I recently read an excellent essay called “Playing House” in Heather Havrilesky‘s latest collection, What If This Were Enough? In it, she recounts a doomed relationship from many years ago. He pretended to be something he was not—happy, together—and though she saw through it, she pretended to want to share in his fantasy. She knew it was self-destructive from the start, but burrowed deeper into their mutual misery.
As I read it, the song “Ever Fallen In Love” by Buzzcocks played on repeat in my mind. The simple lyrics are broad enough to be interpreted in many ways, but the underlying themes are universal. Our protagonist has strong feelings for somebody who doesn’t feel the same way. It creates an unhealthy imbalance in their relationship (real or imagined?) that leaves him feeling abused. He knows this infatuation will destroy him, but he clings to it in the belief that love alone will save him. It won’t.
More Short Stories in a Song:
Bio S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, GRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.