peace and paranoia

Supermarket Flowers

A/N: Sorry to have to do this to you all but… not sorry. Couldn’t help but write this to such an amazingly emotional and triggering song by Ed Sheeran - Supermarket Flowers

Warning: Trigger warning for bereavement and loss.

There was so much silence. After everyone had all gone it was like everything in the room was suddenly unreal. It was like one of those moments in an artistic movie where there’s no sound and every picture is supposed to have a meaning that you don’t comprehend. It was the same apartment, in the same building with all the same belongings but it was like none of it belonged.

Spencer walked over to the light that streamed from the window either side of the slowly wilting flowers he’d brought home less than a week ago. The bright colours had faded from the petals as the flora hung its head in sadness and respect. This wasn’t their burden to bear, so he picked up the vase and moved to the kitchen, each step he took becoming an insult to the respectful noiselessness.

Spilling the water into the sink, Spencer’s eyes wandered to the counter, to the single mug that had been left by the side. Perhaps she’d been too tired to wash it or tip it away. Maybe she’d just forgotten it. Either way, she wouldn’t want it now and he could tip that away too.

Wandering back through into the living room, no idea what to do with himself, Spencer searched for some kind of meaning to take away the numbness. Stopping by the coffee table, he looked down to the items on its surface, the mess she’d left behind. The corner of a thick book protruded from under a stack of newspapers, drawing his attention to the point that he had to pull it free of its entrapment. In his hands was the scrapbook that he’d brought to her to cheer her up. A whole life in these pages, one which he’d give anything to live over again.

I took the supermarket flowers from the windowsill
Threw the day old tea from the cup
Packed up the photo album that you had made
Memories of a life that’s been loved

In his bedroom there, were, even more, items, more memorabilia that would haunt him if left alone. The card that Henry and Michael had made for her, her boxes of pills on the bedside cabinet, even the strange tasting soda that she seemed to love in a bottle by the side of the bed, it all had to go. It took everything in him to even move, but it had to go.

There were many memories of when he was young… when they’d been a family, where they’d both told him to be strong, but how could he be strong right now. Sitting at the edge of the bed, it began to sink in. The reality was that he’d never hear her voice again and it was a pain he couldn’t bare. ‘All it takes is a single tear to open the floodgates’ he heard his inner voice say, but the tear came regardless.

Took the get well soon cards and stuffed animals
Poured the old ginger beer down the sink
Dad always told me don’t you cry when you’re down
But mum there’s a tear every time that I blink

“I’m so sorry,” he sobbed to no one. “I should have been there…”

The longer he sat, the more he thought of all the times he’d needed her, all the times she was there. Tears began to stream and Spencer’s face turned red in anguish of all of the things that he’ll never be able to do or say to her again. Turning back, he placed a hand on the middle of the bed where he’d found her.

Oh I’m in pieces it’s tearing me up but I know
A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved

“I know…” he began before choking up. “I know that I’ve never really believed… but I need you to look after her. I’ve done what I could, and I need you to take it from here…” He laughed a little through his tears, unable to believe what he was doing but the prayer continued. “She… she was my mom and… I loved her, even when she was at her worst… but you best be thankful, because in her own way she was so amazing, and loving and…”

He couldn’t do it. The words wouldn’t keep coming, so instead, he looked up at the ceiling like he’d seen so many people with faith do and just thought the things he wanted to say.

So I’ll sing Hallelujah, you were an angel in the shape of my mum
When I fell down you’d be there holding me up
Spread your wings as you go
And when God takes you back
He’ll say Hallelujah, you’re home.

The space in the bed where she’d lay was still unmade, a sign of what had happened that needed to be removed. Frantically, he grabbed hold of the pillow, tugging at the ends so that it straightened and puffed out before pulling the corner of the duvet across. Spencer was about to lean down to pick up her nightgown when the second wave hit him like a storm surge. Crying out with tears, he held his head in his hands, sobbing once more.

“Spence…” came a warm and comforting voice, causing him to stand and look in embarrassment. In the doorway stood JJ, sympathy in her eyes and an apologetic smile on her lips. “I’m so sorry about…”

“Don’t say it,” he pleaded, more tears running down his face. “I… I can’t yet.”

“It’s ok,” she replied. “We don’t have to say or do anything yet.”

There was a short and awkward pause where neither party even seemed to breathe until Spencer broke and stepped forward. Instinctively, JJ accepted him into an embrace, wrapping him up in her arms and letting him hide against her shoulder. The pair stood, JJ rubbing his back soothingly like she would her own child, for what seemed like hours even though it was only moments.

