Monday, 11 March 2013

Spring Chill

Govan can feel harsh and sad at times; plunges you into a chasm of homesickness, even though you're at home. Spring snow flurries swirl through the air today, and deceitful sunshine tempts you out into a world of minus temperatures.

A gang of four teens and a wee boy are sauntering along past St. Anthony's. Dead tough, I'm thinking, funny how they never seem to feel the cold. Trakkies and trainers, hoods up, none of them wearing a jacket, let alone a scarf, like me. Just taking their time, looking in the impact art shop and trying the door. One opens the door of Nolan's flowers, one tries the hairdressers. In and out.
Towards us limps a man in his fifties, one slow step with his left foot, then drags his right leg forward. One hand swings lifeless at his side, the other is stuffed in his pocket. His eye twitches and he screws up his face, pulls his mouth into contortions as he mutters something over and over.
The gang stop still as they take him in. The leader stands sideways in a shop doorway until the man comes level. An exaggerated sideways step brings the young boy out in front of the man, impeding his jerky journey. "Where ye gaun'? Whit's up? Up wi' ye?" he says in a wheedling tone, all the while mimicking the man's gait. The others are laughing, uproariously.
The man throws his arm out in a wide arc, as though trying to swipe the boy, but missing by a mile. His twisted face has a grim, dark look which spurs the others on to prance around him.
"Don't be like that, eh?" calls the leader before swaggering on with the others in his wake.

1 comment:

Sandra PA said...

Maybe it's selective memory but I don't remember things like that happening when I was a child in Govan. My friends and I used to look out for blind people making their way across the road, or going towards the PI, and help them. I'm not saying it was idealic back then because I remember things like the well-known money lender who stood outside the Post Office waiting for his clients to cash in their family allowance (he held the books until then)and pay him back, and windows getting broken at a shop in the Golly and someone running away with a suit. But lack of empathy for the disabled? It's sad to think that things have changed so much over the years.