Fade in on Life

Chapter One

I've always kind of treated my life back home like some other reality. It's weird to think that it was only about three years ago that that was my only life. A life without Roger, without Collins, without Maureen, without AIDS. Not that I even have AIDS, but its just as bad watching everyone around me suffering from it. I almost feel guilty at times. I mean, why not me? Why Roger? Why Collins? Why Angel? I tell ya, if there is somebody up there, he sure does work in a way I'll never understand.

Wow...you know, thinking back, I can hardly remember a truly happy memory before moving into the loft. Then again, life's not exactly a picnic being the youngest with an extremely over-protective mother, and attending an all-Jewish school K through 8. Not to mention the fact that my parents never supported my art. And people wonder why I never went back to Scarsdale...

Well, most of that reason is actually because I could never leave Roger on his own. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with him or anything. But Roger and I are about as close as two people can be. We can be so different...which I think is why we need each other so much. We balance each other out. But we're similar enough that we can still tolerate each other. I don't usually believe in fate and all that shit, but I'll tell you, the day I met Roger Davis had to have been written in the stars somewhere.

"January 20th, 3: 46 P.M. Eastern Standard Time. I'm standing here in Central Park on my first day alone in the city as a college dropout. As of right now I have no money, no job, no education...and nowhere to sleep. Life is really looking great so far."I sighed, stopping my rolling camera and slumping onto a bench. I could always go home to Scarsdale. Mom would definitely take me back in. But honestly, I really couldn't go back. Not if I wanted any pride left in me at all. Cindy lived somewhere nearby...but that would still kill almost all of my self-esteem. So, I guess sleeping on a park bench wouldn't be too bad...

"Is somebody sitting here?"I looked up to see a tall, bleach blonde guy in a ripped t-shirt and plaid pants standing before me.

"Huh? Oh, no,"I replied, edging over. The guy sat down, letting out a deep breath and pulling out a package of cigarettes.

"Smoke?"he offered. I considered it for a moment...then shook my head.

"No thanks,"I muttered.

"You look down. Something buggin' you?"the guy asked. I thought about telling him what had happened. I mean, I didn't know him at all...which could work in my favor.

"Life kinda sucks right now,"I admitted.

"Yeah, tell me about it,"the other man snorted. "What's your deal?"

"I just dropped out of college and came here...with no money, no job and nowhere to stay,"I explained. The guy stared at me for a moment.

"And I thought I had it bad,"he said, laughing a little. I frowned.


"Sorry, I'm not laughing at you,"the guy insisted.

"Well what's your problem?"I demanded.

"My band just broke up right before a gig and my roommate moved out,"the guy replied.

"Oh...that sucks, I guess,"I replied.

"It seemed bad until I met you,"the guy joked.

"Yeah, that's what I'm here for. Making other people feel just that much better about themselves,"I sighed.

"What's your name?"the guy asked.

"Mark Cohen,"I answered.

"Roger Davis,"the man introduced, extending his hand. "How old are you? Seventeen? Eighteen?"I frowned.


"Oh...sorry. You look young."

"Yeah, I get that a lot."

"Where're you from?"


"Oooh. So you're not a city kid, I'm taking it?"

"Not at all. I'm screwed."

"Not necessarily."I looked over at Roger curiously.

"What do you mean?"I asked.

"Well, I just lost a roommate, and you need a place to stay..."I stared at Roger for a long time, trying to decided if he was serious. Unable to guess, I decided to find out.

"Are you serious?"

"Yeah. I mean, if you're uncomfortable or anything, you don't have to-"

"No!"I was in no position to turn down a roof over my head. Even if I had just met this guy. But he seemed nice enough...

Roger grinned at me.

"Cool. Er, I must warn you, I still have one other roommate,"he informed me. "She's...kind of odd."I thought about that for a moment. If my mom knew I was sleeping in an old apartment somewhere in the East Village with a stranger and some odd girl, she would absolutely flip. I loved it.

"That's fine,"I assured him.

"Awesome."Roger seemed relieved. "You wanna see the place?"

"Yeah."I grabbed my camera bag and my backpack, as Roger stood up, extinguishing his cigarette beneath his boot.

"Whatcha got there?"Roger asked, motioning to my camera bag.

"Oh, just my camera."

"You take pictures?"

"I film."

"Oh. You make movies and shit?"

"Mostly just shit."Roger laughed.

"I like you, Cohen. You're funny."

Funny. I could deal with that.

"Home sweet home."I stared around the small loft that Roger had lead me to. Well, it was no Scarsdale home...but it was certainly better than a park bench.

"It's great,"I said. Roger laughed a little.

"You must be really desperate,"he snorted.

"I like it,"I insisted. "It's very...comfortable."

"It's shit,"Roger stated bluntly. "Here, you can sleep in Hurley's old room."He lead me to a small room off to the side. There was a mattress, a chair and an old desk in there.

"Perfect,"I said. And I wasn't lying. This was all I would really need for the moment.

"Wow. Easy to amuse, huh?"Roger teased. I grinned.

"Easily satisfied,"I corrected.

"I'll remember that when I'm trying to get you into bed."I must have shot Roger a completely horrified look at that one, because he immediately back pedaled.

"I was kidding, Cohen. It was just a joke,"he insisted, patting my shoulder. I nodded, relieved, though still shocked.

"Oh...right. Heh heh..."Roger laughed.

"I have a feeling we're going to get along just fine, you and me."

Boy was that the understatement of the century.

A/N: I'm back again! Haha. After about a two month hiatus, I've returned with...this. This is actually a challenge, because a teacher once told me I could never write a story from a male perspective because I'm a girl. So I'm out to show him! However, I've never written a story in the first person narrative before, so that will be another challenge. I realize this premise is kind of over-done, but I'm going to try putting a different spin on things. We'll see how that turns out!

Just a note:(for those of you who have read my other work, you know I ALWAYS have notes!)Mark's narration of this is coming from about one month post-RENT, and the story he's telling starts two years pre-RENT. So there's a three year difference between the start of the story and the time that Mark's telling it. Thanks for reading chapter one! This shouldn't be too long, I'll probably wrap it up in about five chapters. I hope you enjoy!