This is all fiction

Buzzcut Season

She’s driving home and Lorde’s Buzzcut Season starts playing on shuffle. Her body recognises the song before her brain does. The tightening in her chest, the breathlessness, the pain gripping her throat: exactly the same as eight years ago, when she was on the very same stretch of road — with the Solent below her and the spire of Chichester Cathedral in the distance — and the very same song started playing on shuffle. Except that back then he’d been gone for only a week. Not eight years and a week.

She’d had to pull over on that day. The physicality of the pain was too much — she couldn’t control the steering wheel, couldn’t cope with the gears, the pedals. She found a layby and just stayed there and let the tears pour out of her, silently, while the song played through the speakers. Eventually, the tears stopped, the pain subsided and she drove back onto the road again.

Today, she can listen to the song, but even now, the tears threaten to take over. Even now, the pain feels as though it could tip over into the unbearable, if she allowed it to. She blinks a few times and remembers his eyes, grateful that she’s never forgotten their blueness, their permanent smile.

She turns up the volume. And we’ll never go home again.

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