Shut-in Sounds: Mike Plume Band—Promise Me You'll Never Tell

Sometimes, being trapped inside and distanced from the world, with all of the other worries you may have on your plate, leads you to wander back to darker times.

I first heard this song back in 2001.

I'd left the east coast in the early days of the year, to move back to Ontario. My mind and body were broken. I couldn't write anymore. I was numb, to most things. When I wasn't doing shift work, I occupied myself with non-prescription sleeping pills and pint glasses of Jameson in a prayer for dreamless sleep. I was nowhere near close to being ready to address the trauma in my life or the damage I'd done to others over the past few years. I was trying to build a life and move on, but everything showed to the outside world was what I thought I should be, instead of who I was.

I recall walking through a near-empty mall, perhaps a week after September 11th. There was a pair of televisions in the middle of its atrium: an unmanned kiosk, advertising cable packages. Footage of the tragedy in New York City played repeatedly, in silence, as CNN chyrons raced to the edge of the TV displays. A nervous-looking Sikh father ushered his wife and young children through the mall. I didn't feel a single emotion over any of it. I remember being disturbed by this.

As I walked home, my shopping done, the song came on the radio, filling my ears. Its sentiment gnawed at what little was left of my soul, but I couldn't stop listening. I shifted between bawling and hyperventilation as I worked my way back to home. I finished the last of a bottle in one pull.

I can listen to the song now, without losing my shit. But the memory of the pain I felt at its introduction into my life tugs at my coat every time I hear it.