That One Song

December 28, 2016

He put his hands on her hips, his chest pressed against her back. She smiled fondly, the sort of soft smile that held candlelight between the gaps of her teeth.

The lead singer onstage raised her arms above her head, stepping side to side fluidly as saccharine guitar chords bounced through the night air.

They swayed quietly. Neither knew the lyrics of the song, or even the name, but there was guitar and there were drums and there were speakers blasting it out over the crowds. He scratched her side and she squealed with laughter before grabbing his hand and intertwining their fingers.

The singer poised the microphone at her lips, lowering her lashes and staring through the audience. There was a lull in the jumbled notes of the song, and she started crooning into the microphone. Dime-a-dozen promises and people with nothing better to do on a Friday night crashed into each other and frosty December breeze stitched them together.

He nuzzled into her hair. It smelled like tangerines. He didn’t know she’d bought orange-scented shampoo and thrown out her floral perfume after he told her his favorite fruit. She craned her neck to press a kiss to his cheek. She didn’t want to move after that, so she left her lips there.

The fierce wind flung her vividly dyed hair into the singer’s face. She swept it off with a heavily manicured hand, her inch-long nails leaving faint marks, but a few strands stayed stubbornly stuck to her lipstick. She played it off as intentional though, biting her lip and running her fingers through the rest of her hair like a Vogue model.

She stepped on his toe by accident and didn’t notice his wince. He didn’t say anything, feeling lucky to have her close enough to step on his toe. Instead he wrapped his arms around her waist and loved her as she rested her head against his chest. 

The singer hiccupped in the middle of a lyric, and again two lines later. Her smile was lazy and wolfish, and her words pumped through the microphone and came out slurred. The crowds could tell she had had too much to drink but it didn’t make their screams less fervent, their dancing any less frantic.

He whispered in her ear, “Wanna head home?”

The singer wailed, “How could you leave me all alone?”

She nodded, and let him lead her towards their car. They rustled by people, murmuring insincere apologies as they trod on toes and jostled elbows. No one listened, eyes glued to their phones as they shot their shaky videos of the concert.

Hair flew through the hair as the singer violently shook her head. She stumbled through the lyrics, and the band churned out a cacophony of mismatched chords. Both glanced periodically at the lead guitarist for their cues, clearly the only one who knew what he was doing.

The path to their car was riddled with potholes, and they laughed giddily as they stumbled over them.

Cackles and abrasive laughter cracked the air as the singer fumbled the words. She tried to catch up to the beat, then shrugged and improvised some clumsy choreography. Once the band reached the chorus, she raised the microphone and burst into song again, her voice straining to make up for the mistake.

She pouted ridiculously as her hands left his. He chuckled and walked around the car to open the door for her. She planted a glimpse of a kiss on his cheek before tumbling into the car. He walked back to the driver’s side, avoiding the glass shards of cheap beer bottles studding the ground.

The singer swayed along with the backup dancers as the lead guitarist thumbed his way through a surprisingly adequate solo. The strings screeched to startling pitches, the audience roared approval, and the strobe-light lit sky wrapped around them. The band lurched back into a simple rhythm as the singer took center stage again.

He rooted through his pockets in search of his keys. The wind blew away her laughter as he pulled out the clutter in his pockets: buttons, gum wrappers, the keychain she had given to him when he got his driver’s license. He grinned at her before his fingers closed around the cold metal key.

The song reached the chorus. The audience chanted along to the sloppily written lyrics. The singer whipped out a snazzy routine with the backup dancers, full of swaying hips and thrashing legs.

He put his hands on the wheel and glanced over at her. She was asleep. Praying the engine wouldn’t stall and wake her up, he twisted the key quietly. The purr of the engine was inaudible in the cigarette smoke scented air.

The singer pulled out an impressive fifteen second note. The crowds cheered for her halfheartedly, most of them already leaving in hopes of beating the ensuing traffic. The guitarist, bassist, and drummer each took a bow and promptly began packing up their instruments.

She was still asleep when they reached their house, so he carried her inside. She felt lighter than air, he thought. He smiled to himself, a soft smile that held candlelight between the gaps of his teeth.






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