‘Her name was Mariatta. Thin, always in a floral dress. And she always smells like heaven. Ah wished I hadn’t met her but I did.
The job that started it all was in Linlithgow and we had to through most of Edinburgh first. There was a whole lot of pipes to pick up for the job.’
Big Tam, the joker, the centre-half, the reliable eldest brother was in tears. His boss didn’t know what to do.
It was Saturday and his best friend, had met him, here in the pub.
‘I went into the deli-first Polish one I’d been in to grab something to eat. Well, it was something went inside. I felt a queer feeling in ma gut. When I got back from the Polish deli Wee Davie went fucking mental in the van. We were late and this was a big job. He had promised the Boss there would be no messing about. Like the time they had a five-a-side with the French tourists near the Salisbury Crags. The restaurant we were refurbishing was paying a lot to get us here all weekend.
“What were you bloody daein for twenty minutes in there-rewriting the New fucking Testament?” Wee Davie said to me.’
Tam’s boss had one hand on his shoulder. The sunlight in the empty bar caught some dust as the barman gave the tables a clean and polish. The vacuous drivel of some football commentators gave out to the empty pub.
‘Three months later I made an excuse to myself to go back. I couldn’t get her smile and smell away from me.’ Tam continued his story.
‘Dot was wondering what was wrong with me. I wasn’t touching her. She thinks I’m going through something like when my wee brother got killed in Spain on holiday.
Her father-Mariatta’s father had died in Warsaw. His physiotherapy business had only been sold a year before he got bowel cancer. She’s was an only child and she got a lot in his will. So she came her-invested in the delicatessen in Portobello.’
Tam’s friend wondered where this was going to end. He kent Dot well and the wee one was his Godson. The tearing inside Big Tam seemed to draw the sadness of the wind swept November street through from the walls.
‘I just don’t know, Martin-I don’t’ Tam’s massive right hand fore-knuckle dabbed lightly at the side of his eyes.