Thursday, 19 April 2018

Health - Monophobia and Missing Out

“Monophobia is an acute fear of being alone and having to cope without a specific person, or perhaps any person, in close proximity. This 'closeness' might mean in the same house or flat or even in the same room.”

Ever since childhood I’ve been terrified of being alone, I find it especially hard to enjoy my own company. I’m not sure exactly where this stems from but Anne seems to think it has something to do with being an only child and spending long periods of time alone during my formative years. I used to play board games alone as a child, I always felt perfectly happy and normal doing this. It is only when I became an adult that I formed this irrational fear in my head, I’m terrified of being alone with my thoughts. When I’m alone I go down dark alleys in my mind, I worry about where I am on life’s path, I panic. I think that when I stopped self harming it reinforced itself even more as I forced myself into social situations so I wasn’t going to be alone to hurt myself. I’ve still not learned any fully effective resources to deal with it, I still struggle to this day. If I am alone I have to be messaging someone constantly, or drawing, or playing Xbox, or anything really. Anything to distract myself.

Another issue that comes out of this is the fear of missing out. When I sit alone my brain races to all the fun things that everyone else is doing, and how I am not involved. I construct entire scenarios in my head of all my friends together without me having a good time. Despite knowing that 90% of the time they’re also sat at home, or if they are out they’re probably just having a bang average time in Spoons. But my head tells me it’s the fucking Oscars After Party and everyone is necking champagne and doing lines of coke off a hooker’s back. It’s hard to stop it and get a handle on it. The last week of the month when I’m stuck in skint waiting for payday and all my brain can tell me is that something incredible is happening somewhere. The tagged photos that you’re not in. The conversations that they’ll have that you won’t hear. It’s excruciating. 

“Anuptophobia is the fear of being or staying single”

Now this is an odd one because it comes in waves, there are times when I have come out of a relationship feeling euphoric that it’s all over, as I’d felt more alone and isolated in a relationship than I did out of it. But as I came to my early 30s I realised that there’s a fairly high chance I was gonna be single forever. The thing with this phobia is it fucking STINKS. Women can smell it on you, the desperation, the overwhelming desire to be with someone, and in 9 out of 10 scenarios they will turn and run. From time to time I think I’ve got a handle on it but it always comes back. I think this is tied in to Monophobia and also has a biological causation, men are hardwired to find a partner in order to propagate their bloodline, I just think some people can play it cooler than others. This is something I’m actively working on with Anne at the moment as my number one focus. Once I am comfortable with this I think a lot of things will fall in to place.


Sorry I couldn’t offer any resources to deal with these situations as right now I’m only finding them out myself. If anybody has any good tips for working through these episodes please let me know. We need to share resources and tools to all get through life together. If anyone wants to chat about this my inbox is always open. Thx, Craig.

Songs For Summer. Part 2

Well we were lucky enough to get a second day of sun, so I’m gonna keep writing about songs that are on my summer playlist. Thanks for the replies yesterday, they jogged my memory for some of these entries below. Enjoy.

7. MGMT - Kids
This track is 11 years old now! Doesn’t feel like 5 minutes ago this song was everywhere. The debut single from the debut album of this American Indietronica powerhouse is dripping with atmosphere. The driving synth creates an upbeat atmosphere from the outset, putting an instant smile on my face. Memories of blasting this on trips to West Bay and Weymouth with a car full of friends come flooding back, reminding me that this summer HAS to be full of these sorts of days.

8. Fall Out Boy - Young Volcanoes
No particular memories attached to this one, it’s just a great track all about not wasting your life, you’re only young once and there’s a long time to settle down and be boring. From the up-tempo sing-song intro into the first verse about going out and making the most of a night out, the song drips positivity, which is very rare from these Kings of Misery. The chorus builds with a gang-vocal harmony of “We are wild, we are like young volcanoes”, creating a fun vibe, taking thoughts of work and love and stressful nonsense right out of your head.

9. Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly - Call Me Ishmael
Sam’s ode to touring and the life that comes with it is a jaunty little acoustic number with tons of soul. Takes me back to being about 20, spending my days selling Gas and spending my evenings travelling all over the country for Gigs. The temptation was to feel burnt out and give it all up, but my young body could cope without the sleep and sitting at 2am on a beach or in a park after a show, skinning up and sharing with the bands, singing along to old songs and smiling my head off made it all worth it. The song builds from a quiet acoustic song to a bombastic drum-led singalong about sticking to your dreams, living your life and having fun feeling alive. This always makes its way onto my playlist when I need reminding to enjoy the little things.

10. Counting Crows - Hanginaround
This funky Americana anthem is so positive, uptempo and replayable. I’ve been guilty of having this on repeat for 30 minutes at a time before now when I’ve needed a boost. A song about getting up and getting out of a shit town, it reminds me to venture out, see new things, meet new people. The summer is the perfect time to adventure, and this song always gives me wanderlust and the need to go out and experience the world.

11. Montell Jordan - This Is How We Do It
Self explanitory. From end to end positive vibes. Get your mates together and party all night. Not really much more I can say except “I’M KINDA BUZZED AND ITS ALL BECAUSE...” Just listening to it again for this list has got the blood flowing!

12. Motion City Soundtrack - The Future Freaks Me Out
“I’m on fire and now I think I’m ready to bust a move, checkitout I’m rocking steady..” that intro could bring sunshine in January. A fast paced pop punk song about not fully understanding the things that are popular and finding someone who enjoys the same things as you. This band’s whole catalogue could have made this list, beautiful summery tunes which never fail to lift the mood. “What’s up with Will and Grace? I don’t get Drum and Bass, the future freaks me out.” Indeed.

As long as this weather keeps up I’m going to keep this list going, as always, the comments is where you can make suggestions, keep them coming. Thx, Craig.





Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Health - Having The Conversation.

Despite several corporate initiatives to get smart on mental health there are still some very archaic views in the workplace about it. For some people it is very hard for them to open up to their employer about their mental health challenges, moreso than physical ailments. I have experienced a range of responses from various managers and colleagues over the course of my career. Despite some very positive reactions its still hard to ‘have the conversation’ whenever I get a new line manager or I have to explain to new colleagues why I’m so manic. I want to talk a little bit today about the variety of responses I’ve had and try to break down a bit of the reluctance that people feel when facing that particular talk.

I was 19 when I was first diagnosed with Depression, I’d had a pretty tough time at school and was having a crisis facing the idea of mortality and the option of growing up or not bothering. I’d been self harming for nearly a year in secret and I went too deep on one occasion and got found by my Dad (sorry for that). After that it was diagnosis and medicine and counselling and the full range of identikit responses dished out by our good old NHS. I was working for an Estate Agent and going through a fallow patch of sales, the writing was pretty much on the wall for me as I wasn’t performing, I went to my boss and asked him for a chat in the back office. I was ‘having the talk’ for the first time and I was nervous as hell. I was sweating heavily, my hands were shaking, and my voice cracked as I came out with that first line: “The Doctor says I have Depression and I urgently need help”. He fucking smiled. He fucking looked in my eyes and he fucking smiled. There was a brief chat where he offered the standard management lines about it affecting my performance, I was already really uncomfortable with the concept of lying for a living anyway so I was ready to tell him to get his job, roll it into a sausage shape, and go fuck himself with it. His reaction to me bravely taking him to one side and opening up to him told me the rest. I did next to nothing for the following three weeks and when the area manager was next in I told her I was getting out of this career as I’m not a slimy lying scumbag. It felt good. But my managers reaction stayed with me. I can still see his smile to this day. The bastard.

