Fly

He meets him most days. He’s a driver for the undertakers, taking the bodies to the mortuary. He walks his dog on the Prom. I think they went to school together, but I could be wrong. His dog is a sheepdog, I think, and he is called Fly. When they stop and talk, one going one way the other the other, Fly waits patiently. But when their chat ceases Fly always barks. It’s like he’s saying, get a move on, he tells me.

It’s raining and raining this morning. I wore a double layer of waterproofs today and I took my umbrella. The earth smells divine when the rain comes, especially when it was dry the day before. Rain, windless rain, like snow stills everything. I like that. A few people were out, mostly coatless. And a few cars, not taxis. Several drove down to the harbour and turned round and drove away again. What are they doing?

Five young kids were walking behind me, probably students back early. They were sheltering their heads under their coats. An umbrella, what a good idea? said one girl. I heard another let out a yell. Oh, she said, I’ve stepped into a puddle. They all burst out laughing. Such simple fun, eh? Reminds me of wearing my orange wellies as a kid and stamping in them just because I could. I hated their orange-ness though. They were so conspicuous.

A lovely afternoon yesterday. I took a bag just in case. And there they were. A little small but once you start looking there were lots of them. Blackberries. A bramble that stretches the length of the path. They taste sweeter, wilder than the shop bought stuff. I had some for breakfast. My fingers got stained purple. It took me back.

Something round and floating was coming towards me along Terrace Road. I couldn’t quite make it out in the gloom. A balloon. A helium balloon with 21 written on it. A party balloon, forgotten or lost. It bounced off the tarmac, and floated, moving slowly towards me like an alien craft. There was something magical, other-worldly about it. Something to do with the speed and its reluctance. Sluggish. Slow. It moved me somehow.

Work now. Keep going, Ellen. I was daunted yesterday. I wrote but I was overwhelmed in the end. It’s too big and I don’t know yet what it is going to be. Can I live with that uncertainty? Does it have to be good?

Breathe. And take one step after another.