... 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...'