Alone (Laughing on the Ground)

(for solo guitar)

Program Note: 

You’ve just shut the door to your apartment. The sound of the deadbolt signals your commitment to an evening Alone. The evening calls for a normal routine: a microwave burrito, a flick through Facebook videos, a sobering look at your financial spreadsheet. As you update the spreadsheet with your daily purchases (a coffee you could have made at home, a sandwich you could have packed), you note the conditional formatting that is automatically turning your dwindling projected bank account total to red at the end of the next three months. This has been true for awhile. You play with the numbers: seeing how little you’d have to eat, how low your rent would have to be, or how time consuming of a job you’d have to get to make things work. They don’t. You slip out of your chair, to the ground, one arm to your side, the other over your eyes. It’s hopeless, but you’re not overwhelmed. Another loan will fix the problem, and you’ve already accepted that.

Yet you re-sort the numbers in your brain. Every combination is the same: red. What if you re-sorted them so the sheet read bottom to top, right to left? Would that fix it? What if black meant negative and red meant positive? What if you displayed your numbers in Morse Code? That’s funny, you think. Your mouth opens to the ceiling in a grin, your hollow delight concealed under the arm covering your closed eyes. That’s funny.

The presence of the locked door looms in your mind. And you realize that, if anyone did come through, to find you as you are, they would never truly understand what led you to be Laughing on the Ground.


Alone (Laughing on the Ground) was completed on May 10th, 2019 and premiered by Diogo Alvarez on June 2nd, 2019. Alvarez’ performance earned him “Outstanding Performance of a Student Work.”