• j_a_laing

spine road

Updated: Feb 17, 2019

Extract from Calibrating the Darkness

Donna, 1985

As soon as you’re on it you get that feeling like you’re a kid and you go on for ages. Remember that when you’re wee and just keep moving and moving till you’re done and your legs run out of juice. Damp saddle but was warm today. How’s that then, dampness after warm day? Cold rises. My jeans too from dancing so sweaty dancing, love it. That air when you walk outside but hate that drying sweat bone cold. If I sit on the saddle it’ll get warmer. Seams rubbing so so stingy, shit. Will be raw by the time I get there and it will be too sore. Too tight for cycling. Can’t go back though (don’t think about that now). The grips all worn and slippy (need new ones). Falling thought felt in teeth. Oooooopht. Front light dead that won’t help.

Oh my god so dark now here after orange lights in orange lines, souls entwined, souls entwined. But when they first go

on they’re red then turn orangey. Sodium. Why red to orange though? Maybe walk, push. Six miles though. Cars won’t see me. Behind will though so fine, not many this time of night – too late, too early.

Her wee face looked so sad, so sad, blurred (don’t think about that). It’s hard to see the shapes of things in streetlights. I’ll miss her (don’t think). She’ll find her own way. Has to. She’s not me, she doesn’t know how to (don’t think)

Grangemouth flares so beautiful making clouds glow. Wow. Close and far at the same time. People say it’s ugly but it’s beautiful. Smelling like pineapple chunks up close – what was that in chemistry, esters? Acid combined with what was it again? Acid combined with. Can’t be good for folk though, down there. And the noise, always that high up mmmmmmm which sounds like it’s in your ears until you think about it then it’s outside your head. Sometimes the wind brings it here. And the cows with one eye cause of rechem. Esters from alcohol plus acid. Hahaha, that’s funny, alcohol and acid. Esters. Great club name. Chemistry all around us.

That dream with the warhead so huge going towards it so slowly over my head and the day all sunny. Can see it now moving slowly but it isn’t like slow motion. Some cloud Grangemouth will make.

Weird this, cycling, dark. Hardly feel my legs but everything wearing off now. That was a good night until

I hate him. I hope she’s okay.

The flares dying down. Sky lighter now, cooling towers coming out from sky like big potter’s pots and hills behind. Like Bladerunner in there, like the future. Could cycle around maybe.

Peaceful now here like my edges have gone and I’m between feeling and seeing, going so fast and smooth through the air and the wee hairs on side of my cheeks even are alive with it. And how do I even know I’m climbing now when I can’t see it rising ahead of me?

He’s going to freak when he sees me. But I think he does love me.

Sharon, 2016

She sat there. No there. And I sat there. Under that light, and the smoke. Always on the point of feeling queasy. The light flickering at the tops of your eyes. Or was it the smoke? She didn’t really smoke though. Just sat there in the ashtray burning up, sending up curls. She didn’t really know you were there, with her book on the go and a bit of peace.

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