At midnight, I gave her the poems.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“Well, the last word in the first line is a trochee, and it rhymes with the end of the next line. So ‘catachresis’ rhymes with ‘fleece’.”
“No, what’s going on?”
“In a catachresis?”
“No. What are you talking about?”
“Uh… I have a big crush on you.”
“Oooooh,” she said. She smiled and let the pages fall on the table. She relaxed in front of my eyes. “So how did it start?”
“Well, I think you’re really beautiful.”
She relaxed a lot more – in fact, her face changed shape a little, got a little more round as if her jaw had unclenched. I didn’t know whether that was a good sign or not, but I couldn’t shut up yet.
“I always thought so. Right away, when I saw you.”
“The amazing black dress,” she nodded. “I was wearing that when I met you. There’s, uh, a lot of me in that dress. My Fuck the Hostess dress. It’s a real ‘drop to your knees and say amen’ dress.”
“I noticed. It’s gotten a lot worse since then.”
“I know.” She lit one of my Dunhills. I had never seen her so comfortable. “I was on the phone with my friend Merit tonight, and she was like, Does Rob like you? And I said, I don’t know, he made me a tape and he didn’t call and then we danced together and then he left and called and left a message but didn’t call after that. And Merit was like, So, do you like Rob?”
I couldn’t believe she was making me do this. “So, do you?”
She smiled. “I don’t know. He’s not my type, but I really like him.”
love is a mixtape, by rob sheffield
i found this book about five years ago, just wandering around in the library. this was back when the library next door was still a place of wonder and mystery, and not, well, work. so there i was, scanning the shelves, looking for something new to read when – hm. it’s weird to think that i would have never known it existed, had my eyes just skipped this one spine. this actual, real life, life story that’s so sad and wonderful at the same time. it’s weird, having never heard of it outside of myself. all of this music, that i wouldn’t have heard in this beautiful way. my eyes always linger an extra second or two when i pass it by; stacking books, lost in work. i look at the title and the corners of my mouth turn up, just a little. life and loss, one song at a time.