In The End

On July 22, 2021, I was spinning in some sort of time warp, relentlessly recycling my past, dizzily dreading my uncertain future grounded solely in the insight that, despite my best efforts to control or direct my own life, I wasn’t steering at all.

Abbi and I just had returned from a relative’s memorial service in Miami hours prior. The suddenness, randomness and ruthlessness of the death triggered memories of my parent’s divorce, and the brutal, blindside assault – Twin Towers of my adverse childhood experiences – that had come out of nowhere like bolts of lightning in a clear blue sky.

It was a summer of grief: grief as I wrestled with a childhood still, surprisingly unspooling and impacting me, grief as I struggled with who I was if not a tech executive, grief as I paced the tree-lined suburban streets – just weeks after leaving my high-profile, big city job — reconciling dreams that would never be and plans that would never manifest. 

In The End arrived the next day nearly fully formed, its unusual rhythm (for me, anyway) and melody swaying and swinging like Carribean waves, a plaintive, melancholy ease in striking contrast to its morbid subject. 

The recording is, as it ends up, the only one on Constellations, with zero overdubs. It is the essence of the present moment, the sound of six men in a room listening to each other, and the ghosts whispering in their ears.

As I listened back to mixes over the intervening months, I imagined a music video in which I strum my guitar on the banks of the Pocotaligo River – the Spanish-moss strewn spot in Low Country South Carolina where Abbi and I were married. 

In the end, I hired an animator on the freelance platform, Fivrr. Her name was Nina, and she lived in, of all places, Kiev, where she does stop-motion to help fund her university.

There are “constant air raid alerts,” she told me.” And “constant power outages.”

Uncertainty abounds. The present beacons.

It’s a fact with no feeling, a prayer with no kneeling, a sky with no ceiling.

Get the story behind “In The End,” the fifth and final single from Constellationsthis week on the Friends & Neighbors podcast and watch the music video right now.

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