But it could scare her. So I keep it to myself. And even though Brigs is one of the closest people to me, I don’t want to share that with him just yet.
The drumming of his fingers stops. “Well,” he says slowly, “you’re right about that.” He clears his throat and gives me a hopeful look. “I’ve been offered a teaching position.”
He says it so casually that I hesitate before saying, “Really?”
“It’s in London. King’s College.”
I shake my head in disbelief. Brigs lost his job here at the university when his wife and child died in a car accident a few years ago. He’d found a new position in the fall, but unfortunately due to budget cuts, they let him go after a month or so, which was total rubbish. But this, Kings College, is something he’s been wanting for a long time.
“That’s brilliant,” I exclaim, leaning over and slapping him on the arm. I know I’m grinning like a fool, hoping he’ll finally give in and smile. Not that I’m one to talk, but getting a genuine smile out of Brigs these days isn’t an easy task. “In film?”
He adjusts the scarf around his neck. “Yes. Professor of film studies. They want me for the undergraduate film theory curriculum.”
“They want you? You mean, they have you.”
“I haven’t accepted yet.”
I frown. “Why not?”
He looks away and shrugs. “It’s in London.”
“And? You like London.”
“I don’t,” he says quickly. “And you’re here.”
“Brigs,” I say slowly. “I’m fine. Really. I appreciate the sentiment, but for God’s sake, this is something you’ve been waiting for. Working for. Anyway, you’re a train ride away from Edinburgh. Have you told Jessica and Donald?”
He shakes his head and takes a tepid sip of his coffee. “No. I will. I just wanted to tell you first. I think I need some convincing.”
I scratch at my beard. “Well, mate, I don’t know how to convince you. All I know is that this is exactly what you’ve wanted. What you’ve needed.”
And that’s the truth. I don’t need to mention that getting out of Edinburgh will probably do him a world of good. The city has too many memories for him. Every time I feel sorry for myself and my own struggles—my addictions, my abandonment issues—I think about Brigs and how he lost absolutely everything. To see him bounce back from it is astounding. The fact that his future is finally opening up to him after all that is nothing short of a miracle.
“Aye,” he says softly. “I do think I need this.”
“So tell them that you accept.”
He studies me for a moment. There’s a flash of something in his eyes, worry maybe, but I can’t tell if it’s for me or for himself.
“When would you start?” I ask.
“Not until next year. Autumn. But I would move there at the end of the semester, before summer. There’s a lot to do before classes start, and I’m not going into this opportunity unprepared.”
“This is going to be really good for you, you know this. Professor McGregor again.”
Finally a smile breaks across his face, wide and always disarming. “Yes, well I’ll miss Scotland, that’s for sure. But change…I’m ready for it. I dare think it’s ready for me.”
Though we aren’t related by blood, we’re alike in so many ways. Like me, Brigs doesn’t like to dwell on things for too long, especially anything that requires you to dig deep. He brings up rugby, an easy subject for both of us to talk about.