A beautiful black eye


We both misheard her, smiling at the incongruity of it.

What brought you here? I’d asked, while she scanned our food. A beautiful black man, we thought she’d said. A beautiful black man. How nice, I’d whispered. Where is he now? we’d replied. Oh, he’s still in Kidderminster. He didn’t follow me. We looked at each other, perplexed. Yes, she continued, I came to my parents with a beautiful black eye. The penny dropped. Was he your husband? I asked. Yes, she said. That was twenty years ago.

I am sorry. She is a gentle being with soft hands. Each piece of fruit is tenderly handled, there is no rushing. Other people’s stories. Each life, so rich, so full of import. We are the same age. We talk about playing hockey at school, uniforms. I seek a common ground. There is no difference. You’re late, she sometimes says and laughs. Or comments on the amount we’ve spent. Raising an eyebrow if it is over our self-imposed fifty quid. She has a light, high neighing kind of laugh. I like her. We seek her out. We know her name, it’s on a badge on her chest. She doesn’t know ours, and doesn’t ask. The intimacy is contained. It is enough.

The moon was full. The sea was silver. They say that tomorrow’s moon will be gigantic. I love it’s light in the dark.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.