Wrapped in scarfs and winter threads, the two of us sat on those airport seats. A return flight to Perth awaited you and a weekend escape to Sydney was ready for my carry on baggage. This unspoken silence chilled our spines, the unknown uncertainty of what existed beyond our four days of intertwined romance, chattered against our tongues like pop rock candy. My boarding call broke our pierced eye foreplay, my hands trembled against your shoulder blades as the fear of this possibly being the last time that I held you in my arms, suffocated my thoughts. You pecked me on the cheek, I kissed your lips briefly, we were surrounded by masculine men and middle class families in that departure lounge, but nothing existed in that moment but the phantom pain of saying goodbye to you. That Garden State airport-closing scene still haunts me now. I recall stepping downwards onto that escalator and looking back to see you just standing there looking so broodingly handsome. This longing overcame me. This impulse to make some grand romantic movie type statement. Some kind of act that would ensure you became mine and mine alone, but I couldn’t do it. An hour later as I exited those Sydney airport gates, excited to see my best mate and his wife, but heartbroken by the need to be by your side. I turned my phone off aeroplane mode and received your Spotify track notification. From the moment I hit play on Silk by Giselle, all I wore was a smile, because in that instant, I knew the playlist known as us would continue to blossom.
We’ve all seen films like the Before Sunrise series, Lost in Translation, Elizabethtown and Garden State. Relatable reels about two people that are lost who find something meaningful through their shared connection, fall for each others charms and then ultimately have to part ways. The infinite playlist of K and I is no different to any of those cinematic journeys. The only difference with us, is that the Spotify playlist that began streaming music on August the 24th 2012, via a shared private music message. Still continues to pulsate beyond the closing credits, 138 tracks and 9 hours and 1 minute of playtime later. I guess to understand how a digital music streaming application can continue to keep the heartbeats of two people separated by interstate locations pulsating, you have to cue the soundtrack of us.
The first headphone waltz of the rest of your life
The play button on the playlist of K and I was activated from a fateful Facebook news feed sighting, one that transpired into a toffee struck and tongue tied four day romance. He was in Melbourne from Perth for a work conference and I had just found out that the company I was working for was set to be relocating to San Francisco, indefinitely. We exchanged mobile numbers on that Tuesday morning post our status update sighting, in the hope of trying to catch up before he flew back to Perth on the Wednesday. The memory of that sub zero August evening and opening my front door to see this adorably handsome man standing in the middle of my street, leather jacket and septum nose piercing clad, still remains frozen in recollection. The plan was to have a wine, watch a film and hangout for a few hours. But tonsil hockey and shared chest pillows beneath paisley sheets quickly transpired late into the night. Morning came and after coffee in each other’s arms and many sensual kisses and morning glory explorations, we shared a train into the city. I went to work and he went back to his workmates to attend his last morning of conference before departing. We exchanged a few messages that morning and it was clear that the night before and its intimate intensity, was something that we both hadn’t found with anyone in a while. Then K put forward the notion of him extending his trip for a few days. We agreed that it was a little crazy and cornily impulsive, but despite the whimsicalness of it, this felt like our very own version of that film Weekend unfolding before my very eyes, and all I wanted to do was embrace every moment of my time with his heartbeat as my lullaby.
K changed his flight till 1 p.m. on the Friday to coincide with my weekend departure for Sydney. He explored Melbourne for the afternoon and then when I walked out of the galleria building and onto Bourke Street, there he stood again, the luminous Natalie Portman to my clumsy Zach Braff pouts. From the moment I saw him again I knew that I wouldn’t be returning to my office that week and that the only thing that existed was the now. Once we got back to my place with his luggage, an evening slumber previewing new albums intertwined in each others arms transpired. He introduced me to emerging tracks like British India’s release I Can Make You Love Me, as my fingertips danced sensually against his So Let Go tattoo. The fact that he had Frou Frou lyrics, a track from one of my favourite films inked on his body, sent me into a Rachel McAdams meets Will Truman ‘this is destiny’ state of mind. But I managed to keep calm without cementing a ring to his finger on day two. That night we embraced the winter cold and strolled the streets of Fitzroy indulging in beverages, cuisine and savoring each other’s company. On our walk home as we detoured through parks to try and beat the evening cold, my calves were dancing with excitement, mainly because in that moment I felt like some kind of giddy Nina Proudman. I had finally found a type of chocolate brown eyed Patrick, one who I wanted to keep straddled on top my chest and synched to my lips for as long as possibly could.
