[Photograph by: Joshua Hartwell]
[Note: for a complete experience, play the suggested songs while reading each of the scenes.]
Scene One: Meeting Him // Suggested Song: The Horrors - Still Life
Alana was walking to her apartment, after a long, uneventful day at work. She felt strange, numb from the absence of excitement within her heart.
This was not new for Alana. She had spent her life dissatisfied due to her inability to love. The detachment from her emotions reached a comfortable stage and she accepted her life as it was, numb and senseless.
It was a cold, gloomy afternoon. The usual afternoon that characterized London.
She continued walking until it started to drizzle. She had taken the long route to her place, as she usually did to avoid the loneliness that her apartment enclosed.
Alana opened her backpack to realize she had left her umbrella at work. She ran into a nearby vinyl record store with the excuse to avoid the rain.
The vinyl record store was located in underground London, where hundreds of Londoners transited each day, disregarding each others' existence.
As she entered the vinyl record store, Alana encountered a unique experience. She sensed the unfamiliar scent of a man, Mateo. His scent along with his profound eyes and attractive smile captivated her soul.
Her cheeks blushed.
She walked around the store and situated herself right next to Mateo, pretending to be searching for a specific record. Simulating to be inside her own reality, she slid her nimble fingers through the dusty parcel of records.
“Are you looking for something in particular?” Mateo asked her. The tone of his voice charmed her.
She blushed again and blurted “not really!”
“Let me help you.” He offered in a smooth manner.
Alana and Mateo spent hours at the vinyl record store. Talking about their favorite bands, recommending albums to each other. For Alana, the chemistry was instant and tangible.
Since she had not experienced anything similar in the past, the numbness of her heart rapidly dispersed far away from her and now her life had a meaning, a purpose.
“I have to go now.” Said Mateo in a trivial tone.
Alana felt devastated. She did not want him to leave her side.
“It was nice meeting you, Mateo.” She timidly replied, while imploring herself to have the courage to ask for his phone number.
She did not.
He smiled at her and said, “bye.”
Mateo walked to the cash register and paid for the two records Alana had selected for him. Alana stayed in the same aisle, condemning herself for her lack of courage.
He left the store, waving bye to her. She waved back and smiled.
After minutes of self-reproach, Alana looked at her watch.
“Fuck!” She uttered to herself, when she realized the time. She needed to go back home and finish important work before the end of that night.
Alana rapidly took the three records Mateo had advised her to listen to, and walked to the line at the cash register of the vinyl store. There were three other people in front of her.
She impatiently waited in line, complaining about the cashier’s slothfulness. Her dream night had turned into a nightmare, until she unexpectedly heard Mateo's voice.
“Alana! Do you wanna go to a show with me tonight?”
Her eyes opened widely as her heart palpitated from excitement.
“Sure.” She replied in a casual manner, entirely ignoring the work she needed to finish before the end of that night.
Scene Two: Falling in Love // Suggested Song: Kid Trails - It Goes
Alana and Mateo walked to the show. They walked for about an hour. She felt they were walking over the clouds. They talked and laughed during the entire walk. She felt connected to him at all possible levels.
They arrived to the venue: a local bar in Shoreditch, a neighborhood located in East London.
Kid Trails was the band playing that night. A rock n’ roll band from Oakland, California.
Alana and Mateo danced along the fuzzy sounds of the band, while inundating themselves inside the mystic sensations that were awaken by the music.
As the lead singer announced their last song 'It Goes,' Mateo had already completely hypnotized and seduced Alana.
Mateo took Alana’s hand.
She felt how the sudden electric vibrations flowed all over her body as he entwined his fingers with hers. She turned around to look at him and smiled. Both glared at each other and kissed.
Alana and Mateo passionately kissed during the rest of the song. Her arms around his neck, his arms around her waist.
They continued with their fervent passion during the entire Lyft drive to Mateo’s apartment and intensively loved each other as soon as they arrived to his place.
Scene three: The Break Up // Suggested Song: Cigarettes After Sex - Apocalypse
Eight months after meeting Mateo at the vinyl record store, Alana found herself with a sharp pain inside her broken heart, as she waited outside his apartment. She squeezed the backpack that held two sweaters he had left at her place and a pair of keys to his apartment.
The sharp pain overwhelmed her and she wished for her heart to be numb again; for her life to be senseless again.
She tried to ignore the grief of the break up, but the nostalgic memories from the time she spent with him invaded her mind and she felt incapable to exhale the bitter shadows that unveiled her existence.
Alana waited outside for about fifteen minutes before she decided to go inside Mateo’s apartment.
They had agreed to meet there at three in the afternoon.
It was two-thirty in the afternoon.
She noticed that her hands were shaky when she inserted the key to open the door of his apartment. Alana felt nausea as she entered the apartment and sensed the scent that had made her fall in love.
Aspiring to reach a thin glimmer of sunlight that could bright the darkness of her emotions, she sat down on a couch situated near a window. The thirst to see him, to kiss him, to hold him again polluted her lungs until a sudden shortness of breath interrupted her sacred desires.
Reality kicked in.
“It was not supposed to end like this. I can’t pretend he never existed.” Alana reflected. Nonetheless, her immersed disappointment prevented her to end things the “right” way.
Alana laid her head towards the window, still squeezing the backpack with both of her arms. Her sight blurred from the amount of tears dripping out of her eyes.
Looking at the nothing, she clenched her jaw as she evoked a flashback from a week ago. The week she discovered she was just a number of Mateo’s long list of broken hearts.
Alana felt pathetic as she recounted the times she blindly believed Mateo’s lies about the love he professed to her. She blamed herself for having ignored the obvious signs. She also blamed him for having misled her into believe she was the one.
She was not.
“I can’t say goodbye to him. I need to let him go.” Alana concluded, while releasing the backpack from her arms and allowed it to fall into the floor.
She abandoned her feelings in that floor as well.
Completely broken, but still trying to disguise the emptiness from her within, she used the sleeves of her jean jacket to wipe the tears from her eyes.
She did not wait for him to arrive.
Alana walked out of that apartment as well as out of his life, forever.