17 July 2016

A slice of 'In Vivo'

... on the bus now, back in Leith quite long ago, the remembered moments never stop, all jumbled in with the new ones that come rushing in too, and on that bus there was an old dishevelled man who was looking at a crying baby that was struggling in its mother's arms.

And some women were coo coo-ing, and smiling at the baby, as women do.

But the man was muttering quietly, and I could hear him as he said, 'Jesus fucking Christ... poor thing... poor bleedin' thing. I just hope you don't have to suffer like I have. Poor thing...'

And the new life quietened, soothed by its mother's attention, while I looked at the man and saw a tear forming in one eye.

I realised he was probably drunk, just as he shook his head suddenly in great agitation and wailed out loud, 'Oh... fucking hell! I forgot to get the beans! She'll kill me. No fucking beans! Fucking, fucking hell!'

And we jostled along in our dirty bus, along the deep canyon of the street and then taking a turn down towards the water, where seagulls wheeled in the sky and some gentle waves hit the harbour wall, and I looked at the baby, then the old man. The baby, then the old man... My past, my future, and there within my present, I was consumed with a long sad sigh.

And I very vividly recall on that bus, as I looked at the baby, the old man, and me in my thirties, that I thought, 'we get a chance of everything, if we survive... A shot at everything, young, teenage, middling, ageing, old... Just one shot at it all...'