Advent Song

I’ve got it in a sketchbook somewhere. I’ve tried to find it but to no avail. He said he would try to find it online. What do you call it? he asked. An advent song, no, try prayer, I said. And in Norwegian.

I’ve found one, he called from his room. Give me the website address, I said. He spelt it out. I found it and printed it out. That’s not it, he said. That’s not the one with baby Jesus.

I was rushing, there is always too much to do. I got frustrated. You’re so impatient, he said. And he is right. I am. And I undermine his efforts to help.

It is our flash point – anything to do with technology. We are both scared of it. And we snap and squabble. Rather like we did when we were hanging my exhibitions. Apparently we are not alone. I hate snapping at him. He is kindness itself. Pure. He doesn’t deserve my rattiness.

The wind was wild so I avoided the Prom and walked through town. Students milled about, coatless mostly. I walked to where the ‘Winter Wonderland’ has been installed. This is the marquee that I could see from the Prom – all parked up in St Michael’s car park. It’s not particularly big, comprising an indoor skating rink, a few kiddies carousels and some wooden huts, no doubt selling mulled wine and over-priced festive food. I peered in on the skating rink and saw a young lad in a high vis jacket, his back to me, perched up on the counter. Clearly on night watch he looked bored and tired.

I missed my usual route. I miss the sea. I heard it, roaring.

I’ve cleaned the house, done my admin and emails and soon I will put up the decorations. There aren’t many. I don’t do large. How I enjoy seeing them in windows in town. It is such a fillip on these dark mornings. There was a large paper snowman in one garden, see-through, though its light wasn’t on. Christmas trees flashed on and off, and those window garlands of lights did the same. I thought about my fascination with net curtains. Perhaps I should start a picture collection. Why is it that they give me a sensation of cosiness and oppression?

No, there is too much to do. For I’ve the shelving to put up too. And I’ve got to make polenta tonight. I must. I’ve put it off for too long. All this newness, it makes me nervous.

I reread the emails between us. Is it that I didn’t make myself clear? She hasn’t responded even though I wrote of my hurt. I don’t understand. Still that will have to do. I want to forgive, to let it go. So I will.

Remind me to tell you about Longbourn – what a joy. I have to hold back I don’t want to race through it. Promise?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.