I saw it through the window. They’re doing the building up. It’s surrounded by scaffolding. There was a light on. The room looked empty, high-ceiled, just white and in the centre was this huge birdcage. Or was it one of those glass-fronted herbariums? I don’t know. It used to be the extra mural building, where the University gave classes to the people from the town. It’s a little faded but still rather grand. A cake-like shape, its faux royal icing is now rather yellowed. What are they turning it into? So much change. Always change. But I liked coming upon the birdcage. It was incongruous, elegant, like the doll’s house in the house down the road. So tall, in unpainted bleached wood. How wonderful to have one. I would make it my own. Completely.

We don’t have a garden. I miss it sometimes though I have no idea what I am doing. No confidence. But we do have three pots with geraniums in just by our front door. The windows let in the sun. It’s a good spot. I watered them this morning, early. It was still dark and a moth flew out as I emptied the liquid into the pot. It flew against me, no doubt thinking my black top was a space, an emptiness it could hide in. They are such fluttery, nervous things. I pick up on their nerviness.

I watched a feather fall from the top of the roof and down the tiles. A moments movement when I was being still.

I’ve been unsettled over the last few days. Things niggle. Mostly about the way I should or shouldn’t behave. I talk to him about it. He irons it out. Its OK to think that, he says. Be at peace. It’s an inner fight between the child and the adult and mostly about fear. Just trust. Be gracious. The grace. Accept, find your grace.

She has cancer of the kidney. I am sorry. I tell her about it and she is too. A good woman, she calls her. And she is. No side to her, no anger. Gentle.

A few kids wandering about this morning. A tall gazelle-like girl with her friend, wrapped in a blanket. A group of friends, one, a lad, says, I’m going to sit down on this bench and have a fag. Aaah, one of the girls says, I’m cold.

I send a message via Facebook. Do I really want to wake that up again? I wonder how he is. It’s gone. There is no flame. Nothing. No one but him. It has always been so, the rest have been nothing. It’s not what I expected. But how could I have known about such love.

You OK?

A car rushing down Penglais Hill. A Fiesta or a Golf, black with red on its wheels. It comes to a sharp halt just as I am about to turn into Llanbadarn Road. A young man leans over to speak through the passenger window.

You OK?

I’m a little thrown. Is he drunk? They usually are when they speak to me. Should he be driving?

I’m fine, I answer and continuing walking.

I know you want to get on, he says, but are you OK?


That’s nice, he said from the shower, when I told him. He was looking out for you, he said. I like that.

Yes. It reminded me of the ‘Angels’ I used to see on the tube in the 80s. They’d copied those in NY. I felt safe when they entered one of the carriages. They wore red bomber jackets and would scan the space and smile.

He replied. You might as well have been peeling potatoes, he wrote.

Well, yes, but I wasn’t. I feel a little put out but at the same time it’s quite funny. They’re all men, the ones I went to for advice. Funny that. We’ll see what comes. And from that too.

Grace. Let them be grace. But for the grace…..x

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.