Sep 27 • 12M

Break 007: Dust/Coincidence

Kiana Kazemi and Lindsay Liebro

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On this episode of the Dance Cry Dance Break, Dust,” a story written by Kiana Kazemi inspired by Coincidence, the first single from the debut album in production by Lindsay Liebro.


photo: Elena Orban

Singer-songwriter Lindsay Liebro and writer Kiana Kazemi, are real life best friends.

Coincidence is 18-year-old Pittsburgh native Lindsay’s first single since her independently released Wasted Potential went viral on TikTok last fall after being mistaken for an unreleased Taylor Swift track. Now with more than million streams, 80,000 monthly listeners and a contract with Dance Cry Dance records, Lindsay has moved to Nashville to study music at Belmont University and begun work on her debut album set for release in 2023. 

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Kiana has been writing for ages, from the time she drafted her first poem as a child to the present-day, where she works on her own scripts and short novels. Her inspiration comes from the everyday, searching for meaning behind the smallest actions, words, and thoughts. Currently, she attends university for Computer Science and Economics, so writing gives her the perfect creative outlet from classes. Outside of writing, she loves music (especially background tracks) and how well it intertwines with story writing.


Dust

by Kiana Kazemi

The last time we saw each other was the last time I dusted off the top of my bookshelf.

I wonder if you can recall that day so clearly as I can, and if it haunts your late-night thoughts like mine.

My friend had called me around ten in the morning, asking to spend the evening at the boardwalk just a few hours away. I agreed to go after I finished cleaning my bedroom–the usual sheet wash, plumping the pillows, watering the flowers, dusting the shelves. It was so unbearably hot that day, I almost regretted breaking out the ladder from the cabinet to climb up just to dust some shelves. I think I still regret that. 

As I walked to my closet, swinging the doors open with my remaining strength and glancing at the hangers, I could only think of one thing: it had only been a month since you disappeared from my life, yet there were endless reminders of you in everything I have. 

Sometimes, it’s as if you never left. And I hate that.

Of course I didn’t choose to wear the deep blue shirt I wore when we got ice cream together. Instead I went for the slightly-tattered gray sweatshirt I found lying on the top rack. And I didn’t choose to wear the hat you endlessly complimented at our weekly picnics; the knockoff ballcap I found in the clearance aisles a week ago worked just fine.

As my friend picked me up, I flipped through my phone’s screens until I found some music so tastelessly generic I could mute my thoughts. You know, the neverending radio “hits” that we used to make fun of before you would quickly switch the music off.

I remember trying to shake memories of our trips to the boardwalk as I carefully stepped on, noticing the beauty of it instead. The sky that day was as if someone had taken the foamy ocean waves and quickly whisked them into meringues, blowing them gently into the baby blue sky above. The breeze was welcoming, like an old friend bringing you into their embrace after months. It felt like a serene escape.

And I wish I hadn’t decided to continue walking down the beach at that point. Sometimes I wish I had never even agreed to go out to the boardwalk that day.

Because as my friend laughed with me over the seagulls stealing food, some strawberries and a crab cake from an abandoned picnic basket, my eyes fell on you. You, and someone else. You and my replacement.

Two thoughts flashed through my mind at that moment: I’m happy for you and I hope your heart is torn just like mine.

I knew you saw me at that moment too. We made eye contact, not the brief, shy type, but the type that you make when you’re trying to recognize an old friend you haven’t seen for 5 years, doubting if it’s truly the same person. And we both realized, at the same time, we were who we thought we were. 

I saw your hand twitch for a moment, as if you were contemplating whether or not to wave “hi.” But I’m glad you didn’t. I don’t know how I would have reacted. Before you could make a split-second decision, the girl you were with tugged on your hand — right, you were holding hands — and focused your attention. 

She smiled so brightly at you, just like I used to. You grinned back at her, as if our shared moment never even happened. She kissed you on the cheek, pulling out her camera to snap a quick picture of the two of you. Adorable, really, from anyone else’s view. 

Soon, you walked away. And I still felt left behind. It was almost as if the sand began pulling me in, cementing me in so I can never move on from this moment. But my friend quickly diverted my attention to the sunset. I have a feeling they knew what happened. 

I spent that night mulling over what we could have been if you had never left me alone in the cold sand a month ago.

I dusted my shelf off again today – what has it been, four months? I tried not to think much of it, not to think of what was in our past oh so many months ago.

I headed to the store, with plans of picking up cat food, eggs for the muffins I wanted to bake, and maybe a bouquet of flowers if there were any still left after Valentine’s.

And there you were.

I hate that I can recognize you from a mile away. I hate that I fall victim to hearing your laughs that aren’t shared with me. I hate that I can still see you, unaffected by what we were, if we were ever even something to you.

You were picking up some eggs, and — who was that by your side? — you placed them in the gray grocery cart — who was laughing by your side? — before moving towards the next aisle.

You didn’t see me. I rushed out of the store, pushing the one carton of eggs  I had already picked up onto a random shelf, and headed back home before you could notice. Perhaps the cashier at the front noticed my abrupt departure, one mimicking yours that I still grieve to this day.

Some days, I realize that I don’t feel guilty for despising you anymore. Rather, I feel guilty for letting you be the reason I ruin the present for myself.

I feel guilty for forgetting to pick up cat food that night, having to rush out at 8PM to the closing pet store to pick up food for Leo. I feel guilty for leaving eggs on a shelf in an aisle when I was supposed to purchase them for the muffins I planned on making for my friend's birthday.

Maybe through a set of naive eyes, you are not the one to blame for your departure from my narrative. But forever, in my torn view, you will be.

Today I glanced at my bookshelf, noticing the dust piling from the months passed. Before I could even move a finger, I realized — I can’t give into you.

I can’t dust my bookshelf anymore.

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Coincidence was written and co-produced by Lindsay Liebro, produced by Daniel Folgado, co-produced by Natalie Bayne, mixed by Brian Eichelberger. Additional vocal recording by Lauren DeMichiei, mastered by Rachel Field with Mastering Production Assistant Annie Larkin.

“Dust” was written by Kiana Kazemi and voiced by Sarah Holland.

The Dance Cry Dance Break is written and produced by Natalie Bayne and recorded and edited by Moe Provencher. 

Theme music is Red Lines, by Dance Cry Dance Records artist Tiny Tiny

Dance Cry Dance is a collective record label in Seattle, WA. Paid subscriptions support our artists and writers.