The Winter Streets of Edinburgh

I took a walk.
Down the rain covered streets, through the violent wind.
Passing the bars, illuminated by lipstick stained cigarettes
Light jazz music could be heard over the light conversations
Each step was colder than the last
Each breath harder than the last.
My feet moved aimlessly
Walking down the street of light
The dimly lit stairs that dangled dimly lit pubs with drunken chatter.
A casual love, a broken soul, another pint or two.
Seeking shelter from the weather, a planned meet up, another round please.
I staggered down the uneven steps, mindlessly wondering, mindlessly dreaming.
I came upon Waverley.
I walked through the hellos and goodbyes
The trains whistling in the distance.
I sat in the designated waiting room, wondering if it would be that easy to leave this place behind.
A lady was waiting, a bouquet of flowers rested next to her
Her eyes occupied the pages of a book and her mind wandered through the printed words, the flowers resting, waiting for her attention.
A mother held onto her child, his tired eyes rested on her tired face.
Two women shared a drunken goodbye tied together with an unlit cigarette.
A man stared at his phone, time to time his eyes would lift up to the arrival and departure board.
Friends held each other in one last embrace before they would go back to their separate lives.
Everyone was going somewhere, watching the boards with anticipation.
Waiting for their next goodbyes and hellos.

I strolled down the once filled streets of Princes.
The Christmas market was empty, the once inviting rides now chained off,
The ice rink was being flooded with the rain, the skate sign still illuminated, patiently waiting for tomorrow.
I stared down the empty, dark streets. The kiosks shut tights as the wind knocked violently against them. It was easy to forget that when morning came, these streets would be filled once again with new and old faces.

Princes was darkened now and people were briskly making their way home.
Lovers huddled against each other for warmth.
Others kept their heads down against the sharp rain and fought against the violent gusts that filled these Scottish streets.

Making my way back home, I took one last look at Edinburgh.
The city that beat my heart and ate it.
My eyes were filled with wonder as I whispered my regrets into the wind.
I could walk these streets forever.
My feet have already made their home on these cobbled paths.
The rain soaked into my hair and clothes, the cold held my hands like a jilted lover, leaving icicles on my bones.
I couldn’t cry even if I wanted to.
The wind would wipe them away before they left my eyes.
Edinburgh was my unrequited dream.
Scotland was a beautiful love affair that left me an empty shell.
I laid out my bones on the Royal Mile and buried my love in the meadows.

I could’ve walked those streets forever.

-jl

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