Ah mind he wis a stunner. There wis me, saunterin up Sauchiehall Street on the last nicht afore lockdoon, oot ma face aefter geein laldy like a wis back in schuil.
‘Where ye aff tae mate?’ he says, cruisin up in a nice wee motor.
‘Hame, just waitin oan the bus.’ Am no tellin a lie tae say ah couldnae mind ma own name, let alane where a shud be staundin for a bus tae stoap.
‘Here an ahl gie ye a lift up the road.’
‘Nah, yer awrite, pal.’ A looked awa, aff intae the chilly eastmaist distance. The black an orange lights ae Glesga flooterin as they do aefter a stint oan the bevy. A wisnae drookit, so why bather tae take ma chances endin up murthered in some manky dunny. Nae thanks. ‘Shud be alang in a bit,’ ah says.
‘Naw it willnae, mate. There’s a lockdoon. Nae busses.’
Whit in high heil wis this eejit oan aboot? Gallus tae hookie up tae perfect strangers, hingin oot his windae bletherin oan aboot lockdoons n’ that.
‘Dinnae fash yersel, pal. Am only wantin tae gie yeh a lift hame.’
Ah looked this way n that. Up n doon. Nae bus. Not a scoobie. No even a dug. Hinkin a was prolly five meenits fae gettin lifted, ah let the bevy telt me whit tae dae.
Whit wud ma mither hink o this, then? Jumpin in motors wi haiverin bampots? Come tae hink ae it, Big Jan wouldnae hiv haud hauf the weans she haud wi out gettin her bahookie intae every bawheided bauchle’s motor whit took a wrang turn intae the scheme. An’ a was nuffin if no Big Jan’s wean. Well, wan ae them at least.
‘Whits yer name?’ He asks.
‘Wha’s you? The polis?’
‘Ahm just tryin tae hauv a blether!’
‘Aye? Trainin tae be a taxi driver? Well nae stars fae me, pal.’
‘Yer hinkin ae Uber.’
‘Aye well ah’ll Uber you in a second, mate. Just drap us ower there. Ah’ll walk.’
‘From here tae Partick? Away ye go.’
‘Hame tae the missus, then?’ He says after a lay in the chat.
‘Get tae,’ ah says, geein him a sleekit grin. ‘Ahm no a hunner.’
‘Yeh dinnae hauv tae be auld tae be merrit.’
‘An yersel? Dus yer missus ken yer oot geein lifts tae blootered lads? Or dae ye just dae that fur a laugh?’
Smicker he daed.
‘Calm doon, ah wis only oot drappin aff a mate.’
Ah mate. Ah ken that wird. Twa in the morn, drivin aboot the empty toon. He’d no been drinkin, so whit aboot his mate? Bevyin alone, wis he? While auld mister blae een’s sat an watched? Ah dinae hink so. If it haud been a bird, he’d a said. Drappin aff ma bird, geein the missus a lift hame. But no, this wis the unkenable mate wi no name. Oh aye pal, ave got ye. Plain as parritch.
‘How wis it the night?’ He says, pauchlin a keek of me when another bloke wud be gairdin the road.
‘Aye, last nicht oot on the slash fur a guid wee bit.’
‘It’s gain that way, aye. The warld shutten doon. Grindin tae a hault. Awe ae us hame fur the Awmichtie kens how lang.’
‘Aye well ahm no feart ae a stint in lockdoon.’
‘Ah bet ye can dae six month staundin on yer heid.’ But he dusnae say it tae be nestie. Naw, it was a wee bit aw understaundin eachither that wee bit mare.
‘Sumfin like that.’
Ave cut aboot the steamie. Ave staud in stowed oot crouds howfin out wabbit patter wi the lads. Wance it wis aboot lassies an hooch. Noo its aw weans n hooses. Prolly hows ah can be hauf cut on a midweek nicht aefter a fest wan wi the boys.
Nae weans. Nae missus. The baith of us can dae six months nae bother. Nae bother at aw.
He pulls the motor in and a keek up at ma drawn windaes. Ah wid say come up, have a dram and a blether. But wit if it starts the nicht? Wit if we wake up an wee Nicola’s oan the telly teltin us aw to dinnae move fur feart of fallin doon deid? Ah wonder if that wid be so bad.
Whit will ah say, seein him again? Or seein any ae us? Whit ye been uptae? No much, mate, yerself? Aye, too right no much. But ave been uptae sumfin. Ave been hinkin aboot that stunner. Braw an eesome. A weel-faured gausie wi hair as black as twa in the morn when first we met.
Cuz ahm hinkin ae us yont the noo. A wee hoose. Trips doon the watter. Twa dugs oan a corner sofa. Wan ae they big wans ye hauvetae hauve twa incomes fur. Cuz thats how twa blokes dae it. Life, ah mean. Yeh dinny find folk like that on yer phone, trawlin throu the dregs ae the scheme, feart tae swipe the wrang way oan a coupon ye ken an strike a riddy the next time yer staundin in the bookies or fae a bag a chips.
Aw this time ave been hinkin aboot faur yont flittin while starin at fower bare waws. Fallin doon that slidy brae ettlin ma future wi a puir bogle. Ah micht no huv a bawbee in ma pootch, but ave got sumfin else. Sumfin ma ain nae corona an nae lockdoon can tak awa.
Ae fonde kiss.
An fine, we severed. Mibbe it’ll be fareweel forever.
He said afore, ‘haud oan, lemme tak oot mah wallies.’ Gave us a baith a guid skelk. And the smuirich wis fonder fur it.
Even wi a bird, it’s ne’er been couth fur men tae wither oan aboot recks o the hert. Twa gadgies taegither; well mibbe yer askin fur tribble. But ano wan hing weel. When a sees him again, ahm askin him oot.