Where do I belong? The past, or the present?

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The air is cold and people are bustling by in the streets. It’s already 9:30 pm at night and at this point, I just want to get home and get away from the cold. I needed coffee right now and hot chocolate would work as well but I forgot to bring my money with me. Why am I so forgetful! I sigh and my husky breath disappears in the air. I breathe out again, just to take a good look at my breath. I follow its path up until it vanishes into thin air. My eyes linger around the place where my breath just disappeared a few seconds ago and then, all of a sudden; I make eye contact with the Scott tower. Tall, emerald-black and hovering over the city. It’s got the old rusty look to it and the black railings look like spider webs enwrapping themselves around the tower. It’s pitch black and the bright black emerald like lights blink around, and on the tower. It’s gloomy but magnificent in its own way.

The night is getting colder and the swift breeze sweeps past my neck. I’m getting goosebumps. Edinburgh is a town that’s so beautiful yet manages to give you a good amount of goosebumps. For me, it’s the old, ancient and rusty buildings that stand out in the dark and seem to be staring down at you, giving you the chills. It’s the huge clash of history and present that seems to surround me all the time. I feel like I’m standing on this really thin plank in my brain, and on either sides of the plank is ‘present’ and ‘past’. Sometimes, the plank just flips me on either sides of it and I’m confused as to where I belong.

The streets are occupied by Starbucks but the pavements are still old, light brown and bricked. There are two ancient churches but squeezed between them is an Apple store. Seeing these clashes all around the city, Edinburgh seems more and more fascinating. I remember going to the Edinburgh dungeons just a day ago. To be honest, all it covered was the dark past of Edinburgh. Starving cities, tortured citizens and blood stained town centers. However, I am impressed to know that Edinburgh still preserves its history and historical buildings no matter how its history is portrayed. Even though Edinburgh isn’t showed in a very bright light in its past, Edinburgh doesn’t shy away from it. In the end, the past made Edinburgh what it is today.

Scott tower still is looking down at me. I look away from it and see that so many ancient buildings are surrounding me. I never noticed them as much as I’m doing now. The dark arched windows and the broken carvings make them look even older than they are. However, a hundred years ago, the windows might not be as dark as they are today. There might’ve been people peeking down and flowers decorating the windowpanes. Instead of Starbucks there might’ve been fruit, vegetable and meat vendors. Maybe there weren’t tourists but the king’s guards, labors, housewives and bare-footed children walking around the streets. And the chances are that everything about Edinburgh’s dark past was true and happening. Cramped streets, unsanitariness, dying people, rotting smell and scum layered streets. I snap out of my thoughts to cross the road. Quickly going back to my thoughts, I realized that history plays a huge role in the present. All these buildings, many of them holding a gruesome past, tend to give me the goosebumps, even after Edinburgh is completely transformed and modernized. Why? Because the past never leaves a place. It hovers around looking down at you just like the Scott tower is looking at me right now. The air is getting colder and my thoughts are sending chills throughout my body. The plank I am standing on in my brain is rapidly flipping me around the ‘past’ and the ‘present’ and I am unable to keep myself steady.

The streets don’t seem the same anymore and the ancient towers seem to whisper their stories in my ears. The open streets suddenly seem to be cramping around me and the clear air is not very pleasant anymore. It’s cold, but I’m sweating. Scott tower’s stare is staring to pierce through my skin and there is a stinging feel on my hands. Am I getting goosebumps again? I’m being thrown off the plank of present and past so fast that I can feel everything starting to crash in my brain. Feeling slightly dizzy, I take a turn into a street. It says ‘Hope Street lane’. All of a sudden, everything slows down, the air is clear again and I feel steadier. Scott tower is just standing there, silently hovering over the city. I look up at the street sign. Even if everything seems to crash in your head, there always is Hope. And you’ll always find it, even if you think you never will. There was hope a hundred years ago as well, during the dark times in Edinburgh, and that ‘hope’ inspired it to be what it is today. The calm and magnificent city that somehow tends to send goosebumps throughout my body. A city that makes me confused as to where I belong; the past or the present.

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