I Think We Have a Connection (C.H.)
College sucks. Everyone says that but like, college really fucking sucks. The university you’re at is great, no really, it is, but it only guarantees housing for freshmen and sophomores. So you’ve been forced to move into an overpriced apartment that’s overcrowded with college kids, way too many of whom like to party when you’re trying to write because, like the idiot you are, you decided to major in English. Yes, you love to write, and read, and study the English language, but trying to go through the creative process is really hard when all you can focus on is trying to figure out whether the pounding in your skull is the bass from the floor above you or your headache.
One upside of living around college students, though, is that everyone in your building is in your age range, meaning cute people aren’t always so hard to come by. And there was this one guy… Calum.
Maybe two weeks after you moved in, your next door neighbor moved out, which was a relief. The guy was a creep and an ass. He would come over early in the morning and ask for the randomest crap, just to see you in your pajamas. The other reason his departure was so nice was that the newest denizen was Calum. And well, Calum was something else. By something else, you mean a god. (And he’s a music major. How hot is that?) If only could get your head out of your ass long enough to form a coherent sentence around him.
It’s around seven in the evening and you’re working on your latest Creative Writing assignment. A song. You’re not exactly a rhyming genius. To be honest, you hated creative writing until someone told you not every poem has to rhyme. But songs, songs do. Songs rhyme. You sit at your computer, staring at the word document in front of you. So far you’ve got six lines:
‘I once saw a cat
Eating its scat
It was nast
-Y and blast
Not your best work. At all. Ever. If you could burn your computer without being out nearly a thousand dollars, you would be poking a burning log with a stick.
You’re having trouble with rhyming, right? Okay, what’s a word that has a lot of rhymes. Blue. Pew. Ew. New. Glue. Shoe. Cue. Queue. ‘Queue’ is such a dumb word. Why are there so many ‘ue’s. You only need one. You don’t even need one. Just the letter works. Both are pronounced “Q”. It’s like the ‘ay’ in ‘okay’. Useless.
Like your brain, apparently.
You just, you need a nap. A long nap. Or a break. You could go for a 3 month nap. That’s why summer vacation exists, though. Oh, vacation. How you love vacation. No frustrations, just rest. Hey, wait. Vacation, frustration. Um, motivation. Elation. Imitation. Corporation. Migration. Collectivization. Oh hell yeah, this is it.
In our nation
Isn’t good for
Is no inflation
Were the same
‘Cos of Stalin’s regulations
In other nations
The reason for the
That is simultaneously the worst and best thing you have ever written. You also have literally no tune for it, but the cadence didn’t suck and it rhymed, so you were going to print it out. If you didn’t come up with anything better, you were going to turn it in too. You print the document, but, as per usual, it doesn’t fucking print. Why does your printer never work? You think it might be the connection between the printer and the computer. You knew you shouldn’t have gotten a wireless one but the stupid salesman convinced you it would ‘work better in the long run’ and ‘all the biggest corporations use them’. You sigh and try printing again, to no avail. You figure you’ll just go to bed and try again in the morning.
The next morning you wake, feeling much better. Until you remember your Creative Writing assignment. Well, those thirty seconds were quite possibly the best thirty seconds of your life. You rummage around your kitchen, looking for some eggs or something to cook up. You quickly come across some old boxed pancake mix, and figure, why the hell not? As you finish cooking and realize that goddamit you’re out of paper plates again, you hear strumming from next door. You sigh quietly, listening to Calum hum a tune.
After a couple of minutes, he strums the guitar again. He pauses, and then begins to strum in earnest.
In our nation”
Your eyes widen and you nearly drop your pancakes as you sprint across the room, faster than someone in slippery socks ought to on a tile floor. Your hands grapple with the lock for a second before you’re standing in the hall pounding a nervous beat into Calum’s door.
He opens the door, and for just a second you’re taken aback by the fact that he looks absolutely gorgeous in a t-shirt and basketball shorts.
“Um, Y/N? Did you need something?” He prompts, eyeing your pancakes suspiciously.
“What? Oh, er, yea.” Blood makes its way to your cheeks in an embarrassing beet-red blush. “Yea, about that. Where did you get that?”
“That, well, song, for lack of a better word.”
“Oh! The one about Stalin. Can you hear my music through the wall? I’m sorry about that. I didn’t disturb you, did I?”
“No, no. I was cooking.” You hold up the four pancakes your’re holding. Without a plate. Buddha, Mary, and Allah, you look like a fool. Oh well. “But, uh, the song.”
“Right. Is it yours? My printer printed it.”
