Zoƫ Craig

School: Holyrood Secondary School, Glasgow

The city of artists


I sigh as I look at my surroundings. The road stretches smoothly down the hill like a waterfall, curving slightly then dipping into a cross at the bottom where cars seem to drift like coloured beetles. Scores of people are making their way through the throng, so my view is constantly dotted with heads bobbing up and down. I sigh again as I look at the people around me. They make their way through the crowds and traffic, dodging each other so narrowly that it makes my heart beat frantically. They all look so calm, so content, and so effortlessly stylish. Girls with earrings, leggings, embroidered denim jackets. Guys with easels, ink-stained t-shirts, I even see someone carrying an old-fashioned typewriter.

I'm watching a boy with a wolf-like husky enter the subway when a girl crashes into my shoulder.

"Oops! Sorry!" she says. She's carrying a studded leather handbag and most of its contents have spilled over the pavement. 

"It's ok," I say, bending down and helped her pick up her things. I hand her a pencil and a notebook. "Are you an artist then?" 

She smiles. "I'm a designer," she says, putting them back in her bag and scooping up papers and stationery. She flips through the pages of one of her books and shows me a design of a dress that has overlapping triangles of fabric like mermaid scales. 

"That's so cool!" I exclaim. "How long have you lived here for?"

She does up the clasp on her handbag. "Three years, though I'm still not used to the traffic," she laughs. "So what type of artist are you?" She pauses. "You are an artist, aren't you? Or are you just passing through?"

"No! No, no, I'm an artist," I say quickly.

"What type?"

"What type?" I ask.

She hitches her bag over her shoulder. "You know, are you an artist, musician, writer...?"

"Oh!" I say, blushing. "Yes. well, I'm... I'm a seamstress. You know… I sew things," 

"That's amazing!" says the girl, and I think she actually means it. 

I smile shyly. "Thanks." 

I watch her weave her way through the cars on the road to a coffee shop. I notice she's wearing tights, but the legs of them are different contrasting colours and her shorts match her denim waistcoat. Also, I like the way she's done her hair, in a sleek bun with spiky strands hanging down either side of her face. I look at my pale baggy t-shirt, my plain baggy jeans, my limp colourless hair, and sigh for what feels like the hundredth time that day. Then I look at my old battered backpack, bursting with materials and sewing thread, and remember why I am here. 

"You belong in this city," I whisper to myself. "You are an artist." 

I'm worried people will think I'm weird for talking to myself, but I'm not the only one. A guy with ringlets wearing a hoodie that says "We're All Mad Here" is muttering lines of poetry and a young girl in sunflower-yellow skinny jeans is actually singing out loud to whatever rock and roll song she's listening to through her headphones. 

I take a deep breath, step out onto the street, and enter my homeland. 


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