The Angry Corrie 13: Jun-Jul 1993

WALKING TYPES No. 6: The Doomed Boyfriend

You're having a wee rest on a rock by the path when she comes into view below you, moving fast and very efficiently. She glances ahead occasionally, but spends most of her time looking where she's putting her feet. Sleeveless T-shirt, short shorts. Long limbs tanned honey-brown, sun-bleached hair tied back off her face. She's got a little day-pack cinched up tight between her shoulder blades, and a chunky black sports watch turned to the inside of her wrist to protect the crystal. She's not overly impressed with you, lounging on your rock in the sun: just a brisk nod and no smile at all as she passes.

You're just beginning to think that she's on her own when he appears, moving slowly and clutching the rocks a lot, wondering what he's let himself in for. He felt that he was pretty fit, you see: rugby at Uni, and then the squash and the golf since then. But he doesn't have the balance or the stamina for the pace she's setting, and you can't help but wonder if she's doing it deliberately.

He's wearing new boots, because he'd told her that he'd done a bit ofwalking before, so he had to go out and buy them. He's just got the thin socks on though, and his feet are skidding around in there, beginning to blister badly. His nice warm cord trousers seemed ideal at first, but he came off the stepping stones a mile or so back, and they're wet to the knee and chilling down quickly around his calves. And he'd no idea it would be so dirty up here, so he's getting worried about the state the Pringle sweater will be in by the time they get down again.

He's fallen four times already, though he always gets up again very quickly in case she sees him, but she never seems to look back at all. He's tired and he wants to go home, but the old macho self- image won't let him give up.

You give him a cheery Hello as he passes (no malice in it, honestly).

He misses his footing as he looks up, and he goes down, whimpering, for the fifth time.


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