Thursday, November 23, 2006


He stood up and went to the door. She couldn’t throw him out now. The collection of ornamental cats on the dresser caught his eye, he paused, turned up his collar and stepped outside without bothering to say goodbye. It was over and they both knew it, she was stonewalling and he couldn’t take it any more. So much for that chapter of his life, time to move on.

The sun glistened on the water of Leith, a fine sheet of drizzle was falling but there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Scotland. Hangovers always seem to throw a new light on things. He thought it strange that destroying all those braincells somehow reconfigures them. Reboot. A new energy was coursing through his veins and although disheartened, embittered, and downtrodden, he felt a genuine exhiliration. The number twenty-three bus pulled up with still a good two hundred metres to the bus stop. Fuck. His heart and his head pounded, but his feet pounded faster. Scarf flailing, old lady staring at the sheer pointless zeal, caution to the wind.

He spread butter and jam on the croissant which, unusually, he had bothered to buy. They'd probably chuck him out for the crumbs he left on the floor. But the croissant was totally artificial- no crumbs. On an average day, mornings were agony. No spirit, no desire to live, just amazement at the horror-mask in the mirror. Throughout the day, his features might reassemble themselves into something vaguely acceptable, and he would hit the bars to destroy them again. Again and again: the cash register of life. Cash, change, repeat.

But today didn't seem average, he was looking at the world through a fresh pair of eyes: easily dazzled. Builder steps out into the road, bus passes dangerously close and clips his jacket, he steps neatly back onto the pavement, unphased. Hard hat, reflective waistcoat, such sang froid. This was the kind of man who probably knew how to move on when things didn't work out. If the bus had hit him, he would have joked about it on his hospital bed. There was a woman sitting across from him with her little kid in silence. The peroxide hair, the knee-high boots, and the Irn Bru made a perfect costume. So many characters, he wanted to plumb their depths like some manic interviewer on class-As- get their story out of them. How do they get through the day working the nine to five? He would graduate soon, and then there’d be no more contact. What would they do if they were him? Had they ever been in love?

The bus was crawling through traffic. What's the point? Stupid as it felt in a motionless vehicle, he pressed the ‘stop’ button and went to the door. They couldn't throw him off now.