I rarely walked down Balcarres Street in the daylight. The number 23 bus took me directly to my Edinburgh flat.
The night buses dropped me off on Morningside Road, a main thoroughfare, though still shuttered and empty after nightfall (save a few pubs).
The 10 minute walk from Morningside Road was dark and residential. Pavement wound past a graveyard and adjacent to a mental hospital. Just up the hill sat the old asylum turned college, now an abandoned, wooded campus frequented during the day by hikers. But at night, blackness.
As my family’s year abroad neared an end and I prepared to finish my degree, I’d walk down this road with earbuds in and music loud. It took away much of the creepiness. John Mayer’s Paradise Valley is one of the albums of my Year of Writing Creatively (the other being, in all seriousness, Katy Perry’s Prism).
Mayer’s song “On the Way Home” resonated with me, especially with our Scottish adventure coming to an end. A sample lyric reads:
“The summer’s over, this town is closing.
They’re waving people out of the ocean.
We had the feeling like we were floating.
We never noticed where time was going.
Do you remember when we first got here?
The days were longer; the nights were hot here.
Now, it’s September; the engine’s started.
You’re empty-handed and heavy-hearted.
But just remember on the way home….
That you were never meant to feel alone.
It takes a little while, but you’ll be fine:
Another good time coming down the line.”
I’d climb up to our fourth floor flat and turn off the music…eventually.
I cried when I said goodbye to every place which made our/my time there…home. They were never big things- the university campus, the church building, the friends I’d made – which brought out the tears. My tears were in the details of home.
The Morningside Parish playgroup. ( I’d never park Alistair’s buggy in the foyer again.Sob.)