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Trying to make her dreams come true...

I've spent the day helping my dad lay a new floor in the living room of my parents house. My mum agreed to loan me a tenner so when she was taking me home we pulled into the garage around the corner from where I live to use the cash machine.

I got out of the car and began walking towards the cash machine and saw out of the corner of my eye the approaching headlights of her car. A second later I felt the bumper of the car hit my leg and I leaped out of the way. I turned to see my mum in the car looking shocked.

"Broken leg!" I shouted so she could hear me. After I got the tenner out of the cash machine I got back into the car and asked her if she was trying to make her dreams come true.


Moto GP - Round 2 - Jerez.

This morning saw the riders take to the tarmac at Jerez for the second round of the Moto GP season. First place was taken by Valentino Rossi with Dani Pedrosa taking second ahead of Colin Edwards in third place. Current World Champion Nicky Hayden struggled to a seventh place finish as his development woes continued with the Honda RCV 212v.

Hayden's main problem seems to be that he is struggling to adapt his riding style to the new 800cc motor which has less outright power than last years 900cc bike. Because of the lack of horsepower the riders are having to maintain a higher corner entry speed and this doesn't suit Nicky's style of slamming on the brakes as late as possible, squaring off the corner and relying on the engine torque to accelerate out of the turn.

The winner of the first round, Casey Stoner, battled well to finish fifth behind Toni Elias after poor handling on the Ducati caused him to drop off the pace early in the race.

The next race weekend in the Moto GP begins in Turkey on the 22nd of April.

This weeks listening...

This week has been a hodgepodge of different musical tastes.
I'm sure there has been more but I'm fucked if I can remember them.


How I laughed...

I awoke this morning early. Very early. 6:45 to be precise.

As soon as my eyes were open I reached for my mobile phone. I hit the button that lets me send a text message and sent the following message to my mum.
"I know it's early but I dreamed that you ran over Grandpa Smurf in a golf buggy and had been arrested by Noddy and the Mayor of Toytown. Phone me to let me know if you need a lawyer!"
I kid you not I've been laughing for the last hour...


Break a leg, Son...

I awoke this morning at roughly 11am and found my mobile phone bleeping like Twiki from Buck Rogers having an orgasm. I opened the phone to find that I had three voicemail messages and five missed calls.

I dialed my voicemail and discovered that my mum had left a message saying that she had had a dream that I had broken my leg while having a shower and was unable to get to the phone to call for help. The second message was on the same lines, as was the third. The only difference being that in the second message she was threatening to send my dad to the house to check up on me, and the third call was telling me that she was on her way over if she didn't hear from me in the next five minutes.

I sent a text message to her mobile saying I was fine but it was too late. I looked out of my window and saw that my dads van was parked outside and heard a knock on my front door. I opened it to find my dad standing there with a world weary look on his face.

"Alright Pops." I said. "Mind the leg."

My dad smiled and I looked over the banister to see my mum hobbling up the stairs. She swore at me as she looked up to see I was standing there complete with two perfectly healthy legs. After five minutes or so my Mum was satisfied that I hadn't come a cropper and was fit and well and they left to go back to work in mothers case or watching the horse racing in my dads case.

Parents, gotta love them. Even if one of them is a nutjob...


Today has been a lazy day...

I fully planned on hitting the streets today to find a job but after waking up this morning with a pounding headache I decided I was in no fit state. So I swallowed a couple of painkillers, pulled the covers over my head and tried to sleep through the headache.

Three hours later I awoke again to find that the headache was still resident so I popped another three painkillers and attempted to get back to sleep. Not a chance. My body had had enough sleep and refused to drop back into la-la land.

I hauled my lumbering frame out of bed, like some kind of stoned dinosaur who hasn't realised that a giant meteor has wiped out all of his friends and relatives, and pulled my duvet into the living room where I lay on the couch and watched TV.

I made several attempts at shouting at the TV, but whenever I raised my voice above a whisper my head began pounding. I satisfied myself by hurling the remote control at the TV and vowing that one day Richard Madeley and all his happy faced smiling cohorts would suffer a horrible end at my hands.

As soon as the remote control clattered to a halt at the side of the TV I cursed my spontaneity as I had no way of turning the TV down, or off. I rolled off the couch and dragged myself across the living room floor, hit the off button on the TV and picked the remote control off the floor.

As I slunk back to the couch I decided that some soft music would probably be the best thing to take my mind of my headache so I kicked my stereo into life and put on Facing Future by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

As the sounds of Israel slowly drifted into my cerebellum my headache began to dissipate and a sense of calm floated into my being. There's something about Israel Kamakakawiwo'ole's music that reminds me of the time I spent in Mozambique and as the music took over I closed my eyes and drifted into my memories.

Much to my surprise I awoke a couple of hours later to discover that my headache had slackened off to a dull roar. Which was probably just as well as I'm a big fucking jessie when I'm not 100%. I walked into the kitchen and got a pint of water to keep my hydration levels up, went to the toilet and took a piss and staggered back into the living room where I turned on the fire to get the chill off the room.

The rest of the day I lay on the couch, listened to quiet music and read my way through a Saul Bellow book.


Phrases you never hear...

  • "Right after I've done the dishes I'm going to circumcise myself with a butter knife."
  • "I'll be right with you when I've finished burying the corpse."
  • "One day I'm going to marry that skanky, aids infected, syphilitic whore."
  • "If I said I loved you would you shit in a bag and let me take it home with me?"
  • "I honestly think that the rules should be changed to allow George W Bush to serve another term in office."
  • "I love you so much I'd let you touch me like the scout master did."
  • "I find that the worst thing about sleeping with the dead is digging them up."
  • "Do whatever you want to the Women and Children, just leave me alone!"
  • "Anna Nicole Smith was one of the finest actresses ever seen."
More will be added as I think of them, or feel free to add your own in the comments.

For race fans...

Trackpedia is a wiki that covers racing circuits around the world.

If you've got a passion for racing then haul yourself over to this site and share knowledge of your local track with other fans. Fully editable, after you've signed up, Trackpedia has the potential to become a great forum for the racing community.

The excitement and the drama...

Were somehow lost on me during the F1 race in Australia during the night.

With the exception of probably 10 to 15 seconds when the winner may have turned out to be different to the person who got his car into turn one before anyone else did, it was just as I thought it would be. Worse than how I'd feel if I was forced to watch a group sex scene starring Anne Widdicombe, Theresa Jowell, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, but not by much.

It might as well have been contested over one lap instead of having it drag out over fifty eight of the buggers.

Maybe it's me but I don't see how F1 can even qualify as a race. A race to my mind is something like this... One set of tyres, one tank of gas, one car and one driver battling against the rest of the pack. Another part of racing to me is overtaking. Proper overtaking, you no doubt know what I mean, two cars hurtling into a corner with both drivers attempting to outbrake the other guy.

What do you get in F1? Overtaking when one guy goes into the pits to get new tyres or fuel. I'm exaggerating slightly there, to be fair the backmarkers do get overtaken but where's the challenge in passing someone who has been told to get out your way.

I remember the good old days of F1; Days when colorful characters like James Hunt and Jackie Stewart physically fought their cars to get it to point in the right direction; Days when a car would tie itself in knots on the exit of a corner and the driver would have to use their skill to keep it on the racing line; Days when it was a race and not a life sized version of scalextric.

As far as I'm concerned F1 is a shadow of its former self. Gone are the days of high drama and excitement to be replaced by a bunch of primadonnas playing in their go carts. It's the fans I feel sorry for. Do yourself a favour folks and watch any Moto GP race of the last twenty years and see what racing should be about.

It's all in the name of...

Comparative science.

The F1 season kicks off during the night in Australia and in the name of science I'll be staying up to watch it. I say science because, as regular readers of this blog know, I'm a big fan of Moto Gp (which is the premier class of motorcycle racing and the two-wheeled version of F1 but with more excitement, closer racing and a hell of a lot more overtaking.) and would like to be able to compare the two on a level keel.

Due to a lack of TV coverage of Moto GP during the late eighties/early nineties there are people in the world... Strange lonely people who wear Kappa shell suits over Manchester United tops and think Carl Fogarty was the best motorcyclist ever to sling a leg over a bike... Who think that World Superbikes is the premier class of racing when it comes to Motorcycle racing. They're wrong. Very wrong.

The difference between a World Superbike and a GP bike is light years apart. For example I could walk into a motorcycle dealership tomorrow and buy a fully tooled road legal version of a World Superbike and get change from £50,000. I couldn't walk into a showroom and buy a GP bike even if I was in Japan, at the Honda Racing Corporation headquarters and snaffle up an RCV 212v even if my name was Valentino "Faster than light" Doohan. Which it's not.

