Appears On The Afterman: Ascension
Track 9
Length 3:07
Written By Claudio Sanchez
Produced By Coheed And Cambria
Michael Birnbaum
Chris Bittner
Preceded By Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria the Faithful
Followed By (none)
Followed By
in The Amory Wars

Subtraction is the ninth song on the 2012 album The Afterman: Ascension.

Lyrics Edit

The hurt across your face
Your word against mine
The rhythm you repeat
The beat a hair behind
Were you on my side?

You gave your all
But you gave it once
A lesson that you thought
You could teach it when you want
Subtract me from your heart
Little take away girl.

One step at a time
You made us angry
All your love could hide
But we knew you were afraid.

We accept
We unaccept
We made up
We're breaking up
You thought you had enough
But maybe you didn't know
That this stage holds our show.

One step at a time
You showed us angry
All your love could hide
But we knew you were afraid.

Misery, I digress
No recourse, no remorse
Let it be
I confess to every song that brought you back.

Misery, I digress
No recourse, no remorse
Let it be
I confess to every song that brought you back.

Inspiration Edit

"I don't think it's any secret that we, like so many bands now and before us, are away from home and our families more than we are not. This holds even truer for families with loved ones in the military or even those with long distance commutes. Without sounding ungrateful, it can be really difficult on everyone involved. This song is written for the people we leave behind and the things they endure creating a life with an absentee person playing a lead role."

Story Edit

In Evagria's embrace, Sirius has a moment of clarity, comprehending more of the complexities of this afterlife. He is aware of at least two separate levels of consciousness within it, allowing unresolved souls to exist eternally within a bland maze that echoes their living energy and the enlightened souls who transcend the maze, moving forward into a Utopia he will ultimately name in honor of the entity, the Samaritaine. Through Evagria, he understands that to progress, one must constantly let go of the qualifiers that define them as an individual, in life and here in death. Sirius reflects on his own life with this knowledge.

He realizes the mission to the Keywork was, of course, about advancing the scientific community and finding truth, but also about his own personal fulfillment. Sirius has always felt he lacked the social advantages of others in finding camaraderie, collaborating with other scientists, making personal connections that may increase funding for his research. Sirius' only leg up was persistence. And it was this relentless refusal to give up that pushed his exploration into uncharted territory-while driving his relationship to a breaking point.

This contemplation leads to his reflection on his marriage and the great love he left behind. In retrospect, he is able to pinpoint dozens of moments that Meri could have seized, to save herself from the great pain he would eventually inflict with his absence.

Sirius has always known this could happen. For years he pleaded that his occupation demanded he put himself in this position. This was the life of a research scientist. But in reality, it was never about what he did for a living. It was the drive to do something more significant than others. Sirius wanted to be proud of himself, to make Meri proud, to keep her near him so she could share this great discovery with him. He believed he could have it all with her by his side, never considering that her love for him would prevent her from agreeing to put him in harm's way. He begins to deeply feel her absence, wishing that she was there to see all the beautiful things he's discovered.

Meri had warned him that she was threatened by his departure to the point of leaving, but how could she be the one to leave if he's destined to be the one who will never return? With these two enormous concepts plaguing his life, Sirius wonders, in death, would his energy resonate the drive that defines him... or would his maze lead up to the moment he deserted his wife?