blind spot when it comes to him, because he's so complicated. I'm afraid of what he may do when Collins dies, I'm afraid that he may take a leaf out of Roger's book. And I don't blame him if he did, what has he got left to live for? Me. Well I'm certainly worth living for. Yeah, right.  I'm afraid that he'll leave me because then I will be alone. That scares me more than anything else in the world, which was probably why I clung to Joanne for so long. I'm afraid to be alone.

Touch me, it's so easy to leave me

All alone with the memory of my days in the sun

If you touch me, you'll understand what happiness is

          So there you are; me, Maureen, the Drama Queen, is afraid of being alone. I can face anything and everything, as long as someone is by my side. Still, I've got to be strong, I need to keep going. I know if Angel were still here he'd say, "Girl, things always turn out okay in the end. If it's not okay, you haven't reached the end yet." I can picture Mimi's bright smile as she constantly repeated her little "no day but today" saying. She needed that reminder a lot. I still see Roger's eyes light up when he finds a new song on the guitar. They're all still here, in my heart. Yes I know it sounds corny, but it's true. As long as my heart keeps beating, they'll never die. If I don't learn anything else in my life, that will be enough. Hmm, maybe I'm not so alone after all.

Look, a new day has begun…