I jobbed around for a couple years in the standard early-20s sales jobs, knocking doors and asking about Gas, you know the ones. I didn’t say anything to the bosses at these jobs as I wasn’t planning on staying long. After my first venture into telling my boss I wasn’t going to bring it up unless I absolutely had to. Then I got a break, a real decent opportunity, I had a foot in the door at GKN, the pay was good, and my boss there was a friend of my Godfather. It was perfect. I made a decision to be honest straight out of the gate. I took Nev, my line manager to one side on my second day. “I understand if this affects my position but I feel I have to tell you I’ve got Depression, I’m on a long-term course of treatment and at the moment it’s not getting any better” or words to that effect. He put his hand on my shoulder and thanked me for telling him, he asked if there was anything he could do to help, any arrangements that could be made. I pulled my notepad out, wrote the telephone numbers of my parents, my G.P and my two best friends in case I ever became ill. They would know what to do. In recent years it’s come to be known as a ‘crisis card’, but back then it was just me being pragmatic about the fact that one day it’ll get bad and those are the people that can help. Surprisingly it never got bad. Over a number of months I took the time to speak one-to-one with a lot of my close colleagues and explained why some days I would take holiday really short notice because I physically could not face lifting the duvet off and looking at my face in the mirror. I explained why some days I look tired as hell and other days I act like I’m on E. They all understood. It took everything I had to be honest with them, the fear of rejection or ridicule or talking behind my back. But the way my boss handled it was really what gave me the strength to have that conversation over and over. It was the polar opposite of my previous experience and it’s pretty much been my cut and paste ever since.

At my current job I’ve had a lot of managers over a short time, some unbelievably supportive and sympathetic, others loved to know how bad I was so they could gossip about it on their lunch breaks. But every single time I told them early. I didn’t want to wait. I had a reasonably long period of good health for the most part of my time at my current place, but over the last year I’ve really wobbled and my boss at the moment is an absolute hero. He knows that some days I’m going to be a nightmare and having me there at 75% is still more productive than not having me there at all. He knows there’s days when I’ll want to sit with my headphones in all day and not talk to anyone. He knows there will be days where I’ll get on everyone’s nerves, or come in with bags under my eyes. It allows me to still be able to hold down my career whilst battling the Black Dog. I owe him and my amazingly understanding colleagues a lot.

Sorry for the long ramble, in short, from my experience the best thing to do is take your boss to one side, as soon as you can, and get it all out there. Tell them what treatment you are recieving, tell them what to do if you become ill, tell them what to look out for when you are becoming ill. Nothing is too much. Most major employers have mental health first aiders specially trained now, and most have a mental health policy in place. Familiarise yourself with those people and those resources. You’re at work for a large proportion of your life, so the issues of your life will creep over from time to time and it’s important to know a safe place to go. Be fucking kind to yourself, I know I don’t always practice what I preach but I’m learning, and all this writing is helping. Thx, Craig.

Songs For Summer

A Sun Came! The summer is always a really healthy time for me, the extra Vitamin D helps to produce positive brainwaves. It’s also the best time of the year for music, festivals, bbqs on the beach etc are all about the music. I’ve got a good range of music set aside in playlists for the summer. This short article details the songs that make my summers, plus a few new ones that are going into rotation for this year. Enjoy the sun folks.

1. The Kooks - Seaside
So many good memories from this one. I remember sitting on a beach with an ex smoking and drinking with this on in the background. The waves were at our feet and the sun bronzed us, with a few beers and smokes, pure bliss. The song is lazy and chilled and a great intro into a perfect summer album. Whenever I was stuck in the record shop on a sunny Sunday this album always used to go on. Great memories.

2. Bedouin Soundclash - When The Night Feels My Song.
My essential summer song, all upstrokes and happy melodies. A great ska/indie tune with the perfect chorus for the sunshine “hey beautiful day”, a great singalong song with a guitar and a barbeque. This song instantly lifts my mood and is a great resource for dragging me out of the melancholy and out into the sunlight. The least traditional ‘Ska’ song on the album, the whole record is ace for those unexpected summer parties. Spin it up and smile.

3. Portugal The Man - Live In The Moment
A new addition to my summer playlist, this sleeper hit from late 2017 has a great pounding drumbeat and a funky rhythm perfect for when the sun finally comes out. The lyric is positive and tells of forgetting what has gone before and living in the moment. The soundtrack for last minute beach trips or drunken times in a field with all your friends.

