I have two weeks left in Glasgow before I head back to Coll and begin preparing for my next adventure. Summer school is harder work than I was anticipating. It's all jam-packed early morning trains and walking for miles and pathetically trying to make friends. My classes are two hours each, and my timetable manic. I come home exhausted every day. Not from the classes themselves, but the effort it takes to get to and from home. I wonder if I'm just lazy or if everyone else feels this way too. I don't really know any of them well enough to ask.
As I walk through the city each day, earphones in and tuning out the world, I try to take in as much as possible of the world around me. I like making stories for all the people in my train carriage or who pass by me as I walk from the station. Less than a year ago I would talk to them, find out their stories for myself. But this way seems less heartbreaking.
I have spent many summers in Glasgow. I grew up here after all. For all that, though, I have never spent lengthy periods of time here during the warm months – there was always the delicious prospect of somewhere away, whether it was my family abroad or visits to the Irish sea. This year, for the first time, I am obliged to be present. I am expected at a desk in the heart of the city every morning, there is work to do, and there are friends too – friends and family, people to see. Still, at first, I loathed it. Too hot, too dirty, concrete jungle, the train feels like a sauna, the city like a desert. Heat writhes across the pavements, respite is unforthcoming, and why must I sit indoors all day?
In the last few weeks, however, a plot twist. I think I may be falling for summer, summer here in Glasgow. Perhaps I just needed to get into the swing of things. 'Summer' in Glasgow is rarely too warm. I wore two jumpers today and it poured with rain my whole way home.
Yet, when the weather obliges, I walk the perimeter of kelvingrove park to reach my desk – rosy-cheeked but happy. At dusk, the sunsets linger. So do I. Bathed in amber light, the city is truly at its best. Walking through Kelvingrove Park, I can skip through tall grass and pretend I am in the countryside. As I walk up university avenue, bag swinging and my hair tangling in the summer-scented breeze, I inhale. The air smells like tulips. Walking by the park children toss frisbees through the air. Office workers picnic on the grass. This Glasgow – this Glasgow of amber light and a summer breeze: this Glasgow I love.
I go to the concert of the boy I thought myself in love with at thirteen. His band is taking everyone by storm right now and I honestly couldn't be prouder. It makes me think. I come to the conclusion that there's no such a thing as 'getting over someone.' I think you can move on; I think you can let them go. But I don’t think we can get over people we’ve loved. Not fully. They just become a part of our lives, our road maps, the curves and twists of our paths. They become a part of the air we breathe, something we don’t think about, but will always know.
For summer school we've to write a poem and after struggling so much I am finally feeling okay about the final result. I reassure myself that everyone will have sent them in and we'll all no doubt be feeling the same. But the next afternoon our tutor hands them all out and explains only three were sent to her. Mine's is on the front page (they're all anonymous) and as we read it out, a line each, I am feeling slightly more confident. People mention things they like and it's lovely. That being said, I never want to be in a room where my writing is being close read again if I can avoid it.
On Saturday it is Silvana's birthday and we go for lunch to celebrate. I wonder what my life would've been like if I hadn't taken the risk and sat down next to the really tall girl in Spanish two years ago instead of sitting by myself. I've not seen most of my friends since Prom because life has been so busy and it's amazing to catch up with them properly. Lunch is amazing too, and we're taking ridiculous selfies while Silvy tries just about every cocktail on the menu. You only turn 18 once after all. As we leave Erin gets a photo with the waiter and I'm reminded of how little has changed in these last few years, even though it sometimes feels like everything is different. I'm blessed to have such beautiful friends.