She wis a dancer. Not a stripper like, or one of those girls you’d have got on Top of The Pops or that, but a dancer dancer. The kind you wouldnae think you’d ever actually meet. Not like I ever should’ve met her; but it wis halfway through the festival and I found her and her dancer mates skeltering all over Whistle Binkies, prancing around like it wis some kinda nightclub or something. They wis all high voices and weird
clothes but that’s not unusual in the summer, you ken.

Anyway, me and Oli had been at some comedy thing down the Pleasance—proper balls it wis—so we’d boosted off for booze that wisnae at festival prices and wis sitting spraffing shite, like you do. Tae listen tae us, you’d think we could’ve done better than those poor sods. Sods we’d paid guid money to see like. I mean, what kinda funny man are you if you cannae handle a wee bit of heckling? Wish someone had took the mike off of them so we hadnae had tae listen to their ‘we’re tae guid for this place, but we’re gonna take the piss out ourselves tae make it like we dinnae think that’ bullshit. We wis a bit riled up to be honest and it could’ve turned intae one of they nights, but then I’m at the bar and I see this wee thing making eyes at me. Nice looking and all: I give it a couple of minutes, have another wee keek over her way to see she’s still looking, then pitch up next to her wi a pint and a short, and one belter of a grin.

Turns out she’d taken her contacts out and her eyes wis sore and that’s how come she wis staring at me like that. But I guess she liked the look of me anyways ‘cause she let me buy her a drink. I wisnae saying no—the whole lot of them wis fit as you like, a bit skinny mind, but the arses on them. Aye, it’s a tight arse for me any day.

So once I’d given her a wee bit of chat, making sure she wis at lest a wee bit intae it, I got Oli tae ditch his stool at the bar and we settled in beside them for some proper banter. English most of them, a girl from Italy and a guy from Norway or something, but the rest wis proper posh English, not too stuck up but. They wis only in the ‘burgh another ten days or that, then a tour about and right back to London.

We wis a bit surprised like, but turned out the blokes wis all right and all. The muscles and hair on them and I’d pegged them as bummers for sure but turns out they wis right filthy bastards—got on wi Oli like they went to bloody primary school the gether or something. So I got to fire intae the wee Lucy wi the nice arse and big eyes. She keep up the chat fine and she wisnae loud or nowt, not at all like, but she wisnae shy neither if you ken what I mean.

I tried to hold back on the drink a bit, like you do when a cracker like that seems in reach, but she got me to buy her a Talisker—she’d never had it before—then another, and another. I snuck looks at her over ma tumbler. Her face wis all flushed like she’d been running or shagging or something. It suited her.

By the third whiskey she wis telling me about her cat. Her flatmate wis meant to be looking after the thing, and she wis right worried about it. I told her cats wis smart buggers: that one time ma mum’s cat had pushed this cardboard box over and stood on it to open the cupboard where its food wis kept. Load of shite—but it made her feel better you ken. And, birds are mair likely tae come back tae the flats of cat lovers, after all. She wis smiling a lot in this way where her mouth wis kind of open, but even so, I knew I wis punching well above ma weight and wis bracing maself for a knock back.

She came though. Walked down the street like she’d known from the start that she wis going tae, sometimes close enough tae bang against the side of ma arm. We got a pizza from the wee place down the road from ma flat and she got stuck in like it wis the best thing she’d ever tasted. I wis feeling a bit rank at that point mind.

Turned out she like ma flat just fine though. I reckoned she felt the same about me so I made ma moves. Wisnae long till we were fucking like crazy. I’ve never had a girl move around so much. She wis right squirmy but at the same time she could do things like no one I’d ever been wi afore. I mean, I’d push her intae some kind of position, a leg up by her heid or whatever, and she’d just smile and hold it there. Afterwards I told her she wis the best lay I’d ever had and even meant it. She said I wisnae too shabby myself and fell asleep wi sweat still on her forehead. I lit a fag and lay there thinking about not so much, except that I wis right fucking knackered. And that it didnae feel half bad.

I kind of woke up in the morning—once when she wis running the shower and again when she wis messing up ma hair to say goodbye—but I didnae really realise she’d gone till the sun hit ma eyelids at about half ten and ma brain started to kick itself intae gear. What a dream eh? I went to work total cheesing, still thinking it wis nowt but a fantastic nae strings fuck at that point. But by half five I wis searching through the contacts on ma mobile phone and nae breathing till I found I’d saved her number. Asked for it before I knew it wis a sure thing she’d be coming back wi me. Not that it’d felt like much of a sure thing till she wis actually in ma bed like.

I called her on the walk home—after all they wisnae going to be in town much longer.

She didnae sound surprised to hear from me. There wis some tinkly piano music in the background and she wis out of breath, said she wis busy wi her rehearsal or some such and I thought I wis getting blown off, but then it suddenly wis that we were meeting in the Grassmarket at half ten, once she wis done wi her show.

I had a shave and put on ma best jeans afore going tae meet her, I dinnae mind saying I wis shiteing it a bit—I didnae ken what to expect sober.

