We spoke of her yesterday. He asked about her. And she came forward in my mind. She was always laughing. Well, that’s not strictly true but together we laughed a lot. I never felt I was enough for her but there was an intimacy, an understanding. And I loved being with her, in her mother’s kitchen. She died so many years ago. I told him of the burning. I don’t know the real details, they were passed on second-hand. I didn’t go to her funeral. I didn’t know of it. I found out later. She was a darling. It is good to think of her. And the coincidence is that it would have been her birthday today.

Town was chaotic this morning as I walked. Lots of kids who weren’t students. Foreign tongues. Hello, mate, someone called to me from the doorway of The Angel as I walked past. I didn’t respond, or even turn. Not now, I thought, I don’t want to be part of the mayhem. No. They raised their voice. Hello, they shouted. HELLO, making the word sound silly and childish. Shouting it at me as I walked on.

A cluster of motorhomes were parked by the harbour. I decided not to tell him when I got home. It makes him seethe. But what harm are they doing? All was still. All were sleeping. And they are neat. The neatness of them appeals to the little girl inside of me that would like to carry her home with her and be free. I get what it feels like. Utterly.

I intended to write about living other lives the other day but forgot. I write these notes for myself but sometimes I get caught up with other things. I walk past the Pelican Bakery most days and think about how it would be to work there. How it would be to be a baker? Getting up early would suit and working alone in those small hours too. I would love the smells too. And the sense that what I was doing had a purpose, a routine, a rhythm. And the warmth too, especially in the winter. But I’ve no doubt it is a hard job. All that standing. Yet, it is simple, a contained employment. You do it, there is an outcome, an outcome that people want. So neat, so perfectly apt. I can dream can’t I?

The writing came fluidly yesterday. I wrote and wrote. More than my quota. She was better too. We talked of her garden, what had fared well and what hadn’t. I asked about the cockerel. Normally I hear him, I said. Then we talked about what she ate for breakfast. She was a little groggy, had gone back to sleep, to snooze after the alarm went and hadn’t had her walk yet. She told me of the feral cat who’d come to live in their barn a year ago. She’s getting so fat, she said. She might be having kittens, but it’s ages since the toms were around. Bless her. She always thanks me. And yet, the pleasure is all mine.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.