Tuesday, May 25, 2010

wishing for Scotland; or, rainy days will always make me think of you

On rainy days when my hair is wet and my sweater is damp I crave Scotland. I want to have tea and scones(okay and sticky toffee pudding!). I want to walk for miles and miles and tour castles. I want to go to bed at night exhausted from having climbed hillsides, followed paths around the many lochs, and having run through rain soaked fields. I want to search for sea monsters and drink whiskey. I want to duck my head as I am led through the low doorway into my new favorite pub listening to lilting voices that sound nothing like mine. I want to lie in a hotel room in Edinburgh and listen to the rain on my window.

I have been to Scotland twice for a total of 11 days. The first trip was nearly 8 years ago and was lovely. A friend and I took a Haggis tour to the Highlands--which I highly recommend. The second was last summer and I was on my own.  I cannot be sure, but I think it rained every day at least once. In my memory it is always raining in Scotland. This last trip, I stayed in Edinburgh mostly, but for a short daytrip through the countryside and a night's stopover at a new friend's. I love both trips equally, but for entirely different reasons. The first trip I love because one never forgets their first, and because the wildness of the Highlands will never leave me. But the second, well, the second I will always love because of a boy.

His name was Ben. I can't remember the last, and frankly I had forgotten his first until a friend had reminded me. He was a security guard at the castle and I met him while asking directions. I don't even know what I was looking for. But, what liked what I found. He was tall, blonde, wild curly hair, blue eyes, and the strongest Scottish lilt I'd heard. For the first two days I had to lean in close to catch words. I had to ask him to repeat things. That can be awkward while wooing. We hit it off immediately. He said he was a writer. He said he had been accepted into an MFA program in New York city, but for various reasons could not go. So, he was working and waiting. I often meet men while travelling, it is easy, clean, no strings. I am fantastic at walking away, so the touring love affair is natural to me. Being such a veteran of the vacation romance I was skeptical of his story. Sure, sure, what better courtship tactic than to tell the American English Professor that you are an aspiring writer. With those hands on her body and that voice in her ear she will believe anything you say. True or not, it was enough for me, I thought it was the best of stories, and a story was really all I needed.

 It wasn't until I had returned to London that belived him. I found a note slipped into the pages of the novel I was reading.  I was sitting at an outdoor cafe with my friend when I found the note. I didn't remember seeing him writing and thought that he must have written it to me while I was in the shower, and put it into my book without me seeing. I can't remember what he said, not exactly, but I remember reading it aloud and my friend and I both sighing. Whatever it was it was enough to convince us that he is a writer. Or maybe a poet. A wordsmith at the least. She was upset with me that I was so sure it would lead nowhere. I remember sahying how I would miss this one. This boy. Now, here I am nearly a year later in America, in a house that is not a home. My hair is wet from the rain. My sweater is damp and smells faintly of wet sheep. As I knew that it would, the affair has faded. The note is lost. Most of that trip is forgotten. I had even forgotten his name, but what I hope to never forget was the sound of the rain on the window and a Scottish lilt whispering "Oh my kitty kat, rainy days will always make me think of you."


  1. Love this. You, K, are also a wordsmith.

  2. Thanks V. That is a kind thing to say. It is funny how influenced I am by the weather.