Paul sat in his darkened room, alone, but not lonely, with his favorite blue sheets pulled up over his head, enwrapping him in sky. Two large, cushioned cans hugged his ears like clouds, billowing as he in turn wrapped his arms along those sleek vinyl curves. This was the way that Paul preferred to listen to his music. It was an absolute immersion, one that enabled him to get lost between the thuds of the deepest rhythms and drown in seas of reverb, stripping his essence bare until that warm, familiar Telecaster twang reached out its hand to save him -— a solace that smothered him in ecstasy.
But Paul forgot to close the door. A trapezoid of white light from the open crack bisected the room, its radiance the white heat of a candle in a dripping black cavern. It was enough to expose his sweaty body as it rustled between the sheets.
“Paul?” a voice spoke from the shelves, interrupting the throes of his atmospheric passion. “Paul, is that you?”
Paul pulled the sheets down just enough so could see, while still covering the rest of his exposed being. “Wilco? Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Oh God. Listen, I — it’s not what you think, I —”
“Is that —,” Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot swallowed hard, afraid to speak the truth that it already knew. “Is that the new The National album?”
“No! Well, yes, it is. But — I can explain!”
It was too late. The trapezoid of light from the door fell precisely on his bed, theatrically illuminating Paul’s infidelity. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot could clearly see his right hand rubbing and caressing the grooves of The National: High Violet‘s coarse plastic flesh.
“After all we’ve been through, Paul. After all these years together, this is how you treat me?” cried Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot with a shrill of a turntable needle scratching its soul. “You just…throw it all away when some other hyped-up indie band’s follow-up album comes along? Is that it?”
Paul looked over at The National: High Violet, trembling, hoping to find support. But all he saw was black.
“Where was The National when Chloe dumped you, huh?” continued Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. “Or when you had to move back to your parents’ house for that year. Do you even remember what I told you? I said I’ll love you, baby.”
“Look, it’s…it’s not you, okay? It’s me. I’ll always love you — I am the man who loves you — but The National just connects to a different part of me, and…I wanted to feel that part come alive.”
There was a pause, as the two lovers stood in gridlock, both unsure of what to do next. Finally, Paul broke the silence:
“If I could, you know I would —”
But Wilco cut him off. “No, Paul,” it said. “I’m sorry. It’s too late. But who knows? Maybe distance has a way of making love understandable.”
And that’s when the record stopped spinning.