A girl I developed a debilitating and unrequited crush on once called me a drifter down her perfect nose. We’d met at a staff party; I’d been drinking warm beer in a friend’s apartment, watching England lose to Germany with the sound off, A-ha on repeat and bag of something expensive went up my nose before I could leave the house.
I’d just broken up with my girlfriend and everything was a mess, then this divinely sculpted creature asked me to dance. I took offence at the drifter tag, but then again I was younger and stupider back then – now it seems to fit.
This week marks the 11th time in seven years that I’ve bundled my life into a van and driven off at speed. I moved to Middlesbrough from Glasgow six months ago on an awkward and ill-planned mission to grab a bachelor degree by the balls before the price went up; I seemed to be doing quite well but somehow it didn’t seem to fit.
Three years in a town with which I have no history stretched out ahead of me, in a region devoid of any contacts whatsoever, to make a life, to forge a career – and with my plan being to move on graduation anyway. And four months off each summer? God damn it – what would I do?
Perhaps I’m too old and grizzled, but aside from the initial Pavlov’s dog impersonation, the bell of a cute teenager only makes me wonder if her mother’s a nippy wee divorcee with something to prove before her womb dries up – and how to arrange an introduction.
No, fuck it, I thought; I need to put some roots down, and as well as there being a family connection, I’ve always liked Scotland and as I think I mentioned before, I would have been raised a Scot if it weren’t for my Nan’s curious dislike of the country that spawned the father of her daughters.
Call me a bad apple, a rotten egg or a dirty banana all you want but I needs me some Edinburgh; I’ll find a school up here and continue with the learning, and then when the Salmond Wall is built with its venom dipped razor wire, dogs and machine-gun nests, I’ll thank the gods I’m on the right side.
Oh right, the death part of the headline. Well the government cocked up and wrote a letter to my mother offering their condolences on the death of a certain Mr Harding – something of a shock considering 17 years have passed since the divorce but welcome news, nevertheless.
Pity it didn’t happen 27 years sooner but, well, I suppose I should say a few words considering the man’s grip on my mother’s and my psyche.
Burn in hell, Terrence William Harding; you hateful, sadistic, psychopath.
That’s better. Anyway, I live in Edinburgh now, less than half a mile from where the hottest couple around are getting down to it. If you’re in town I’ll let you buy me a drink. If I owe you money then I’m sure I’ll see you at the window, one witching hour; I’m unarmed but I’ll bite that thing off if you try putting it in my mouth.
Good luck, Group 2, most of you are wonderful and will go far in life – I will miss some of you. Sincere thanks, teachers – your guidance has been key in keeping me out of the morgue. Hugs and inappropriate kisses to you all.
So long, Middlesbrough. See you in another life; where you’re a frog and I’m a princess.