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 Do you remember this one? Of course you do.

 I first heard it way, way back. A foggy mid-week nightclub; all the drunk kids throwing epileptic shapes, caught in the random snapshot of a flickering strobe, cigarette end trails tracing a figure of eight, because back then it was still real cool to smoke.

 Man, that killer combo. Bass, drums, guitar and voice.

 Amazing. The simplest of recipes, the most basic of ingredients, yielding such damn near perfect results. The reverb on those spidery solo’s, the subtle echo on the edge of the vocals. It felt like a prayer, a hymn, sound tracking my own slow ascension as I crept up towards heaven.  

 The song became an anthem. Blasting out of car stereos, windows screwed up tightly to totally hotbox the motor; floating from a set of beaten-up speakers in some stranger’s front room as the manic evening finally wound down.

 Sometimes, I would play it quietly, whispering through my earphones at five o’clock in the morning, a frozen moment when I would almost forget to breathe because I was far too busy being alone, drowning in the absolute majesty of the music.

 Funny, really. Eventually, we all learn about life’s transitory nature. The comings and goings. Sometimes it’s friends, sometimes it’s family, shitty dead-end jobs or even the place that you call home. Only a tiny handful of sacred things are ever truly constant.

 Like you.

 And this tune.

 Hell, the format may have changed over the years, but the mood, the emotion, the feeling, that has always remained the same.

 The scratched vinyl of a second-hand copy, expertly lifted from a flea market record stall, its hiss and crackle adding yet another layer of mystery to the mesmerising beat, endlessly revolving as we shyly made love for the very first time in the damp confines of my freezing bedsit.

 As the opening number on the cassette mix tape I made for you, nervously cobbled together while swigging gut rot red plonk, the night before the anniversary dinner that you cooked up for next to nothing in the cramped kitchen of the house that you shared with your mates.

 On the CD I slipped the DJ on our wedding day, the look of horror followed by joy that floated across your face as you slapped mine when he swapped it, dropping the piece of schmaltzy crap you had lined up for our opening dance.

 Digitally downloaded onto a memory stick last week, to play, today of all days.

 As it echoes around the crematorium, the swirling beauty of the song once again conjures up countless sensations inside of me. A hint of fleeting anger as I curse the cancer that took you. A tiny sliver of sadness that your flesh can no longer touch mine.

 But most of all, a simple smile as I think of later tonight, when I will listen to it once more, dance through our empty house, and know that you are always with me.


 After building castles, the boy and his father sat upon the sand to rest. Each seemed content with the simplicity of the moment; the calmness that was all around them, the tranquillity of their surroundings.

 “I don’t want to leave Dad. I want to stay here with you.”

 The boy’s words caught him off guard. He had no response. Chose instead to focus his attention upon the horizon.

 “It’s so far away,” continued the child, “How long will I be gone for?”

 The man sighed. Knew that the boy would be unable to comprehend his reply.

 “Thirty-three years. Try and think of it as… a chance to learn.”

 The child hung his head. Traced a cross on the ground with his finger.

 “What are the people like? Are they nice? What if they don’t like me?”

 He knew that he could not answer these questions; knew, that in time, the boy would find out everything for himself.

 “Why are you sending me away? Is it because you don’t love me?”

 He reached out a hand. Stroked the boy’s hair.

 “No silly… It’s because I love you so much.”

  He hoped the child would come to understand how true these words were. He shuffled closer. Gestured upwards.

 “Look. There. Do you see how beautiful it is?”

 The boy nodded. He smiled at him.

 “Don’t worry lad. I’ll be waiting for you.”

 As they embraced, both father and son stared up at the blue and green orb that hung majestically in the sky above them.


  Sauntering along the promenade, he soaks up the atmosphere of an unprecedented mid-august scorcher.

  Out upon the sand and shingle there are no mad dogs, just sweaty deckchair tourists swatting away the still air with folded tabloids. He smiles as he navigates his way through pushchairs and sugared up bickering kids towards his favourite spot.

  A solitary bench, weather beaten by brutal off-season soakings.

  It faces the great expanse of ocean that fills the entire horizon. Before he sits, he spies a rusting metal plaque.


  A slow moment of creeping realisation.

  The accompanying name is his.

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