november playlist: shellac

I thought I was in love, painfully, overwhelmingly in love with a skinny, green-eyed boy who was in a band (of course he was). I would never tell him how I felt, instead thinking he would figure it out if I was around enough, and the extent of our relationship, such as it was (I use the term broadly) was talking about books, occasionally arguing, and mostly staring uncomfortably at each other. I thought I was so very dissatisfied with this, but the truth is that I don’t think I actually wanted anything more than that — it was plenty of fodder for my teen angst and the subject of all kinds of bad poems scribbled in notebooks late at night while I smoked out of my bedroom window so that my mom wouldn’t know I was smoking (though of course she knew I was smoking). I think all I wanted was the heartbreak.

(I wish I could say this was a teenage phenomenon in my life, the whole thing with making choices aimed at unhappiness, but I had to go around that block a few more times — with varying degrees of intensity — before I got that out of my system.)

Sitting in that garage-turned-bedroom smoking cigarettes and trying to be cool even though I knew I would go home sad and confused because I always went home sad and confused, listening to songs and talking: that’s what I did in those days when I was seventeen. There were a lot of songs, so many songs played on that record player on the shelf in the corner, but this is the only one I really remember listening to, so it is this one that takes me back to the way it felt to sit gingerly on the mattress and pull at the hem of my frayed jeans and try not to meet his eyes because I couldn’t stand the way it made my throat burn with the words I kept swallowed, because I couldn’t stand the way it made my heart pound pound pound.

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