Essentially the difference between a GP bike and a World Superbike is this... A World Superbike will let you know you're pushing its limits by sending you a polite letter informing you if you don't stop wringing its neck there are going to be recriminations; A GP bike will send a get well soon card.

So in order to be able to rip the piss out of F1 with the same informed authority as I rip the piss out of World Superbikes I'll be staying up late to watch the F1 procession, whoops, I mean race...



Was quite a quiet day.

I slunked out of my bed at just after 1pm after almost 12 hours of sleep, did some laundry and played on the X-Box for a few hours. I also read a little bit of Key Philosophical Writings by Rene Descartes.

I also updated my profile on The Spoof and made a start on a couple of spoof headlines but they sucked worse than any president named Bush so I dropped them like a hot potato.

Just for fun...

In one of my less insightful moments I pondered on what super group I'd like to have seen perform live. The criteria for the super group is that you have to have five band members, either alive or dead. My super group is as follows.
  • Drums - John Bonham.
  • Lead Guitar - Jimi Hendrix.
  • Bass - Rick James.
  • Piano/keyboards - Stevie Wonder.
  • Vocals - Grace Slick.
What would your super group be?


Just like Neil Young said...

Tonight's the night...

That my friend Steff's daughter Zoe goes to her youth club so I'm off around to Steff's to chew the fat and put the world to rights and see if Zoe's youth club helper (that I wrote about here) would like to go out for a drink with me. Highly unlikely I know, but you never know until you try.

I'll probably chicken out anyhoo...

Recent listening...

Today was a day when mood music was not the thing I needed. Today I needed music that wouldn't distract me from my task in hand. Editing the Memoirs of a drunken romantic tale needed concentration so I delved into my CD collection and rooted out a few of the old classics.
For the Led Zeppelin website click here.
For the Neil Young website click here.

Edited, printed and being sent for publishing...

The memoirs of a drunken romantic I wrote a few weeks back have now been edited (or as my dad called it "Taking out all the swearwords") and printed off so I can send it off to somewhere to see if it can get published.

Fuck knows who I'll send it to but over the next day or so I'll grab a copy of a few of the magazines I think I have the best chance of being published in.

Wish me luck... I'll need it.

What could possibly have happened...

To the sweet and innocent looking child on the right of this picture to change him into the writer of this blog? Please leave a comment if you have any kind of theory.

Just another Jarhead.

Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the US military is a fucking halfwit.

In a recent statement Mr Pace said that homosexuality was immoral. What I'd like to know is what's the moral difference between love between people of the same sex and dropping bombs that maim and kill fellow humans?

( Please note; I'm fully aware that Mr Pace could probably snap me in half like a rotten twig but I'm willing to take my chances.)


Who said chaos was a bad thing?

Fractal Light Show

As mad as a bag of monkeys...

That's what Amanda McLean is.

I don't know if you heard about this one... A woman in Glasgow is convinced that the child that is growing inside her is some kind of miracle after she looked at an ultrasound of her unborn sprog and saw the face of Jesus.

What I'd like to know is why is it whenever a strange image is captured seemingly bearing a resemblance to a human face it's always assumed to be that of Jesus? Perhaps it's not, perhaps it's the face of Ra, Ra, Rasputin, lover of the Russian Queen. There was a cat that really was gone.

Should it turn out that The Mad Monk Rasputin has decided to return to this world to wreak havoc and carnage in Russia again I'd like to be the first to welcome him back. It's been awfully dull without him to liven things up...

I'd also like to know if this phenomenom takes place in other cultures. For example if someone in the far east was to go for an ultrasound and there appeared to be an image of a podgy face do they think it's a picture of Buddha? I doubt it, that lot are more enlightened...


For the attention of...

The board of programmers at the BBC.

I have a question for you... Why in gods name was the Crufts dog show on for two hours today?
Who gives a fuck about crufts? No-one I know and that's for damn sure. I'm sure that there are people who do give a fuck about Crufts but I'm just as sure if they cared enough they'd go to the show themselves.

Moto GP. Round 1. Qatar.

Yesterday saw the first race of the season in the premier motorcycling world when the Moto GP grid lined up on the starting grid at the Losail international circuit in Qatar.

The young Australian rider Casey Stoner took first place on the 800cc Ducati Desmodeci followed by Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha M1 with third place being taken by Dani Pedrosa on the Honda RCV.

Please let it be true...

Following the furore over TV show phone in competitions it has been rumoured that shows such as Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Come Dancing, Pap Idol... Et al may have to be removed from the airwaves.


I've tried to figure out what kind of imbecile watches this trite and have only managed to come up with the mental image of several hundred retarded chimpanzees. Perhaps that sounds a bit harsh but in order to quantify my defense I must say that I actually watched a few minutes of these shows in order to make a judgement on them. I'm totally convinced that I'm correct in my opinion.

While watching the news the other day I witnessed a commentator say that "The public is losing its trust in TV."

What I'd like to know is who the hell trusts TV? Obviously no-one with half a brain cell. Because anyone with an IQ equal to that of a colobus monkey knows that the majority of TV programs are nothing but a big pile of bullshit... The news gives you the impression that every Muslim in the country is a suicide bomber in waiting, politicians are great leaders who have the public interest at heart and the police are heroes. Bollocks.

Most Muslims are peace loving people who only want to get on with their lives as best they can, politicians are a bunch of lying, cheating, scheming bastards who spend all day selling your life away from under you and the police are only there to spoil your fun by implementing idiotic laws so you don't have a good time at the party...


Ponder ponder...

I'm wondering if I should rewrite the posts I wrote over the last week or so so I can send them to a publisher. I'm pretty certain that with a bit of cleaning up I could get it published in a periodical such as Readers Digest, Woman's Own, Peoples Friend, etc etc etc...

Over the next few days I may just do this.

From the mouths of bairns...

Kids do the damnedest things.

Like drop you right in the shit and embarrass the hell out of you.

On Wednesday night I popped along to my mate Steff's to while away a few hours chewin the fat and putting the world to rights. Zoe (Spodge) had to go to her Yoof Club (apparently yoof is the new way to spell youth. Bloody kids, knocking hell out of the English language to sound like they are the next generation...) so Steff, Zoe and I jumped in the car and drove around to Carrickvale Community Centre.

As we approached the Community Centre I spotted a rather dishy blonde and let fly with a yell of "Hey Blondie" (It's a thing I do, yell out "Hey Blondie" whenever I see a blonde. The voice I use is like a cross between Sloth from The Goonies and Dezi Arnaz from the old TV show "I Love Lucy" It cracks me up. I dunno about anyone else...)

Zoe (Spodge) immediately piped up with "You fancy her!"

I said I'd hardly seen her and waited until Steff had drawn the car to the curb before remarking that she (the blonde) was indeed quite cute. Cue Zoe running into the youth centre, straight up to the woman in question and telling her that I fancied her.

Having dropped Zoe off and getting out of there Steff and I popped around to Oswaldo's to watch the football (Celtic v's AC Milan.) After the football finished we jumped back into the car and went back around the corner to pick Zoe up.

As we were about to step out of Oswaldo's garden my mobile rang. It was Zoe asking "Where are you?" I told Zoe we were on our way around and to calm down to a panic. A couple of minutes later we arrived in the street that the community centre is located in and saw that Zoe was standing waiting with aforementioned blonde.

As Steff turned the car around at the end of the street I said to Steff "I hope you realise I'm going to kill your child."

Steff pulled the car to the curb and wound the window down on his side of the car. The blonde leaned down and spoke to Steff about a pyjama party that the kids were going to have the next again week and I chipped in with "Can I come."

As she leaned down to speak I could see that she was checking me out. "Hmm..." I thought, not too bad. In fact, quite cute indeed. As Zoe jumped into the back of the car she shouted, and I do mean shouted, "SHE'S TWENTY SIX!" causing me to say that she was as subtle as being hit in the head with a brick.

And so I'm lumbered with a choice. Should I pop around to Carrickvale on Wednesday coming and chance my arm?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.


Sees the beginning of the season in Moto GP with the Qatar GP taking place in Losail.

My prediction for the championship is as follows.
  1. Valentino Rossi.
  2. Colin Edwards.
  3. Casey Stoner.
Nicola Hayden will self destruct under the pressure of having to develop a motorcycle as the season progresses. As Barry Sheene said of Steve Parrish "He couldn't develop a cold."


And so it ends...

My venture into my past has now drawn to a close. Thanks to all who left comments and a big Thank You to Lesley for her opinions.

