I hated school.

I hated going home after school.

I feel like everything's against me.

These words repeated itself in my mind as I stared at my shoes swinging back and forth repeatedly, with the heel stepping on the pavement.

Whenever I don't feel mentally stable, I take long walks before going home. But recently I've realized that I've been doing that for so long that I need a new environment to stop by before going home. And it was a good thing that I lifted my face from facing the ground and glancing at the sign in front of me. I feel like it literally said, "Your personal lounge! What are you waiting for?! Stop by now!"

But, no, that's not what it said. Anyways, it was a record store and is located a few blocks from me. I started walking to where it was.

After reaching the instructed block, I saw a record store in front of me. It wasn't really anything fancy. Just a typical kind of vinyl record store, the kind that I see when I get to visit relatives in the US. I saw a glimpse of the records inside the store and so my feet moved on its own towards the door.

I pushed the glass door. It was a little rusty as it creaked a bit when I pushed it. A bell jingled.

I hate it when that happens. I mean, not furiously hate it. I just hate that it exists to bring attention to people that you didn't really ask for. Like this.

"Hello, dear. Welcome to our store. Would you like to buy anything? I would be happy to assist you with anything that you need." I turned and saw a lady standing by the counter, grinning all the way up to her earlobe. It was kind of creepy. I guess she was the one who was talking to me, I mean, she was facing me.

I just shook my head and subtly smiled at her.

"Okay, just let me know if you need anything." She said with a wink and thankfully there was a customer that approached the counter that made her direct her attention at me away.

I think I made a face. I felt my nose twitch and my lips somewhat curved for a bit. But anyway, I was there to explore the place and not exactly to create an attitude towards people and so I turned to where the real deal is.

I approached the shelves full of records.

Apparently, the store had hundreds, and most of them were neatly stacked on shelves. I also noticed that there were labels attached right above every pile which was a good start. There were a lot of music genres to choose from. It was so vastly arranged that I felt I could bury myself among the vinyl records and live in there. But that would be too boring. I don't actually like repetitive stuff. I mean, yeah, sure creating a records fort would be awesome but like I'm also going to get old. Finding new hobbies to cope with life is the way to go.

The room was also well ventilated. I paused from gazing at the records collection for a while and walked to where some people where. I saw a lounge by the corner. It was just small, designed to just make people hang for a bit and then get on with their lives. Next to it was a table, with a row of headphones dangling at the center of the table. Some people were seated there; all invested in their phones and I can hear distant humming. There was also a separate table for people who actually just want to feel the music by themselves, facing the wall. I could feel my lips curving into a smile.

It's a pleasant scenario. Also, my nose caught the aroma of something bitter and yet familiar. And of course, I saw coffee mottos posted on the wall so I'm going to assume its coffee. I think I could actually get used to this place. Only one place left to check.

I searched for the bathroom sign and saw it. I made my way towards it and went in the one with the skirted figure. The bathroom was nothing fancy as well; a couple of sinks, hand sanitizers, hand blowers, cubicles... that sort of thing but it was actually pretty neat and the whole room was filled with the scent of lavender. I didn't inside stay for long though. I was satisfied when I could hear water gushing from someone using a bidet in a cubicle.

I went back to where the labeled genres were at again. I took my time examining stuff. I think it's also interesting that they keep records of new artists as well. I scrutinized one by one gently using my index and middle finger until I stumbled into a Frank Ocean record. Dude was so scratched from his last album that some of my friends started to despise him and ridicule him with the rest of the 'mainstream' artists. I didn't care less.

I took it out with one hand and noticed that it was partially moved previously that there are some visible marks too. Everything on the shelves was for samples anyway so I popped the vinyl in a nearby player and placed the headphones over my ear. 'Nikes' started to play. I switched the song to 'Ivy'. As soon as the music started playing, I closed my eyes. After all, it was a bittersweet song.

I thought that I was dreaming when you said you loved me

I hummed and scanned the pile for more artists.

The start of nothing

I noticed a few artists from my childhood. Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and the like. I used to listen to pop and then one day I just decided to upgrade my preference because honestly when I was a teenager, I noticed that some people also listened to some genres. So you know I was kind of peer pressured but I accepted the kind of subculture anyway.

I had no chance to prepare

I looked through the records. Most of them were somewhat dusty but some are recently included as I can deduce from the packaging. I liked some of the artworks on the records. If I had a chance, I would've just pursued something similar to creating art for people but I guess I have to wait for a couple of more years.

I couldn't see you coming

I felt something pushed me by the shoulder. I instantly forgot that there was even a song playing on the headphones and lifted it from my ears. I turned around and saw someone. The person was also astounded. I felt my nostril expand and I stared at him. "Um, what's the big deal?" My mouth immediately moved on its own.

"N-Nothing," The person blurted out, putting up his palms immediately. "Sorry, girl, my bad."

I just looked at him. But I felt like it was more of a scrutinize head to toe kind of look because I've been told that I tend to do that. I also believe the latter because I noticed that the mystery person was a 'he' and has a dark complexion, blond hair, brown eyes, wore some kind of pink varsity jacket, a white top underneath, denim jeans, and Air Force sneakers. I'm guessing we're the same height too because we're on the same eye level.

I let it go, though, the moment I heard him apologize because I'm a forgiving person.

"It's cool." I shrugged and turned to the pile where the earphones were and were about to place the cushions on my ears again when I heard him speak again.

"What?" I lifted the cushion from one ear.

"I said that looks like an interesting record on your hand." He said, smiling at me.

"I'm not holding-" I looked over to my right hand and I noticed that I was indeed holding something in my hand. It was a Gotye record. I let out a sheepish laugh. "Oh, sorry, I didn't see that. But yeah yeah it is, um, interesting." I also felt a finger brush on my nose. Well now, this is awkward.

"So you're into pop?" He asked me.

"Yeah, who's not?" I snorted.

"Yeah, point taken." He chuckled. "I'm also versatile."

"Ah, I also had that phase." I nodded, a smile creeping on my face. But I soon realized that I was talking to a stranger. It's... weird. I felt like I had a deja vu. I shook my head subtly to erase the thought and now burdened by the thought that I had to be polite. "Um, and also," I added. "I didn't get your name."

"Oh," His mouth arched. "Uh, well I'm Mac. And that was kind of you to ask."

"Nice to meet you, Mac." I said and before even thinking of extending a hand. I was kind of taken aback. "Wait, what did you mean that it was kind of me to ask you for your name?"

"Well, you don't actually strike me as someone who's into introductions- that sort of thing." He said with a laugh.

"Oh wow, a mind reader," I responded sarcastically. "Well, I'm striking you again. I go by Eli." I extended a hand to him. Weirdly enough, he took it and shook it firmly.

It was a good thing I still remember how we first met.