Issue 16

Sweet Sorrow (extract)

It wis jist afore three o clock noo an near aabiddy that wis comin wis ere. The Richard Donald stan wis full tae the gunnels an the bairns in the Merkland Road eyn hid aa been geen lang reid balloons. They were bangin on onythin they cwid, makin a helluva racket, droonin oot the tannoy. Hivvin been gaikin roon aboot her, Marion noticed for the first time that the seat richt in front o her wis teem again. At wis twa hame matches in a raa Hummy hidna turned up. It occurred tae her noo foo little she kint aboot the auld man fa hid sat in front o her aa thae ears — nae even his richt name. The thing wis, ye could coont on ae haun the matches he'd missed in aa at time. Wis he nae weel, mibee? Did he hae a wife or onybiddy at hame to look efter him? The mair she thocht aboot it, the mair likely it seemed tae Marion er wid be a wumman in his life. He nivver lookit like he wis gaun tae a match. He wis aye riggit in a smert lang jaikit wi a trilby hat an a funcy scarf that wisna a fitba een. She widna hae been teen aback if er wis a sark an a tie aneth.

Hummy wis o the auld skweel. Fae the aff-go, he'd left her in nae doot he thocht a wumman shud be at hame, scrubbin fleers, hingin oot hippens, or makin her man's mait — nae onywye near a fitba match.

Marion minded the time, at een o her first games, she'd said tae Sandy, ‘Dodds is nae makin muckle o it the day, is he? He's nae hid a touch o the baa sae far.’

Hummy hid turned roon an glowered. ‘At's becis he's nae playin the day, quine. He's sittin on the bench.’ He'd tutted an shakken his heid. She'd lairned tae haud her tongue for a lang time efter at. Bit ower the ears, he'd saftened tull her, an Marion kint she'd made it aff the bench hersel, fin ae Seterday, fin the Dons scored, his haun appeared afore her wi the mint humbug. She'd taen it, an fae then on, become ane o his humbug team wi aabiddy else roon aboot. The funny thing wis, she didna even like the sweeties an aye jist slippit them in her pooch tae wun redd o at hame.

Colin and Doug clattered intae their seats aside her, takin her oot o her dwam.

‘Thocht we wisna gaun tae mak it. Bus got stuck in King Street,’ said Doug. ‘Ere wis a sotter o cars nae handy. Hey, is at Hummy nae here again? Winder fit's wrang.’

‘He's on a quest tae find the holy humbug,’ lauched Colin.

‘Na, mibee he's jist geen up on the Dons. Hid eneugh. Been let aff for guid behaviour efter a lifetime's sufferin,’ said Doug. He spat oot his chuddy on the grun.

Eleanor Fordyce

Return to Issue 8