A spontaneously drafted short story from the beginning of freshman year, when I imagined someone falling in love with someone they had never seen. The rest is utterly imaginary for the most part: although a few elements are drawn from reality, I’m pretty sure no one has fallen in love with my voice. Also, photo taken by my incredibly talented friend Sarah. Enjoy.
I was a Senior that year in suite 207, with three roommates. The lobby and stairwell were always blank and dilapidated, unlike all the pieces of paper you filled to be allowed into the upperclassmen housing.
Room 207A, and there were two tiny holes in the concrete beneath my linoleum floor.
The studious freshmen applied for the first floor in this dorm, the quieter freshmen, with headphones and double majors.
That’s why it was so funny that I could hear you.
You explained three different times about the broken drawer in your room, and every time the color you added to your terms was different. You used concrete terms, but I didn’t care. I hadn’t unpacked my headphones yet.
I lived in my own silence and music for three weeks of classes, except when sometimes I heard your roommates laughing in the other room. Your laugh echoed from volume, not pitch: it was made of lower decibels and was often alone.
Room 107A, near the stairwell. I heard you on the third weekend, after your roommates had laughed their way home for the weekend. My headphones were broken, and you were playing of Monsters and Men into the emptiness.
I had forgotten the sounds of Iceland. Eventually it changed into another genre I had never heard, but I could hear you jumping and singing loudly. I never heard you cry from homesickness, you laughed instead. Maybe even too hard, but you laughed and you sang.
Your voice lacked the beauty of a siren’s, but I still hummed as I stared at physics homework. You taught me the courage of stars before you left…
The first time I heard you after Christmas, you were cornered. You were angry, because the songs were ripped from your grasp. You never sang in front of people, did you? Winter break changes things: it wasn’t their style, it interfered with whatever stupid show they were watching, they weren’t going home on the weekends anymore.
Funny, that I should hear you at your worst and I’d never seen your face. I was blind to any mask. Your voice was deeper, thinner, clearer than I remembered. It was the first crack in your voice that caught me there, rooted to my spot. You, who had said so little, were crying now.
I knew how it felt, because I wasn’t always a senior who tore any new thought to shreds with analysis. I didn’t use to criticize mere voices. Once, I wouldn’t have thought you ‘mere.’
I used to listen to music with poetry instead of lyrics, too.
Spring semester turned past midterms, and you were crying again. These were dry muffled sobs, interspersed with thunderstorm bursts of typing. No one saw you cry, did they? I didn’t always hear you cry, either, alone in the first few months. I had worn headphones, hadn’t listened to you stamp your foot and sob when something was wrong.
Math never had room for wrong answers, and I’m sorry. There are only proofs from experience.
One weekend you played the music again, every song I had forgotten. I still hadn’t bought headphones; I still hummed as I put together numbers and letters. I tried not to drop the metal container of pens all over the floor, but they slipped and I heard you jump.
I looked at your door every time I headed up the stairs now, thinking maybe I would see you: you would stumble out with your dimly starry voice of yours I had learned to hear even the murmurs from. But all I ever saw were four names on the door of room 107.
I never heard your name, just “I love you,” from your parents when they came to visit. Names aren’t spoken aloud when they are known, only when they are wondered.
Maybe you have disheveled brown hair that you never tame, something that your roommates never understood. Maybe your eyes match your laughter, brown or hazel. Maybe you have freckles, or maybe you’ve soaked in the sun.
I was the senior in 207A, and you have never seen me, but there are two tiny holes in the concrete above your head, beneath my linoleum floor, and I know how I could make you smile. Maybe you’re sitting out in the crowd watching me, and now I wish that dropping that metal container of pins contained my imprint as much as your laugh contains a spark of you.
Then maybe I could tell you that not all the world hates music with poetry for lyrics, and that you taught me outside of the classroom. You taught me that voices are not just sound waves, they somehow fit with one’s soul.
This is my thesis: I was a senior in 207A, I don’t know your name, and I am in love with you.