Inspired by Sound: "Say Something” by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera

    This is part six of our series called “Inspired By Sound,” where writers use a song as the muse for their story. This piece takes influence from “Say Something” by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera.

    It was a quiet, rainy day. Except for the occasional siren noises that came from outside, she could only hear the regular sound of the raindrops hitting the window. The entire room was as silent as it could be.

    It was also one of the few relaxing days after a wave of projects, exams and other commitments. She finally earned some time to look around and gauge how messy her room was. On the desk, there were two cans of emptied beer and an opened bag of chips, on the floor were unorganized stacks of notebooks and papers and on the chair, unfolded clothes were piling up. Her parents would have been so disappointed if they saw the room.

    On her part, she had an excuse. She called her room an “ordered mess.” The room did seem messy at first glance, but she knew where everything was. A lot of the time she would study until late at night and simply pile up her school material next to her mattress. These piles stayed on the floor until she was done with her exams and had time (and reason) to clear out the floor. Now that exams were over, she knew it was about time for her to organize her room.

    As she turned away from her mattress, her eyes fixated to a corner of the room. She noticed something that disrupted her established order – his stuff. She saw the box that she had been ignoring for months. The box that contained his bike lock, his textbooks and everything else he left behind.

    She sighed. Well, I guess it’s time for me to clean that up too, she thought to herself. She searched through the box to see what was inside. Then she got frustrated that she was the one who had to take care of his stuff, even after they broke up.

    “It’s over – why do I have to care?” she muttered to herself, breaking the absolute silence of the room. It was a question no one could answer.

    . . .

    Her boyfriend, now ex-boyfriend, visited her just a month ago for a weekend. She wasn’t planning on breaking up then. She expected a weekend full of excitement. These short weekends together are what long-distance couples look forward to, right? She didn’t expect their year-long relationship to end like that – on the phone, immediately after spending time together.

    “I’ve been really stressed out that you...” she rambled on the phone, the day after he left. There was so much in her head that it came out as disorganized mess.

    “Oh. I understand,” he said, briskly. His brief, easy three words caught her off-guard. She was expecting a more thoughtful response than that.

    “… Oh, you do?” she replied, with a hint of surprise. If you understand why I’m stressed, why did you act like that, she thought to herself. I don’t think I even understand what I’m saying – how can he say he understands me so easily?

    “Yeah.” Another short reply, followed by an awkward silence.

    She felt anxious. She felt like she had to fill in the gap, but she didn’t know how. She said everything she could, and he said he understood how she felt. There was nothing more to talk about.

    Say something, she thought to herself. I tried – please show me that you are trying as well. If you don’t, I might have to give up on you.

    “I don’t think I have much more to say,” he interrupted the silence, betraying her trust and breaking her heart.

    “…Oh, okay. Bye, then?” She said with hesitation. She didn’t want the call to end there.


    He hung up. She stared at the screen of the phone.

    “What the hell,” she murmured. The phone call was supposed to resolve the tension. It didn’t. It only made her feel worse about the relationship. She tried to talk about her feelings and hopes for their relationship, hoping he would open up as well and have a conversation. That didn’t happen. She rambled, and he cut her off. That moment, she realized that the absence of communication would simply go on if she stayed in the relationship. She called back, called it an end and went to bed.

    . . .

    The emptiness she felt that day came back as she looked at the box. The regretful moment of realization that they will never really understand each other. The despair and hopelessness she felt then.

    “Time to clean up,” she told herself again. The rain began to fall even harder, as if to fill in her emptiness.


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