December on the Style Mile (by a Glaswegian)


 

Wind rushes through your ears.

You grip the bar till your knuckles are white,

and hold your bags close to your chest

as the old carriage

(didn’t they say they were updating it? Typical bureaucrats)

shakes and moves and speeds through the darkness.

You wonder if it will ever slow down,

if light will ever return,

or if you will be trapped, lost, imprisoned down here forever,

never to see the world again-

“The next station is St Enoch.”

 

Thus you emerge, as fast as your feet can carry you,

fleeing from the depths of the earth

like the Son leaving his tomb,

out into the familiar cold and wind and rain

which you breathe in.

The frost stings your nose, your cheeks flush red,

and your soul escapes your mouth in little white clouds

as you pull your scarf up around your smile

and walk out into the street.

The sky above is distant and dark

but all around you is light and noise and smell and people and life,

bright, warm, together,

a rosary holding back the darkness.

 

Still holding your bags,

heavy with their expectation, their surprise, their possibility,

you begin walking up the street.

 

Others around you are doing the same,

their voices joyous, laughing, free as birds,

rising like warmth into the cold city air,

with the scent of sugar and spice and everything nice

coming from the market stalls

whose sellers hawk their wares at all those who pass by.

You stop for a moment and breathe it in again,

that indescribable, incomparable city smell,

and keep on walking.

The street stretches out before you,

the busiest street in the world at the busiest time of year,

endless and full of chances.

Every other soul is a new world to discover,

bright like the fairy lights

hanging down the buildings.

Their voices are at once new and yet familiar,

sounds you have heard in years past

and will hear again in the years to come,

that get closer and closer,

deeper and deeper,

louder and louder-

 

You stop again

at the centre of the world,

and stand in silence

as it passes you by.

You breathe in the city air,

take in its soul, its mind, its heart,

and give it yours as well.

Then you look up at the distant sky,

and feel it on your cheeks,

so sudden and cold it makes you gasp

and your eyes widen in delight.

 

It’s beginning to snow.

 

[Luke McWilliams –@luxxybee]

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