The blasting wind screams along the narrow street, engulfing me within its solemn immensity like a frosty cloak. Tickling sensations rush through my body. I imagine giant ants, like those I have seen on TV earlier, relentlessly crawling under my skin. As I think more about these little creatures, I’m suddenly suffused with a profound sense of inescapable sadness.
At a book fair in a church on a square in Inveraray, I read a poem by Liz Lochhead. It’s the only poem she ever wrote about her husband dying, a friend I’m there with says as she shows me the book. My eyes pass each word slowly, while I travel up the road with her, Liz Lochhead, and her late husband, savouring the Gaelic names of towns and expressive phrases, sitting down on a wooden bench at a book fair in a church on a square in Inveraray.
When I look at my eldest daughter, my second wife stares back at me. I see it now in my daughter’s dark, almond-shaped eyes and the way her nose pulls down slightly when she smiles. I see it now in that look she gets when I begin to speak. Like she’s typing all the words out in her head, so that she can go back over the conversation later to read between the lines.
A man huddles in a doorway, shielding his silhouette from the passing patrol car. They will move him on, or worse still, throw him in the back of the vehicle; another bum to be dumped in the menacing chaos of the shelter. More than once they have asked ‘Haven’t you got a home to go to?’