Monday, 17 June 2019

Write-In 2019: 'Thurso' by Sarah Mosedale


She wasn’t born there. No, she was an incomer, arriving at eighteen months, oldest child of parents moved to the far north for a better job than he could ever have imagined. A million quid to think up research projects in a nuclear reactor? For a working class bloke from Blackpool with a third class degree who’d really rather be playing jazz? A reactor prudently situated in a sparsely populated area, not that the locals considered this prudent, well they wouldn’t, would they. It might be fewer lives at risk but it was their lives. Anyway it never blew up though there was some unpleasant business involving the casual disposal of radioactive waste. None of which was his fault.

For her there was a lot about living there that was good. It was normal to roam free aged five, shouting back to your mum that you’d be home for tea. The sea was freezing so even after fifteen years you didn’t need double figures to count how often you’d been in. But there’s nothing to beat sitting staring out across the Pentland Firth as a teenager. Angst - don’t tell me, or any other Thurso kiddie, about angst.

Kiddie, that just means person. Like wifie means woman, there’s no diminutive, or any relationship to a mannie, implied. You meet some fucking tough wifies in Thurso. It’s the gale force winds that does it. If you can stand on your own two feet in Thurso you can stand on your own two feet anywhere. You meet some totally crushed wifies in Thurso too. I suppose you do anywhere really.

She left of course. She was desperate to get out by the time she was eighteen; she was lucky to have an escape route. She was an incomer.

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