First Day Of My Life
I thought it was strange you said everything changed
You felt as if you had just woke up
And you said "this is the first day of my life
I'm glad I didn't die before I met you
But now I don't care I could go anywhere with you
And I'd probably be happy"
Autumn days always seem more adventurous, especially when the cool temperatures are accompanied by a crisp, clear day. Days like these should be cherished; should not be spent working; should not be spent complaining about the cold. I prefer to spend it downtown, where all of the tiny shops live, the shops that you have to find to truly appreciate. Others must see the beauty in such days as well, for when the sky is bright and the air carries with it a sense of a foreboding season, hundreds of people have the same idea as I.
Bundled up in my layers and scarf, with a bag hanging across my chest, I feel brave, like an adventurer, like a pirate. The air makes my cheeks a rosy red, but the sun heats my back, like driving with the windows down in winter while turning the heat on to full blast; my mom would always tell me it was a waste of energy, but opposites are like that. I revel in the warmth and shrug into my light coat, my feet taking me down the street to the coffee shop, one of what seems like hundreds that I know of downtown; each one is unique, with funky names and colors painted on the walls, different chairs, and different people who work there.
This particular place is called 'Black Rook in Rainy Weather', a long name, I suppose, but different, unique. The coffee's good, strong enough to keep an elephant awake for several hours, but, with the right blend of sugar and flavoring, sweet enough to take the edge off. I stand scanning the colorful chalk board containing the drinks and prices, but I know already what I want.
The barista that I've come to know as Kat is always wearing red lipstick; she's an art student. She has dyed black hair and black painted fingernails, with tattoos running down her chest and into her black tank top. I like her sense of humor, and her red lipstick, and we've had enough conversations that we're sort of acquaintances I suppose. On a fall day, I suppose everyone downtown is some sort of acquaintance; that's just the kind of day it is.
We share a smile before she asks me what I want.
"A tall caramel latte party with wings, please." I've become efficient at speaking the language that makes caffeinated drinks seem more 'sophisticated' as Kat says. She invented the language, or had at least taught it to me.
We make small talk for a bit while she prepares my drink. Kat's moving in with a few other girls, finishing up school, is thinking she's going to become a hair dresser. Nothing new in my neighborhood: I'm still living with my best friend, still going to university, still thinking about switching into a fine arts degree. Then we talk about how beautiful outside it is, how I want to go out and paint it, how Kat wants to go make out with her boyfriend in the park – I suppose it's too romantic not to.
"Thanks for the coffee." I grin at her as she hands it to me with whipped cream on top, the 'party'. Adding a few shots of liquid sugar, I take a short sip, catching the caramel sauce and whip cream rather than the hot coffee; as always, it tastes divine.
My eyes glance around the room, taking in the customers scattered about on the colorful plush seats that envelope you and coerce you to stay just a bit longer than you intend. The gaze lingers and catches another for a few moments longer than anticipated. He's cute, and he has bright dark blue eyes, and unusual quality. An amused smile tugs at the corners of his art-worthy mouth. I give a small, sheepish smile back and avert my gaze, turning to Kat to wave goodbye.
The air cools my skin as I step outside, easily distracted by the day that's spread before me. I start off perusing used books stores and second hand stores, a vintage record store, and a costume shop too; I find an art supply store that opened up a month before, and a few dollar stores, all on the way to one place: the music store.
No one can quite escape the destiny of a music store, no matter where you go downtown, you will always find yourself wandering to the front doors. The place in question is called Zulu Records, and has expanded so that it sprawls over two store spaces along the inclined hill near Birch Street. My dad and I had gone there for the first time when I was eight so that I could buy Simon and Garfunkle, on cassette tape of course, because CDs were far too expensive. Since then my collection of music has expanded and grown, much like I have, with different fads and tastes that stretch over almost two decades. I love my music.
Zulu Records is a small, independently owned store, painted a limy-avocado green with black lettering on the outside. Inside smells of old carpet and cardboard, but with the faint hint of a scented candle. I suggested it one day to one of the girls, and since then, I can always detect the smell of oranges in the air. There are different levels and a second floor upstairs with wide windows and a whole wall of listening stations. The second floor is my favorite; the windows are large enough to let all the light of outside in to the musty space, and the listening stations vary so that anyone can listen to anything.
