I wake up shivering, suddenly feeling the need for a hit. A need I haven't felt in six months. It must have been something about the wind brushing against my body that made me need a needle in my arm. I pull the warm blanket over my shoulders and bring my knees up to my stomach, clenching all the muscles in my body tightly. My eyes haven't opened yet, but I know it's still dark. I can't eat, can't move, can't think about anything but heroin. A year ago I would have run down to the alley to get some, to fill my veins with comfort. But not now, besides Mark would kill me. All the shit he went through to get me clean, then I blow it on a single second of want. I'll stay in bed, keep my eyes closed, and the need will drift away.
My eyes are willed open when I feel the warm, bright sunlight beaming down on me. I fell asleep slowly again last night, but not without convincing myself I shouldn't get a hit. I don't want to get up, but I know I need breakfast. My hand slips away from my blanket and lands softly on the mattress next to my face. I hear the door open, hoping it to be Mark so he could drag my ass out of bed. My stomach kills. I imagine a table loaded with a feast of eggs, bacon, fruit and juice. Just a mirage. All the food that was waiting for me was a bowl of cereal. Stale, and most likely without milk. Milk was a treat, and Mark spoiled me too often with it.
I hear footsteps falling closer and closer to my door.
"Roger? Get up; I let you sleep till I got back! It's ten!" He pounds once on the door before creeping it open and sliding over to the bed. The mattress gives in to him, even though he couldn't weigh much. My body slightly tips downward and my eyes drowsily shut.
"Ten isn't late." I say, even though I am in need of a wake up call.
"It is too. Now come on, you need food." His hand clamps around my arm, and he pulls softly, willing me to get up by myself. "I bought you a muffin." I'm shocked. Mark probably spent the rent money on a stupid muffin I don't even want to get up to eat.
"Why?" I ask, keeping my eyes closed but raising my body against the wall.
"Thought you'd want it." I open my eyes to see his blue ones smiling back at me. "And maybe to see if you'd be nice enough to share it with me." He smiles wider, but I still feel horrible. He takes care of me when I don't deserve to be taken care of.
"I guess, if I can ever get out of this fuckin' bed."
"I would think your stomach would've dragged you out before. You didn't eat dinner."
"Well, good thing, otherwise that muffin would have put us further in debt."
"Just get out of bed and stop complaining about the stupid muffin." He pats me on the thigh and walked out, as I finally found the strength to follow him.
The feast I imagined wasn't there, not that I expected it, but what I did find was almost as perfect. Around the table sat Mark, Maureen, and a muffin in the center. It shouldn't have made me so happy, but seeing Mark waiting for me to enjoy half a muffin was oddly satisficatory. Maureen smiled wearily at me, rubbing Mark's hand with her thumb and staring down at her mug of coffee.
"Sit, you look unstable." Mark commanded and I complied, laughing but barely letting a sound out of my mouth.
"It's sad to see us all eagerly waiting to eat a single muffin." I sighed, reaching out to break it in half. The chocolate chips rolled down my hand, and Maureen reached over to slip one in her mouth.
"It's sad that you spent rent money just make Roger happy." Maureen scoffed, but her eyes refused to leave her coffee.
"He's so skinny. A buck fifty isn't that big of a deal. I just won't get new film this month." My instincts wanted me to scream at him for treating me so well, but savored the chocolate in my mouth. It was even harder not to reach out for Mark's other hand, and hold it, just like Maureen was doing.