A/N: January 11th, 8:40 AM, Central Standard Time. This is the epilogue to Mark's three part story. It has been wonderful diving into Mark's character and learning so much about things like NYC geography and Judaism and heroinand just random factoids. But most importantly I feel like I have found another way to re-instate Jonathan Larson's message in the musical. I hope you will always remember the lessons he has taught us, and what Mark has learned from all of his experience he really should have known all along.
Epilogue – Mark
I'm walking weakly into the hospital lobby, leaning on Roger's shoulder, blinking multiple times as I hear a voice from beside me. I turn to see Maureen there, holding my camera, laughing her head off. "MAUREEN!" I make to dive at my camera and retrieve it, but Roger, laughing at me, holds me back.
"No, no, no, Marky!" Maureen gives me a devious smile. "You get to be in front of the camera for a change."
"What?" I'm still trying to get to my camera. "Maureen, please! That's an irreplaceable model!"
"Sit down, or I'll drop it out the window!" Glowering slightly, I sit down in the nearest chair. Maureen moves to stand in front of me, twiddling with the knobs. "How do you zoom in?" I try to stand up, but Roger stops me, making me sit back down with a smug grin on his face. "Oh, wait, I think I've got it...OK, Mark."
I wait in silence, confused. Roger gives me a nudge, whispering softly in my ear. "Talk to the camera." He ducks out of view of the camera, and I am left staring at my own camera.
I watch the crank on my camera rotate as it films me, glancing at everybody in the lobby in turn. Joanne, standing beside Maureen, smiling at me encouragingly. Collins, sitting in a chair, smirking slightly. Roger, giving me one of his commonly used masks (a smug grin) to hide what I know is probably anxiety. He doesn't know what I'm going to say. Of course, I don't know what I'm going to say either, but I start talking anyways.
"March thirteenth..." I glance at a clock on the wall. "...5:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time. I have finally been released from the hospital to return to the rehab for a few more weeks." I pause for a moment. "I haven't picked up my camera since almost a month ago. I remember that night clearly. A little too clearly." I glance in Roger's direction nervously for a moment, but he isn't watching me, instead looking off into space with a dark look in his eyes. I look back at the camera. "I don't think anybody here wants to think that night happened. But it did.
"My first reaction was to get away. I guess that's what I've always done, no matter what. So I tried." With a defiant singular motion, I raise up my right forearm, lowering the sleeve to reveal not only the red scar across my wrist but the remains of the track marks. "Witness of my stupidity." I hide the marks once again, sighing long and loud, looking at the floor for a moment. The air in the room is tense, and I know everybody is uncomfortable at what I've done. I look back up at the camera, ready to continue. "I've tried running away at least four different ways now. I think that's a record." I try to laugh, but it doesn't seem right, so instead I pause before continuing. "And I wanted to give up. What's the point? It's...a circular motion." The words croak out of my throat, grating against my vocal cords. I hear Roger let out a very soft and short laugh. After closing my eyes and composing myself (failing to do so), I open my eyes to look back at the camera, my voice shaking. "And then two angels visited me."
I see Joanne wipe away a tear from the corner of her eye, and I'm smiling weakly in spite of myself. "These angels...came in the most unlikely way possible. One was through my landlord." I pause, my smile widening slightly. "And the other came through my best friend." I glance at Roger, and I see him turn to look at me now, eyes confused and hazy. I know he is holding back tears just like me. We watch each other for a moment, and then I turn back to the camera, continuing with my shaky voice. "A while back, almost two months ago...I had a dream. I was told...that I didn't see how beautiful my life was." I pause, laughing lightly. "And I didn't. An-" I choke, but I know I can't stop now. "Angel's words fell on deaf ears.
"Then, a few days ago...I saw a different angel. All this angel had to give me was a card attached to some flowers from my landlord. But I didn't understand what Mimi meant...I was still lost..." I can feel my hands shaking at my sides, and I hear Maureen sniffle loudly from behind the camera. Collins is being less conspicuous; he's shaking with sobs, tears falling slowly down his cheeks. "And then, Angel had to tell me one more time. I knew it was her, even though it was his mouth telling me..." I look at Roger, who is now sitting down, hands covering his face. I take a deep breath, looking back at the camera. "My family...may not be here tomorrow...so I...I have to...to spend time now...while I can...and e-even when they're gone...they'll still be here..." I can't help from letting the tears leak out of my eyes now. "...Because they love me...and I love them...and th-they're what makes me get through another day...knowing they're there..."
I break down, burying my face in my hands. A few moments later, I feel soft arms around mine, her tears mingling with my hair as she sobs. Then another pair of delicate arms traps the two of us in a strong hug, and I continue to cry in Maureen and Joanne's embraces. Soon Collins has joined us, and, not long after, I feel the last of us join our big embrace, me in the center, crying, a smile on my face. I whisper softly, too soft for anybody around me to hear. "No day...but today..."
March 29th, 4:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time. Back at the loft. Roger is in the 'living room', playing a song I've never heard before. He keeps starting and stopping, doing it over, tweaking it, repeating himself. Collins is moving in to Joanne and Maureen's old apartment tomorrow, since he's been expelled from NYU. (They caught him.) I saw the new place Joanne bought; it'll be a nice place for them. They'll do fine in it.
I went into Roger's room yesterday, something I hardly ever dare to do. I saw a small velvet box open on his bedside table, next to the picture of all of us I developed long ago. Inside the box was a stunning diamond ring. I wonder if Roger will find somebody to give that ring someday. Then again, he probably won't. It's Mimi's ring.
Everybody is, once again, and as usual, progressing through their lives.
And I'm going to be a part of every second of it.
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed Mark's story. IT'S OVER.
...OK, not quite. The only problem is, I'm only finished with the FIRST CHAPTER. And my policy of posting stories only once their finished might come in handy. Here is a sneak preview of what is to come (if my brain keeps writing). I'm sure you'll love it if you loved this series. Only thing is, it's not Mark's story...
Sneak Peak at the Continuation, 'Wander Through Life' (Working Title)!
After seeing him get a grip on himself (finally)...I panicked. Shit, I thought. He's moving on, figuring out everything. But I'm still trying to learn.
Probably the thing he says the most is "my family". But every time he says it, even he can't help faltering slightly. At first, I wondered what he was worried about. And then I remember. He said himself he doesn't have forever with us. And I think I'm next...I think I'm next to go.
Both of us have been stuck in this kind of wasteland for years it seems. But now he's got a compass. He knows where he is. I'm happy for him, believe me. Couldn't be happier. But he's been so excited that he knows where he is and where he's going, he's gone on so fast and left me behind. So I'm kinda screwed. I can't go back and 'face my fears' like him. I can't go back and look through old films and discover something about myself. I don't have film.
I have songs. Big whoop.