Tuesday, 8 December 2009


It floats above us, clinging to the air - heavy and thick.

We move tentatively, unsure how to manoeuvre around what looms over us.

Eyes meet, transmitting silent signals, testing to see if we should continue the pretence of there being nothing wrong. Our bodies shift our weight as we squirm to find comfort where we sit together but there is none to be found.

We exchange words, uttered in the knowledge that they are loaded with meanings we dare not confront. We continue in this manner for some time, our eyes distracted by the moving images on the television screen whilst our minds take note of every movement, every potential thought of the other.

Above us the smog grows thicker, too dense to penetrate. To attempt to dispel it now seems impossible. Instead, we sit uneasy in the knowledge that - for the moment at least - it shall remain undisturbed, it will not be discussed. We allow it to fester until we are unable to move due to its presence.

Our bodies drift slowly towards one another. The distance we allowed to stay between us diminished as if we are trying to huddle together for protection against that which hovers above us. We can feel it close-in around about us, we are seeking shelter from each other.

Arms so close that the hairs protecting either skin intertwines with the others, they stand on end as if electricity has been passed through our bodies. Hearts racing, breathing becoming a little shallower, our eyes focus on the screen, attempting to propel ourselves away from this awkwardness.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Glasgow is grey - the sky, the buildings, the Clyde. So similar in tone that they merge into one impenetrable mass on the skyline.

I shift myself over to the side of my desk in order to gain a better view of the outside world. The bright strobe lighting of the office makes the dullness outside even more striking.

The rain that is falling is so fine I have to squint to make it out on its journey from sky to ground or river. It has not yet been raining long enough for puddles to form on the pavement but the thick, heavy cloud that hangs in the sky indicates that these will be there soon enough. I watch the river dimple millions of times from the tiny drops of water joining its swaying mass.

My attention is focused on the view for so long that the screensaver pops onto my computer monitor from lack of any work being performed, I notice this but am not bothered enough to cease my staring. I become startled when the occasional boat or person splinters the scene.

There are few perks in the job that brings me to sit at this desk and look at this view. Many people assume when I tell them where I work that there is an element of glamour attached to the tasks I perform every day - these people are wrong. In my months at this desk, in this office, at this television station - it is only the view that I consider a perk.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

The Empty Vessel

I stare down from the bridge into the water watching it shine in the darkness below me. The street lights cast enough of a glow that I can see my reflection. I look at myself looking into the water and I do not appear any different to how I have always done. It is just my insides that have altered.

I had not suspected the evening would have so much of an impact on me. There were many things I was expecting to feel, but this was not it. For instance I knew that it would be awkward to see him again after all of this time - and it had been. I weirdly enjoy the strangeness we share when we are together. Even now that I do not love him I still adore being in his company, the odd moments when we touched thrilled me, the conversations we had will be replayed in my head for days.

I did not mean to come down to the river so late on my own. It wasn't until I had left him that I thought of visiting this spot. He will never know it but this place is very important to us.

A car drives over the bridge, its headlights bring me harshly into view for a few seconds. I feel exposed. I do not want to be alone in the spotlight, I want to be embraced by the night, I want to stay hidden.

There is nowhere but the riverbank to go if I do not want to be seen. Once I am down next to the water the only thing I can hear is my heart beating. I forget how loud it gets these days now that my chest is empty, my body a hollow cave where once it was filled with love for him.

It is not that I do not still have those feelings, it is just that I no longer carry them with me constantly. It was too painful to have that burden with me wherever I went, it is much easier to know that they still exist but are stored elsewhere.

I cannot remember the exact date that I chose to be this empty vessel. Which is strange as every other moment connected to him, no matter how insignificant, remains clear in my thoughts.

Whenever it was, that day was the same as all of the others days had been since I met him, I thought of him and nothing else from the moment I woke. The pain that I did not have some concrete sign that he loved me too was too much to bear. I could not have him in my life and feel this way anymore.

And so I stored my feelings neatly away in a box. I could not trust myself to be able to access them and so I tied a chain around it and locking it into position before throwing away the key. Within hours I would have been picking that lock and so I had to get rid of it completely. I came down to the bridge and flung it into the murky water. Instead of floating away and eventually finding itself at sea, the box splashed and sunk to the depths of the river.

I wanted the feelings to vanish yet I know that they remain on the riverbed, they are not as far out of reach as I need them to be. If I took off my clothes and dived to the bottom of the river I could touch the box, rescue it from lying there. Its chain will have rusted in the months that have passed but what is inside will not have rotted.

My heart races quicker in anticipation of being so close to what I want back so badly. I move closer to the water's edge, in the darkness I cannot tell how deep the water is. I sit on the cold ground and take off my boots and socks before plunging my feet into the water. It is chilly but not unbearable. I think I could manage to submerge myself in the water for the few minutes it would take to do what I have to do. If it were light I would not be able to do this, the daytime would show how dirty and dank the water is. But I cannot see anything except refracted light and waves.

I am suddenly aware of someone lurking behind me, I scramble to get out of the water and have just finished gathering my things when the tramp emerges from the shadows. He mutters something, he is still several feet away from me but I can smell the booze he reeks of, I mumble words in response and walk quickly back into the light.

Crossing the bridge to make my way home I look down onto the water but do not let my eyes linger at the spot where the box lies.

The chain will rust, moss will grow over the box and I shall remain hollow.