North Wind

I could hardly hear her when we spoke on Friday. She must’ve been holding the phone too close to her chin for her voice was muffled. I strained to hear her words. It happens often, yet I don’t like to interrupt her, she is so easily spooked, thrown. It appeared that she was still in bed. Not good, I thought, she is an early riser, a morning walker like me. What about Bonnie? I asked, have you been out with her? No, her daughter was home because of half-term and she’d walked her. Good, I said, I’m glad that you are not alone. She went on to explain her symptoms. It sounded like she had pus in her throat. All this infection. She tries to play it down but I could tell she was low. I asked if she was eating. Yes, her daughter had made her something. But I only eat it because there is someone there, she said, adding, if you know what I mean. I do. I do know what you mean, I said. She eats to please her daughter, to ease her worry. The two of them, so closely interwoven. Both clinging, though I suspect it is the daughter that clings tighter. Was it she who suggested she apply for telephone befriending? I want to do something. To make her well. What is it about? A festering. An eating away. Is she unhappy? I would’ve said that what I know of her she is capable of contentment with little. She doesn’t want travel, they have a home, they keep to themselves, she has a few friends, kindly neighbours, but she is scared, low. I’m taking some herbal remedies, she said. No antibiotics. I understand her reluctance. They seem such a crude cure. What can I say? Thank you for phoning, she says, it’s nice to have a chat.

What does it do? What do I do? It’s like the residency, I cannot make a material difference, I can only sit and bear witness. Is it enough?

The moon was yellow this morning. Over half now, it is growing. I watched it sink into the sea. A great cheese. It cast little light, just a spilling of yellow on the water. No lit fishing boats this morning. Just a smattering of students in various stages of undress. Room lights were on around the town. A figure stood at a top flat window looking down on me before closing the window against the night. In the basement flat on Llanbadarn Road three students lounged on the black leather sofa staring at the TV. The gritter lorry sped past a fine, constant spray of salt spilling from its rear.

A simple day. Sewing, sit in the sun, Telegraph crossword then sleep. It will do, for now, for today.