A Missing Stars Valentine's Day story by Worthington
The day is crawling to an end. Fifteen minutes left before tomorrow. I have class in the morning. I should be asleep, but I can't stop thinking about tomorrow. Friday the 14th. Valentine's Day.
I should’ve started to work on this earlier. I knew I had to do something, but I never expected it to be so hard.
I mean, what was there to it? Find a bunch of songs that you like and that express the way you feel about the other person and drop them onto a CD to show you care enough to embody it physically. I don’t know if she’ll like it enough to even listen to it more than once, but at least it'll have more of an impact than just making some disposable playlist on iTunes.
It should've taken an hour, tops. It should've been simple.
Not a chance.
Turns out that I grossly underestimated just how complex the world of mixtapes is. You have to factor in her taste, and your taste, and balance songs she’s heard of and songs she hasn’t heard of and finding a narrative and a theme and a journey and song dynamics and track transitions, whether to stay in-genre or break from the genre or-
There’s a lot to it.
I don't want this to be just a string of songs. I know it's a cliché, but dammit, there's a reason it is. I want to impress her. I want it to be special. To say everything I think about her, about everything she means to me, to show that I care, to say how much…
I want it to say "I want to mean something to you, too."
How do you say so much with so little? I want it to be perfect, to say exactly how I feel, but even trying to whittle down it all into a neat, short sentence I can use for myself feels empty.
She’s so much better at this than me.
Re-arrange. Delete. Shuffle. Find a new song. Too many songs by the same artist. Find new artist. Too similar sounding. Different genre, different era, different country, different language. Too many songs to fit on one CD… Do I do a double disc playlist? No. Too ambitious. Then I’ll have to make each flow into each other, but stand alone by themselves, and… That’s a whole new balancing act.
My eyes sink into their hollows. My phone buzzes just before the stroke of midnight.
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Annaliese. 23:58 PM.
She remembers. Does she care? Is she also doing something for me? Does that mean I should worry less, or more?
I want to say "fuck this holiday", but, in a strange, anxious, want-to-kill-myself sort of way, I’m having a lot of fun. I sit back down and straighten my back.
Don’t reply to her, not yet.
Time to redouble my efforts. Anna likes shoegaze- I remember her telling me that. I pick out a track from Loveless, which, ironically, I know she loves. Let the muddy waves of noise wash over me, spilling out of the headphones, matching the buzzing in my chest. For a solitary midnight reverie, this music is perfect Quietly anxious, and impatient. Running fantasy after fantasy in your head while you wait for something beautiful to happen. It feeds the butterflies living in my stomach.
Day-dreaming. No, wait, that’s wrong. Night-dreaming. Will she or won’t she? Picking out the possibilities by the bars of a song rather than the petals of a flower.
Another buzz, one I can barely tell apart from the song.
“Do you want to meet up today?”
My brain has long deteriorated past the point of being able to control my fingers. They tremble, stutter, stop, and drop to a rhythm of their own as I bash out a reply that’s probably full of typos that I won’t notice until it comes back to haunt me in the morning.
A moment of clarity. More stars than there are in heaven align perfectly. Everything clicks.
Save. Write to disc. It’s done. All I can do now is hope I did well. That I've managed to put-up something she'd like. The whirring sound of the CDs spinning surrounds me, the perfect soundtrack to my disintegrating thoughts. Maybe it’s just my imagination, or sleep deprivation, but I think I can hear a distant, matching hum- in another room on the other side of campus. The sounds of someone else still up after midnight.
I manage to send one last reply before my head hits the desk.
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Mr Immortal wrote:Perhaps our awesome is his normal. Like The Doctor, or Batman...
Gloom is Batman.