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  • Tim Walker

First Day in Scotland

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

Six months before you died of leukemia we arrived, defying medical advice, insomnious in Edinburgh airport on the red-eye from Chicago. We left our bags at Jurys Inn,up Chalmers Close from High Street, trekked through Waverly Station, a hall of glass where Avengers clashed with the thralls of Thanos (somehow we missed the broken panes), to the start of tours on Princes Street. Bought tickets for the Maid of the Forth. Our top-heavy excursion bus squeaked through narrow lanes that mystically expand to let us through. I asked the driver, “Why the zigzag lines along the road?” And he: “They show ye cannae park there.” And I, too tired to catch a train of thought, would never learn or figure out where parking was approved. Dockside, my weariness of the flesh would have allowed the cruise, but your weariness of the bone said no,

“We cannae board the Maid.” So to blaze the last cast of your wanderlust, you eked your strength aboard the bus, and keeping close, I paced the dock, the sun on my face moulding me to local time. Our driver parked an elbow at the kiosk to schmooze with the concessionaire; the home-port banners, blue and white, snapped in the wind; a train grumbled across the third or fourth bridge (I lost the count) and the jury read its verdict: condemned to lay our heads on Castle Rock and pass from waking dreams to sleep at last.


Tim Walker read, for pleasure, the complete novels of Charles Dickens while earning a BA in Environmental Studies, and the complete novels of Anthony Trollope while earning a PhD in Geological Sciences, and has worked as a computer programmer, healthcare data analyst, used book seller, and pet sitter. He lives largely in his own head, while he corporeally resides in Santa Barbara with his son and their cat. His essays and poems appeared most recently in Entropy Magazine, DIAGRAM, pacificREVIEW, Rat's Ass Review, American Writers Review, Harpy Hybrid Review, Moss Piglet Zine, and 3:AM.

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