A Different Kettle of Fish

I’m irritable today. I don’t know why. I woke up feeling this way. It’s under the skin, a dis-ease, an awkwardness. I drop things, cussing under my breath and I want to snap, to hit out, though I don’t. Best keep away, keep indoors, out of harms way. It’s unbidden. Has it come from my dream world? I remember one where I was literally pulling myself up this rocky, mountain-face by my fingers, grasping at it’s stony surface. It didn’t feel dangerous though, more strenuous, and hard going. I was talking to someone. I had to do it. I felt compelled to. And in another there was a lover. I’d heard a voice I’d recognised on the radio the morning before but I couldn’t put a face to it. Had that inspired the amorousness of my dream encounter? It was nice. I wanted him. And then he had a birthday and wanted a fuss to be made. But before that he’d been locked away, and only I was able to get to him. All very unclear, sorry. Oh, and I awoke with the phrase, ‘It’s not your responsibility’, ringing in my head.

Pissing down again this morning. I wore his coat again with my waterproofs underneath. Try and enjoy it, I told myself, my hands snug in the side pockets out of the wet. It is only weather and we need the rain for just about everything. There were two bodies in the Prom shelter. One man was awake and rolling a cigarette when I walked by. Should I speak? Should I greet him? I called out a good morning. He raised his head to look at me but didn’t reply. Why should he? A couple stood under the Bandstand awning snogging. They pulled away as I trundled past. My hoods squeak as I walk. It is not a silent, calm thing wearing waterproofs. It’s noisy. An oystercatcher peeped in the distance. The tides must’ve been high that night for there was seaweed on the Prom. Nothing happened. I went the back way home, sad to miss the smell of the bakeries. But I got it. Just then, a hint, a positive aroma of bread. It had carried all the way to the station. Nice.

We managed to speak. It is becoming real. She wants to do it. It will be wonderful to work with her. An undercover performance, a subterfuge. It’s OK. The least fuss. The gallery as performance space. And unasked for. Without permission. What harm can it do? Frightened and excited in equal measure. Such is life. Such is being alive. Amen to that.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.