Normal service will now be resumed.

The rest of that day...

I was in a state of absolute bliss.

No drug on the planet could have got me as high as I was at that moment because of the love I had found. I fell asleep that night with the smell of Her still in my nostrils. I could feel Her touch on my skin even though she wasn't there. She was as much inside me as I had been inside Her.

The next morning I stumbled out of bed, walked to work and got as much work as I could before She was due to make an appearance. Nine o'clock came and went. There was no sight of Her. I walked to the office and asked Lou if Claire had picked up the keys to kiosk 2 and had opened up.

"No, she's called in sick again. The boss is going apeshit, that's two weeks in a row she's thrown a sickie. He says if she does it again she's gone." Lou informed me.
"Did she say what was wrong with her?" I enquired.
"Her flatmate phoned for her, he says she's got a stomach ache." Lou told me.
"Do you need me to open up kiosk 2?" I asked.
"No, one of the staff from the pantry has opened up. The boss wants you to take some things down to the cottage for him." Lou said.

The boss's cottage was located in a small village in the borders and this meant I had at least a couple of hours driving ahead of me. "Am I going in the car or the van?" I asked.
"It'll need to be the car, the van has to go to the garage to be serviced. Joe Miller is picking it up in half an hour so remember to leave the keys." Lou said, throwing me the keys to the boss's car.

I walked along the corridor to my office and got the van keys, dropped them off at the office and told Lou I'd be as quick as I could. I jumped into the boss's BMW and set off for the borders. As soon as I was out of town and was on the city bypass I floored the accelerator. The car leaped forwards and shot down the road at highly illegal speeds.

Keeping one eye open for the presence of any police cars I made good time getting to the borders. I dropped the stuff in the back of the car off at the cottage and headed back towards Edinburgh. Once again I pushed the car into the red and hit speeds that, had I been caught, wouldn't have been easily explained away.

I reckoned I had a spare hour and made my way towards Her house. I pulled up outside her stair and realised that I didn't know which flat was Hers. Not that this stopped me. I leaned on the horn of the car and let the noise attract people to their windows. A few people leaned out of windows and shouted abuse at me but I ignored them and continued to honk the horn.

As I stared at the windows of the block of flats I saw no sign of her. "CLAIRE!" I yelled at the top of my voice, giving the car horn a rest. Still no sign. "CLAIRE!" I yelled again. Once again, no sign.

"I'M NOT LEAVING UNTIL I SEE YOU, I DON'T GIVE A FUCK HOW LONG IT TAKES!" I yelled. The door to Her stair opened and She appeared in the doorway. I walked over to Her and She looked at me with anguish in Her eyes. I was about to ask what was wrong when I noticed that she was trying to hide Her face. "What the fuck?" I said, noticing the bruising around her eye.

"Who did that?" I asked, as calmly as I could.
"It's nothing Ross." She said, taking her into my arms and holding her close.
"It's not nothing. Now tell me who did it." I asked.
"My flatmate." She said, timidly.
"And is your flatmate in?" I asked.
"No. Please Ross, it's complicated. You wouldn't understand." She said.
"Try me." I said.
"Please don't ask me to explain it Ross, I don't know how to explain it to myself." She said.

She asked me to come up for a coffee and we walked up the stairs to Her flat. Inside Her flat I stood talking to Her as she made the coffee. She explained that She and Her flatmate were sort of in a relationship and that things were difficult for them at the moment. They'd grown up together in the small village back in Ireland and had been childhood sweethearts. When She had decided that She wanted to study in Edinburgh he had come along. Their relationship had went from being friends to being on and off lovers but she still saw herself as being single.

"He loves me Ross, I've known him since I was a child, but he can't see that I want other things." She said as She sat staring at the cup of coffee that was going cold in front of Her.
"And what do you want?" I asked.
"I want to feel loved. He doesn't understand that there's more to loving someone than just being with them." She said.

"He will when I beat seven shades of shit out of him." I said, anger welling up inside me.
"Don't hurt him Ross. He doesn't deserve it." She said.
"And you deserve being used as a punchbag?" I said.
"Maybe." She said.

In a moment of rashness I made a decision. "Well, until you know what you want I'll keep my distance. I'm not going to stop caring about you but I can't carry on like this. I'll be there if you need me but if me being with you makes him do this to you I can't see you outside work." I said.

I stood up, knelt down in front of Her, kissed Her gently, told Her I'd see Her when She got back to work and left.

For the next month or so at work I was caught between asking Her to come out with me, knowing that this would only make things worse between them and staying away from Her. I stood back as a lover and stood forwards as a friend. I did what I knew I had to do. I had to give Her space to decide for Herself and I had to do it with a smile on my face, even though my heart was slowly breaking apart.

Then came the night of Murray's leaving party. The night that I kissed her and time stood still, the night that She told me She was going back to Ireland, the night I died inside, the night I'd remember forever...


I awoke...

And felt the warmth of Her body pressing against my back.

Her arm was draped over my shoulder and her legs were intertwined with mine. Her breath gently tickled the hairs on my neck. I could feel her breasts pushing against my back and her soft knickers against my bum. I looked at the cheap alarm clock on the bedside table. The display said it was 7:14 in the morning.

"I was wondering when you'd wake up." She whispered in my ear. I shivered at the sound of Her voice and turned over so I could look at Her. "Bits of you have been awake for the last half an hour." She continued. A playful look spread across her face. "I'm sure you can guess what bits..." I knew immediately what She was talking about.

"Sorry about that." I said. "It's not everyday I wake up with a beautiful woman snuggled into me. He must have thought it was his lucky day."
"Don't be sorry about it. And who said it's not his lucky day?" She said, sliding her hand down my stomach.

"Wait." I said, taking a hold of Her arm and halting Her hands progress southwards.
"Am I sitting on your keys again?" She asked.
"No, I just want you to know that I'm not just here because I want to have sex with you. I'm here because I never want to leave you." I said, making sure that She understood that I needed more than just a one night stand. I wasn't interested in a one night stand, I wanted this woman to be my love, my lover, the mother to our children and my wife. She lifted Her hand off of my stomach and placed it on my chest.

"I know that." She said.
"Good." I said and kissed Her.
"Ross..." She said, interrupting our kiss.
"Yes." I replied, looking into her beautiful eyes.
"Make love with me." She said.
"Is that what you want?" I asked.
"More than anything." She said, making my heart beat so hard I thought it would spring out of my chest and hit the ceiling.

We made love gently in the early morning light and whispered softly to each other "I love you." Afterwards we lay in each others arms and She told me that She had had a dream about us during the night.

"Really?" I asked. "I hope it was a nice dream."
"It was so real... If that makes sense." She said.
"It makes perfect sense. I had a dream like that Last week." I said.
"What did you dream about?" She asked.
"I dreamed that we got married." I said.
"In a little church at the bottom of a hill?" She asked.
"I can't remember where, All I remember is how beautiful you looked." I said.
"What else did you dream?" She asked.
"I dreamed that we had three children." I said.
"Two boys and a girl?" She said.
"How did you know that?" I asked, knowing that I hadn't mentioned my dream to Her.
"The girl was the oldest wasn't she?" She said, causing a shiver to hurtle down my spine.
"How on earth do you know that?" I asked, dumbfounded.
"I dreamed it last night. She was the prettiest little girl I've ever seen. She had your eyes and my hair." She said, rolling onto her back and staring at the ceiling.

"She giggled whenever I asked her what her name was." She continued.

I turned over onto my side, lay my head on Her stomach and kissed her belly button. One day a beautiful baby girl would be created inside that stomach. Our little girl. I whispered a few words quietly into Her stomach.

"What was that Ross, I couldn't hear you." She asked.
"It was nothing. I was being silly. Ignore it." I said.
She grabbed my ear and pulled it gently.
"Spill..." She said.
"Ouch!" I said, pretending that it had actually hurt.
"Come on, out with it." She said, smiling sweetly.
"I was telling our little girl that I'd see her later." I said, feeling slightly exposed.
"Then you'd better say it to your balls." She said, beginning to laugh.
"Hey..." I said. "That's not very nice."
"I'm sorry baby, I didn't mean it in a nasty way." She said, patting the pillow Her head was resting upon. I pulled myself up the bed and laid my head next to Hers.

"Did you really dream that?" She asked, looking deep into my eyes.
"Yes." I said.
"Then you'd better get busy, you've got three kids in you that need to be in me." She said, rolling me over onto my back and climbing on top of me. We made love again and dozed in each others arms as the sunshine overtook the shadows in the room.