4. The Rocket Summer - Colors
Bryce has a real knack for turning negative songs in to dancy clap-along anthems, but this one is a far more positive song from start to finish. The guitar and drum lines are upbeat, jangly and always bring a smile to my face. A song about making everything work in times of extreme adversity, the song reminds me of a romance rekindled for one summer only, a great memory for me and always on my stereo once the sun peeks through.

5. Passion Pit - Little Secrets
Upbeat electro indie with a pounding backbeat, takes me right back to a constantly-wasted summer when I was in my early 20s, free parties every weekend, electro nights at Orange Box, sleeping in cars or fields or anywhere I dropped down. Despite having really positive memories attached to it, it also reminds me not to overdo it, I’m not as young as I used to be! So good.

6. Kids In Glass Houses - Saturday
The worst thing about British Summertime is that it only seems to come during the week! A song about living for the weekend, I remember having this album on heavy rotation while driving my friends around over a long hot summer in 2010/11. We all worked full time and waited for the weekends to go out and have shenanigans. I wish I could go back to this summer, the time of my life.

As the weather is going to stay until tomorrow I’m going to carry this list on. Get at me in the comments with your essential summer songs. Until then, thx for reading!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Health - Putting Yourself Out There

Hello again all, I’m up to 2.5k page views now and I’m amazed by all your support. I’ve just started a facebook page to start to share my content and get it outside of my friendship circle, so a share would be hugely appreciated. Today I’m going to talk about The Fear. Not the Lily Allen song, the fear of putting yourself out there. Allowing yourself to be judged and critiqued. It’s something I’ve always been afraid of as I’m terrified that people will ridicule or otherwise form an assumption of me. I’ve had to push hard to open up and get my stuff out there, putting aside the fear and forging ahead. Here’s a little story about how I made it happen.

I’ve always carried a fear of opening up to strangers, of speaking my thoughts out loud or getting them down on paper. There’s a facet of ‘traditional’ masculinity that says that men should stay strong and quiet and put up barriers. I subscribed to this backward thinking for far too long. I lost sleep worrying, I pushed everything to the back of my mind, I spent hours drinking and smoking and trying to gloss over the dark fear of being judged. I lost too much weight and then gained too much. I was doing it all wrong.

I recently had a set of bad circumstances which left me reeling, I forgot how to communicate like a normal person. I forgot how to listen. I broke hard, the rejection absolutely hollowed me out. I was down to nothing, my back was against the wall and I had no option but to fight my way out or get pulled under. I reassessed everything, I spoke with numerous people from various different viewpoints and came to the conclusion that I needed a release. I’d bottled up all the negativity of the past few years and tried to shoehorn myself into a relationship that would make me forget all of that. SPOILER: It didn’t. I tried too hard, I stifled her and it all fell to pieces.

Off the back of this I learned that I had held myself back for too long, I had turned down opportunities to better myself in order to have an easier life. I had put all my eggs in one basket, relationship, marriage, kids, or bust. I forgot who I really was, what my values were, what my passion is, I’d put myself on the shelf.

This was the catalyst.

I had to do something to heal, to get my head straight, to embrace the passion I’d let slip away, I had to put myself out there. I was fucking terrified. There was one of these stupid social media crazes where you had to post up 10 albums that shaped you over 10 days. I started writing a little bit and people seemed to dig it! The feedback was positive, and I had messages from people saying I should do some more. This was the spark that lit the fire. I opened up. It felt amazing. I started getting my notes app out on my ipad and tapping away for hours. Once I started I couldn’t stop. The pressure release valve had popped and I was venting in a healthy way, using the words as a catharsis. Writing about what I loved helped me stop thinking about what I didn’t.

Obviously writing isn’t going to be that healing force for everyone, it may be art, or sport or sewing, or anything really. But the important message here is not to let the fear get you, open up and do what you love, don’t waste years on bad decisions like I did. Don’t destroy the best things by bringing bad baggage. Find your catalyst and grab the opportunity with both hands. Get out there, and live.


