HOME – runner-up

Living Each Day by Catriona Patience

We do the round again. The story continues where it left off the day before, the same stops, the same characters, the same dreams, mostly intact.

Under the weight of red berries the rowans are lethargic, the heather just turning, nothing for it but winter. Young Alec and Iain, their bikes tossed aside, play one-a-side football, T. Menzies gives me a £5 note, ‘keep the change sonny, you’ll be needing it’, his YES badge scuffed on his jumper. On the pavement outside a wee boy crouches under a ‘For Sale’ sign, crying, outraged.

Northwards out of Brodick, the bus trembles under the weight of German and English tourists, eager and determined, striding off the bus and down to the castle, intent on a certain kind of history. When they leave, what will our home mean to them? Will it be an antiquity? A curiosity? Are we lucky, or cursed, or simply forgotten out here?

Some kids are playing Andy Goldsworthy down by the shore at Blackwaterfoot as Auld Mackay staggers aboard, the reek of him familiar and horrible. About a mile up the road he stumbles off again, away up the track, a bottle of Buckie in hand, singing ‘There’s no place like home.’

Hedges close in and the road narrows, we are driving through the tumult of nature, as it beds down in the last few days of autumn.

Lisa M drops her purse, coins scatter ‘everyone scramble!’ shouts her brother before they too disembark, pushing and shoving, vying for their mother’s love. What a pair.

Party balloons. Three auld yins ‘hop’ on, merrily oblivious of the teenage glares from the back of the bus, ‘I don’t know whether to sit next to my wife, or my mistress!’ the auld man shouts with glee, chuckling, he sits next to one of them and they all laugh uproariously.

Rounding the southernmost tip, Ailsa Craig south still, through the island sleeping, waking, dreaming, being and coming to be, we make for home. Back at the ferry terminal, I sigh, that’s me done for the day. Same again tomorrow. And the day after.

R boards the bus and shakes my hand; ‘we really appreciate all your hard work over the years, we really do, couldn’t have been without you, it wont be the same without you. You mind yourself now, and pop in and see us, do, make sure you do.’ Dazed and confused, I nod.

Back home, and Lettie has tatties and lamb on the table. ‘How was your day love?’ ‘Oh aye’ I reply, ‘fine, aye. I’ll no be working tomorrow.’ I pause. She doesnae say anything. ‘But I’ll maybe go along, just for the ride.’  She smiles ‘I’ll make you up your piece as usual then.’

This has come to be our home. Porpoises. A red squirrel. The glimmer of the mainland. I don’t mean to be romantic, that’s just how it was. The North Star gleaming and the sky turning anti-clockwise in its wake.

Catriona Patience (pictured) says: 

“An ever aspiring Renaissance-girl Catriona Patience is seeking ways to sidle up on truth, happiness and the other big ones by writing, photographing, singing, creating and messing. Now living in Glasgow she wrote ‘Living Each Day’ after a beautiful camping trip to Aran. She is thrilled to have won a runner up prize in the Lothian Life short story competition, and this will certainly inspire her to spend more time scribbling.” 


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