We took a shower together, spending so long in it that the water began to run cold. I washed Her and she washed me. The sight of her wet hair hanging in small curls and the water gently running down Her face made her look so beautiful that I was lost for words.

We laid some towels out on the bed and lay down to dry in the warmth of the sun that was now streaming through the window. Everything was perfect in that moment of time. Had I died at that precise moment I would have died as happy as I could possibly have been. An involuntary laugh issued forth from me as the thought that I could die now and be happy passed through my mind.

"What're you laughing at?" She asked.
"I just had the thought that if I died right now I'd die a happy man." I said.
"If you die right now I'll kill you." She said, rolling over and playfully poking me in the chest.
"Don't worry, I'm not about to die." I said. "Arghhh, My heart, I think I'm about to have a cardiac arrest." I continued, overacting and pretending to expire.
"Bastard!" She said, punching me in the general area of my nuts. I doubled up in pain and she turned from being playfully angry to concerned as I grabbed my balls and took short breaths.
"Oh, shit, I didn't mean to punch you in the balls." She said, concerned.

I stopped acting as thought I was in pain and smiled at her with a cheeky look on my face.
"Maybe you should kiss them better." I said. She realised I had been kidding and rolled her eyes at me. Half an hour later, after making love again, we dressed and checked out of the hotel.

We walked along the promenade at Portobello hand in hand and found a small cafe where we could have breakfast. For the first time in my life I didn't have a fry up and instead had exactly the same as She had. Brown bread toasted, a poached egg and a small bowl of summer fruits.

"So, where are we going to go today?" She asked.
"How about back to the hotel?" I said, draining the cup of coffee in my hand and putting some money on the table to pay for our food.
"Jaysus, Mary and Joseph, you're a randy bugger." She said, standing up.
"So that's a "No" then is it?" I asked as we left the cafe.
"Who said that? I was merely making a comment." She said, as we continued our walk along the promenade.
"To the hotel!" I yelled, playfully. "Taxi! Taxi! There's never a taxi when you need one is there."

She laughed and grabbed me by the waist. "I'd love for us to go back to the hotel baby but I can't." She said. "I've got some things I need to do tonight, sorry." She continued.
"It's OK, we've got the rest of our lives to spend all day in bed." I said.
"Do you mean that?" She asked, with a look of seriousness clear on Her face.
I looked down into Her eyes and saw that there was a small tear forming in the corner of her eye.

"I'm more serious about that than I've ever been in my life." I said, kissing the tear away.
"Promise?" She asked.
"Cross my heart." I said. And I meant it.
"What is it about you Ross? How can you make me feel so loved?" She asked.
"It's easy, all I have to do is love you and the rest takes care of itself." I answered.
She kissed me softly on the lips and took my hand. "Lets get a move on." She said. "We'd better get back. My flatmate is probably wondering where I am." She continued.

We walked up one of the small side streets that lead onto Portobello High Street and grabbed a taxi back into town. The taxi dropped us off at the side of the Waverly train station and we went into the Waverley market and had a cup of coffee in the food court.

"When do you need to go?" I asked.
"Soon... Too soon." She said, sadly.
"Will I see you tomorrow?" I asked.
"Of course you will, you've got work and so have I. We'll see each other there." She answered.
"I'd forgot about work. In fact I'd forgotten about everything else in the world." I said, as we walked back onto Princess Street.

I stopped a passing taxi and paid the driver to take her home. She hung her head out of the taxi window and gave me a kiss with her hand resting on my cheek in a way that made me feel like I was the only person in the world at that moment. "See you tomorrow." I said.
"Count on it." She said, and told the taxi driver where to take her.

I walked home that morning in a daze. My senses were on overdrive and I'd had the most wonderful woman I could ever hope for. I wanted the feeling to last until the end of my days.

Little did I know.


On friday morning...

After hardly being able to sleep the whole night, I slid out of bed at seven thirty. The thought of spending a whole day with Her exited me so much I was like a kid at Christmas. I showered, shaved, brushed my teeth, dried myself off, slung on my jeans and a t-shirt, pulled on my timberland boots and left the house to get a bus into town.

As I waited for a bus to take me into town I smoked a cigarette and watched the faces of the early morning commuters. A look of despair was the standard mask for these people. Misery was to be their company for the length of their day, Magnificence was to be mine.

The bus arrived at Princes Street and I got off opposite the Waverly Market. The Waverly Steps were a couple of hundred yards away across the road and I looked over to see if She was there waiting for me. I couldn't see if She was waiting or not so I crossed the road and walked to the top of the Waverly Steps and checked again. I had no idea what time it was so I stopped a passing woman and asked her what time it was. "It's twenty past Eight." She said and walked on to wherever she was headed.

As I was all of forty minutes early I decided to take a walk around Waverley Market. I strode into the mall and spotted a florist putting out a display of the yellowest daffodils I had ever seen. I asked if I could buy one. "We don't sell them in singles, just bunches of ten." She said.
"I only want one, how about I pay for a bunch and only take one? Is that acceptable?" I asked.
"Why would you want to do that?" The florist enquired.
"I'm meeting someone very special and I'd like to give her a flower." I stated.
"Why not give her the whole bunch?" She asked.
"Fuck it, give me a bunch of the things." I said, desperate to knock the conversation on the head and get back to the top of the Waverley Steps just in case She had turned up and was thinking I wasn't going to meet Her.
"There's no need to be like that." The florist said, with a tone that suggested I had offended her.
"Yeah, whatever. Just give me the flowers." I said, pulling out my wallet.

After selecting the best looking daffodil, and jamming the rest of the bunch into a bin, I made my way back to the top of Waverly Steps, sat down on a marble plinth and chain smoked for a while. As I was reaching into my pocket to retrieve my cigarettes I dropped my lighter and leaned over to pick it up. A pair of feet stopped in front of me and I looked up. It was Her.

"Hello." She said, in her soft sweet voice.
"Hello." I replied, smiling broadly and giving her the daffodil.
"Have you been waiting long?" She asked, sniffing the daffodil.
"Not really, probably about five minutes." I said, standing up and giving Her a kiss on the cheek.
"So that's not your own personal pile of cigarette ends then?" She said looking down at the butts at my feet.
"OK then, I've been here long enough to smoke erm... Six cigarettes. So you could say I've been here for about half an hour." I said.
"Jaysus, you're keen." She said, looping Her arm into mine as we began walking along Princes Street.

"So, where would you like to go?" I asked, as we approached the bottom of The Mound.
"I don't know, I thought that this was your town." She replied.
"Want to see some arty farty nonsense?" I asked, indicating the National Gallery.
"You make it sound so romantic." She said, giving my arm a playful tug.

We walked into the National Gallery and spent an hour or so walking around staring at portraits. To lighten the mood we said what we thought the sitter was saying to the artist judging by the look on their faces. At least twice we were asked by the security guards to keep the noise down and we finally thought we'd better get out of there when She couldn't stop laughing when I put the words "It's not so bad, the view is nice and I'm out in the fresh air" into the mouth of Jesus in a rather depressing painting of the Crucifixion.

After leaving the gallery I suggested going for something for lunch so we took a walk up Hanover Street and into Rose Street where we found a pub that did bar lunches. A couple of hours were spent chatting over lunch and a few drinks. She told me all about Herself, Her family, the village that She grew up in and I told her all about myself.

We left the pub and as we stepped into the street She asked where we were off to now.
"Ever been to the castle?" I asked.
"No, I've always meant to but I've never got round to it." She said.
I flagged down a passing taxi. "That makes two of us." I said, opening the taxi door.

She cuddled into me as the taxi drove up the mound and I lay my head on top of her and smelled the beautiful scent of her hair. The taxi drew to a halt at the bottom of the esplanade and I paid the fare. She offered to pay for the taxi but I refused Her saying that She was my guest in my town and I'd be highly offended if She offered to pay for anything again that day. Reluctantly She conceded the argument and I paid the cabbie and the entrance fee for the castle.

Walking around the castle I did my best to make Her laugh by making up parts of the history of Edinburgh. Tales I had no idea I could conjure up came flowing forth from me and She laughed Her sweet laugh and lifted my heart to the heavens.

We left the castle, walked down the High Street and I told Her that these were the streets that made up Edinburgh in the past when Edinburgh was a Walled city separate from Leith. We popped into a delicatessen and got some food for a picnic and then went into a small off licence to buy a bottle of scotch, some mixers and a small pack of plastic cups.

Holyrood palace sits at the bottom of the High Street and backs onto Holyrood Park and Arthurs seat and we headed there to have a picnic on the grass. As we lay on the side of Arthurs Seat She laid Her head on my lap, I gently stroked Her hair and we talked about what we hoped to get from life. She told me that what She wanted more that anything else was to be with someone who loved Her more than anything else in the world and I told Her that I was willing if She was.

