There’s almost always a radio playing, though it’s very rarely me who turns it on. Over the years I've got used to walking from room to room, following the sounds around. Often, there’ll be something from his laptop playing through the speakers. Now and then, he’ll fetch a record from the big white cabinet upstairs, place it on the turntable and carefully lower the needle until the old familiar music fills the house, with its gentle background crackles that sound like rainfall.
As I write this, he’s in the kitchen. I hear the sounds of the freezer opening and closing, the chopping board placed down on the worktop, the opening and closing of cupboards and drawers, all to the sound of Shirley Bassey belting out Goldfinger. She’s quickly followed by the sharp drumming of Django Django's Life’s a Beach. There's no way of predicting what will come next; his musical taste is as varied as the books he reads, as the people he talks to, as the things he knows.
When we go for a drive he'll choose the music to come with us. The very first present he ever gave me was a mixed tape, and now every year at Christmas, we’ll each get a CD; something he’s spent hours putting together, picking the tunes that he knows we’ll appreciate, making sure to include something we've never heard before, that he’s decided we should like.
Every so often, I wonder why I live my life to someone else's soundtrack, why he's the one who always decides what we listen to. But then I find myself singing along and see him smiling, or I walk into the room and he plays a track just because he knows it will make me dance.
I sometimes talk about the music that will be played at my funeral; depending on my mood, I imagine the mourners shaking their heads in despair, sobbing their hearts out, grinning at a memory. It doesn't really matter anyway; I know he’ll pick the music he thinks I should have chosen. I don't talk about the songs I'd play for him, not because I'm frightened of choosing and getting it wrong, just because without him, there really is no music.