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Acts of Love (2) 2009 - cropped

I’m bored, she says, there is nothing for me to do here. They keep us inside, she says. I walk the corridors, just to keep moving, she says. I ask about her room. It isn’t nice, she says, too plain. I ask if she has some of her things there, photographs and pictures. No, she says, its my fault. What she means is that she hasn’t the energy, the desire to make the effort, or perhaps it is just that her things, her beautiful things don’t belong there. They can hear us, she tells me down the telephone. Surely they can’t understand English, I say. Yes, yes, they can. There is a garden but she can only visit it if there is someone reliable with her. They think we will run off, she says.  And one night she watched a film, Out of Africa, I think. There is a gentleman, she says. He is good company, she says. I am glad. She was always one for the men. Somehow they lit her up in a way that I or other women could not. And it is always so good to see her smile. She shines from the inside out. A beaming smile. White. White light. She sounds cranky. She is grateful. Grateful to be safe, to be looked after, to not be alone. But it is a heavy price to pay. A loss of her independence, room to be awkward, unconventional, her specialness acknowledged, known. I am weighed down by the sadness of it. Of her. Must ageing, dying be such a shutting down? A shutting in? Dylan Thomas urged his father to rage. That, I fear is only true for those who still hope for something better to come, here, in this reality. What more for her? There is no getting better. Nothing better, than sleep and the coming oblivion. But must it be so slow? The tick tick of the hours. I remember my father. The restless agony, the endlessness of waiting, waiting to go. And what was left of him. He says, much was, that he still recognised him, even at the end. I did not. The light, the spirit was gone. And such a spirit. Like hers. Singular. Spiky. Difficult and yet so amiable when all was well, when their will was granted. Delicious singularity. Shining spirits. Glorious.

Let it be. It must be. Shining.

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Thunder

Scan of Nerja coffee circle

We’re in Morrisons. Mags is behind the till. She calls us both ‘Cariad’. Nice. I like it. Cosy as toast. We talk about the weather. Mags says its going to rain soon. I hope it won’t thunder, she says. I’m scared of thunderstorms, she says. Why, we ask. She tells us how as a child she was out on the farm with her mother. I must have been about six, she says. There was a storm, she says. With lightning, she says. One cow dead, the other one fell down, she says. I was terrified, she says. My mother, she says, was white inside a month.

Gloomy. Gloomy since our return. I miss the light. That clean white light of sun on white-washed walls. Our skin is still olive-coloured. It lingers. He still shines with it. A good time. The best ever, I think. Peace. Rest. Morning talks and bedroom talks. Coffee in the Portofino. Dos café con leche, una descafeinado, uno normal y agua con gas, por favour, I say. By the end she smiled. The view of the beach and the Papagayo café. In the evening watching the promenading. Irish wedding guests hugging their plastic pint glasses of lager, Spanish children hovering around the sweet stall fingering the pink plastic tat, waiters back and forth, with their trays held at shoulder-height, stopping to lean against the door frame for a cigarette. I miss the light. Gloomy. Gloomy with what now. What now?

Early this morning I saw dancing lights at the end of the harbour. Car lights? Not sure. I walk nearer. They are at the end of the jetty. Three men in high visible jackets shining torches onto the water, the waves. Circling beams catching the moving white and dark. Is someone lost? The coastguard’s office is lit up. I can see a circle of people on chairs. A pony-tailed young woman at a lectern. No sense of panic or alarm. Three of the RNLI boys are eating chips. Night-time strangeness. Like a dream. Like dreams, moving from dark into light.

Feast on your life, says Derek Walcott.

Myself it speaks and spells, What I do is me: for that I came, writes Gerald Manley Hopkins.

What I do is me.

What I do is me.

For that I came. Yes.

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Footprints

Inchoate installation 2004 - Artist Ellen Bell

Someone has written ‘Leave only footprints’ on a large stone by South Beach. Yes. I agree. Too much stuff. I begin the process of passing on. Passing on things. My mind fills with ideas for new work. Make this, make that. Yes. Yes. But not now. Let’s stay with the emptying process. Make space. And wait. Wait and see what comes in.

I walk. I walk morning and afternoon. In the sun. Two men are walking ahead of me. They called it a ‘Sky Burial’ one of them is saying. Horrific, he says, to be eaten by birds. Just put me in a cardboard box, he says, I don’t need a coffin. I want one of them Thai farm burials, the other man replies. My bones crushed and scattered over the paddy fields of Phuket, he says, then I can return to Aber in a bag of Morrisons rice. They laugh.

I sit on a park bench and wait for him. The sun warms my skin. For a moment. Just for a moment, I am empty. Nice.

This morning, before light, a mass of gulls on the rocks.