She found them in an antique shop.
It was on of those antique shops that she’d imagined to be filled with worldly treasures, with rugs hanging on the walls and chandeliers glimmering in the rustic light, but it really wasn’t. There were walls of old DVDs and VCRs, boxes full of toy trucks, and children’s books crusted shut with old food stains. It wasn’t her thing, she thought, but decided to check it out anyways. Maybe she’d get lucky and strike it rich with a rare trading card or Van Gogh painting. She liked to dream about that sort of thing.
It was is the back of the shop where she found all of the old electronics, the ones falling out of their plastic casings from the countless prying hands of past customers. She was often referred to as a hipster, and she found herself fitting that stereotype by picking up an old pair of headphones. They were big and clunky, but worn and attractively vintage all the same. 15 dollars later and they were all hers.
She enjoyed the walk back to her car in the dying sunlight. It was a nice day out; the transition from a cold April to a warm May was playing out quite nicely. The streets and sidewalks were barren, save for the occasional car or two, and she watched as the storefronts began to lock up. She hummed in contentment and turned to walk through the parking lot on her right. After a series of clicks her car opened, and she swung the front door open, wincing a bit at the loud squeak it made. She collapsed into the inviting leather seat in front of her and ran a hand through her hair. Reaching into her purse she pulled out the plastic bag that held her new purchase.
“Really...” she let out a sigh of frustration when she realized that there was no cord. No way to listen to anything. She supposed they’d have to make for a nice accent on her coffee table or nightstand.
Starting the car, she began to pull out before she was stopped by the sound of music. She looked down for the cause of it and found herself staring at the headphones. She gingerly picked them up and placed them over her head. She was met with the crooning voice of Paul McCartney and the soft sounds of an acoustic guitar
“What the hell...” she breathed, taking them off and looking for any sort of attachment that might have been causing the noise. There was nothing. She hesitantly placed them back on her ears and was hit with the soothing song again. She drove back to her apartment, bobbing her head as song after song sounded in her ears.
The week passed. Each day seemed to bring something new, much to her delight. Monday was classical, Tuesday was reggae, Wednesday was punk rock. On Thursday, she was serenaded by Pavarotti washing the dishes at the local diner.
She half-expected some kind of crazy magician to come knocking on her door asking for their headphones back. But nothing of the sort ever happened. Well, there were some crazy knocks, but only from drunk college students that unfortunately shared the building with her.
It was a stormy Friday night, and she was reading a Biology textbook for an online class. She had to submit her homework by Saturday, which she found a bit unjust. The headphones were nestled snugly on her head. Heavy metal was the genre of the day, apparently, and she was starting to find it a bit hard to focus. It seemed like they were expecting a party day, not a boring study night. She chuckled a bit at the thought before resuming her paragraph on stem cells.
“Can you turn that s*** down?” a guy was sitting a few chairs away from her. She nodded and looked for the volume rocker on the pair before realizing there wasn’t one. Oops. She hadn’t really thought about that. A few moments later she heard a pencil drop, and she turned to meet the man’s eyes again.
“Dude, seriously, it’s getting on my f***ing nerves.”
“Sorry.” she placed the headphones in her backpack, hoping to reduce the noise. It didn’t work. She shuffled through her backpack looking for the scarf she’d stuffed to the bottom. She had to pull out a few folders and papers before finding it. She wrapped them around the pair, and was disappointed to hear the thumping of drums. That didn’t work, either. She sighed before she found the man standing in front of her, who looked exceptionally irritated. She jumped as he snatched the headphones and stomped towards the window. He unlocked it and swung it to the side, letting in a torrent of rainfall. Raising his arm, he chucked them down to the hard pavement below.
She stared in shock at the offender for a few moments before flipping him off and slinging her backpack over her shoulder. She rushed down the stairs and made her way towards the entrance to retrieve her fallen prize. A rumble of thunder shook the building before she forced open the glass doors.
And there they were. Much to her dismay, a large crack ran through the band, splitting the pair in half. They’d landed in a puddle, and the two ear cups were filled with mud. She shivered as rain soaked her to the bone and ran back towards the library for shelter. Standing underneath some jutting-out bricks, she pressed one of the cups to her ear hoping to hear the wailing of an electric guitar, but was met with nothing. She grimaced as mud smeared on the side of her face, and was surprised to find hot tears running down her cheeks.
“God damn it.” Throwing them into the nearest trash can, she set off towards home, trying to ignore Zeus’ anger from above. It really was too bad, she thought. All they ever wanted to do was give the world a little music.