Friday, 7 March 2014

Shelter From The Storm

Today's weather can't decide whether it's late winter or early spring. You have to walk fast to keep warm, although the sun is shining in a new blue sky, so I hurry down Copland Road, along broken, wet pavements with my scarf tucked warmly round my collar. Above me, the sky rapidly darkens and a stinging sweep of hailstones nips my face. A fierce wind surges and I look quickly for a place to take cover. I see a hand wave me towards the shelter of a close and skip quickly in. A man and a woman wait in the doorway and are in conversation. 
"Mon in," he says, "mental oot there."
Horizontal sheets of ice drive past us as we look out. 
"It's the apocalypse," she laughs. "Aye, so . . "
He takes up the story from where I interrupted, "So Ah'm thinkin about becomin a Muslim. It's a thing a started thinkin about a while ago. It was when Ah was incarcerated and workin on a farm. Ah just felt it was a good thing and Ah know Ah'd have t' grow a beard n that, but that's something Ah can dae."

The close has a wooden door; it's open and she's leaning against it, and he has his back to the opposite wall, leaning against the green tiles. I feel caught in a private and personal moment and keep looking out to the street. The downpour continues, just rain now, but very heavy drops splattering on the pavement. 

There is silence and then she sniffs a bit and says, "Ah'm sure you can dae it. Ah know you can grow a beard."
"Ah had one before," he says and she says, "Aye, I remember you with it."
Another period of silence and the rain begins to lessen and the clouds lift. 
I turn around to them, "Think Ah'll chance it," I say. 
He nods his head, his arms are crossed and his face is peaceful and smilingly benign. 
She remains slumped against the door, and whispers, "Good luck."

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