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Cigarettes After Sex

I’ve never been a smoker.

The one and only time I put a cigarette between my lips was more than forty years ago. My best friend’s father smoked, so we stole one of his cigarettes and stood over the kitchen sink to try it. I’m not sure why we decided to do it there.

In case we vomited?

Possibly.

To drop the ashes down the drain?

Well … we never got that far.

After one long, enthusiastic inhale, I knew smoking was not for me.

The burning in my throat.

The coughing.

The tears.

YUCK! Smoking never tempted me again.

But though cigarettes are no longer en vogue, I do love the visual metaphor of two people smoking in bed. It’s a familiar image we’ve seen represented in film. It speaks to lovemaking, romance, and eroticism. The cigarette seduces without subjecting the viewer to its harmful effects, which brings me to this week’s music choice.

Got the music in you baby
Tell me why
Got the music in you baby
Tell me why
You’ve been locked in here forever and you just can’t say goodbye

Cigarettes After Sex is a four-person band out of Brooklyn. With their minimalist black-and-white artwork, slow-paced melodies, and tender vocals, their songs make me want to crawl into bed and drift into a hazy daydream.

Your lips
My lips
Apocalypse
Your lips
My lips
Apocalypse

I chose Cigarettes After Sex’s song, “Apocalypse” for its sweet and sentimental lyrics. In Stranger at Sunset, protagonist Kate Hampton is missing someone she first met in Jamaica. As circumstances dictate their fate, there is much left unsaid between them. This sense of absence follows her to A Fragile Truce, the book I’m writing now.

Go and sneak us through the rivers flood is rising up on your knees
Oh please
Come out and haunt me
I know you want me
Come out and haunt me

To portray Kate’s feelings, I thought of choosing oldies like “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones or “Missing You” by John Waite. I love both these songs because they express the sentiment of missing someone, and yet, the lyrics were too familiar. They had lost their emotional impact for me.

Got the music in you baby
Tell me why
Got the music in you baby
Tell me why
You’ve been locked in here forever and you just can’t say goodbye
You’ve been locked in here forever and you just can’t say goodbye

The coda of “Apocalypse” captures the hardship of separation and loss beautifully, for as difficult as saying “goodbye” can be, not being able to say goodbye is … apocalyptic.

Oh
When you’re all alone
I will reach for you
When you’re feeling low
I will be there too

Wishing you a warm, inspired week. May none of us experience anything apocalyptic, unless it’s great sex of course. 😉

~eden

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