up with the birds.

It’s meant to be haunted, is the first thing she tells me. We decide to go to Cammo Park on a Sunday because Glasgow will take too long and she’s been wanting to go here, anyway. She sends me a series of short, excited messages and I go and look at the website. It’s not too far to get there but far enough that the city falls away behind us and we pass bigger and bigger houses and wider patches of open, green space.

She asks me who I would invite if I could have a dinner party with any six people, living or dead. I say: George Harrison, Elliott Smith, CS Lewis, Lewis Carroll, Vincent Van Gogh and Virginia Woolf.

Oh, well, she says, I’m glad you snuck a woman in there. But she’s a good one. She’ll be able to deal with all those men.

I bet CS Lewis would be terrible at a dinner party, I say a few minutes later. But how could I leave him out?

At Cammo Park we walk through miles of mud and then piles of leaves and then we follow a wide, flat trail along a centuries-old stone wall.

Do you know once they pick a stone to put on the wall, they can’t put it down again? she says offhandedly.

Is that true?

It’s just how they do it. 

Is is a superstition thing? 

I think it has to do with craftsmanship. 

So you don’t really know. 

I think it’s about the craft of stonework. The craft of building a wall. 

So you don’t know. 

She scowls.

Later, around the back of the tower, she screams. I’ve fallen behind to get a photograph. When I hear her scream I look up with some interest, but really I’m wondering why I can’t get my light meter to work. But then I fix it. When I look up again, she’s come back around this side.

Was that you screaming? I ask.

I wanted to see if you’d come to my rescue. 

To be honest, I wasn’t that bothered.

The tower is tall and skinny and majestic and we both say the same thing at the exact same time, when we see it:

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.

Could you imagine, though, she says. If Rapunzel really lived there.

If that actually happened—if I actually had to climb up Rapunzel’s hair—well that would be the pinnacle of my young life.

Well, obviously, yeah, she says.

There are birds roosting in the top of it. We stand on piles of bird bones and bird feathers and bits of sticks and leaves and look up. The birds fly back and forth, from windowsill to windowsill.

Well this is amazing, she says.

I can only nod my head in reply. Nod, nod, nod, like I have lost all possible words. Like I have lost them up in the top of this tower. Like I have lost them up with the birds.


2 thoughts on “up with the birds.

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