She tuned her acoustic guitar, adjusted her microphone, and took a sip of water from a plastic cup before awkwardly introducing her next song.
"Ummm, hi, everyone. Thanks for listening. This song is, ummm, a cover of Radiohead's 'Creep.' I hope you like it."
The three people listening to her cover did like it. They liked it a lot, and ended up feeling bad that they liked it so much because hardly anyone else was around to hear it. How difficult it must have been for her to be playing music for only three people, while everyone else in the bar danced to the DJ's loud music upstairs.
She stared out into her crowd of three and suddenly, she didn't feel so bad about her limited audience. Sitting on a stool at the bar was a handsome man with dark hair and a smile that nearly made her fingers stumble across the frets. They were introduced to one another earlier last week, and he seemed friendly and interested in her music. He even bought one of her CDs. They talked at the bar for quite awhile and she left later that night wondering where he lived and what kinds of stories he could tell her and the name of his favorite coffee shop.
Here he was again tonight, watching her sing and play guitar and act cute, just in case he was into singer-songwriter chicks. She hoped that he was.
"I thought you'd never take a break," he said.
"Well, would it break your heart if I finally did?" she asked.
"It would only break my heart if you didn't sit next to me."
She ordered vodka. He paid for it. They continued to talk and talk and talk.
"So you like Battlestar Galactica, too?" he asked.
"Anyone who doesn't like Battlestar Galactica isn't even worth talking to," she said.
"I really like your setlist tonight," he said, changing the subject. "You're playing some cover songs I haven't heard in years."
She took a sip of her paid-for-by-him vodka and smiled. It was one of those flirty smiles, and it was enough to make him smile back. She liked that.
"I better go get back to the music," she said.
"Hey. Can I make a request?"
"Sure. Go for it."
"Can you play Matchbox 20? Maybe that 'Disease' song?"
There's a lyric in that song--"Disease," that is--that goes something like this: "I can't live without you / Tell me, what am I supposed to do about it?"
That's not how she felt about him, but it was how she could feel about him. So she picked out an adorable outfit because she figured he would be there tonight. Please be there, she thought. Don't make me dress up like this for nothing.
He was. But he wasn't there alone. Now there were four people watching her play music in the basement of the crowded bar.
She secretly cringed as the pretty girl hugged and kissed him and held his hand. She tried not to act upset when the pretty girl rested her head upon his shoulder and he kissed the pretty girl's hair. Ohmygoshnowsheiskissinghisear.
She tuned her acoustic guitar, adjusted her microphone, and took a sip of water from a plastic cup in an effort to help untangle the knot at the back of her throat.
She strummed and sang and tried not to look at the couple by the bar. She was no longer singing to him; she was singing to the girl who did not like Battlestar Galactica. She was singing to them, and it made her not want to sing at all.
Fiction, poetry, and all that good stuff . . .