Katy Nixon’s Short Story

Posted by in April's Magazine

Leith Walk: The Museum of a Life

The threat of New Year hung over her head as she walked back down Leith Walk after work to Claire’s party. She wondered why, if everyone hated this time of year so much, they persisted in celebrating it. It never used to bother Dani when she was younger. Maybe now she had promised herself so many resolutions over the years – written in new notebooks from Christmas – that breathed with optimism until the last week of January before dying traditionally and tragically in a two-day bender. Maybe now, she knew without doubt her hope was hopeless.  

Mid demolition the remaining steel outline of it had sectioned off the skyline into boxes, like you could buy portions of cloud filled blue


Leith Walk seemed to be changing before her very eyes. She almost missed the old social work building at Shrubhill. Dani had enjoyed the decay of it, the graffiti that had appeared and the way mid demolition the remaining steel outline of it had sectioned off the skyline into boxes, like you could buy portions of cloud filled blue. Now it was beige student accommodation and flats that were only affordable to the exceptionally professional. Dani looked up at the incomplete building, her eyes catching the light off the huge windowed gym, where people better than her ran for their lives on machines that remained still. 

Illustration by David Lymburn 

Life would be easier if you could just simply write resolutions down on paper and send them off into the universe, like her friend Sarah kept telling her to do but that just reminded her of praying at school, she knew no one was listening. The only changes that Dani had made in her life were from the wreckage of complete disaster. She had never been able to colour inside the lines. She had drawers full of hopeful stationary just waiting to be tools to sort her life out. But she only seemed to be able to do it in the aftermath of losing everything. 

How many times can one person start again, she wondered in ScotMid eyeing up the cheapest option for oblivion, settling on a few beers and a bottle of cheap gin. At least this year she didn’t seem too alone in her existential break down. The whole world seemed to be helplessly crashing towards 2019. No one had their shit together. The earth was cosmically fucked. It felt like Marvel Comic villains were running the show, like peace was only the threat of a button below greedy hands. 

Dani’s thoughts were broken up by the cashier who was asking her for I.D without any hint of sarcasm. She stared at him in complete wonder, mouth open in surprise, thinking she would do anything for this stranger. She just managed to refrain from jumping over the counter by giving him an unsolicited wink instead. At least if she died tonight in some kind of apocalyptic feud between Dumb and Dumber she would have died happy, knowing that she was right to save that money by buying Lidl’s moisturizer, because it was clearly working. She just wished she had smoked more. 

The street clattered with high heels and the shivers of the coatless. None of the taxi’s had a light on but Dani enjoyed this downwards walk towards Leith. It had become a bit like a museum of her life. Artifacts from her late teens to her thirties were at every corner. Memories that made her heart burst hid on the roofs of tenements. 

She smiled at the Save Leith Walk campaign signs; reading the chalked up protests and jokes on the almost extinct building lit up her mind. They have to listen, Dani thought. The council were so literal, they refused to see what this meant, surely they knew that some parts of a collective past needed to be kept to protect the future. 

Her phone rang; it was Claire demanding to know where she was. She paused at the Kirkgate to light a fag, inhaling some of the night with the nicotine. She could hear her friends laughing in the background. The things they had seen over the years, all of them. The fallouts, the disasters, Dani pictured them all in her head. 

Still now, even though they were cascading through their thirties, setting up speakers big enough to blow the windows out, arguing over who brought what alcohol, trying to get a hold of various Dave’s otherwise the party would be shit. There would be dancing and in your face chats. There would be five a.m. kitchen philosophising, any solutions to the world’s ills disappearing with dawn filtering in through the half opened window. 

She thought about the all the things that could have separated them but what was most clear in her head was what had kept them together. They were fused by scar tissue and laughter, the comfort of unconditional love, of seeing each other at their best and worst. 

Dani quickened her pace, it didn’t matter about New Year anymore it was no longer a guillotine. Leith held her in the present. She couldn’t wait to be with her friends.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *