A Holding of Breath

It does sound like that sometimes, particularly down by the harbour, like the air, the world, the cosmos is holding its breath. Waiting. Waiting for something to happen. The day? The coming of morning? And yet, there isn’t silence. The sea is a perpetual noise, this morning it was a rolling, not a crashing but a turning, a folding kind of rolling. And then there is the hum of generators. I don’t know where they are but it’s there nevertheless – that humming, low-pitched and endless. I hear it more in the dark.

They were sitting on the low wall outside a block of flats on Llanbadarn Road, talking. Students probably. They were young, in their early twenties. They stopped talking and stared at me as I approached on the opposite pavement. But they soon grew bored of me and resumed their hushed murmurings. They were still there when I returned an hour later though they were standing now. She was coatless and her arms were bare. He had on a coat yet he was still alternately banging his feet on the ground in an effort to get warm. They stared at me again and I crossed the road. Were they lovers struggling to part? Another couple parted on South Road, he waiting on the pavement to see that she got in safely. She was polite to him, speaking English with in an Eastern European twang.

I want to do something repetitive today – even a little mindless. I have much to do, much to solve but today let it be a flow. There is promise of more work which is always gratifying. I yearn for the gap, the space in which something could happen but I am fearful of it too. Let it be. Let it be what it is.

I think of Christmases of the past, the homes I have spent it in, the other families who have taken me in. It was nice. But it has gone, all that fuss, noise, food, games and bustle. It is OK like this. And I can dream of the other, can’t I?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.