dog sign (1)

He is usually sitting in his car, an estate, with his window wound down and classical music emanating. He comes to visit the sea, to stare, to contemplate. He calls us beautiful people. Keep up the love, he shouts. He makes me smile. He is familiar to me. I know him and yet I don’t. The other day he was on a bench, his trousers rolled up, feet stretched out in the sunshine. It felt odd, overly-intimate to be so close to him without the shelter of his car. He’d been to the Somme for the hundred year anniversary. Information tumbled out. His grandfather had been killed in one of the battles. Of course, I’m Jewish, he said. Are you? I thought, I didn’t know nor cared. How was it relevant? Clearly it was to him. He was irritated by how the event had been organised. Too much top brass, he said. He’d been in the Merchant Navy. My eyes strayed to his arms. Always subordinate, never obeying the rules, he was saying. I’d skippered my own ship before then, he said. Later my skipper said I’d have to lose my anchors for a few weeks. Lose his anchors? We nodded, now both of us looking at his arms. It’s all about this, he said finally. This, this talking, being friendly. Yes, we said. I love the laugh, he shouted as we walked away. Or was it love?

Out of my window I see a feather. A tiny thing. A tiny white fleck of a thing. Floating. Temporarily suspended, caught still. Another moment and I would have missed it.

Early morning on the Prom. A small, neatly-bearded man is walking with a tall, exotic-looking girl. She is all I ever wanted in someone, the man is saying. The girl doesn’t reply.

We are watching Apollo 13. The claustrophobia of the space module invades my dreams. Images of them being encased in their spacesuits are re-lived as I zip myself up into my waterproofs and climb into my wellies. Great galumphing galoshes they are. They stub my toes and rub against the inside of my feet. I am slowed down by them. But it is nice to feel protected. The rain sheets down. No one is about. And the rain smells good.

I send out my writing. So much energy and anxiety invested into it and then nothing. A silence. A nothing. It is enough. It has to be. It has to be enough to just do it. To be in the doing of it. The same with the proposals that I write. It is about the conceiving of them. That is the prize.

Anchored, she sang. Anchored down in Anchorage.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.