Disclaimer: I do not own the movie Once or the musical Once or any of the songs written by The Script, clearly. This is purely for entertainment purposes, based on an idea that my friend and I riffed out while cutting through the crowd in Times Square after seeing Once the musical.
The guy logged in to the website, his fingers tapping out the login information as deftly as they played his guitar.
The computer was secondhand, old and slow as hell, but it still worked and working at Best Buy the last four months had taught him how to program the bloody thing so he could make scratch recordings of his songs.
That first, magical demo CD was on the internet, on a website that sold independent music. Five people ordered his CD on its first day listed. That was two months ago. He was still unsigned, but with a better understanding of how to go about finding a following. He made short videos of himself singing and put them up on YouTube. He had a Facebook fan page. His EP, the demo CD, had just gotten on iTunes and he hoped that he would see some profit there.
His studio apartment was lonely, but at least it was quiet. His beat up guitar was his best friend. He and his ex argued constantly, as they had in Ireland. He was sad to find that his girlfriend who had seemed so in love with him and been enthralled by his songwriting and playing when they first began going out in secondary school turned out to be a person who was going in such a different direction.
So they broke up.
Now to craft new songs. He had four, so far: "Once," "Trying to Pull Myself Away," "Lies" and "All the Way Down." They were about his ex-girlfriend again. He'd eaten Ramen noodles for two weeks in order to save enough to have a two-hour session in a recording studio to finish the four songs.
One more song would complete the EP.
His fingers strummed the guitar absently. He hit a riff he liked. Where could this one go? It sounded better if it started slower. He changed the key. That was better. It was a touch melancholy, which suited his empty flat and his existence at present.
He hummed the melody for the next three days. He was playing on the corner of 42nd Street when the words "Going back to the corner where I first saw you" flashed into his mind.
He strummed. Going back to the corner where I first saw you/ Gonna camp in my sleeping bag, I'm not gonna move.
A young woman stopped in front of him. "That's really pretty."
He stopped playing the same riff over and over, remembering that he was on the street. This was not the place to figure out a song.
The young woman smiled. "You're Irish."
He grinned. "I am."
She nodded. "Is that from a song?"
"You should totally write more," she said. Then she pulled a twenty from her wallet and dropped into his guitar case. "Well, have a nice day." She walked away.
* * *
The girl sat on the stairwell of her building, folding in on herself. There was an argument, a horrible loud fight that made Ivanka cry. She couldn't even remember what the fight was about anymore or how it started. But they said mean things to each other.
They hadn't been getting along recently. It was the same problem that always plagued them. They were just different. Once, they had been able to reconcile their differences. He had a lot of pride while she tried to make those around her happy. She was willing to work low-paying jobs, as long as she could provide for Ivanka. Beggars can't be choosers, the Irish said, and it was the truth. Her husband didn't understand her music.
They both changed while they were apart.
So the girl sat on the stairs and wept into her hands. They couldn't go on like this.
Reza came out of the flat and sat on the stairs beside her.
Reza said, "What are you going to do?"
"I don't know."
"Either stay with him and live like this or divorce him and let him go back."
The girl nodded. "Yeah. Reza, I don't know what to do."