It started the way so many of these stories do. You were at a friend’s house for a party. Despite the fact that so many of your past relationships had started in this exact scenario, you didn’t go specifically because you wanted to start a new one. Sure, the thought probably was floating somewhere in your subconscious, but it wasn’t like you outright asked your friend, “Hey, do you think you’ll play lots of new music at this thing?” before you agreed to go. But still, part of you had to have known it there was a chance it’d happen again.

You thought you were happy with what you had. 70 of the 80 albums on your iPod Classic (rest in peace, you magnificent bastard) were proof of the kind of thing that could happen at these parties. You didn’t spend enough time with what you already had as it was.

But there you were at the party, and there it was emanating from the speaker. Yeah, you noticed it when you walked in, but you didn’t really pay much attention to it at first. Then – it might have been Fate – there was a lull in the conversation. And it hit you like a lightning bolt from all the way across the room.

You tried to play it cool, tried to act like you were still interested in the conversation or like you were doing anything except straining to catch just a few lyrics in a row so you could stalk your new crush online as soon as you got home. But it was no use; everyone was talking too damned loud.

So you found your friend and tried to ask for the name as casually as possible, as if you might already have known it, but just couldn’t place it in the moment. She responded just as casually to your inquiry. If she knew the depths of your sudden infatuation, she at least had the decency not to tease you about it.

You put the name in your phone immediately so you wouldn’t forget it, and before you knew it you were off on a brand new relationship, despite the protests of your rapidly filling iPod.

You knew all too well that sometimes the features that attract you so much initially in the darkened, drunken setting of a party seem very different when you have the chance to reexamine them at home. But that wasn’t the case here. Everything you liked on your first meeting was even better at home. And you were delighted to find that those flashy features that you could have frankly found in a lot of places were just an attractive layer on top of some serious depth.


And that was it. You were gone. Every free moment your ears had were spent plugged in. The car, the office and the house all became temples in the cult of your love. It was on your mind, on your lips, and on every electronic device you owned. You wanted to live in a world where it was the only sound, where it was the soundtrack of your life and strangers’ lives and where everything – how your world looked, how it felt – in some way reflected how it sounded.

You couldn’t keep it to yourself. The beauty, the capacity to somehow articulate every emotion you’ve ever felt. It was unbelievable. And yet, somehow your friends didn’t understand. Some tried more than others, offering half-hearted praise, but most weren’t even kind enough to tell you they were happy for you. Your friend from the party needed to be reminded of the name, even though she was the one who introduced you in the first place. You felt like you had a head injury or something. But it didn’t matter. You were happy.

But it didn’t last forever. Occasionally, when you drove to work you found yourself absentmindedly searching for something new. The temptations for infidelity soon cropped up everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places. Before long you were humming along to some cheap new ditty in the grocery store whose information somehow found its way to your phone; you wouldn’t admit later how. It wasn’t better than your old love. Not even close. But it was different. And somehow, right then, that was enough. And soon your thirst for difference trumped all taste. Your obsession faded.

Now and then the old love crops up. You’re always happy to see each other, whether it’s in a public place or just on shuffle. Sometimes, you admit with some guilt, you’ve had enough for a while and would rather not have any more encounters for a decent stretch. But occasionally, for a brief and blissful few minutes, it’s just like it was in the old days, and you dance passionately, like you’re falling in love for the first time all over again.