A Chance Meeting In Edinburgh

On my second night in Edinburgh (from Norway), I posted a photo on Facebook. I called it Edinburgh street view, although it was showing a slightly curved façade, which I found beautiful. I took the picture on our way from Stockbridge to Princess Street, somewhere around Howe Street.The next morning, there was a comment on the Facebook post. A friend wrote: Linn and I are travelling to Edinburgh tomorrow. Linn was her daughter. They must be preparing to go as I read this, I thought.

Maya was an old friend, or, a friend from olden days rather. We hadn’t been in touch for years and years, I only remembered her grown-up daughter as a premature bundle in her mother’s arms.

The comment left me with several options. I could write: Great, have fun! Or, Enjoy! Or simply post a ‘thumbs up’. I wondered what she expected from me, and after much pondering landed on: Wow, why don’t we squeeze in a coffee? And left it to her.

After breakfast, we walked up Dalry Road and stopped for a coffee at The Clock from where we – as if watching a silent movie – were studying people’s way of walking. Amused, we continued to Haymarket, turned into West Maitland and admired the flower beds at Coated Crescent. We were on our way to The Botanics, and all the time Maya was looming in the back of my head.

The day before, a day of mixed quality, had taken us – through torrential rain on Princess Street – to the Tourist Information where a young woman googled bus routes on Dalry Road faster than the lightning. When I asked about a certain street in the old town, the one with the colourful buildings, she – and her colleague – drew a blank. We studied the map and I eventually placed my index finger triumphantly on Victoria Street: There!

Oh, they said, and seemed none the wiser. Can’t be googled, I whispered.

Plans for the coming days were settled and the rain had disappeared from the forecast. After a few short messages, Maya and I had decided on Tuesday. I suggested we meet at North Bridge, outside Prezzo; no one could miss it. The thought of Maya had a grip on me. Did I really want to meet her? Why hadn’t we stayed in touch? It was as if something had been said back then, or was it something unsaid? It had been easier to fake a full agenda and leave our communication to Facebook.

Tuesday morning, we decided to walk up to Arthur’s Seat. The stones on the steep route felt dangerously polished, I had started to sneeze after wading through the grass field I moodily named The Himalaya Foothills. I had rather spent some time in the Blackwell’s book store we had passed on the way, probably air conditioned, instead of repeating a former expedition – now under a blaring sun. All the way from North Bridge, we had postponed buying water, and now we had none.

The two hours before the reunion seemed like an eternity, and we had no idea how to spend them, but Victoria Street and surroundings came to our rescue and then we fought our way back through the masses of tourists and reached North Bridge just in time.

I saw them from a distance. Maya – her old self. Linn looked like an elf in a flowery dress, not at all like her bulky mother who spotted us and waved her arm with a big grin.

It’s going to be fine, I thought. Just fine.


Find Anne-Trine at:

www.benjamuna.com – Stories, with a touch of India

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