Disclaimer: I do not own anything associated with the brilliance of "Rent." All characters and the like belong to the late Johnathan Larson, may he rest in peace.
2,000 Light Years Away
The ghosts of spring had been just around the corner. I could feel it. The delight of warmer spurts of air entangled with my shortened hair. The mid-March mornings made a canvas out of my lover's face. I had taken immense pleasure in studying the artwork littered upon him, tracing each sketch with my fingertips, or tongue, if I was feeling particularly bold. New York City remained the center of our universe. Despite the plagues of "ignorance" and "deprecation" that clouded the place like a fog, somehow, he and I found the time and place for romance among strangers.
Yes, the phantoms of rosebuds and evergreen petals had left their mark upon me. It didn't take him long to notice that I had become like the rain, all rhythm and groove. He unfurled into a place similar to Central Park-warm and becoming, almost like a second home. Yes, if we needed to, we could've lived on the streets, for he was shelter enough for the both of us.
I remember that one time-we had ventured out with Roger and Mimi, dancing like miscreant fairies upon the sidewalks, much to the aplomb of those of wealth and arrogance. Two couples bound by friendship, tied together by the beat of our hearts. It was like a dream, really. The vendors littering the pavement couldn't have been happier as we continued to spend our time (and our money) on their material waste-to us, it was more than that. Every second-hand outfit, each used tool-it was our own personal treasure, the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow.
And then there was that time, with Mark, that we cloaked ourselves in stealth and buried ourselves among tourists, always looking for a new angle to shoot. They were more afraid of me than anything else, but nevertheless, it was amusing to watch the evolution of fear on their faces as Mark jumped out from behind them, (always the dork), with a cheesy grin plastered to his face. Yes, July was a pleasant month. Despite the stifling heat of the city's suppressed rage, (not to mention the jarring harmonies of the impatient travelers,) we basked underneath the summer sun, catching invisible sunflakes on our tongues.
August was even crazier. Well, whenever one is around Maureen, that's pretty much a given. Bless Joanne for her infinite patience. I can only imagine how much work that girl must be in an intimate relationship. Anyway, that particular August day was particularly magical. There wasn't any reason as to why. After all, aren't the best of times able to defy logic?
We were surrounded by the usual crowds of passers-by and college students whose dreams had been deflated by grim reality. We, however, couldn't find anything to mourn about that day-rainbows and mayhem awaited us. Maureen led us all, a flock of eager sheep, into the brilliance of the summer rain. Jumping in puddles and tossing aside umbrellas-it was all a part of our routine.
"That's disgusting." A particularly shrewd looking white girl, clearly of a religious nature, judging by the plastic cross dangling around her neck like a loosened noose, had whispered, though all of us had heard her. She was, off course, referring to Maureen and Joanne, both of whom were none too subtle in their displays of public affection. The remark had hardly discouraged them. As if inspired, Maureen grabbed a hold of Joanne's wrists and backed her up against the nearest brick wall. Without hesitation, Collins and I soon followed in their footsteps.
Joanne and I, as if belonging to the same choir of adolescent lust, belted out a particularly raucous melody, delighting in the Christian girl's horrified shrieks. I, off course, was nearly drowning in the pleasure of it all, as was, I'm sure, Joanne. Nothing says 'I love you' quite like the sensation of leather, lips, and one brick wall.
Negativity doesn't belong in our world. That little spot of darkness? Well, it's been sewn over with other threads, colors more worthy of distinction. The thrift stores and pawn shops, (which were, really, all we could afford), blended together to become one. The store echoed with our laughter as we each attempted to find a scarf like Mark's. Pity no one could even come close. No one was as cool as Mark.
After that day, that's when my memory becomes bleak, dark like a thunderstorm that no one wants around. All I can recall is torment. All I can picture of that time is pain.
His kisses were never tenderer than that period. That's the one concrete notion I'll always keep with me. He poured every bit of soul he'd had within him, place it between his lips, and let me drink to my heart's content. I had never before experienced the sensations of being drunk. But how else could I explain that sweet intoxication? I clung onto him-who was I kidding? He was my real life support.
October, my favorite month, was when I truly translated to solitude. Halloween, in fact, was the exact date. I can still taste the unshed tears of my lover-from what I can read of his nature, he will never fully be able to cry. One day, what happened to me, well, he'll become that. They all will, save Maureen, Mark, and Joanne. I can't stand that thought, that irreplaceable burden set on the shoulders of my deathbed. It's difficult to place down your demons when you're encased in wood.
I nearly had company, once. She was as lively as any ballerina, before I left. My heart would have fallen apart could it still hold a beat. She was so fragile with pallor, so thin with addiction. I would've held her in my arms, were my ability to embrace still possible. At the same time, however, though I am loath to admit it, I secretly hoped that she would join me. Only a few months sitting beside my own head of stone, and I missed the real world already. It would've been amazing, to be able to have my best friend, my own angel on Earth, be with me once again.
I saw her. Christened by a pale, halo of light, she walked steadily towards me, and I was all the ready to welcome her into the ranks of the fallen. It was only Roger's sorrow, the first genuine emotion he'd released all year that chastised me, much like a slap to the wrist of a young school girl. In his lyrics, I realized my selfishness, and I recognized the ache within her heart, the same throbbing of my own. It wasn't fair, I decided. The cracks in their relationship had finally seemed to seal shut with every reluctant breath. I couldn't let them be ripped apart. My lonliness wasn't worth the sacrifice implied. What kind of woman would I be if I stood in the way of romance?
I urged her back. She had to hear him, she just had to. Like an untamed siren, her name wailed from his lips, a jagged melody slicing through the night. She had to understand that she still meant everything to him.
If I'd been alive, I'd have held my breath. Anticipation and I never did really mix well. I figured that one out long ago. Still, all I could do was pray, despite the fact that I knew salvation was but another false advertisement.
She listened. I have never been so proud of her in my life. She turned around, leaving me with a sad smile upon her face. But it was okay. I knew I'd be seeing her again, one day. It was worth letting her go. Watching their fairy-tale ending, it made me feel better about my own abandoned love affair. Shut up in this graveyard, I have only memories of imprints to keep me company. I guess you could call me jealous.
We were never graced with much time. A year, and nothing more. 525,600 minutes. It's amazing how quickly that much of time can pass us by. Endless days of summer, to the dwindled hours of winter-it's all more intricacy to this masterpiece we call life. I've been blessed enough to dwell within it's splendor. Now, it's but a painting on the wall, a portrait of everything I could've been.