“Oh my god.” You groan. “I’m so sorry you had to read that.”
“It’s really not that bad.”
“You don’t have to say that. It really is.”
He bites his lip before conceding, “Yea, it’s not the greatest. So, wait, is all that random shit that’s been printing to my printer been yours?”
“Lots of short stories.”
“You haven’t been reading those, have you?”
“Maybe just a few?”
“You said that about my, er, song.”
“But those are actually good!” You just sigh deeply. “Do you want to come in?” He asks.
“Yea. Yea, sure.”
“So why are you even writing songs?”
“Creative Writing class.”
“Right. Do you want a plate?”
“Yea, that would be nice. I’m out.” You follow him to the kitchen.
He rummages through the cabinet before pulling out a (not paper! wow, classy) plate and handing it to you. “So… Stalin.”
“Always a conversation starter.” Calum laughs at your comment, and you look down, hiding your blush under the ruse of putting your pancakes on your plate. Your heart flutters, knowing you made this adorable boy laugh like that. “But yea. I can’t really, like, rhyme? And then I started thinking about how I just want to go on like, a fucking vacation, you know? Sorry, don’t mind my language. But, yea, I was just rhyming with the word vacation, and uh, collectivization popped into my head, and apparently I don’t actually care about my Creative Writing grade.”
“It’s unique, undoubtedly.”
“I’m just going to pretend that’s a compliment.”
“No, I’m not insulting you, I swear. Do you want me to help you, maybe? I’m a music major.” (which you definitely didn’t already know that from stalking all of his social media)
“I think I could use the help.”
The two of you spend the morning hunched over various notebooks, music sheets, and his guitar trying to find something that doesn’t suck.
“Okay, are you ready?” He looks up at you from one of the many lyric sheets sprawled about his table.
They say I need some sort of medication
Situation, no motivation
Destination, permanent vacation”
“Holy shit, I think I love you.” You stare at him in awe, before your mind catches up with your mouth. “In a totally platonic, neighbor kind of way.” You mumble to your chest.
“Hey, they were your ideas, I just put them to music.” He’s not wrong, per se, the pair of you had spent the majority of the morning discussing where the idea had stemmed from - how you wanted a vacation. Still…
“No, my idea was talking about Stalin and the creation of the USSR.”
“Hey! Don’t discount educational music.” You just kind of raise your eyebrows at him and he concedes, “Okay, so it wasn’t great. But this is as much your work as mine!”
“Thanks Calum. I appreciate it. I was thinking though - not that I don’t love it as it is - but what if we changed a couple of the lyrics, just for fluidity.”
“Please.” Calum hands you the lyric sheet he’s been reading off of, and you shouldn’t care half as much as you do when your hands brush.
“Um, what about ‘They say I need some kind of medication’?” You bring your upper lip into your mouth, thinking. “Er- this is an idea.” You look up at him. “If I’ve learned nothing in my Creative Writing class, I’ve learned that people are more engaged when you address them directly. ‘You say I need some kind of medication / Situation, no motivation / Destination, permanent vacation.” You smile up at him.
“I like that, yea. It gives it a rebellious edge, sort of. What if we, like, almost counter-argued that for the next bit?”
“What do you mean?” You ask.
“Keep the rebellion but sort of go with the classic, ‘I feel like I’m dying, but I’m fine.’”
“Alright, hit me.” You nod. Calum cocks his head, thinking.
“What if we just… go for it.
Hey, I’m doin’ fine”
“Okay, and the rebellion, a sort of ‘I-know-I’m-pissing-you-off-and-I-couldn’t-care-less.” You prompt.
“And, I’m out of line?” He says it more like a question than a statement.
“That has a bit of an awkward cadence…” You trail off.
“Hey, I’m doin’ fine
And I know I’m out of line”
“Yes, perfect!” He exclaims.
“And, okay, a call to action is good in like an essay so, why not?
Let’s sing this one more time”
Destination, permanent vacation”
“Yes, oh my god, I could kiss you.” You grin.
He pauses a second, and then, “Why don’t you?”
“Kiss me. Why don’t you?”
“Um… I guess…” You look down, fiddling with your hands, “I could?” When you look back up, he’s feet closer than he was a moment ago.
“Yea. Yea, I would.” And you press your lips to his, but you can’t get a proper kiss in because the both of you are grinning like fools.
“You’re really cute, you know?” He smiles at you.
You hum in response, and then, before you can stop it, “I’ve wanted to do this since I saw you move in.” And you put a hand on his cheek and lock your lips with his.
(Oh, and you got an A.)