Saturday 18 June 2022

'Trent Reznor Is My Cupid' by Kristina T. Saccone

I’m at the shuttle airlock with Nine Inch Nails in my headphones, teeth grinding, shutting out the world, when this guy angles a smile at me that’s impossible to ignore.

“Hey, I’m Miles.”

“Della,” I reply, turning down the volume enough in case I nee to be polite. The thumping guitar and bass keep me calm in the run up to meeting my parents on one of those platinum-standard anti-matter star cruisers. I’m too damn old to be on vacation with my moms, but I bit the bullet because I’m also too poor to turn down a free trip.

“The Downward Spiral?” he asks. Maybe the volume had been a little too loud.

“Yeah. An old favorite.”

A curl of chestnut hair droops over his forehead. “Same,” he says. I feel my jaw unclench.

Next comes one of those nerdy fan conversations about Trent Reznor that’s so good I think maybe this holiday won’t be bad after all if Miles is there too. Just my luck to learn the shuttle between the planet and ship had been overbooked, and I’m bumped to the next departure. I would never see him again on a 1,000-person cruiser.

“Let’s trade numbers,” he says, tossing that irresistible curl out of his eyes. He boards the shuttle, saying goodbye, leaving me with a racing heart.

So my tunes go back on – a little less loud this time. I listen to one more song, then two, before the phone vibrates. I gnaw at my cheek, sure it’s my mom checking in for the nth time.

But it’s Miles with a screenshot of the cruiser’s activities. He’s circled the listing for a 1990’s nostalgia holo-concert.

I write him back, smiling: “Meet you there.”

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