Saturday, 9 November 2013

Radio times

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.

14 comments:

Mary-Colleen said...

This is exactly what I wanted to read at just the moment I wanted to read it. Just lovely.

Whirlochre said...

Anything beats the Void — or Chris Evans.

But, the Bassey of a hat-wearing Dodd sounds fun...

Tori said...

Lovely!

Delores said...

No doubt he's already got his music all picked out. Sonny said it best though....'the beat goes on' regardless.

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Wow. I was reading along and smiling and thinking that my husband usually picks out the music in much the same way, and then bam! "Without him there really is no music." There is no way to prepare for that eventuality either, is there?

Elephant's Child said...

Sometimes silence is the most powerful music of all.

Bobby Stevenson said...

Wow, not only beautiful writing but expressing a beautiful love. A lump in my throat at the end. X

Bill Dameron said...

Sharon, This is beautiful but even painfully more so now that I have met you both. It's a sentiment I can completely relate to and just the very thought of it, makes me shudder.

Zainab Ummer Farook said...

The smile that always blooms on my face when I read your posts melted off at the last line. Heart-wrenching.

Just beautiful.

Jacksquatch Detangled said...

I'm sure you bring your fair share of music into his life. Music that is felt and not heard.

KSue said...

This is beautiful. It speaks to what a powerful influence one person may be in our lives.

Kim said...

I enjoy your writings so much. A little bit of your mind is in my mind but you say it so well...I never thought I thought these things till I read your things.

Matt Inwood said...

Very beautiful. It brings me great pleasure when my wife loves listening to something as much as I do (which is rare, and thus perhaps explaining why it's so pleasurable). I also often dream/daydream about my funeral music. I love the idea of something so moving and alive dressing a day of saying goodbye. And this essay is about so much more than music, of course. And that love that it is about is always so beautifully expressed in your writing.

John said...

What a beautiful, heartbreaking last paragraph. Such great writing!