THREE ENCOUNTERS WI RA BODHISATTVA AY COMPASSION IN MARYHILL, GLASGOW
Endins. Beginnins. Nothin iver beginnin or endin. Continuity contains entropy, stasis contains movement. Nae metter how many times ra knife chops, severs, slices, divides, nothin separates.
A get in ra lift oan ra 10th flerr. Ra man awready in therr came fae higher up. E could be 35, or 60; ra povurty, diet, smokin an bevvyin in ra Wyndford gie age a different meanin. E’s smokin in ra lift, even though it’s against regulations, an fur a second A consider no gettin in ra lift wi im, but A dae.
E’s talkin tae is dug. “Ye’re ma good girl. Ye’ll feel bettur soon, eh? Good girl.”
“Is she ill?” A ask.
“She goat somethin oan er tail oot therr in ra grass.” E points tae a herrless, crusty sore. “A goat some cream fae ra vet, an she’s gettin bettur.”
When wi leave ra buildin, A walk bi ra rivur, an e walks wi ra dug oan ra path thit runs parallel, separated fae ra Kelvin Walkway bi bushes. Wi cannae see each uthir, but A hear im. “Ye’re a good girl, eh? A’ll look eftur ye. Ye’ll feel bettur soon. C’moan an wu’ll huv a wee walk aboot.”
It snawed in ra Wyndford ra day, but noo it’s evenin, an ra snaw has turned tae ice an slush. A walk through it in baby steps, kerryin a heavy bag ay groceries in each haund.
Thir’s a railin, an a young wumman oan the ither side ay it. She’s goat three plastic bags; wan hauds a boattle ay Irn-Bru, anither a boattle ay cider, an ra thurd a mix ay food an claes.
“Excuse me,” she says. “Wull ye gie me a haund? A cannae get they bags ower ra railin. A’m homeless, an A need tae get tae ma tent.”
A pit ma ain bags doon oan ra slushy grun, an she passes hurs tae me ower ra railin. Then she climbs, hings, an jumps. Whin she lands she slips, an A catch an steady er.
As A walk away, she says, “Dae ye happin tae huv any sperr chinge?”
“A don’t think so,” A say, pittin wan ay ma bags doon an pittin a haund in ma poackit.
“A know A’m kind ay rippin ra cunt oot ay ye,” she says. “A don’t mean tae.”
“A huvnae goat any,” A say. “Sorry.”
“Thanks anywiy. Thanks a lot.”
“Take care.” A pick up ma bag an walk hame.
In Tesco, a young man mumbles a question tae ra middle-aged man at ra checkoot. “Dis it coast 50 pence tae piy wi a debit cerd?”
“Naw, no here, pal. It’s free.”
- First published in Northwords Now