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Tom hates his life and he uses movies, dancing, and the occasional bottle of booze to get him through. Notice how he always heads to the movies when things at home get unbearable, like his mother yelling at him?
And of course, the fire escape. We mean, the fire ESCAPE. Tom keeps hanging out there, partly because of the smoking thing, but really because of the ESCAPE thing. This is foreshadowing. Tom almost escapes…almost escapes…very nearly escapes…and then ESCAPES! Only not really, because he can never truly escape the memory of Laura.