Thursday morning bloomed, emitting radiant morning sunlight through my window and we lay for what seemed like hours searching each other’s gazes, sharing everything and anything as our limbs got lost in each other. Post bristles and lip chaffed brunch we strolled South Yarra, devoured Misty’s Dinner Hershey’s Reece’s Pieces shakes and got rain soaked along St Kilda Pier. We scampered for shelter and our quest to escape the rain clouds led us beneath the front entrance of the apartment block from the television series The Secret Life of Us. We dried off back in my bedroom in a nestled cocoon, letting each other’s body heat warm us before our last night exploring Melbourne together dawned. Refreshed from an afternoon siesta we ventured back onto Chapel St for dinner and then watched The Sapphires at the Jam Factory. Inside the cinema we held hands like teens and rushed to the photo booth upon exit from the film, to capture the intoxicating energy that had been us for the past few days. I don’t think we got to sleep till at least 2 a.m. that night. There was just this unspoken fear that come morning the now would be gone forever. That morning after brunch at New York Tomato, we had one last lounging session on my bed. Each time we tried to part ways to pack our luggage, our kisses kept reacting like magnets to our lips. I should have been excited about my impending holiday in Sydney, but all my heart wanted was to tell him how much this meant. How this felt, how I felt and how I wanted this to stay, for him to stay, for us to be something more than a once was.
The best tracks are unexpectedly discovered
Following our airport departures, our Spotify inboxes became inundated with track exchanges. The Lumineers Hey Ho, The Neighbourhood’s Sweater Weather, Grizzly Bear’s Alligator and Chet Faker’s I’m Into You became our heartbeats, crafting soft focused cityscape reflections through our bedroom windows from Melbourne to Perth. Then I did it, I booked a flight to Perth for a few days and as the fauna of Spring began to flourish, I found myself on the doorstep of his Perth abode. I decided it was my turn to make a bold statement and when his car pulled up and I saw those eyes and that smirk again, my heart melted. I felt like a high school kid again, being in his room, seeing the way he woke up to the world everyday. Being back in his arms again, having those lips caress mine like only his could, it all just felt so right. But there was this lingering feeling, that although this was planned and we both knew it was happening. Maybe the reason why films like Lost In Translation never had a sequel was because outside of that experience, the partnership didn’t really have a future.
K took me to a series of bars and sights that he knew were Scoobs kosher. We devoured cocktails, caught up on life and eye fucked each other as frequently as we could, before tipsily returning to his place. Coiled back in his arms and with his head lying lathe on my chest, just felt like some surreal dream. It still didn’t feel real being back here with him and given my limited time before starting my new role. I was already starting to fear the goodbye again, rather than embracing the now. Morning came and K had to go into work, so my Perth based cousin came and picked me up and we owned the Perth coastlines like only two crazy Croatians can. That night we had dinner and wine on K’s porch and watched the sunset, it felt so right and I remember for a moment just becoming transfixed on him. All he was doing was sitting there eating dinner. But in this space, his space, I pondered to myself is this how it feels, could this be us? Could he be the type of person that I actually want to let into my life enough to greet him when he returns home from work everyday? I broke my creepy stare and smiled back at him. Then I kissed those pizza crumb lined lips, secretly knowing that I could come home to this for the rest of my life.
Sunday dawned and footsteps on the dance floor from the night before hadn’t left us feeling too hungover. Though as he showered I lay there looking up at his roof and recollecting those kisses on that The Court dance floor from the night before, the pulsations between us and the pride I felt knowing that in that moment he was mine and mine alone in that tacky gay bar. I pulled myself together and rummaged through my luggage to find the gift I had brought him, it was just a kitsch indie playlist illustrated book for him to record all his favourite playlists in. But it was definitely an appropriate gift given the significance of shared songs in our partnership. I placed it on his bed and then began to get ready for the day. There’s still a part of me now that would love to know what tracks got entered into that book… We brunched at Tuck Shop like a real couple, explored Fremantle and then watched the sunset at Cottesloe Beach, the fact that Michelle Williams had celebrated the life of her deceased partner Health Ledger in this very water, filled me with the same melancholy that I felt about K and I as the sun faded. I hardly slept at all that night. The thought of saying goodbye again, gnawed at my earlobes and I kept waking up and nestling myself tightly against him, hoping that morning wouldn’t come. Morning dawned and we found ourselves in that moment again, when kisses replaced words and too much got left unsaid. K drove me to the airport and I kissed him tenderly goodbye, left the car quickly and as I saw him drive off into the distance, I dropped my luggage and literally fell to my knees crying as a flood of mining workers showered me with their glares.
