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She looked at her reflection in the mirror and couldn't help but focus on the inconsistencies in her usually flawless skin. Her eyes meticulously traced the outline of her lips and rested on three blemishes trying to form a crop circle around them. She never used to let things like this bother her. Everyone always told her how young she looked and her baby face did indeed belie her age that was nearing 30. As the years wore on she noticed as laugh lines started to show themselves and blemishes started to stop in for extended visits. She had finally started to hate growing older. Everyone had warned her it would happen but it was always a myth to her, until now.

She felt older than she was. The life she lived had given her this, but it wasn't from a traditional rebellious teenage-hood. She was a victim of all those things you tell children to watch out for. She didn't get those lectures. Her mother thought that keeping an eye on her and "protecting" her was enough, no warning needed. Her mother was wrong.

The mixtape clicked itself off. She reached over and ejected it, flipping it and hitting play all in one fell swoop. The first song would be The Cure "Close To Me". She had listened to this tape at least 70 times over the last year or so. Whenever she was getting ready to hang out with friends or out on a date she would listen to it and prepare herself for a good time to be had. Music had always been her lifeblood, that would never change.

She would always be a mixtape person too. She liked the convenience that technology afforded her but she would always choose a mixtape over an I-Pod. Mixtapes captured a time and a place, much like Tangerine herself. She was the type to save a napkin from a good night out at a restaurant, and she had saved every wristband to every concert she had ever been to in all her adult life. She was a collector of memories.

All her friends called her Tangerine Dream. It wasn't her real name and they all knew this. Most of them had no idea that Tangerine Dream was the name of her favorite band. And by all rights, why would they? Her friends were sweet and soulful people but pop-culture would never mean as much to them as it did to her. She had seen the film Miracle Mile when she was 13, and she had cataloged everything Tangerine Dream from that point on. She also started to invest in the ideal that one day she would find a love like the one in Miracle Mile. She would one day meet a guy who after 24 hours fell so hard for her, he'd sacrifice everything to spend his last few hours on earth with her, because she was just that special. And Tangerine was definitely a special woman.

Nothing about her fit convention. She had always marched to the beat of her own drummer. She hated to wear a dress, no matter how nice she may indeed look in it, she'd always prefer a faded Pixies shirt. She had always been one to be an activist rather than a hanger on. She didn't care that she might look butch, because to her, the guy who liked her could see through and see the real her. Her mother didn't agree. Her mother rallied against it, but there was no fixing Tangerine, because she wasn't broken. She was 5'6" and weighed well over 250 lbs. She was shaped like an apple and had strawberry blond hair and sea-tinted blue eyes. All the boys had always told her what a beautiful face she had. But not this latest one. Oh, he loved her face, but he loved her body too. It confused and amazed her.

The tape cut in and out and slowed and then sped to the right level as Death Cab came on. She was in the process of powdering her cheeks and smiled at how she was the only person she knew who could listen to even semi-depressing songs and stay happy.

She had been rejected many times. She had also been treated like garbage by those who didn't reject her, more often than not. She had been in relationships with men who had toyed with her heart, knowingly. One who used her for a place to stay. One who used her for a piece of ass. One who said he cared about her, but would go days on end without so much as a call, or a message of "how are you doing?", knowing she hung on every word and jumped at the chance to hear his voice. It was this last one that wised her up. Grew her some backbone. She knew whoever she dated next would have to be worthy of her, or he wasn't worth it at all.

When she had first seen him she noticed the way he took her in with his eyes. His smile jerked a smile onto her face and it stayed that way. They smiled each other through the next few months. When he looked into her eyes she felt like the only girl in the world. She had never thought it was possible for anybody to isolate her in that way until she had met him.

Jeff Buckley sang "I Woke Up In A Strange Place" as she blew dry her hair and replayed thoughts of her love in her head. Her fair flew around her face as she watched herself in the mirror. She thought back to those initial weeks after they first met. The text messages she had burned into her brain passages. Even if it was all over tomorrow, they would live on. All those sweet things he had said and meant. He would tell her how he had been thinking of her, or how beautiful she was. It was insanity, she had never felt like she was something to behold, but he had that effect on her. It scared her that one man could make up for all the others who had broken her. It scared her even more that it had all happened over the course of a few months.

He would be there soon. She had her eyes trained to flit back to her phone every few seconds to make sure she wouldn't miss a call or a text.

The lyrics playing echoed in her head, "Haven't had a dream in a long time/See the life I've had could make a good man bad/So for once in my life, let me get what I want/ Lord knows it would be the first time". The Smiths always made her feel whole again.

Her heart beat fast as she anticipated his call to tell her he was there. She enjoyed the initial embrace they always shared. Her heart expanded just imagining it.

Her phone buzzed with a text. She reached for it instantaneously. It was him.

[On my way, be there in 20]

A smile spread across her face.

Her phone buzzed again. It was him.

[You're so beautiful. I would never change a thing about you.]

Her heart felt so big she thought she might die from elation. She closed her eyes and felt his hands on the sides of her face, his lips touching hers and she could find a sort of sweetness in this quiet moment, alone in her bathroom. She could smell the shampoo she had just used. He loved the way her hair smelled. He would mention it when he hugged her.

She often worried it was all a dream.

She often worried she would wake up at any time.

He often worried the same thing.

Created: Mar 31, 2014

Tags: your favorite songs, story, love, fiction

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