33RPM CLUB Far - Water And Solutions 20th Anniversary

WATER AND SOLUTIONS
FIRES LEFT ABLAZE.

Welcome to the first of my long form deep dive album reviews that for the purpose of naming I am calling the 33RPM Club Series. For my first ever foray into this I am going to pick the bones of one of my top records of all time, the 1998 LP ‘Water and Solutions’ by the seminal, inimitable (fuck me people have tried) and legendary US emo pioneeers Far. Again FULL DISCLOSURE: Jonah Matranga (vox) from Far is an old friend and we’ve kept in touch via the socials and at shows for various years, so to there may be an element of vested interest here. However Far were one of my favourites long before any of this, so let’s fucking crack on.

Far are/were/are a post hardcore / emo / rock band from Sacramento formed in 1991 (I was 6, let’s not dwell on it) that released a steady output through the early 90s before their first major label (third) record ‘Tin Cans With Strings To You’ made some serious inroads into the fully blossoming early US emo scene in 1996. Not long after this the record I will be talking about today found its release through Epic records. The band, consists of Shaun Lopez on guitar, John Gutenberger on bass, Chris Robyn on tubs and the aforementioned Jonah Matranga providing the raw passion over the top with his crystal clear vocals breaking through. I first heard Far through ‘In the aisle, yelling” from the Tin Cans album but it wasn’t until Water and Solutions came along that the love affair commenced and I dug out the entire back catalogue and turned on instant fanboy mode. What follows is a love letter to one of my favourite albums by one of my favourite bands.

The record starts with what I’m sure is a backhanded homage to the Walrus of Love, a track geniusly named Bury White. Lo Fi chugging guitar and vocal akin to Smashing Pumpkins give way into a soaring section with Jonah reaching a gutteral growl in a chorus that hits like a dozen sledgehammers. One of my favourite first tracks of any album of any genre. Just flawless.

Really Here. Wow. this song. Another quiet first verse accompanied by a super crisp vocal caves in once Jonah starts getting into the chorus. A less punchy track than some of the others on the album but absolutely dripping with atmosphere and emotion. A great composition and in the flow of the album fits perfectly before the next song...

Water and Solutions. The title track of the record begins with a clanky angular guitar line into a gravelly vocal building to the chorus and one of Jonah’s best lines of the album “soon my doubles will pull off all of my stunts”. Back to the jarring guitar and a frantic semi-screamed bridge which sets the emotional tone for the song. A true genre defining classic and if there was a Far ‘best of’ this would be the intro track.

Mother Mary. The big single! If you speak to anyone about Far, this is probably the one song they’ll know. A song about facing mortality, it has a really punk feel to it and is one of the fastest songs on the record. Unbelievably catchy, the chorus will stick in your head. Like Elvis, like everyone, we all die, we all live on...

I Like It. A bass-driven song that spawned a thousand early emo bands to use months and seasons in their songs and band names. Reading the lyrics it seems like this is a song about making the most of a bad breakup, but I can’t confirm that as I’ve never heard Jonah talk about it. A really heavy song that has beautiful lyrics.

The System. A ‘traditional’ emo punk song played fast and hard. Lots of growling, deep vocals and a heavy screaming section towards the end form the basis of this great song. Probably my least favourite on the record, but I love every song so that’s no criticism.

Nestle.
“And he always wrote, and he always called, and he never lied, cause he never said anything at all”
My absolute favourite Far song from any record. Perfectly constructed, with the right mix of heavy and stripped back, Jonah’s vocal through the chorus is absolutely beautiful, he is able to showcase why many people consider him to have the best voice of the genre. Shaun’s guitar is meandering and chuggy in places, before falling back into a more intricate arrangement through the quiet parts. The drums carry a decent groove without being intrusive and play perfectly off the bass line. Listen to this song. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

In 2 Again is a haunting slow anxious anthem, Jonah worrying about people laughing behind his back. Slow plodding guitar and bass build to a spoken vocal metaphor about a broken boy and his broken horse, taken out the back and both put out of their misery. Shot. In 2 Again. Dark stuff.

