This is part of our series called “Inspired By Sound,” where writers use a song as the muse for their story. This piece by Mia Mamone is inspired by "Smoke Signals" by Phoebe Bridgers.
It was against my better judgment. A quick glance up to your window – casual, faster than a heartbeat – just to see if the light was on. It wasn’t. At least not the first time.
I try not to listen too much to those songs I showed you. They were never mine to begin with, and music wasn’t my thing, anyway. But I knew them before I knew you, and now, it seems, I will know them long after.
I’ve always been good at holding grudges. I say it all the time. It’s a particular talent, I joke, saved for especially indignant middle children (sound familiar?) and Scorpios, doubled in effect because I’m both. But my secret is that I don’t always know how to let them go, even if I try. And I am trying. I am.
A subtweet? I would never. A subpoem, though? Maybe. If you do read this – and I think that’s unlikely – just know that it’s more for me than you. Catharsis. Nothing personal. As impersonal as anything can be between two people who used to know each other so completely.
It’s not your fault that I remember everything. It’s not mine either.
When I see you again, on accident, on the other side of an opening elevator door, on the rocks by the water on a sunny day, I will follow your lead, let my eyes glaze over, fail to register your presence. This must work better for everyone.
And the next time I pass by your window, the sour sweetness of the past and morbid curiosity pulling my eyes toward your room, I know I won’t look up.