I wrote the following short story for my friend Andre Uhl's new album, "I hope my roof flies off and I get sucked up into space." He asked 13 different writers to each write a short story paired with one of the tracks in his album. Those stories were compiled into a booklet, included in the vinyl set. I chose to write for a track called Cover, which was a piece I heard throughout its making. If you'd like, listen to the track while reading the story.
The ceiling lamp hanging off the cord sways back and forth, back and forth, back and forth to the breeze. The window is cracked open. The curtain flies softly in a helpless effort to escape from the windowsill. The shadows around the little girl’s bedroom dance around the wall in perfect sync with the swaying lamp. The bulb is dim.
The girl looks up at the lamp, or perhaps past the lamp into the ceiling from her bed. Blanketing the dancing walls is the infinite abyss of the black ceiling. She is calm or terrified or occupied with many thoughts. There’s no way of telling. Her unruly, short hair exists at free will. Planets and cake slices and whales pattern her emerald pajamas—no doubt a collection of her favorite things.
A sudden urge to protect herself from the pull of the infinite darkness overcomes her. She pulls the covers over her head. It is murky under the cover. She stays silent for what may have been moments or eternity. The lamp light seems to penetrate through the covers. But no, it is a light from within. There is a glow spreading under the covers, and the space within it widens around her. The glow is coming from her. A soft, pastel, emerald glow. She finds herself floating. Like an astronaut in space. Or a diver underwater. The delicate boundaries of the covers continue to recede, giving way to the glow. She tumbles, very slowly, without orientation. Her movement slows down, like wading through water. A sense of safety and comfort engulfs her. She listens to a beat, a rhythm. Twice every few seconds.
Whispers of the breeze circle outside the covers. Distant voices, muffled, perhaps yelling at each other also echoes.
She grasps around her to catch the air or water, whatever it is that’s surrounding her. She can only create elongated shadows from her fingers dividing the murky glow. Shadows onto nothing. As it retreats into gentle disappearance. She has lost her way out of the covers.
Andre is an electronic musician based in Berlin. We met at an artist residency in a small town in eastern France, in 2016. He recorded in the music studio next to my studio, where I installed a projection mapping piece. It's exciting that the work I saw him create came to fruition as an album a year after the residency.