Wear It So Well  is a kind of love song. Jonah’s vocal cracks and hisses and spits, as he builds the rest of the band into a devastating crescendo. Man Overboard is an angular song, all awkward time signatures and loud/quiet sections, repeated vocals create an uncomfortable atmosphere around the song, with Jonah repeating the song title over a heavy section until the whole song falls away to an almost whispered refrain for the ending.

Another Way Out is lo-fi and slow, a non remarkable song in the context of the whole album but still not bad. A song about love, and loss, and love again. The vocal doesn’t carry the power of the other songs on the album, but sets up perfectly for the album closer Waiting For Sunday. A stripped back song about the destruction that we are capable of and living in a world where you fear other people. The first glimpse into Jonah’s style that he would take after Far wrapped up, this sounds more like a New End Original song than a Far song. The guitar is clean, and builds with Jonah’s voice into the last verse which brings the album to a close perfectly.

Listening to this now it’s hard to believe that it’s 20 years old. It hasn’t aged a day. The bands that it has inspired, the styles that came out of it, there are many bands that owe their living to this record. With all the ‘pop-emo’ that came after I long for a world where people make these records again. Honest, authentic and dripping with raw emotion, a huge influence on my musical tastes that still holds true to this day. I’m not going to make a habit of ‘marking’ albums but this is a true 10/10.

Thx for reading folks. Gonna do a more recent album for my next 33RPM club review, give me some ideas. Craig.


Short Story - Glorious You

Beta forced himself to open his eyes. Ten whole days had passed since he last woke with a smile on his face. The days are a struggle now and the nights are worse. He knows that today will be his last day on this cursed Earth. Hopping into the shower he feels the warm water through his dirty hair, the hint of tears in the corners of his eyes combining with the water and washing away, spiralling down the drain. Today is the day.

Beta lives alone now. Since she went. On the 44th floor of a run down block of flats in Sector 21.13 Old England. He is a third generation junk salvager and sorter, his father and grandfather both happily accepting their terrible lot in life, but Beta had always wanted more. He never got more. The only thing he got in his life that he was really proud of was her, Luna. Her piercing eyes and glowing blonde hair lit him up, made him happy, gave him purpose. It has 10 days since she told him that it was moving too fast and she wanted to cool it off. Beta is crestfallen now. A broken man.

Towelling his hair from the shower, he steps out onto the balcony and pulls a cigarette from the packet, everything is Marlboro now since they bought out all the other brands. He gazes across the barren landscape below, empty shells of former betting shops, grafitti strewn walls, crumbled roads and husks of burnt out cars. He lights a match, holds it to the cigarette then flicks the match over the balcony, he watches it fall 44 floors to the concrete car park below. He is jealous of that match, he wishes he had the bravery to throw himself off and follow the match down to the floor. But that’s not how this is going to go. He has a better plan. Exhaling the last of the wispy blue smoke the cigarette goes off the balcony too. The lucky bastard. Shirt on, jeans on, shoes on. The door slams behind.

The elevator is old and makes some horrible noises, no one really comes out to service anything around the 21.13 sector anymore. It has largely been forgotten by the corrupt government, who are only interested in their enclave of former rich people and corporate vultures in sector 77. Seventy Seven is the only place left where everything has been preserved. A safe haven for rich scumbags. Beta has never even been there. He only knows what he’s been told by his father. Pushing his way past swarms of street beggers while mumbling false apologies he finally gets to where he needs to be. Two flights of stairs down to an old Tube station, now lovingly renovated and turned into a sort of bar by an old Guy called rusty who’s grandad used to own the World’s End in Camden, before the fall. Rusty sees Beta take a seat at the end of the bar. “Cheer up B, you look like shit, and wheres that beautiful girl of yours, I only tolerate you in here because she comes with you” Rusty chuckles. “Lets not talk about this now Rus, now or ever, just get me something strong, double”. A thick brown liquid is decanted into an old Coca Cola glass from before the fall. Rusty slides it along the bar. Beta immediately throws it back and down in one, he shudders and slides the glass back. “Fill ‘em up again”.

