AN: After a four year absence, here is what came out...
Disclaimer: Own nothing/no money
Mark was good at watching.
He really had no choice but to watch, he was always the odd one out, so watching became a hobby of his. When he had gotten old enough, he decided to stick a camera in his hand so at least he would have an excuse to be watching.
Watching had never been Mark's problem. It had been seeing.
He had watched Roger become more and more detached, fall deeper and deeper into April who was deepest into smack. But he had watched Roger shoot up casually, watched as casually became regularly and when regularly became almost incessant. But he hadn't seen what was going on until it was too late.
But what Mark lacked in seeing, he made up for in hiding. Bottles started disappearing from the loft, but April and Roger hadn't noticed, having found something better than mere alcohol to numb them. But after a lifetime of watching, Mark wasn't able to indulge in anything harder. Besides, it was enough. A shot here, a shot there, just to help him cope.
In retrospect, Mark realized that this had probably not been the best approach. The son of an alcoholic, Mark had always avoided alcohol that wasn't involved in a religious service. But when your roommate is shooting up heroin in the adjacent bedroom, avoiding vodka seemed more than stupid, it seemed like some sort of punishment. Why should Roger get to escape the world and leave him there all alone? After a lifetime of being good, didn't he deserve some sort of release?
In the grand scheme of things, Mark didn't even have a problem, not really. Roger had a problem, a dead girlfriend, a heroin habit and a death sentence, and Mark had to be there to help him. If he needed a drink in the evening to drown out Roger's screams, who could blame him? And if he had to pour whatever was in the liquor cabinet into his morning coffee to brace himself for the day ahead, well that was just the price of helping someone like Roger. And in the end, he had helped Roger, no one could deny that.
Besides, if no one noticed the problem, was it even a problem? It was in the witnessing that something becomes important and so he was safe.
And so part of him sighed in relief as the loft emptied out. That meant there were fewer people to recognize his nonexistent problem.
He showered carefully, took care to buy breath mints and always wore clean clothes.
If you looked at him, you wouldn't see anything other than what he intended to show. A remarkably well-adjusted guy who was able to help everyone around him.
The one who never needed help himself because he was secretly self-medicating with whatever he could afford from the package store.
Mark was never good at seeing beyond what was shown.
But luckily for him, neither was anyone else.