He sits there, his face red in the June sunshine, but there is much more to his face than this weekends sunburn.
His gnarled nose, criss-crossed by scarlet veins prominent against the otherwise ruddy pink of his skin gives his history away.
He’s frowning, but for no reason, because that’s what he does, his right arm balanced on the frame of the window as he watches the world pass him by.
And it does pass him by, no-one even gives him a second glance as he sits there watching people come and go around him. They all appear to be busy but no one wants his business.
He can’t hide his bitterness, it sucks the life from him, it’s darkness is more obvious than the alcohol damaged nose.
But his attitude remains defiant in defeat “Don’t talk to me, I don’t want to know, I’m not interested in anyone except me and fuck you for asking.”
The thought is only in his head and no-one does care about him, not one soul in the world.
He has destroyed all that he once had, he knows it himself. He had his chances at love and redemption and he fucked up like the loser he has always known himself to be.
He looks at the apathetic confusion all around him and asks himself, What has happened to my city?
What has happened to the world that I grew up in?
Why is it that every second face or voice is now a foreigner, Why do they all come here?
Where did it all go wrong?
It wasn’t his fault that he had his illness, that it had got out of control, that was no reason for her to leave him.
Not to take the kids and move away to another part if the country. He wasn’t that bad was he?
But he was, he knew he was, he’d bullied her physically and emotionally.
He’d destroyed her confidence and the love she had for him and eventually she left never to be seen again.
For a time he’d enjoyed the freedom, the wine, women and song until the house was repossessed and no-one wanted to know.
Then he lived in hostels, drinking with people who had once called the scum of the earth sinking lower in his pit if self loathing until the angel with the metallic burgundy hair had saved him.
She’d spoke to him like he mattered, that he had some value, she convinced him that he could live again
But for all her positivity, for all her reassurances in the classes he had attended, when he returns to his one bedroom flat, alone and empty, the only person he blames for his situation is himself.
The women with red dress has had a productive day, her presentation was successful and she is pretty sure that the board will give her the funding for the project she has recently began leading through its early development stages.
In fact, she’s certain of it, absolutely certain of it, her post-work drinks with the Finance Director had gave her that assurance.
They had sat there in the cocktail bar at Central Station for the past hour, chatting over work and talking about their families.
He was married with kids and he loved his wife, but wasn’t in love with her any more and was beginning to think about leaving her.
She had told him that she was divorced and was happily single, but that it would be nice to have some male company to do all kind of nice things when her daughter was over at her ex-husbands a few nights each week.
Charles had smiled at this and put his hand on her knee. He told her that the feeling within the board-room after the meeting had been very positive and all it would take was the momentum of having a few key people on board to ensure the boxes were ticked to have the right amount of funding ear-marked for the project,
The implication was clear, she wasn’t so naive to miss out on his obvious posturing.
But she wasn’t as stupid to be so easily bought either.
She smiled and allowed him to leave his hand where it was for a few moment, then made her excuses to go to the bathroom.
When she returned, she stayed for another few minutes, then finished her drink telling him that she would have to get home to make dinner for for her daughter and to help with homework.
Charles said he would have to be home himself soon, daddy duties and all that. Then he paid the bill on the company credit card and walked her to the taxi rank. He was a gentleman, he was always a gentleman, well that’s what he would have you believe.
The rank was quiet and there were lots of cabs waiting opposite the train station. Most people don’t need cabs in the summer sunshine and there were no customers waiting in the queue.
Charles opened the door for her and as she steadied herself to climb into the back of the cab, he kissed her on the cheek.
She smiled at him and blew him a kiss as he closed the door and waved as the cab pulled away from the rank
“Where to?” asks the man with the ruddy alcoholic nose.
“Can you take me to Cambuslang station, I’ve left my car parked there”
“No problem” he turns to the front and starts the meter running.
She’s opening her handbag and removes the small set of headphones and pushes the plug into the clever little pen that had been lying beside her notepad throughout her meeting with Charles.
Then she smiles to herself as she listens back to their conversation in full.
For Part 1 click the link below