Black Pill

I dreamt that I was trying to swallow a pill. It wouldn’t go down. In the end I had to spit it out. It was black. A dream full of food. Was I hungry? Or was it more symbolic than that? I was eating scones while riding a bike. I don’t eat scones and it felt wicked. I ate one than began on the second. I can’t remember tasting them. Can you taste in dreams? It was too much. I put half in my pocket. Then I was in the usual shopping mall. You know the kind, where there is no daylight. A nether world of electric light and white endlessness. We, a group of us, where trying to find somewhere to eat. A continuing theme in my dreams, and indeed my life. What to chose? What will please? What do I want? At least there is lots of choice. We found a restaurant but I had in mind something else, something fresher, I wanted salads. Prosaic stuff. I remember noise, and hurry, and a sense of something more. Oh, and there was a flat, a stranger’s home with lots of young children. I didn’t see them but their things were there. I counted them. Were they toothbrushes? A modern day fairy tale. The seven dwarves? Enough. Dreams make no sense when transcribed.

The boats are out of the water. A sign of winter. They are on stilts down the harbour. I tried to memorise the names. Here we go: Red Herring, Celtic Spirit, Tioga, Lillian, Baited Breath and Oyster Catcher. I whispered them as I walked. The harbour path feels different. The stilted boats flank either side of it. Mountains in the dark. I love them. I love their vulnerability out of the water. I love the idea that they will be cared for, repaired, repainted, prepared for next year’s work. Safe. They are safe and dry. A working harbour, that smells of fish. The lobster pots pile up. Ready. Housekeeping.

Housekeeping today. Hoovering and mopping floors and dusting. And two loads of washing. I’ve already done one load of ironing already. It creeps up. I send it to the end of the week. Get it done. Then I make tea, not coffee. I’m off coffee for a bit. It has become bitter. Then I call her. I think of her often. Will we ever meet? Will that break or seal the intimacy? She has a particular way of saying my name.

The door downstairs keeps being left open. The chill of the night will take my geraniums. And they give such pleasure. I must let what will be be. They don’t mean it. Selfish, he says. Just selfish. No, they just don’t think. Pizza boxes strew the pavement. Boys in t-shirts eat them on the way home from The Angel or the Why Not?

A story. I caught a story on the radio after I came back from work. Should I work a little before doing yoga, is it worth it? No. So I listened instead. Caught it by chance. Bethlehem House I think it was called. An old lady coming back to visit the orphanage she was sent to. Run by nuns. A terrible place. She was a wee bird now. Back from Australia with her daughter. She remembers being punished for wetting the bed. The place has changed, has become a retreat. I don’t remember a garden, she says. She learnt to be clean. Always cleaning. Always picking up crumbs. That’s were the scones come from. At the end she has tea. She sits in the sun eating scones. She has two. The tiny bird has two and doesn’t care that the crumbs fall.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.