Memoir Mixtapes Vol.10, Track 3

Cusp by Jennifer Smith Gray

To read this piece, click the album cover below.

About the author:
Jennifer Smith Gray lives, works, and writes in the Scarborough Bluffs area of Toronto. Much of the inspiration for her writing comes from memories of her time in Northern Ontario, where she was born and lived before heading south years ago. Jennifer’s work has been shortlisted for the FreeFall Magazine Annual Prose Contest, and published in Birkensnake 6 and CommuterLit. There is more at www.jennifersmithgray.com.

Nels Recommends: “Sun Don’t Shine” by Klangkarussell feat. Jaymes Young

Cover Art for Klangkarussell’s “Sun Don’t Shine” featuring Jaymes Young

You have love in places I can’t describe. I need you.

Every widow has a visceral metaphor to describe the psychological traumas of our loss. Perhaps it’s as simple as our hearts being ripped from our chests or good, solid punches in the gut. For me, it was like every bit of skin had been burned off my body in an instant, the entire remaining surface just nerves and blood vessels, nothing but pulsations and a constant wail of sensations that never wavered and became its own numbness. I spent more than a few months on the couch, smoking pot, watching Bravo, and eating one organic chicken pot pie per day just so I could tell anyone who asked I was eating.

And I listened to this song on repeat. Spotify reminded me when they released my end-of-decade statistics. This was my top song of 2016. Gary, my husband, was alive for the first half of the year. For the other half, he was not.

I just want to let you know I love you. Don’t ever let go.

I don’t remember finding the song. This is actually the third version of it, the first having been released by Austrian EDM duo Klangkarussel on Soundcloud in 2011. The second, released in 2013, featured vocals by British singer Will Heard, a livelier, funkier version that feels like watching a breaking sunrise after an all-night rave in the 1990s. The version that vibrates most in my mind is this third one, released in 2015 with vocals by American Jaymes Young.

It’s icy. It’s harder. It throbs just like the exposed sinews of what remained of my body, my mind an insensate scream mirroring the song’s synthetic undulations. I welcomed the song not for making me feel better but for encasing me in its echoes, helping to shield me from a world that continued to rush even though Gary, and I, had been stilled.

The sun don’t shine without you. No, no, no.

(Song recommendation by Nels P. Highberg)