Copthorne Hotel

I found a “cough” from 11 years ago. Cleaning out boxes, I came across a one-page, much-creased piece of paper with scribbled thoughts. And oddly enough, I think it’s good enough to post. Even if it’s just so I don’t lose this paper to the wind or the trash or something. It’s a “cough” from another me, another life, a ghost of my past, and who I was then.


Copthorne Hotel Bar, Glasgow, Scotland
January 11, 1995, 1:45 p.m.

In the Copthorne, must learn to bring my journal everywhere (because I always have free time). The sun filters through high marble-rimmed windows onto businessmen’s pens, through their straight hair and across their cursory conversation. Knives and glasses clink politely while waiters hover, trying to appear concerned, really. Smoke dances with the sunlight before flinging itself away carelessly.

A woman in black boots sips a bloody mary from a pub glass, lug-soled and thick, they reveal her rebellion against the plaid and paisley, secretly, dangling under the table like a taunt.

Ties hang straight and hair is clipped like the talk of figures and next month’s projections. Mariah screams “Make it happen!” I wonder who really hears (maybe only the waiters).

I wait patiently. Red buses roar pass the icy windows, the sun piercing and brilliant on George Square as it stabs through last year’s holiday ornaments (bell, holly, angel).

Everything is neat and prim, even the neon decorating the bar which says nothing more risque than “bar food” and “cocktails”. My coffee is dark, strong, and sweet, a Scottish winter night in the arms of my lover. What must he think of me, with all the skeletons around my neck like some bizarre choker. His face does not betray him. His sense of mystery is intact, while mine has long since disintegrated to disarray, a shambles.

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