He doesn't see her turning the corner as he hurls the needle against the wall.
He sinks onto a bench and decides that he will stay there until he dies, because death will come soon enough. His head is too heavy for the rest of his body, and he crumples into a ball of self-pity, drenched from rain and tears.
He feels a hand on his shoulder and opens his eyes. A hand connected to a stranger with a warm smile. He grasps it, stands up, and tries his best to stumble home without falling apart again. Somewhere behind him, he hears a faint voice humming Musetta's waltz.
He doesn't see her shivering on the cold metal of the fire escape when he walks out of the beaten apartment building. She hugs her knees to her chest, quietly considering the slump of his shoulders and how he kicks the street with his worn sneakers and sends pebbles flying.
"I want to give you a hug," she confesses to the air in a whisper. "No one should have to be unhappy like that."
She glances at the faded photograph of her family lying on the floor. The young girl in it stares back at her. You would know.
She doesn't see him at the Cat Scratch, leaning back in his chair with a beer while his friend tries to persuade him to live.
"You can't stay like this forever, you know."
He takes a gulp and gazes fixedly at the too-bright lights.
"Look at those gorgeous girls." Blank look. "Do something? Please?"
His head slowly swivels towards him in a way only found in horror movies.
"I'm going home, Mark."
She doesn't see how he hides a smile when he wraps her in his jacket. Twirling around, she wonders how he's been lately. He certainly appears to be better, she thinks. She looks up and meets his enigmatic gaze with a small laugh.
"You look familiar…"