Her hand buoys me to the street, ties me down. Otherwise, I’d fly off, drink the rest of the flask and float up past the neon lights, to the top of the old buildings, the top level of the city. We turn the corner and see the hill slide down to the bay, smell the oatmeal smell around every corner, the bray of seagulls, the sea-salt air, dirty smeared lights from the pubs, old breweries towering over the city, empty restaurants with fires. Scotland.
The rain makes it darker, so it’s hard to know what to feel, a little excited, first time in a new city, a few hours off the train, only a few pints in, not yet drunk in an unfamiliar place, mind tired from travel, libel to veer off and fly up to the sky we can’t see, walking down this road.
Her hand keep me here, down on the ground, where I need to be grounded.
No people that’s the thing we notice first, block after block of empty streets on a Saturday night. Just streetlights and a staircase every block or so going down to dark, with a little warm green orange light coming out from the other side.
We take a chance, her hand in mine, choose the next set of stairs we see. The weight of her that does more than hold my hand, a grip that takes me from one place to another, I know who I am in that grip, that thing that is no longer two but one.
Stairs, streetlights, and down at the bottom there, halfway down we see it, these gardens in the middle of the city, in the lowest levels, where the rats and sewers should be, there’s this. A nature path, a gravel path with every variety of shrub, rose and thistle deciduous bushes, every color of daffodil and petunia, taking in all that rain, and split down the middle of the garden, is a stream that snakes all over the city, going under a bridge right around the first corner, light filters down from the streetlights up there all green and orange and barely there, lighting us up from the inside.
During the day, this place is probably packed, but right now, she and I, the thing that used to be two but now is one, sharing this secret place, our first.
it doesn’t matter how many tourists will come here tomorrow, tonight, we will wander through gardens secret and serene, tonight we will finish the flask of whiskey, this time I will let go over her hand, this time my head will fly up above this subterranean garden, above the city, float around in the sky, take off and run, ramble, fuck, fight, make misery, but down here, in the garden, the two of us will be up against a wall of an old castle, or under a bridge, our bodies, that one thing that used to be two.