Johnny looked Amanda in the eye. They had only been dating for a couple of weeks, but in a summer romance, just before heading back to college, weeks seemed like forever. And yet, were still never enough.
He nervously patted down his own pockets, as if he had forgotten something, and then sighed with relief when he felt the cassette tape secure in the breast pocket of his flannel shirt.
Her iPhone buzzed. It was her mom, but she ignored the call and instead responded with a quick text. She handed him one of her earbuds and turned to the Music app before playing “Call Me Maybe,” bopping along to the beat.
It was the perfect moment, he thought, and placed the cassette tape in her hand, the same one he had been holding.
“Oh my god! Did you make me a mix tape?” she squealed. Her name was written on the tape, and a list of fifteen songs had been sloppily jotted down on the paper case cover that had come with it. “I don’t even know how I’m going to listen to this. Do you have a tape player?”
“You don’t need one.” Johnny smiled before taking the case from her hand and removing the tape. He hooked his fingernail on a little USB key, that swung out of the cassette tape on a hinge. “You have your laptop with you, right?”
“Just my dad’s PC,” she said. “My MacBook is at the Genius bar.”
“That’s ok. MilkTape works on both.”
She plugged it in, slightly bummed that it wasn’t a real mix tape, but she hid that from Johnny. On the bright side, she thought, he can give me way more songs with a USB than a cassette.
She opened the drive and scanned through a list of 15 songs, before becoming quickly disappointed. And it showed on her face.
“What’s wrong?” Johnny pleaded. “You don’t like the songs? I only put Gotye on there because I know you like the song, not because you’re somebody that I used to know.”
“Six megabytes remaining? Really?” She was furious. “How much did you pay for this? It’s a cute thought, but if you spent more than a couple bucks on this…”
“It was $15,” he said, head bowed.
“Did they come in a pack?”
He shook his head.
“I mean, you can get a 16 gigabyte flash drive for $10. I guess I just don’t know why you spent so much for 15 songs.”
Amanda closed the laptop.
“I could have gotten a 4GB flash drive for $5, and that would still hold a thousand songs,” he answered. “The point of limited storage is that I have to choose carefully. You know, like they did in the old days? With cassette tapes.”
“I guess that’s kind of cute,” she said, snuggling up to him once again. “But when I make you one I’m just going to put it on Spotify, ok?”