Some soundtracks were made for two
Our infinite playlist of privately shared Spotify songs went silent on November the 1st 2012, until on May the 17th 2013 when K filled my inbox with a track supported by the prose “Taxi drives through the night, destination Richmond X”. I instantly pressed play on Julian by Say Lou Lou and was overwhelmed once more. I felt his fingertips interweave into mine as I stood in the courtyard of that Northcote house party. A second track quickly followed, Vance Joy’s song From Afar, with a message stating “This is me apologising for vanishing, the only way I know how”. In an instant all I wanted was him and everything that I knew we could be as one. Our playlist began to build again and then his visit to Melbourne for work arrived. Though this time I was wiser or thought I was. I had a friend visiting from Auckland and my time for most of his trip was spent with her and her family, but we caught up. When I saw him again at Federation Square it was like a movie frame and I wanted to be the knock-kneed Drew Barrymore that ran for him and kissed him, but I didn’t, we hugged like old friends and ventured to Grub in Fitzroy. It felt like home again, just being in conversation with K and I weaved the conversation to suggest that I had someone, even though I didn’t, but I wanted the upper hand and I didn’t want to be the vulnerable one. Even though in one gesture he could have had me undressed and against his lips. We went shopping along Gertrude Street and found him a hat that he wanted, talking to an old camp shopkeeper it was like we were there together as a couple and for a moment I thought this is how great it would feel to just do everyday things together with him as my man. Post our shopping we ventured to my friend Michelle’s, mainly because I wanted to show him her and Bjorn’s amazing space and secondly because I wanted him to meet one of my oldest friends. Once again being in a place that was my world, a place inhabited by people who were like family to me, I got a taste of how we could be as a part of each others worlds and seeing him interact with Michelle, all I wanted to say to K was how I felt, how I always had felt and what I still wanted. But instead I hugged him goodbye, said it was great to see him and went back to Michelle’s for our Girls hang. He was still in Melbourne for 24 hours post that evening, but I made sure I kept away even though all I wanted was to stop the pace of my life and to let him be my pulse.
Our playlist streamed for a few months after our July catch up and then it had seasons of silence again, yet as was always the case, one of us would reignite it’s pulse and K did this when he went to New York for three weeks. New York was always our dream, Brooklyn a common shared lust and while I was a little envious, I was also really proud that he had finally made it there for an adventure. Plus getting newly discovered tracks fresh from NYC delivered to my inbox while I was working in the sweltering Australian summer heat, definitely made my computer mouse groove with excitement. Since he returned from his trip our shares have still continued and when I got home on Friday night post diner out with friends and pressed play on his birthday track, almost two years later. Time stood still again and I was back in that airport escalator moment looking at my laptop and wanting to say so much more as I read his message and listened to this track. Alone in my bedroom and looking at a picture captured on Instagram of my friends and I at dinner earlier. I saw a space next me at the table that I wished he could have filled and as the songs tempo picked up, all I wanted in that moment was for his hands to be intertwined in mine, as I farewelled my first day of the rest of my 29’s.
The older we get, the more we date and the less we connect with potential lovers, the more we reminisce about what could have been. On the flip-side the more we learn from life and the more we achieve what we want in life. The more we start to realise that there are some people who we do want to toast the triumphs of life with, hope to explore the globe with and secretly long to fight over the last bunch of kale at an organic market with. I don’t know if K and I will ever get to reside in the same state permanently, whether we’ll ever get to be what we once were, or whether we’re destined to be two people connected by shared Spotify beats. But what I do know is that there’s a playlist known as us, one that has been streaming for almost two years and it’s kept me warmer than any other one stand or forced commitment for the sake of committing, ever could have.
To listen to our playlist click here ► Perth Pash Rash & Waffle Fries
Written by Samuel Elliot Snowden
About samuelelliotsnowdenDigital creative by day, frolicker of Fitzroy and crafter of narratives in 12 point-courier fonts by night, fond of quirky adventures with strangers & blogging.
Latest Posts By samuelelliotsnowden
- 03.22.14Raping The Adolescent Closet
- 02.09.14Why Taking A Solo Selfie With Pride Is The New Rose This Valentine’s Day
- 12.22.13How To Lose A Guy In 10 Grindr Messages: Love In The Mobile App Age
- 11.24.13Surviving The Dark Knight: A Movember Blog About Accepting A Life Changing Illness
- 11.10.13I Have a Black Dog and Sometimes It Escapes From Its Leash: A Movember Blog About Men’s Mental Health