Chapter 64

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My tired, callused fingers glide lazily over the strings of my guitar, the bitter taste of heartbreak lingering in my mouth. 

When I find the right combination of minor chords that I want, I hum the melody that I thought up last night. 

Suddenly I feel like I'm being watched and lo and behold, Avriel is leaning on the arch of the door. 

It wasn't unusual for him to listen in on my songwriting in our basement. We recently remodeled, transforming the space into an at-home studio, and would often spend our free time up here whenever we'd get to feeling creative. 

I stop strumming and hold eye-contact with Avi. "Yo." I greet.

Avi nods. "Hey, that sounds good. A little sad, though?"

"Yeah, I'm going for a sad sound." I shrug.

Avi squints a little. "Right. It's beautiful though, any lyrics yet?"

I shrug again.

"So... Anything you want to talk about?" He questions. 

"No." I respond quickly. "Why? Can I not write a sad song?"

Avi raises his hands in surrender. "By all means, Scott. But you and I both know that your music is normally, like.. up beat?"

I sigh. "Yeah, just trying something new. Same old same old gets boring."

Avi nods. "True. You sure there's nothing to talk about, though?"

"You wouldn't understand."

Avi looks taken aback. "Oh, wouldn't I? Hit me with it, let's see if I understand."

"I'm just feeling a little... lonely? I don't know. Obviously I've got a lot of friends and I'm always around people, but I'm lonely. And I know you wouldn't understand that."

Avi chuckles and then quickly puts on a serious face. "Sorry, didn't mean to laugh at you. But by lonely do you happen to mean... single?"

I roll my eyes. "See, this is why I said you wouldn't understand. You've got Kara, so how would you relate?"

Avi scoffs. "Yeah, I've got my Kara, but you can get anybody you want! You're literally Scott Hoying, so stop moping around with sad songs and go to a party or something. Make out with someone hot and get their number."

"It's not that, Av." I mumble. 

"Then what is-"

"Oh!" Avi suddenly gasps. "No way man, you still haven't moved on from Mitch?"

I cringe at the name. "Don't, Avi. I've already heard it from Esther and apparently Mitch is moving to LA in a few days. I just don't want to deal with any of it. It's like opening up an old scar, only the doctor never got my consent to perform the surgery."

He stares at me blankly for a while. "Seems like someone's got a lot on their mind. Talk to me, buddy."

I nod because Avi is right, I need to talk to somebody or I'll drive myself crazy. I set my guitar down.

"So last night, don't ask how, I found out that Mitch is seeing someone now and it's just got me kinda... I don't know."

Avi nods. "I see..."

"Yeah, and it's just frustrating because he seems so okay now and... I still haven't moved on!"

"Scott, I'm not gonna lie... I do understand why you haven't moved on from Mitch yet. I actually, back when I first met Mitch, I-I.. kinda had like a little crush on him."

He waits for me to respond but I'm in so much shock that I can't find the words.

He clears his throat and continues. "And I barely even knew him! You actually got the privilege of being with him, kissing him, and he mean't a lot to you... So I understand that you might feel like you'll never be able to replace him."

I stare at Avi with wide-eyes. "You, wha-?! Whatever, that's not important. But yeah, I just feel like I'll never be able to find anyone else. And I kinda don't even want to. I don't want anyone if they aren't Mitch. Even speaking his name right now hurts me, Av..."

Avi hisses sympathetically. "You're gonna have to move on though, bro. He has someone else."

"Yeah, thank you captain obvious..." I sass. "I'm well aware, well now I am, that Mitch is an a relationship."

"Okay, but are you aware that you need to move on? Start dating again?"

"I'm aware of the concept, but Mitch was my high school sweetheart, my first love... He's one of a kind and he'll be hard for me to get rid of, you know? I'm gonna need more time."

"It's been 3. Years. You've had enough time."

"Fuck you, Avi. You don't get to tell me when I get to move on."

"Whatever, bro. Don't ask for my advice if you're not gonna take it."

I clench my jaw. "I never asked for your advice, Avi!"

Avi, calm as hell, shrugs. "I'll be downstairs. Keep it up with the song, it sounds good. Let me know if you need help with lyrics or anything." And then he leaves.

After the door closes and I hear Avi's footsteps fade away, I pick my guitar back up and steady my breathing.

I close my eyes and let my heart say what it feels, my fingers effortlessly strumming lightly.

"You called me by my first name, for the first time

Since the first time, that we met

Didn't tell me goodnight, for the first time

Since the first night you laid in my bed

And it knocks me off my feet

I'm coming apart and I can't breathe

Oh, every part of me

Was tethered to what we used to be

Am I talking too much?

Am I saying too much?

Did you fall out of love?

I wish that you'd told me

What do I do?

Have I run out of time?

I'm one goodbye from lonely..."


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