We sat on the grass and talked until the sun had set behind Calton Hill.

"It's probably about time I got you home." I said, noticing that it was getting dark and chilly.
"I don't want to go home. I want to sit here and drink the rest of that bottle of booze and then go for another walk to somewhere else." She replied.
"If we drink the rest of that bottle I don't think we'll be able to walk anywhere." I said, standing up.

I looked down at the bottle and saw that we had drank almost three quarters of the bottle. "Or, maybe not... Have you been sneaking drinks to numb the pain of being seen with me?" I asked.
"Actually, yes I have. Can you ever forgive me?" She asked, jokingly.
"Give me a cuddle and I'll forget all about it." I said, helping Her to stand.
"Lets go back to your place." She said.
"Are you willing to put up with the Spanish inquisition from my mother?" I asked.
"Oh god no, not yet." She said.
"Then how about your place?" I asked.
"I told my flatmate that I'd be out and I hate to think what kind of mayhem is going on there." She answered.

"How about we go to a bed and breakfast?" I suggested.
"What kind of girl do you think I am?" She asked, with a tone that suggested I'd offended her.
"Oh shit... I didn't mean that... Fuck... Oh you shit!" I said, the realisation that she was joking slowly dawning on me.

I hailed a passing taxi and told the driver to take us to the Seaview Hotel on Seafield Road. The driver made a remark that seemed to convey the idea that we were headed to the Seaview for an illicit bunk up and I told him to shut up.

"Sorry mate, I just thought... Well, you know." He said.
"Well, do us all a favour and do what you're supposed to be doing, driving. And try not to have a hemorrhage by concentrating on the white lines too hard." I said. For the rest of the journey he was silent as She and I cuddled into each other in the back.

We arrived at the Seaview and I handed the driver a fiver for the fare.
"What, no tip?" He asked.
"Yeah, trap three in the six o'clock at Powderhall." I said, getting out the taxi and slamming the door shut.

The Seaview Hotel, with its view out over the river Forth, isn't exactly the highest class of hotel but it did have the advantage of a nice view and it was far enough on the outskirts of town to ensure that no-one we knew would see us going into it.

We walked into the main hall and were greeted by an elderly woman. I enquired about a room looking out over the river and she handed me a key with a tatty plastic keyring upon which a room number had been scratched.
"Name?" The woman asked.
"Ross." I answered. "And this is Claire."

Claire laughed and told the old lady that we were Mr and Mrs Douglas and asked what time we had to check out by in the morning. "Breakfast is served between eight and nine o'clock, check out is anytime before midday and the room is twenty pounds a night." The woman answered.

I paid for the room and we walked up the stairway. As I pushed open the room door and walked in I turned around and saw that Claire was standing at the doorway. "What's up?" I asked, thinking that She'd had second thoughts and was considering bailing out.

"I'm waiting on you to carry me over the threshold." She said, with a giggle.
I stepped over to the door, hooked my finger into the top of her jeans and pulled Her into the room and towards me. "I'll carry you over the threshold when we get married. It's bad luck to do it before." I said, wrapping my arms around Her body and kissing Her.

"When we get married?" She enquired.
"Yes, when we get married." I answered.
"Not if we get married." She said, teasingly.
"There's no if about it. I'd marry you tomorrow if you'll have me." I said.
"Is that a proposal?" She asked.
"Maybe." I said.
"Just maybe?" She said, pushing me backwards onto the bed.
"Just maybe." I said, sitting up and wrapping my arms around her waist and kissing the nape of her neck.

As I kissed her neck She undid the buttons on her blouse and slid it off. I ran my hands across her back and kissed her stomach. She pulled my t-shirt over my head, pushed me backwards onto the mattress, straddled my legs and began kissing my chest.

"Wait." I said, suddenly. She stopped kissing my chest and sat up.
"What?" She said, with a look of uncertainty on Her face.
"It's just that... I don't know how to say this... You're sitting on my keys." I said, laughing.
"You shit!" She said hitting me gently in the stomach.
"That was for tricking me when I suggested coming here." I said. "Now come here."

That night we spent together was the best night of my life. No sex was involved, we kissed, cuddled, and lay in each others arms until we both slowly fell asleep together. We had the rest of our lives to make love.

Or so I thought.

Two days passed...

And there was still no sign of Her.

The morning after that I was standing at the back door to the Members House smoking a cigarette and chatting to Alex. It was quarter to nine o'clock in the morning and the staff were filtering in in dribs and drabs. I finished my cigarette and flicked the butt into the garden where it was rapidly set upon by one of the seagulls that hung around waiting for scraps. As the seagull took to flight, dropping the smoldering cigarette it had in its beak, She appeared.

I walked towards Her and asked how She felt. She mumbled that She couldn't talk about it and walked past me into the canteen. She got a cup of tea and sat down at a table that was filled with other staff members who were killing time before their shifts started.

I watched out the corner of my eye as She sat chatting to Dawn and Louise. As She chatted Dawn put an arm across Her shoulder and Her head dropped onto the table as though She was trying to hide her face. Louise turned around and gave me a look that seemed to say I was guilty of something. The look in her eye was strange to me but I could tell it was meant to convey.

The clock in the canteen clicked onto the next minute and people began making their way to wherever they were supposed to be working that day. Louise and Dawn took Her by the arm and escorted Her towards the ladies changing room. I wandered into the kitchen, trying to make it look like I was getting a cup of coffee and tried to hear the conversation between Her, Lou and Dawn.

The muffled voices coming from behind the closed door of the changing room were too quiet for me to hear properly. The only thing I could make out with any certainty were those of Her crying and the occasional "The Bastard!" from Lou. I gave some consideration to knocking on the door and asking if everything was alright but decided I'd rather not face Lou when she was on the warpath. For all I knew I had upset Her and Lou had decided I was, in some way, responsible.

I decided I probably should get as far away as possible from Lou, just in case she lashed out and popped me one if I was within arms reach and went upstairs to my office to finish my cup of coffee. I sat in my office with the door shut so that I couldn't be disturbed by someone wanting supplies.

The only people who could get into the office without me opening it were the keyholding management so I knew it was safe enough for me to spend the next fifteen minutes trying to figure out why She was upset. I sat at my desk and thought about everything I had said or done that could have caused Her to have three days off of work and caused Her to cry in public.

Nothing came to my mind. I couldn't think of why She was so upset. My heart ached as the thought "You caused this" coursed through my mind. I'm not ashamed to say that I wept for Her right there in the cold, soulless office.

I'd still to take the milk and the internal mail to the main office so I cleaned myself up and made my way towards the main office. As I passed the members bar I noticed that Terry the barman had left the bar unguarded and unlocked so I slid into the bar and grabbed a couple of bottles of beer, a deck of cigarettes, a pack of rizla papers and slipped them into the pockets of my trousers.

I walked along the corridor to the main office and saw Lou standing in the office with a look on her face that could turn you to stone in a second. "Is there any mail to go to the office? I've got to take their milk down and may as well drop off the mail at the same time." I said. Lou shot me another look that could knock down a stampeding bull and threw the small bundle of internal mail at me.

"What's up with your pus?" I asked.
"Just fuck off Ross." She answered, with no detectable hint of humour. I took this to be a clear signal that I was Persona Non Grata in her eyes at the moment and decided retreat was the better form of valour.

I picked the mail up off of the counter and got the hell out of there before Lou let loose the dogs of war mouth that she occasionally let fly with. I'd seen her lose it at someone once before and never wanted to experience the visceral verbal volley that would issue forth from her.

As I started the van I slipped the bottles of beer from my trouser pockets and slid them into the door recess. I put the van into first gear and drove down the hill towards the main office. I parked the van at the side of the main offices and entrance hall of the Zoo and walked up the stairs. I popped my head into the office of the wages clerk and gave him the figures for the wages that had to be paid and passed a few minutes talking to him about the fortunes of Fiorentina and the slip ups of the Seattle Seahawks.

After I'd got beer in the van and had a bit of hash in my pocket I didn't hang around for very long and made my way back to the van. I drove to the top of the zoo hill where the Zoo maintenance department stored spare building materials and parked the van behind a stack of wood where it was hidden from sight.

I rolled myself a strong joint and popped open one of the beers with the bottle opener I had in the glove compartment for occasions such as this. I spent the next fifteen minutes sitting on the bonnet of the van and staring into space drinking beer and pulling deeply on my joint. I felt numb. I'd caused pain upon the person whose heartbeat drove mine. I'd brought pain to the perfect person. I'd hurt Her.