“I need to… make arrangements…” Spencer began, standing up straight again. His cheeks and eyes were bright red from crying but his expression was determined.

“Spencer, that can wait…” she began in reply but he knew what he wanted.

“No, I wanna do it now,” he answered, another tear beginning to roll down the side of his cheek. JJ cupped his face in her hands, wiping away the tear with her thumb as she looked into his eyes and saw the need to busy himself.

“Ok,” she said. “But I’m coming with you.”

I fluffed the pillows, made the beds, stacked the chairs up
Folded your nightgowns neatly in a case
JJ said she’d drive, then put her hand on my cheek
And wiped a tear from the side of my face

Staring out of the car window, Spencer watched as all of the people went about their day. None of them seemed to show the sorrow that he felt and it made him wonder how the world could stand still for a single person as the rest of humanity went on with their lives like nothing was happening. However, he’d seen it. He knew that everyone would go through it at some point, losing someone you loved; and they’d always say that a person’s loving memory would mean that they’re never really gone. If anything, he was proud of her, knowing that even though she hadn’t had the best of lives she would always be thinking of him and the love she showed him was all he ever needed from her. Hopefully, now, she was at peace. There were no more paranoias to torment her, no more delusions, no more hallucinations. Just rest.

I hope that I see the world as you did cause I know
A life with love is a life that’s been lived
So I’ll sing Hallelujah, you were an angel in the shape of my mum
When I fell down you’d be there holding me up
Spread your wings as you go, when God takes you back
He’ll say Hallelujah, you’re home

Tracks Of Year 2015

A typical year.

For most of 2015, I didn’t think I was going to write this.

As we moved increasingly into 2016, I suspect you didn’t think I would either.

But no, I’m not just listening to Radio 6 and tap-tap-tapping my curated playlists, though for most of 2015 I thought otherwise. Pleasure was bleached from my neophile leanings in pop music. I didn’t want to do that any more. I hated that part of me. Part of me smiled at the irony – that I had created WicDiv as a ritual to get over my own sorry ass, and it was working. As I said last year, Be Careful What You Wish For. I was never careful about my wishes. I suspected that was it. There wouldn’t be another tracks of the year.

That changed.

There was a moment about ¾ of the way through 2015 when I heard a record. I stared at the speakers in sheer amazement that this was possible and realised… no, that is beautiful, and you have need to write about that experience, if only for the last time. And if it IS the last time, that’s also okay.

It is inevitably #1, as these lists are always tracks of THE YEAR rather than any pretence of objectivity or that this should mean anything else to anyone else other than yours truly. At least part of the slowness is just that, even with the epiphany I describe above, my heart hasn’t been in the place for this. If I need to relax – and most of my year, I have guarded that peace with paranoia – unlocking Pandora’s beatbox hasn’t been my first instinct.

Also, because it would be work. I was aware that even with my scratch list needed work, and I had to do the research to see what else I was missing. I ended up deciding that was never going to happen. As such, this list is even more ramshackle than usual. But it is a list, and exists, and that counts for something.

(Hell, by accidentally clicking on a friend’s 2015 list, I realised I forgot to include Sleater Kinney’s No Cities To Love, and thrown it in. There is a lot of No Cities To Love, I suspect. But hey – this is a bunch of fun music.)

The rules remain. 1 track per artists. Artists who have multiple tracks I love gets one picked and boosted. Artists who collaborate with multiple people can have multiple places (So Robyn could get it for her solo work and her work with Royksopp, back in the day). It has to have been ACTIVE last year in some way, so singles that released in 2014 and only came to my attention in 2015 when they dropped on an album would get in. And “tracks” doesn’t mean “Any bit of music” not just “Singles” though it usually does.

It is written quickly, to ensure it is happened, and is insufficiently proofread (i.e. it has not been proof-read at all. Hell, it has not been RE-read at all.)

I also cheat a lot to keep flow of argument. Also, being as late as it has been, 2016 has warped 2015 more than usual. Hell, I’ve just had the wonder of Thought Bubble’s dance floor. I am broken.

One more time, at least in this format.

The Spotify Playlist is here. 39/40 are on it, I believe.

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“So is America over? A long time ago we “lost” China, we’ve lost Southeast Asia, we’ve lost South America. Maybe we’ll lose the Middle East and North African countries. Is America over? It’s a kind of paranoia, but it’s the paranoia of the superrich and superpowerful. If you don’t have everything, it’s a disaster.”
― Noam Chomsky.