Turned out that not only wis she fucking great in bed, but she could take a joke and all. And she could drink hard, she didnae mind getting sweaty and always smelled good anyways and she had these scratchy little calluses on her toes which should have been minging but wisnae. She laughed loud and she didnae care where she did it and everything I said wis funny. When I said something she especially liked she put her hand on ma arm too. Somehow it got to be that I met her at half ten the next few nights and all. And then, after another night that wis so damn guid I wanted to take pictures of it or something I got round to thinking that even though she wis going away, we might be onto a guid thing. Not that I brought it up, it wis just guid to think it.

On the Sunday morning I showed her around the town, pretending I wis a tour guide even though I didnae know the names of half the places, they’re all just buildings you ken? And what did it matter ‘cause she wis nodding and grinning away like it’s all fascinating stuff. She asked me if I liked working down the garage and I shrugged— what’s not to like? And she smiled this cute wee smile and to see her look like that made me feel right mushy. Aye, it wis a guid day. By the Monday I wis showing all the guys the picture I had of her on ma phone and couldn’t wait to get out the lock-up and away.

On Wednesday she had a night off and I got her round tae have some dinner. Nowt fancy, but she said she wis right starved and that bangers and mash wis perfect. We wis sitting on ma bed wi a wee dram each when it came tae me proper that she only had two mair nights in the ‘burgh. I wis thinking if I should say something but not really wanting tae when she told me she’d put a ticket aside for me if I wis up for coming tae her show on the morrow’s night. Course I said I wis gagging to—‘cause you kind of have to and, truth be told, I felt a bit bad I hadnae thought of it before. Not really ma kind of thing though, you ken, load of folks prancing around in their tights.

I spent the whole next day at work kind of fighting about it all in ma heid—whether I should cut ma losses at what’s been a pretty fucking fantastic festival fling—or no. I thought about the way ma arm fit across the top of her shoulders when we wis walking and the way she pissed herself at ma shitty jokes. I thought about it and thought about it until Jim had to tell me to get a grip and get ma fucking mind back on the job. So I sucked it up and made a decision, I wis going to say I’d come down and visit when she wis back home. Like we could take it from there or whatever.

I hadn’t even been in that theatre before but it still reminded me of being a kid, almost expected to put ma hand in ma pocket and pull out a packet of those winegums that ma mum always packed me off wi on school trips.

The seat felt too small and there wis a woman wi some sparkly shawl thing sitting next to me and sighing all over the place. I sat waiting for the lights to go out wi this weird feeling and all of a sudden I wanted someone to talk tae. But I just sat back and it got tae be so that I wis looking forward tae it by the time the curtains opened.

I’d seen some ballet and the like on the Christmas telly, like the one wi that woman dressed up like a fairy, so I thought I kent what I wis letting maself in for but this wisnae the same kind of thing at all. They wis all leaping about in skimpy outfits, but they looked angry, not all fernickity. The music wisnae like music either, not proper music, and the folks wis all grabbing each other and throwing themselves about like they wis trying to start a fight.

I didnae even recognise her at first, all stretched muscles and sharp eyes wi her hair scraped back. And then she dipped her heid to the side like I’d seen her do when we wis spraffing and I saw it wis her despite the lights that made her all green and purple. I half looked at the woman next to me, wanting to point Lucy out or something but the woman’s face wis all dropped like some one that’s just done a bucket or something and she never looked round at me.

Then the music went down all soft and the dancers started walking off the stage until wee Lucy wis the only one left up there. She stood there so sad, like she wis going to have a wailing fit any minute. Then she wis moving so slow and it wis so quiet I could hear the woman next to me breathing and I could hear mine was too fast and all. And still it wis so quiet, it got so I thought I wis going to burst out yelling or something. But I blinked and then, just like that, she wis firing around the place—spinning like crazy then holding this pose wi one leg right up in the air behind her—as though it wis nowt unusual. You couldnae see it in her face, you couldnae see the effort it wis costing her. I stared close, but there wis nowt there even though the sweat on her forehead and neck wis shining out.

The other dancers came back all in a rush, pushing and shoving until they made the big stage seem full and I couldnae quite see where she wis. Then I could. A couple of blokes swung her up and she perched on their shoulders, her arms in the air, and I could make out that she wis smiling this right big smile. A smile like she wis flying. A smile that made me think she knew how tae do that, how tae switch a smile on an off. Sat up there looking like the cat that got the cream. Aye, a big fucking smile alright, and it sucked all the smile right out of me.

I stood up and pushed ma way to the end of the row, people screwing their faces up as I go past and that uptight bitch huffing behind me. I didnae pay her any mind though, I wis just wanting out of there. I powered right on through, never even looked  at the cute wee things on the door. Felt like I wanted tae keep going until that stupid fucking stage with its poncey twats and its bloody smiles was long gone, but I stopped in the street and lit up a fag. The bars would be open another few hours yet. Aye. I took a draw on ma fag and started walking, only turning ma heid to spit the taste out ma mouth.