I knew I had to know what it was that I'd done and resolved to ask the one person I knew knew for sure. I had to ask Her. I got back into the van, threw the empty beer bottle out of the window into the weeds and drove down the hill towards kiosk 2.

As I approached kiosk 2 I could see Her small frame sitting inside. Even from a distance I could see She may have been sitting there in kiosk 2 but Her spirit was somewhere else. I was at least two hundred yards away but I could still see the pain in the pupils of her perfect eyes. My heart ached as I drove slowly towards the kiosk.

As I approached the turn to take me to the side of the kiosk the safari bus came up the hill towards me and I stopped to allow it to go along the road first as it couldn't pass if I parked the van in its way. The driver of the safari bus waved a thank you and I watched as it passed slowly by filled with Japanese tourists who were clicking away on expensive Nikon cameras taking pictures of everything that wasn't human or of interest.

I could see Her through the gaps of the tourists heads and noticed that She wasn't moving. She was staring right at me but I don't think she was looking at me. She was staring absentmindedly into space with a look of utter heartbreak on her beautiful face. It killed me to see this. I wanted to take away Her pain by doing whatever I could but I had to wait until the safari bus driver decided that the tourists had taken enough pictures of the pygmy hippo and moved on.

The next couple of minutes were abhorrent as I watched this angel agonise. The safari bus moved on and I pulled the van over and switched the engine off. I took a deep breath, popped a polo mint into my mouth to take away the smell of beer on my breath and got out of the van. I pushed open the door to the kiosk and looked in to see that She was still silently staring into space.

"Claire?" I said softly. She turned and looked at me. Then She broke out crying. "Oh fuck no, don't cry baby; Please, anything but that, I never want to see you cry, it breaks my heart." I said, as I put my arms around Her and pulled Her close. She sunk into my chest and I felt the racks of pain coursing through Her. She cried in my arms saying "It's all so fucked up" between surges of salty tears.

A visitor to the Zoo appeared at the hatch. I looked up at the guy standing at the hatch, held my hand and mouthed that It'd be at least five minutes until he got served. He decided that this was unacceptable and began to make his thoughts known on the situation. I cut him off by telling him that unless he wanted to be dragged through the hatch and beaten half to death with a stick of rock he had better get out of my sight. "This is disgraceful! I want to speak to your superior!" he said.

In a moment of rashness I picked up a carton of raspberry juice and hurled it at his head. "Fuck Off Cunt!" I yelled as the carton of juice crashed into the wall just above his head. He took this as a sign that I was way past giving a shit and promptly disappeared from sight. I gave small consideration to how much trouble I was going to be in when he reported me but I couldn't have cared less. She needed me and the rest of the world could go fuck itself.

I heard a small laugh come from Her. "Claire?" I said.
"You're going to get fired for that one. Funny though." She said, her sobs becoming less audible.
"Baby, what's wrong?" I asked, putting my finger under her chin and lifting her head so I could look into her eyes. The surrounds of Her eyes were covered in cried out mascara, her cheeks were red and her eyelids were all puffed up from crying. It pained me to see this so I let her hide her face in my chest and asked what was wrong. "It's all fucked up Ross." She said.

She was no longer crying but I could still hear the pain in her voice. "What's fucked up? Did I do something to hurt you?" I asked, running my hand over her hair like my mum used to do when I was a kid. This always soothed me and for some reason I knew She would also be soothed by it. As I ran my hand gently over her head and cooed to Her like She was the most precious thing I had ever known she gave small sighs of satisfaction and took deep, slow breaths. If she had began to purr like a cat I wouldn't have been surprised.

"It's nothing you did Ross, I don't think you could ever do anything to upset me. It's just that everything is so fucked up in my life, you're the only thing I feel a connection with in the world right now." She said. I knew right then and there that I hadn't done anything to cause her pain and asked what she meant. "I thought I knew what I wanted in my life, you know? But something has changed and it's knocked me off of centre. I feel like I'm losing myself." She said.

"Claire; Baby; Precious; Sweetheart; Love; Trust me, that's the one thing you can never lose. No matter how far you go, no matter where you are, no matter how much you think you've lost yourself, you're always right there." I told her. "Nothing in this world is controllable, we're all specks of dust being blown by the cosmic winds, all you need to do is to centre yourself." I continued. Perhaps the beers and the joint hadn't been such a good idea after all.

I put my finger under Her chin and lifted her head again so I could look directly into Her eyes. I stared deep into Her eyes and said "Take a deep breath and focus on nothing but my eyes."

She looked deep into my eyes and began a long slow deep breath in. She swelled in my arms from the intake of air and when She began to exhale She closed Her eyes and squeezed me tightly. I felt her loosen up in my arms and moved her across towards the seat at the hatch so she could sit down. I pulled the hatch closed so we could talk without distractions. I ran my hand across Her hair again and let it slide down onto her arm. When my hand brushed Her forearm she let out a small gasp of pain.

"Have you hurt yourself?" I asked.
"I caught my arm in a door. It's nothing. Honestly." She said, trying not to look at me.
"Can I see?" I asked.
"It's fine Ross, honestly, please just let it go." She said.

I squatted down until I was at eye level with her and stroked her cheek with my finger. "Please?" I pleaded. Her eyes dropped towards Her arm and She rolled up the sleeve of Her cardigan. A large bruise covered her forearm from the wrist to the elbow. "Holy fuck..." I said, shocked. "How the hell did you manage that?" I questioned.

She continued looking at the floor at Her feet and once again said she'd caught it in a door. "Were you trying to rob a bank and got your arm caught in the safe?" I said. The bruise was huge. "I was leaving the house to come to work but I'd forgotten my keys, I was reaching back into the hallway and my flatmate kicked the front door shut on it." She said.

"Shit." I said. She rolled the sleeve back down Her arm and said She had better get the kiosk opened as there was quite a lot of people walking around. I said I'd see Her at lunchtime and gave Her a small kiss on the cheek.

"I'll drive past whenever I can just to make sure you're OK. If you need anything just flag me down." I said, as I walked towards the door.
"Even if it's just because I need a kiss and a cuddle?" She said, with a small coy smile.
"Especially if it's because you need a kiss and a cuddle." I said. I gave her an overexaggerated comedy wink pulled the door closed.

I drove back to Members house and pulled the van into the parking space. Then I swung by my office to do the orders for the next day, checked there was anything that the kitchens wanted and popped by the office to see if Lou needed anything done.

Lou informed me in a terse voice that there was some more mail to go to the main office and that the banking needed to be dropped off. I took the mail from the counter and Lou went and got the previous days takings from the safe. As she handed the blue bag to me through the hatch and I took hold of it she pulled backwards on the bag filled with cash and cheques.

"Are you going to come with me?" I asked.
"You better sort things out with Claire." She said.
"I just did, she's fine." Lou replied.
"What?" Lou questioned.
"Everything is fine. I talked to her about it all and she's fine now." I said.
"So she told you about what her flatmate did?" Lou asked.
"Yes, it's all fine. Can I go now?" I said trying to get out of there before Lou attempted to pull me through the four inch gap between the glass and the oak counter.
"Fuck off then. But if anything like that happens again I expect you to take action." Lou said, letting go of her grip on the takings bag.

I made a hasty retreat and drove down to the main office, drove along Corstorphine Road, dropped the banking off and popped into the fishmongers I used to work in for a cup of coffee with my old workmates. This was always a good fifteen minute skive and I could usually score myself a bit of fish for my dinner later on.

The guys in the back shop of the fishmongers usually waited until I arrived to put the kettle on before they took their morning break so I walked into the howff, popped the kettle on and enquired about how everyone was. Fifteen minutes later I walked back to the van with a few fillets of haddock and some salmon bones for the chef to make stock with and drove back to the Zoo.

I spent the rest of the day giving the kiosk workers their breaks and checked on Claire whenever I could. She always smiled and waved when I passed and when I finished my shift I popped up to ask if She fancied going for a drink after work but She told me that She had some things to do and could we make it another day. "Sure. When do you fancy it?" I asked.

"How about I meet you Friday afternoon?" She said.
"Aren't you working?" I asked.
"No, I've got the day off. Saturday as well. Same as you. Maybe we can do something together?" She said, smiling that smile that made the universe dissapear into nothingness.
"Sure," I replied. "I'll meet you at the top of the Waverly Steps when the one o'clock gun goes off?" I continued, grinning like the cat that hasn't just got the cream but the milkfloat as well.
"Meet me at nine o'clock. We can spend the whole day together." She suggested.
"Even better." I said, giving her a small kiss. "See you Friday."
"See you Friday." She said.

