When I was three
Three maybe four
She left us at that video store

The words buzzed beneath the scratches hitting the pin. Light low, rest of the world silent. I hummed along with Sufjan Stevens, arms raised to slow dance, swaying by myself. Time seemed to slip away. My phone had fallen behind my bed and my alarm clock had been out of batteries for months at this point. 

My feet step in beat, slow and deliberate, sinking into the carpet with each step. The ethereal whines of notes placed so I could feel at peace. The moment lasting as long as the record goes on. Knowing these words–not written for me–are laced upon melodies that never planned on reaching me. 

For this one moment, these melodies and thoughts were all mine. My worries slip from my mind, the homework I couldn’t bring myself to complete, the show in two weeks, the people I’m disappointing. Nothing could bring me down, not now.

Letting the B side come to an end, lifting the needle back to its home, I settle onto the ground, cold from the night air waving in through my window-screen. Now humming along to songs never written. Lost in small thoughts, the idea of love, a light that was never quite lit and hasn’t gone out. I drift in and out, letting myself fall to the dream of sleep only when I can’t stop it from happening. 

Hums echo throughout my head, notes pounding in my temple, betraying the softness they should be. Trying to push this harshness from my mind, I drift in and out of dreams I can’t control but aren’t really sleep. I hold my subconscious to the promise it never made of making my dreams where I always want to be. Sucked into this world of lies to myself, of people who love me and things I can achieve and places I belong. Sucked into these tombs of nothing and everything.

I sleep for once and for always, for never and forever, asleep.


Opening lines: Sufjan Stevens. “Should Have Known Better.” Carrie & Lowell, Asthmatic Kitty, 2015.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Words Buzzed Beneath by Chelsea is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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