Saying Goodbye To Glasgow

Life lately has felt more of an uphill climb than I am used to. I think it’s the nature of the thing – of growing up, finding your way, carving a space for oneself in this strange and tumultuous world of ours. Right now I am surrounded by half unpacked cases and to do list longer than I am. I was packed, then I unpacked one thing to pack in another little thing and one little thing led to another and suddenly, I have so many little things to rearrange and squeeze in. Packing is hard, and unbearably stressful. I doubt I will ever be good at it.

Similarly, I don't want to spend these last few moments at home packing, and as the countdown enters single figures and grows smaller everyday, that is all I have left. Moments.  Time to spend with the ones I love, not screaming at a bagpack.  Yet it is something I have to do.

Funny, how the same city can mean different things to different people. More and more I feel this city is not merely a network of streets, of age old brick juxtaposed with sparkling glass, or people who never wait for the green man and make you proud to call it your own. It is stories – all our stories – yours, mine, his, hers. A vast patchwork quilt of living, loving, losing. Stories piled up layer on layer, criss-crossing, intersecting, diverging. Glasgow is home, and as I wandered around today, eating lunch with Shannon and shopping, I couldn't help but think of the relationship I have with this city.

Glasgow is home to so many of my happiest memories. It's seen me grow up, find friends, lose friends, be both blissfully happy and dreadfully sad. It's seen me stressed to the eyeballs and head over heels in love. It's seen me broken hearted and learning from all my mistakes. It's brought characters in my stories to life and held me close when I needed a familiar space. Glasgow means so many things to me, alone, I can hardly think of what it must mean to other people. Maybe they hate it, it can be grungy and noisy and dull and overwhelming. Maybe they love it, like I do, for while it is all those things, it is also beautiful and artistic and ancient and lovely. It is, most importantly, home.

I think I'd prepared myself for leaving people behind. Family, friends, neighbours. I arranged goodbye meetups and hugged everyone a little bit tighter before getting ready to go. But not once had I thought of saying goodbye to Glasgow. The thought of where I was leaving hadn't quite occurred to me.

I'm trying to accept that on Monday I will leave this city, but maybe because I know deep down that I will soon be returning, the loss hasn't quite me yet. Nothing has. I am unbelievably calm.  People keep saying goodbye and I say it back, but it doesn't feel real yet. It's more like see you later, except with more cuddles and whispers in my ear to keep myself safe. There is so much comfort in a familiar smile and those small pockets of grace – the kindness of people you hardly know, the simple mercy of finding a seat on the train. The joy there is in giving it up to somebody with tired eyes and a heavy load to carry.

So this week’s gratitudes so far: trains that run on time. Reunion with an old friend in our hometown, we’ve known each other since I was 8. Snapchats with Alex. Silly texts. Quiet lunches with dad. Snuggling down into a warm bed. A family that I love, the days go by quickly. Friendly faces.  Sunny mornings. And most of all, my mother – who is the most exquisite, kind and funny human being I know and the best mama I could ever imagine.


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