I walked home that day floating on a cloud. Not only did this woman make my life worth living but I had begun the beautiful dream I had seen in my sleep.


The next day...

I awoke from the most intensely real dream I had ever had in my life.

In the dream I was witness to my own marriage to Her, my life with Her, Her giving birth to three beautiful children of mine and many years of us growing old together. I watched days fly by in the blink of an eyelid, I saw weeks skip past like I saw my children skip along a country path, I saw years pass as we both watched many sunsets and I saw Her beside me all the way.

I smiled and laughed as the realisation dawned on me like the sunrise streaming through the gap in the curtains that covered the window to the real world. I had been shown The Dream, all I needed to do was make it a reality.

I swung my legs out of bed and pulled on my work clothes and my boots. In only three hours I would see Her. While wandering to work along the old railway line I thought about the night before. Those perfect hours in Her presence played in my mind over and over again. The words She had spoken, the feelings I had felt and the sense of Her touch upon my body all floated through my mind and made my heart Beat.

As I walked into the entrance hall of the Zoo one or two of the early starters said "Hello." I didn't hear them. I was millions of miles away wandering along in a perfect world with my perfect partner. I could feel Her heartbeat as She lay sleeping in the same early morning light I walked through. If I focused my spirit I could match my heartbeat to Hers and I could feel time beginning to lose its meaning.

As I pushed open the door to the Members House I heard Louise swearing loudly at the two rottweiler guard dogs that inhabited the office overnight. "If you keep swearing at those dogs they're gonna rip your cunt out one morning when you least expect it." I said, as I passed the office door.

Louise said good morning between swearwords as I began walking towards the storeroom office where I threw my jacket and got to work. The first thing I had to do in the morning was give Alex in the canteen the stores he needed for the day so I went to the fridge, grabbed some large cartons of milk and the rest of his list and pulled open the door that lead downstairs to the staff canteen.

"Heads up Alex!" I shouted. Alex appeared around the door at the bottom of the stairs and got ready to catch the carton of milk I had sent sliding down the banister. "Alright?" Alex questioned. I answered him by telling him that the sun was shining, the air was wonderful and there was joy in the world. "Are you going to share that joint?" He said.

"I'm not stoned man, strange though it may seem." I replied.
"I know you too well Ross, you can't function without some kind of chemical coursing through your system." Alex stated, as I slid a roll of slicing sausage down the banister. I picked up the tray of eggs that I had laid at the door and walked down the stairs.

I grabbed a roll off the counter, buttered it heavily and put three link sausages onto it. Alex slid a cup of coffee into my hand and we popped outside to have a cigarette. "So..." Alex began. "Are you going to share that joint in your pocket or are you going to keep it all to yourself?" He continued.

"I told you man, I'm not stoned. I'm just happy." I said.
"Aye, and I'm the next guy in line for the papacy." Alex said. I inhaled deeply and once again told Alex I hadn't been smoking a joint on the way to work as usual and was merely in a good mood. Alex continued to disbelieve me and after a few minutes of silence from me let it go.

I finished my roll, my coffee and my cigarette and headed back upstairs to do the stores for the rest of the building and told Alex to keep a full breakfast for me for my lunch. Alex said he was getting complaints from the keepers that they couldn't get a full breakfast at lunchtime and I told him that he could tell them to eat shit.

The next couple of hours passed in a blur as I made sure I did as much work as possible so I had as much free time as possible to spend with Her. Not that I had free time as such, I had no such thing in the eyes of my bosses but what I did have was the ability to skive off. The more I did when She wasn't there was more time I could spend with Her when She was there.

At ten to nine I had finished stocking up all the departments and the kiosks, had delivered the mail and the milk to the main offices at the bottom of the hill, been to the bank and deposited the previous days takings and had done everything I needed to clear me to skive for the next three hours. She was due in at nine o'clock and I could spend the next three hours with Her.

Nine o'clock came and went without Her making an appearance. I figured that She must be running late and made my way up to the office to show face and to cover myself for the next three hours when people would have difficulty finding me. Louise told me that the boss wanted me to take the dogs up to the top of the hill for their morning stroll, shit and slash and that after I'd done that I was to get the till for Kiosk 2 and open it up.

I quickly checked the rota for the kiosks and saw that She had been down to work in kiosk 2. "Why have I to open Kiosk 2?" I asked.
"One of the students has phoned in sick. you need to cover for them." Louise informed me.
"Who hasn't shown up?" I asked, hoping that She was covering the kiosk of the person who had called in sick and had been moved to a different kiosk.
"The Irish girl. Her flatmate phoned in and said she's been throwing up constantly since early last night. He reckons it was the curry they had for dinner. Apparently he's had to phone in to his work sick as well." Louise said.

There must have been a strange look on my face as Louise questioned if I was OK. "I'm fine. It's just that..." I began. "Nothing." I stated, knowing She couldn't have spent the previous night at home throwing up. If I let this slip to Louise it'd be common knowledge all around the department in a split second. The catering department was a hotbed of gossip at the best of times.

I took the dogs for their walk at the top of the hill and stood smoking a cigarette whilst I looked out over the west side of Edinburgh. If I looked to the south west I could see the area in which I knew She was. Thoughts played on my mind. Had I upset Her? Did my declaration of love scare Her so much that She couldn't face me? Had I fucked up the perfect dream that I had been shown in my sleep during the night?

As these and more thoughts passed through my mind I felt the cigarette burn my fingers. I hadn't even took a drag on it. I had lit it and had sunk so deep into my mind that I had forgotten about it. The pain wasn't as bad as the pain my mind was creating by thinking the thoughts that it was.

I called the dogs and told them to get into the van. They hopped into the back and lay down for the short drive back to the Members House. I parked the van, checked that there was no-one waiting for assistance at the office so as not to scare the living piss out of them by walking in with two large, ferocious and foaming at the mouth rottweilers, dropped the dogs off and got the till for kiosk 2.

The rest of my day was spent in the kiosk. I served customers like a robot as my mind spun and whirled with questions. At four o'clock one of the other kiosk workers appeared and let me finish my shift. I walked down to the members house and saw Louise getting into her car to go home. I called to her and asked her if she could give me a lift down to The Struan. I was in need of a drink.

Louise said that she'd drop me off at the bottom of the hill and we climbed into the car. As we made our way down the hill Louise mentioned that I didn't look half as happy as I had earlier on and I tried to tell her it was nothing. Louise, being Louise, didn't let it go. "Honestly Lou, it's nothing." I said.

She informed me that as the driver of the car she was pretty much in charge of whether or not I was getting dropped off at the Struan or being abandoned in the middle of nowhere and that unless I wanted to find myself facing a long walk home I should spill the beans. I conceded the point and told her if she came into the Struan I'd tell her all about it if she promised not to blab it all over the catering department. Louise agreed and drove the couple of hundred yards to the Struan.

We sat at the table in the corner where all of the catering department sat after finishing their respective shifts and I told her all about it. She listened to my story with rapture. The only sounds she made were small gasps of ooo, ahhh and the occasional awww. At one point I looked into her eyes and I saw a small tear welling up in the corner.

"You OK?" I asked.
"It's just that it all sounds so romantic. It's like a fairytale and you're one of the main characters." Louise replied.
"Tell me about it. I'm in deep Lou; I'm in deep and I don't want it to end." I responded.


This weeks listening...

Has mostly been comedy.

Amongst the comedic geniuses I've listened to have been...
  • Bill Hicks - Revelations - Relentless - One Night Stand - I'm Sorry Folks - Salvation.
  • Richard Pryor - That Nigger's Crazy - Live on Sunset.
  • George Carlin - Life is Worth Losing - Jammin in New York - You're All Diseased.
  • John Pinette - I'm Starvin.
There has been the occasional music included but they're mostly the same as the last time I listed my musical listenings.

I was a bit down...

So I was a bit quiet that day at work.

She noticed it within a second of seeing my face. She enquired what was wrong and I said that it wasn't important. "It is important Ross, something is getting to you. Can I help?" She said.
"I doubt it." I replied as I took a can of juice out of the fridge and took a drink.

She moved towards me, with a small smile that was full of kindness and warmth, and gave me a hug. "I'm sorry you don't feel good Ross, it's not nice seeing you like this." She said, Her head laying upon my chest. I wrapped my arms around Her small frame and rested my head onto her raven black hair. I noticed that She smelled of apples and peaches and my heart beat sped up.

"I can hear your heart beating." She said, still holding me around the waist. My heart skipped a beat and she commented on it. I looked down into her beautiful eyes and she looked up into mine. "You're a really nice guy Ross please cheer up. It makes me sad seeing you like this." She remarked.