Coffee in hand, I greet Max, the store owner as I make my way around the store, browsing the vast array of CDs and the occasional cassette tape; no one listens to tapes anymore. I do this every time I come to Zulu, because if I let myself up the stairs to the second floor right away, I never end up browsing any of the other artists.
An hour goes by; my coffee dwindles in supply, now cold. I throw it in the trash bin behind the counter and saunter up the familiar path, up the stairs and into the open loft-like room. The walls are painted the same avocado color as outside, but are brightened by the suns rays. A few rows of CDs line the center of the room, but mostly there are waist-high magazine racks of every music magazine known to the musical mind. There's a couple of couches in front of the windows that stretch across one wall, worn and old, covered in dark purple material.
Another person is poking around up there, and an older man, perhaps in his sixties, is listening to what I guess to be a Jazz CD of some kind – maybe Thelonius Monk. He nods to me when I make eye contact with him and goes back to his listening.
I scan the list of artists tucked away in the listening stations. The other person that had been wandering around suddenly appears and seems to be scanning just as I am. The bright rays of sunlight keep me from looking too long, but he's cute, and familiar. A Bright Eyes CD is advertised in the center of the stations. My arm stretches towards the set of headphones hanging beneath the CD player, but just as they do, the stranger next to me does the same.
Our fingers brush against one another, and, as though shocked by some sort of electrical surge, pull back to their respective bodies, sheepish smiles exchanged.
"Sorry," he apologizes, familiar art-worthy lips curving into a warm smile. Long wavy brown hair the color of hot chocolate hangs down past his ears, except for his messy bangs that hang in his eyes; they're the same bright dark blue. "Go ahead."
"Oh no, it's alright, you go ahead." My cheeks turn a faint shade of bright pink.
He has a face that would make actors jealous, but he doesn't seem as though he knows this small fact. An amused expression tugs one corner of his mouth higher than the other as he takes the headphones that we've both been eyeing and holds them out to me. "Ladies first."
We share a smile and I take them, my fingers brushing against his again by accident. I glance up at his big blue eyes and notice that he's looking at me too. "Thanks." I say, feeling like a stupid elementary school girl. Jimmy Dorn couldn't hold a candle to this boy, however.
I slip the headphones over my ears and press play. The picking of strings, the whimsical voice, the simple words that mean so much; this is the reason music is so precious to me, so magical. I stray a glance over at the stranger who stands a few feet away, listening to the new Death Cab For Cutie CD, a faint smile on his face. He glances over when I do.
"Yours is the first face that I saw,
I think I was blind before I met you…"
We grin like morons and turn back to the music stations. When I glance over again a few minutes later, he's still looking at me. I tug one headphone off my ear and turn to him.
"Hi, I'm Piper." I introduce myself.
He gives a short chuckle, as if embarrassed, and shakes my hand firmly. "Nice to meet you, I'm Sam."
"So if you want to be with me,
With these things there's no telling
We'll just have to wait and see…"
We talk for a little while, simultaneously listening quietly to music from our headphones. He's a carpenter's apprentice, wants to be an entrepreneur, plays a little acoustic guitar, but mostly the saxophone since he was six. We only stop talking when he glances at his watch and notes that it's already five in the evening.
"Do you want to go, maybe have coffee?" he asks a little hesitantly as we exit the music store, waving goodbye to Max as the door closes behind us.
There's something about him; you know that feeling you have when you just know something's meant to be? I don't believe in love at first sight, but I am curious.
I grin up at him. "Sounds good to me."
"Besides maybe this time it's different,
I mean, I really think you like me…"
The cold wind blows, and the sun begins to set, shining warm rays of light on the bright orange leaves, making them seem as if they're on fire. Downtown shines as if it was heaven itself, and maybe, just for today, it is. Days such as these should be cherished; should not be spent working; should not be spent complaining about the cold, for you never know who you might meet. Maybe that special someone is one bright fall day away.
A/N: I've been wanting to do a cute short about this song since I first heard it. I know this one is especially cheesy, but this is for all of you cheese-lovers. Comments and feedback are especially appreciated. All lyrics and name title belong to Bright Eyes (if you've never heard of him, you really should).