I don’t feel strong. I have lost my strength. It is a fickle thing. I think of her and her running. And she is only a few years my junior. Have I ever been strong? Really? I remember that training session in the gym and how I couldn’t do what she’d organised for me to do. I had no zip, no push. She was surprised, had to adjust her thinking. And I was sad because I’d not lived up to her expectations. I was supple though. Before this back injury. I was supple. I had that. Now that has gone. He is more confident than I. It will heal, he says. I need to think outside of it. It’s happened. Did I ask for it? Didn’t I fantasise just for a moment what it would be like to have the kind of bed rest that she’d had with her neck. But she had a family to go to. I have no one. And I like things done. I still cleaned the flat yesterday. You don’t have to do it, he says. No, I know, but I want it done, I want things to be as normal.

Sometimes I fall  asleep writing this. Just momentarily. And I hear voices, chattering in my head. Have you been happy? someone said. And an elderly woman answered. Yes, she said, I think so. I didn’t walk this morning, thinking I’d benefit from a rest, and knowing that I had to walk up the hill to work. But I miss is it when I don’t go. For all the discomfort. I like to be out  in the fresh air. Alone and thinking. It is productive. It all has to be just as it is. Reduced down. I  need to pay attention, even closer. My food last night, simple as it was, tasted divine. See there is a spark of something like life. No taste of honey. Not yet. Not yet. Be patient, she wrote. Yes.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.