It was the morning after the first night that he had stayed at her place. She awoke to the sound of dishes clanking against something. She was alone in her bed and in her room. She always had anxiety on mornings like this. Is he going to turn out to be a total psycho? Is he out there loading all of her earthly possessions into bags to pawn off somewhere? When she opened the door, would he be brandishing a knife in her direction?
Given the sound of running water, it seemed more likely that he was doing the dishes. But why jump to conclusions?
Sure enough, when she opened the door, he was standing in front of the sink, rinsing off her dishes and putting them into the dishwasher. No knife-brandishing. Yet.
She had expected him to turn to face her at the sound of the door opening, but then she saw that he had a pair of earbuds, on a chord that went down to an iPod nano snapped on the outside of his pants. He was moving a little to the music and hummed pieces of whatever he was listening to. She thought she recognized it, and walked over to confirm.
Hunching over, she looked at the screen. She wrinkled her nose in displeasure. She had the song right—Sweet Dreams—but it was the Marlyn Manson cover. He noticed her there and flinched in surprise at someone’s face staring at his hip.
“Good morning down there,” he said, taking out his earbuds.
“Marlyn Manson?” She asked, leveling him with her most judgmental face. An easy grin spread on his face.
“I flirted with metal when I was in college,” he explained unapologetically, “I didn’t get very deep into it, but I still like the stuff I listened to back then. Is this grounds for kicking me out?”
“It is definitely grounds for kicking you out,” she said in mock-sternness, “but you woke up early and did my dishes for me, so I guess I’ll look the other way this time.”
“What do you like?” he asked, turning off the water and drying his hands.
“Good music.” this got a laugh from him.
“Every genre exists because someone thinks it’s good,” he pointed out, “I’ve never really been as into music as a lot of people I know. I’m the kind of person who starts to get into something when I can see what it is that people I like can see in it. I had a few friends in college that were really into metal.”
“I just don’t really see what anyone could really…see in it,” she replied, “as far as I can tell it’s all screaming, and doesn’t require a whole lot of talent.” He looked pensive for a moment.
“Here, let me play something for you,” he said, messing with his iPod to get the song he had in mind. When he had it, he offered her one of the earbuds, which she peered at with visible skepticism. “I promise you there is zero screaming, it isn’t even loud.”
“OK…I will kick you out if you’re lying,” she threatened, taking the earbud. As he said, it wasn’t loud and there was no screaming. It was even a little pretty, she had to admit, if a little too pop for her taste. When it was over, she said, “OK, that was kind of nice. But not metal. What was it?”
“Through Glass, and the singer is Corey Taylor,” he explained, “also known as the lead singer of Slipknot.”
“What?” She blanched, “Really?”
“Yeah. This isn’t Slipknot though; it’s Stone Sour, the other band he’s in. Just wanted to make the point that a lot of these guys can sing in the way you mean, they just choose to do things the way they’re expected to in a metal band.”
“That’s even weirder. But interesting,” She admitted.
“I don’t know too much about it, just something I noticed,” he said.
“Well I know a lot,” she boasted, “at least, about good music.”
“Why don’t you show me some of this good music of yours?” He challenged her with a smirk.
They spent the remainder of their first morning together listening to some of her favorite songs. They talked about them and about the time in her life when she had listened to them, and what he had been doing then. They ribbed each other and laughed about it.
All in all, the best first morning either of them had had.