"Don't be sad. It'll pass. I just get a bit down once in a while." I said as Her hands ran slowly up and down my back. I figured it was the mothering instinct but could see in Her eyes it was more than that. Or I thought so anyway. I kissed her on the forehead and immediately she drew back and ended our hug. "Shit, I'm sorry. I... I... Oh fuck it." I stammered and turned away to get the hell out of there so I didn't have to explain why I had just kissed her.

"Don't go." She said. I stopped and began to try to explain to her why I had Crossed The Line. "And Don't say anything either." She continued. "Just come here and kiss me properly." I looked outside the kiosk and saw early visitors to the Zoo wandering past. "Ross, there are times in life when you shouldn't worry about who's watching. This is one of them. Now come here and kiss me." She said.

A thought passed through my mind. "Why would someone as beautiful as She is want to kiss me?" It asked. She smiled at me again as She stepped towards me and spoke. "Kiss me now and stop thinking about the whys and wherefores... Seize the moment." She said as She once more wrapped Her petite arms around me and pulled me close.

I stared into Her deep brown eyes that had flecks of grey through them and kissed her. Her hands slid down my back and Her thumbs hooked into my jeans. Her tongue slipped into my mouth and I felt my blood rushing in my ears.

I could feel my self melting away to be replaced by a warm sense of belonging. This, I knew, was where I wanted to be. I wanted to wake up next to this woman everyday, I wanted to hold her close and tight as we lay next to each other, I wanted this woman to be the Mother to my Children and I wanted us to grow old together. She gave a low soft moan as I ran my hands down her back and onto her hips.

She broke away from me and looked into my eyes. "Feel better?" She enquired, with a small, lopsided, grin that spoke volumes. I smiled like the Cheshire Cat as our bodies parted slowly. My hand ran all the way along her arm and I felt every single hair on Her was standing on end. "I'm good now, but I have to ask what that was all about." I said.

"I'm not sure myself Ross, I just wanted to make you smile and take away whatever you're hurting from." She said with a look of confusion on her face. "It just felt like the right thing to do." She continued.

"You could have just told me a joke." I said, trying to lighten the mood a bit. She giggled and told me to go and do some work and that She'd see me later. "Fancy a drink after work?" I enquired.
"That'd be nice. I'm off at six." She said as I pulled open the door to the kiosk.
"I'll meet you in The Struan then." I said.
"Can we go somewhere else? The Struan will be full of people from here. And I want you all to myself." She said.
"Sure, I'll meet you at the bottom of the hill just after six and we can go somewhere else." I Said as I pulled the door closed.

I walked to the van that I had parked outside the kiosk and she leaned out of the serving hatch. "I'm missing you already." She said as I got into the van and started the engine. "Even though I'm not quite sure why." She continued. I smiled to her, winked my eye and pulled away slowly.

For the rest of the day whenever I drove around the Zoo, taking messages and doing what it was I was being paid to do, I'd try to make sure I passed Her kiosk and gave Her a wave each time. She always waved back or leaned out of the window and made a smart remark. A couple of times when there was no-one waiting at the kiosk to be served I'd pull the van right up to the window so we could chat for a couple of minutes until a customer wanted to be served.

At four o'clock I finished my shift and I headed home to have a shower and get changed. As I walked along the old railway line towards my home the birdsong resounded in my ears, interrupted only by the occasional shout of "Fore!" from the golf course that ran adjacent to the abandoned railway line.

After showering and getting changed into clean clothes I left the house and walked began the mile or so walk back to work.

I arrived at the bottom of the Zoo hill and leaned on the wall at the side of the gate. People who I worked beside stopped to talk to me and almost without exception they all enquired who I was waiting for. I ignored their questions, as I didn't want them making remarks during lunch break, and they eventually gave up and drifted over the road towards The Struan.

Just when I thought that I had been stood up, and had decided to go over to The Struan and have a drink or ten with everyone who had made their way across the road, She appeared and hooked her arm around me. "Hi." She said. "Let's get out of here. I've had enough of this place for one day." She continued.

I took her hand into mine and hailed a passing taxi. The taxi pulled to the curb and we got in. As the taxi pulled away She leaned into me and let out a small yawn. "Tired?" I asked after I had told the driver where to go. "Just a bit." She said, snuggling into me, closing her eyes and sighing contentedly.

As the taxi weaved its way through Edinburgh I looked down at the beautiful woman snoozing gently in my arms and I was filled with the desire to be with this woman until the sun died and the universe turned cold. I listened to her slow deep breathing and watched her perfectly formed chest rise and fall with Her breaths.

The taxi arrived at our destination and I gently whispered into Her ear that we were here. She stirred gently and looked up into my eyes. "I'm sorry." She said as we stepped out of the taxi. She was apologising for falling asleep in my lap. "Don't be, that was the nicest thing that has ever happened to me. I had a beautiful woman sleeping in my arms." I said and she blushed slightly.

"Where are we?" She asked, looking around at the surroundings.
"We're at Crammond." I said, as we made our way along the pathway that skirted the beach. "It's at the mouth of the Water of Leith. This is the Firth of Forth. The Forth bridge is a few miles that way and a few hundred miles that way is Denmark." I said, pointing up and down the body of water that stretched out before us.
"It's beautiful." She said.

I held her hand as we sat on a bench and watched the sun begin to set behind the hills of Fife. We talked about our childhoods, our hopes, our dreams and speculated on our futures. "I'd like to grow old with someone I love more than anything else." She said.
"Anywhere in particular?" I questioned.
"Not really. But somewhere that I can watch the sunset without the drone of traffic disturbing it would be nice." She answered.
"You should see Pirnmill." I said remembering the beauty of the place I had visited many years previously with my family. "It's a small village on the Isle of Arran that looks over the water towards the Mull of Kintyre. The sunsets are amazing there." I continued.

"That's the place that Paul McCartney sung about isn't it?" She asked.
"Yup." I answered.
"I can't stand that song." She said.
"It's certainly a good argument for Paul McCartney getting back into heavy drug use. I'd much rather Paul McCartney wrote songs like Eleanor Rigby and Blackbird than pumping out shit like that and The Frog Chorus." I said.
"I love that song." She said as she huddled into me to keep warm.
"What song?" I asked.
"The Frog Chorus. It's great... Boom boom boom, ba ee ya, boom boom boom, ba ee ya." She said as she began singing the hook to The Frog Chorus.
"Holy fuck, I'm in love with a madwoman!" I said.

She began laughing at having tricked me into thinking that she liked The Frog Chorus but stopped suddenly.

"Did you just say you're in love with me?" She asked. She sat up from hugging into my side and looked at me. I sensed that I had fucked up and tried to talk my way out of the hole I had dug.
"I said I loved you but I meant it in the sense of friends." I said.
"No, you didn't, you said, and I quote: "I'm in love with a madwoman""
"You got me there." I said. "I did say that but I meant it as a joke. I couldn't possibly love you, you like The Frog Chorus." I continued, hoping that she would let it drop and not spoil the nice time we were having just being with each other.
"That's a shame." She said after a few minutes of silence.
"Why?" I enquired.
"Because being loved by you sounds like a great way to live." She said.

She drew me close to Her and gave me a small kiss on the cheek. "You're a really nice guy Ross... Things are complicated at the moment. I enjoy your company but there are things you don't know about me... I'm in a strange place in my life just now... I'm... I'm... I don't know what I am..." She said.

I put my finger to Her lips and quietened her. "Shhh." I said and pulled Her close to me. I kissed Her and She responded by hugging me close and running Her fingers across my back. I ran my fingers through her Hair and closed my eyes. The sun set behind the hills of Fife but in my mind I could see the sun burning bright thousands of miles away in the early evening light.

We left Crammond and headed back to the main road so we could jump in a taxi and I could make sure She got home alright. In the Taxi on the way to Her house she once more cuddled into me and closed her eyes. We arrived in Her street and I shook Her gently to wake Her from her nap. "You're home." I said.

"I'd ask you to come up but I don't think it'd be a good idea." She said. "My flatmate might have something to say about me bringing you home with me." She continued.
"It's OK, I'll see you tomorrow at work." I said and leaned in to give Her a small kiss goodbye.
She pulled back from me and I felt that She wasn't able to kiss me goodbye. I let it go, She got out of the taxi and I watched Her walk towards the entrance to Her stair.

As She turned to close the door to Her stairway She looked at me in the back of the taxi, blew me a kiss and mouthed "See you tomorrow." I told the taxi driver my home address and sat in a daze all the way there.

I'd met; Her; She; The One.