Surfacing

There has been a sign on the side of Llanbadarn Road for weeks now warning that the road ahead would be closed from 7 pm to 6 am for five days. The surface had been scraped away but the road had remained open for traffic. This morning as I walked a red sign ahead signalled that the road was now closed. The scene was satanic. There were lights, about eight men in high vis jackets and trousers and helmets, two trucks melting the tar with burners aboard that belched fire and smoke and a wall of steam as the hot asphalt fumes mingled with the morning air. It’s usually so quiet and still at that time in the morning and now I was confronted with this industry, noise and churning machinery. Though to be fair the men themselves were quiet. No one spoke as each got on with their task. Some raked the tar flat, others were line painting. I stood a moment and watched as a young lad formed a perfect S on the bus stop marking just outside the Chinese take-away, something ‘dumpling’ I think it’s called, though I’ve never seen it open. The hot smoky smell of tar obliterated any of the gorgeous smells of warm dough usually emanating from the Pelican Bakery at that time in the morning. I didn’t mind. The yellow light of their spotlights was comfort enough.

I’m too switched on. There is so much in my head. It is exciting but I can’t switch off the need to plan, speculate and problem-solve. My back is rigid with it. I feel myself gritting my teeth, my jaw is tight. I keep trying to breathe. We scrap over breakfast. Small things. I know I am being antagonistic and he in turn becomes so. It is my fault. I’m too tight-wired. It matters too much. And the need to do things well, to do things right, everything, overwhelms me.

It’s taken an interesting turn. I like it. I like where it is going, for all its unexpectedness. I want to understand how those without sight or hearing perceive the world, to stand to their shoes, their skin so that my work might engage them, stimulate and indeed edify. But, as always, I have much to learn. Show me. Show me how.