Northwords Now Issue 36

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Cataracts

by Roddie McKenzie

Thi alarm gied yi a flehg so yi blooter it intae silence- another day sterts. Yi hae that wee bevridge aff thisideboard before Yi even turn on thilicht.  It disnae matter; naebody hame but yersel.  Tae auld tae fur this faif; yet tae youthie  tae stehrve.

But it wuzna  aye like this.  When ye first stairted in thi Cleppy Road, before thi bairns, it wiz a joy to get up fir work.  A brah crowd o` lassies and aw thi strappin laddies  fae thi mills doon thi road drappin` by fur a blether.  Noo wi wurkin` roon thi toon, ye dinnae get tae ken wha`s wha in a shop afore yir moved on tae thi next yin. Jist like thi licht passing thro thi windae- in and awa`.

Eh! Cheenged days noo. Thi bairns being heid bummers in thae bioteckae works. Dinnae see thim much- ther eh bizzy.  But wi Tommy gone, it wiz back tae work. Cannae  jist trail roon thi hoose in yir rovies.   So Yi went back tae work wi thi opteecians.

Maist fowk are braw when yir helping them choose thi frames and thi bairns that jist need a wee bittae re-assurance.  Yi like that bit o` thijob.   Felt part o` a team that wiz keekin oot fur people.    Nice tae help them see thi telly,  thi Tullay or thi grandbairns again.  But she wiz a bizm!   A richt nippie sweetie, her an thi designer hanbag.  Some o` them that come in here jist wind thersels up. Yi ken thit lenses, arnae megic een. Thae fowk dinna get thi idea that when yer auld yer een jist dinnae work as weel. Thers a limit tae whit lenses kin dae.   Mind yi, tell them that an they git pussay and blame YI fur it.  Ach, sumtimes it jist gits tae yi and  thi day yi snapped at thon stuffed shirt. Yi ken yi wur a bittie ootae order, but fur her tae pit a complaint in aboot yi.. ah mean tae say... .  Then...suspentit ! Whits that aboot?  Yi asked Cath.  She tells yi tae keep thi heid; she`ll see whit she kin dae . Stull,  stiddy noo, walk oot proud, dinnae gie them thi satisfaction. Yir een burn, bit yi keep yer dignity, ken whit eh mean?

Nae point in gangin` hame sae early, jist mair time tae kill. Yi gang up tae thi  `View  tae relax.  Thi vino goes down pretty guid. Yi like thi crowd in here, ther usually mair chattie though.  Seems everybodys  goat thi hump thi day.   Yi like this place, especially thi auld songs oan thi juke boax, yi sing alang, they`re a laughing, they enjoy a guid sang an a sesh, so yi dae  a few mair.  Megic! Thit feeling of being  “tap o` thi huhlltoon  Ma”- who wuz it that said yon yi ask?  Och, Wha kerrs!  Yi close yer een tae savour it.  When yi open them wherr ur they a`?  Ye go roond thi big curved bar and ther they ur.

“Hullo ther.. ony body wid think ye were gi`in` me thi boady swerve,” yi shout, an gang ti gie thim a wee hug. But yir feet catch oan thi brass rail and thi wine glass in yir han creshes oantae thi bar.  As thi shards clatter across thi bar tae a spinning  stop,  yi see ther een; oot like prawns, thim drawin` back slowly, like yi were mental an a`. And as thi rose-tintit  glesses fa` awa, yi see clearly, an` it  izna bonnie.