The Glasgow Bridge



Scene Title The Glasgow Bridge
Synopsis Elaine returns to the place where she first heard about the bomb.
Date January 10, 2011

The Glasgow Bridge, Glasgow, Scotland

Built in 1772, the Glasgow Bridge spans the River Clyde, the third longest river in Scotland. Located at the bottom of Jamaica Street, near Central Station, the locals often refer to it as the Jamaica Bridge. Designed by William Mylne and built by John Smeaton, the Glasgow Bridge had an impressive seven arch structure.

In 1833, Thomas Telford, a Scottish civil engineer, respected the seven arch structure when he replaced it with a design built by John Gibb & Son for £34,000. It became the first in Glasgow to be lit by electricity. Between 1895 and 1899 the bridge was again replaced with the current version of the Glasgow bridge. The new version was wider and incorporated Telford's stonework as well as expanding the arches to accommodate larger ships.

On November 8th, 2006, Elaine Adie Darrow, a fourteen-year-old American with Scottish roots who was visiting the land of her ancestors, crossed the Glasgow Bridge with a small group of her fellow students when their chaperon came hurrying over with the news that New York City had been struck with a bomb.

On January 10th, 2011, Darrow returned to the Glasgow Bridge.

The day had gone smoothly, so far. Yesterday was nothing but relaxing, eating, and just getting a feel for things. Glasgow was familiar, but she had seen it through the rose colored glasses of a young teenaged girl. Things were probably very much the same as they had been before all of this, but with the experience of four years, Elaine was returning with a much different perspective and outlook.

One of her first purchases while in Scotland was a pack of clove cigarettes. Elaine didn't smoke. But she also didn't book one-way airfare. This was different. Pulling one out, the redhead leaned against the stone of the wall that lined the bridge. Near her, an elderly gentleman did the same, already puffing on a cigarette. He glanced her way, and held up his lighter in askance. She nodded, holding her cigarette close while he lit it.

"Thank you." She offered, the man simply smiling it off as he looked to the river that ran below.

"This is a good bridge," Elaine said, following the man's gaze to the water. "A good bridge for thinking." She puffed on the cigarette, coughing a bit. Amateur. The man glanced at her with a quizzical look, but said nothing as he inhaled deeply.

"I only mean that it's easy to think here," she pointed out. "There's a lot of people in Glasgow. It's busy and crowded and even this bridge is crowded sometimes but you've got the water down there you can look at. It's peaceful. You can think." Her eyes glanced over to the old man, who seemed thoughtful but glanced to her when he felt eyes on him. He offered her a kind smile before looking back to the water.

"I guess I'm used to this place being one where I have to think. Four years ago I found out I'd lost everything in my life. My parents lived in New York and I was just visiting here and that bomb went off. I didn't even know they were dead until I got home. This bridge was where I found out. I remember how scared I was, standing here. I kept wanting to hear my parents and ask them what to do but everything was so crazy. When you're a kid you always just want your parents to tell you what to do when there's a problem, and I couldn't get that. I think I grew up on this bridge."

Elaine's shoulders slumped, eyes flicking from the water back over to the old man. He smiled sympathetically at her, but stayed quiet, puffing his cigarette. Her gaze went back to the water, focusing.

"Life kinda… I don't know. It took me by surprise. It's hurting me a lot more than it should and in some ways I feel like I'm losing it all, like in that bomb. So I came back here. I had to be an adult when I was on this bridge and now I'm coming back and I'm hoping that I'll find something here. I'm not asking for divine intervention or whatnot, but fate's got a funny way of bringing things about and I feel like coming here should help. I'm hoping coming here is helping.

"Anyways, that's why I'm here. I don't even smoke," she laughs, puffing on her cigarette. "Not normally. I mean, I am right now but… you get the idea. I'm trying things. I'm just… living and hoping that distance will help make sense of things. That maybe I'll find something here and have some epiphany. Do you think that's a stupid idea?"

The redhead turned again as she sucked lightly at the cigarette. It was much easier when she was only inhaling a little. Short puffs, not long drags. The man looked back at her, smiled, and nodded. Elaine froze, peering back at the man. She blinked.

"You really think that's stupid…?" She asked, deflated.

The man simply smiled.

"Ffffffuuuuuck. You can't even hear me, can you?" Elaine asked.

He smiled again. Elaine hurled the cigarette over the edge into the water, not bothering to watch the glow at the end disappear into the water. She stalked off towards Jamaica Street, shoving her hands deep into her pockets.

"The only epiphany I'm having is that I need a fucking drink."

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