My return to university and another death in the family

Cities of Gold and Mirrors: Got a little high and went along to MIMA before I left town. Not as big as it looks but definitely worth a look if you like your art modern and your staff friendly.

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.

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5 thoughts on “My return to university and another death in the family”

  1. Why am I not surprised:).Maybe Scotland will do a `Law of Return,like israel and if you can prove at least a grandparent you’re in?

    Of course they might be a language requirement and ,you might have to learn Scots Gaelic,another obscure language spoken by the inhabitants of a bleak land famed for its alcoholism.
    You seem to be dealing with Terrys death well:)

    1. Exactly – England won’t have to travel so far to invade an oil rich nation if the SNP get their way.

      It would be hard at first, killing my fellow Englishmen, but in time I’m certain my aim would improve.

      Yep, I’m coming to terms with the loss. Mum’s making phonecalls to ascertain a cause of death. My money’s on ‘shot in the gut and bled out, screaming for his mother’ 🙂

  2. Just remember,most english are of danish origin. You didn’t run away from them,you just took the battle to a different level.

    Are you sure you’re mum is just trying to find out what the authorities know,becasuse she’s scared she may have left evidence behind. CSI is the truth:).

    1. Both the St George Cross and the Danebrog are simply white flags of surrender with different patterns of blood splatter.

      Mum called the morgue and it’s been confirmed.

      Money well spent.

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