Author's Note: Here- Another story, hot off the press.
...Because fanfiction is crack, simply put. I've cashed in my life savings and sold my car for another hit. I've got this nervous twitch... gotta squeeze in another epic before school's commencement...
With that said, and on a completely less humorous note, this story is dedicated to (and inspired by) the beautiful ensemble of string instruments accompanying Mark during the OBCR of 'Halloween'. That piece of music is seriously one of the saddest concertos ever written. Before you begin, go and get out your CD and listen to those violins. Then cry. Then pay tribute to Jonathan Larson. Then read this story. Thanks.
January 3rd. 5:02 a.m.:
I am asleep.
5:02 and three seconds:
I am still asleep.
It's an accomplishment.
The radiator hisses, sending a thick wave of heat into my nostrils.
5:03 and seven seconds.
The radiator grinds out wafts of heat in slow, noisy intervals.
5:03 and eleven seconds:
I roll onto my side. I am still sleeping. Click-click-click-hisssss…
The light in the apartment across the alley turns on, illuminating the flowers in the pot on the balcony. 5:06 and three seconds. They are withered and buried in snow. The flowers, too, are asleep. Click-click-click-hisssss…
The room is toasty. I roll to my other side, kicking the blankets to bunch around my ankles.
It's too hot in here.
The flowers on the balcony jiggle. Early morning breeze from the Hudson. Snow tinkles off their crusty, shriveled petals.
They wish they were in here with me.
5:07 and twenty-nine seconds.
In my sleep, I set my jaw, causing the artery in my neck to protrude slightly. Click-click-click-hisssss…
5:07 and fifty-five seconds.:
Condensation begins to form on the inside of my window. The view of the flowers distorts in the moisture.
My eyelids flutter.
5:08 and twelve seconds:
5:08 and forty-three seconds:
I flip onto my back, emitting a loud and distressed exhale. A cloud moves over the moon. 5:09 a.m.
5:09 and four seconds:
5:09 and nine seconds:
5:09 and thirteen seconds:
The final speeding molecules of that last blast of heat pass over my exposed chest.
5:10 and fifteen seconds:
The floorboards leak heat. A chill begins to spread across the floor, starting from the hallway exit.
5:10 and eighteen seconds:
I exhale again, my troubled breath coming out in a white, frosty cloud.
5:10 and twenty seconds:
The blankets rumple between my legs. Click-click-click-click…5:10 and twenty-four seconds.
My eyes shoot open. 5:10 and twenty-five seconds.
I am awake.
The heater is off.
5:10 and thirty-three seconds:
I touch my bare feet down to the frozen floor. Not at all groggy, or even remembering that I was just asleep, I stand up and wander to the heater.
"Fuck!" I curse, a bit too loudly. I wince and duck to see if Roger stirs across the hall.
All is quiet.
I punch the grates of the radiator with the side of my fist. The heater is off.
5:11 and thirty-seven seconds:
I grab my shoulders and hug myself. I wander to my dresser, yanking out a pair of flannel pajama pants and a thick navy blue sweatshirt.
I hastily pull them on.
"Fuck." I snarl again, running my hand through my hair.
I flop down in the wicker chair next to the window, drawing my legs up beneath me.
I keep my hand on my head, leaning my elbow on the phone table.
5:12 and seven seconds.
"Fuuucccckkk…" I moan, for the third time, involuntarily shivering.
5:12 and thirty seconds:
I do something unexpected-
I begin to cry.
First, I sniffle, wiping my nose with my sleeve.
Then, I can't hold it in and I bite my lower lip and arch my back, temple throbbing below my hairline.
It's 5:12 and forty-six seconds, and I drop my head in my hands and all-out sob, mushing my eyes with my palms, shoulders shaking.
Oh fuck. Ohh fuck.
I jump up, still gnawing at my lip, and quickly close my bedroom door.
So Roger doesn't hear.
I grab a chunk of hair in my fist and tear at it in agony, using my other hand to slowly punch the window frame.
Thud... Thud... Thud... Thud... I don't know what time it is.
I stop crying, but I continue to go at the window.
Thud... Thud.. Thud. Thud, thud, thud, thudthudthudthudthudTHUDTHUDTHUDTHUD THUD! Harder and faster until finally a splinter catches the side of my hand and tears my skin. Blood flows freely from my hand, and this seems to shake me from my frustrated trance.
I bring my bleeding hand to my mouth and suck at the side of my pinky, sitting back down in the wicker chair. All is quiet for several minutes while I am deep in thought.
I shake my head to clear my mind, narrowing my eyes at the bedside table.
Where are my glasses?
I grab for their outline with my bloody hand, smearing the right lens and nosepiece. Fucking klutz.
This sets something off inside me again and I squeeze the side of the table, swallowing hard.
I stand up. Barefoot and freezing, I walk to the doorframe and flip on the light.
I glance at the clock. 5:15.
I grab a tissue from the box on the bookcase behind my bed and wrap it around my hand.
I sit back down in the wicker chair, reaching out towards the drawer under the phone table.
My fingers close around the knob, but then I withdraw my hand and put it in my lap.
I reach out again quickly, heaving the drawer open and thrusting my hand inside. At the same time I grab the phone, furiously punching in the phone number.
'You're a failure Mark.' I tell myself as the other end rings twice, three times, then the recording of a woman.
"Hello and thank you for calling Empire State Pharmacy. If you are calling from a touch-tone phone, please press one now-" One.
"To hear our location and pharmacy hours, please press one. To refill a prescription, please press two. To speak directly with a pharmacist please press-" Two.
I'm a fucking failure.
The phone rings again. I take my hand out from the side drawer and out comes the orange pill bottle.
"Please state the name on your prescription bottle, and then press pound."
"Mark Cohen." Pound.
"Please enter the ten-digit code found on the side of your prescription bottle, and then press pound."
There was a long pause, and then the recording said, "Thank you-Mark Cohen- for using Empire State Pharmacy's automated touch-tone refill system. The prescription for-Mark Cohen-2587587806-has been successfully completed. You can pick up your refill of-" I hung up.
You're a fucking failure Mark.
I replace the pill bottle back in the drawer. I remove my glasses and set them back on the bedside table, not bothering to clean off the dried blood.
Blind, I fumble for the light switch and crawl back into bed.
Sunlight begins to rise over the neighboring apartment. The snow on the flowers twinkles.
I pull my blanket over my head and ball up, shivering. The flowers don't want to be in here with me now.
I rock back and forth. I find myself in the fetal position.
I close my eyes.
My breathing becomes normal…Slower…
I am asleep.
It's an accomplishment.