The stairs were easier on the way in, Beta stumbles up the two flights of stairs back into the blinding sunlight. He knows where he has to go now. Despite his drunken state he has to stay true to his goal. Last day on earth. A short walk from Rusty’s Bar is the Ratlands, a former junkyard full of makeshift shelters, canvas tents and general run down hovels. This is where he has to find Scar, the local scumbag dealer who can get his hands on anything. Turning a corner he sees Scar standing there with one of the local junkies, who is begging him for more time to pay while Scar has his hand around his throat. Seeing Beta he lets go of the poor bastard and throws him to the ground “Three more days, or you’re dead. Now fuck off”. He turns to Beta and smiles, his teeth are cracked and yellow, “Bloody hell, theres a face I haven’t seen in a while! You and that angel of yours back on the weed? I can sort..” Beta cuts him off with a loud “NO” before lowering his voice to ask for the stuff. “I need Acria”. The smile disappears from Scar’s face. “You know that stuff will..” Beta interrupts again “kill you with one breath? I know”.

A short while later Scar returns, a vial in his left hand triple wrapped with cloth in case of leaking. He signals for Beta to follow him into a corner before he passes it to him, Acria is still the most illegal substance in the land and the hunters will shoot you dead on sight for posession. Beta stuffs a handful of coins into Scar’s top pocket, he overpays, but he won’t need money where he’s going. “It’s been nice knowing you and I hope you find peace” Scar says as B turns to walk away.

The walk back to the flats is long and purposeful. Memories of his childhood flood over him, making him smile, then memories of her, back when she used to return his calls, back when he knew where she was. Tears sting his eyes and his lip trembles as he walks through the old dilapidated lobby of his flats. He hits the elavator button but decides to take the stairs. Every floor of the 44 he climbs brings back a memory of her. The holiday they took together to Sector 42.10 Old Spain when they were first together, the nights they stayed up all night drinking and smoking, the days she said she’d love him forever and never leave. All these memories wash over him, he gets to his floor walks the long dark corridor, gets to his door. Fuck. No Key.

After locking himself out of his flat, Beta slumps below a window in the corridor, right at the end. Staring down the dark hallway he begins to tremble, the hint of tears have given way to tidal waves, every regret running down his face, soaking into his rough beard. He knows it’s time. No more stalling. Reaching into his top pocket, he unravels the cloth around the vial. He looks out the window one last time, looks at the sun breaking through the clouds. He wishes for her one last time, and undoes the lid of the vial. His hands shaking he lifts it to his nose, with one last pitiful sob he breathes in, his eyes roll back, he slumps down.

As the life slides away from his broken body he can see a glow at the end of the hallway, a pure white  , it moves towards him slowly down the corridor, his eyes struggle to adjust, suddenly he realises. It’s her. Her flowing blonde hair and piercing brown eyes, it’s got to be her! As she comes closer he can see a beautiful flower in her hand and that green crystal necklace she used to wear. He struggles to stand but every bit of energy is gone, his life is slipping away. She is right in front of him now, her smile wide and her eyes locked on his, he tries to speak, but nothing comes out. Her beauty. Her beauty. Her beauty. And then nothing.

His ears rung, an acrid smell, a dry mouth, his eyes cracked open. Beta lay sprawled in the corridor, coated in sweat, his brain pounding. He looked down, as he felt something in his hand. He slowly lifted his hands, in his left hand was the flower, and in his right hand was her green necklace, with a piece of paper with an address and phone number. At his lowest point, she had come back for him. The sun burst through the window as Beta struggled to stand. It was a new day.

Health - Monophobia and Missing Out

“Monophobia is an acute fear of being alone and having to cope without a specific person, or perhaps any person, in close proximity. This &...