June 5, 2023

Between Lovers Part One; Hartlepool via Scotland

A little insight, my life as and when, a story so far, a story so-so…

My life in nomadic droves. I often ask where I will be when I’m old and weak, but in truth I’m already there. I’ve been up, down, and all around these beautiful isles. My United Kingdom come, my will be done, on Earth as it is right here.

For me it all started in Scotland, on the shores of the Clyde, a small corner of the world that reigns beauty and beguiles with fresh sea air and salted kisses, a vicious wind that holds you in an embrace that only Scotland is capable of, that perpetual winter year that takes me back to my raincoat childhood. If you have never been to Scotland then I highly recommend it, but leave your brollies at the conveniently placed umbrella stand at the border, near Gretna Green or Berwick upon-Tweed. Then you can embrace the rain in such a way that it is comforting, washing yourself clean of all your worries and problems and “surprise yourself, and visit Scotland”.

Of course it’s not all romantic and shimmering gold and rainbow, it’s tough. As with all memories and escapades of yore, my past roses each have their thorns. But the war of life rattles on between battles of love and of places gone, Scotland remains in my heart and is never far from my mind, her shores still greet me with pleasant surprise, she is my lover, she is my wife. But I’m the doting husband that journeys away from her, that cheats and lies to her. My first night with another women was not my decision, but parental guidance in my adolescence. We moved to the north east corner of my father’s past. His means of life sought comfort there, in that working class humble environment, of beer, pool, and the drunken fools that wander those cracked concrete streets of Hartlepool.

A broken northern town that wreaks of fickle party clowns, but their is a love there, a different kind of embrace. If Scotland taught me how to see beauty in the land and in our surrounding life then Hartlepool showed me the beauty in a friends smile, an uncontrollable laugh, and a thousand spilled drinks on others behalf. I’d outgrown my small Scottish village and found social education in a larger town. My eyes were opening, but the world no longer seemed beautiful, I’d lost that sense of underwhelming humbleness, the world seems small now, condensed into a Thursday night party town. Was this the right move for me? Or was I tricked by a blind date, an arranged marriage that tore me away from my high school sweetheart.

I find comfort in other ways, I see my love through a different gaze, the smell of salt in the Islay malt, the kiss of wind and the roar of the sea. The sea; it always came down to the sea, the metronomic beats of the waves kissing the beach with ferocious passion and unnerving velocity. I was always close to the shore, from west to east I saw the sun rest and rise, that time in my life was lit by the stars in northern skies. I would sit on the beach and with the sand between my feet I’d wonder again where I’ll be when I’m old and weak.

Hartlepool, my old college friend and party animal, the one who will never grow old and will always love me through thick and thin, but will drag me down to her depths as well. I left her of my own accord, and stranded myself inland. To the beating heart of England itself, to Sheffield. My third women, and the first time I’d would ever pay for love, through the transfer of student loans, Sheffield was my mistress and my dirty little whore.