Blood (5)

It was a strange day yesterday, everything felt out of kilter. I was tired. My sleeping over the last few days has been fitful and though I tried to work it was slow going and sludgy. And I had an appointment with the nurse, which always cuts into the day. I walked into town too early and sat with him while he read the paper in a coffee shop. I dozed in a chair and listened to the pattering thumping of the toddler who comes in most days to run around while his grandparents drink coffee. He is a sweet thing but not peaceful. He had a plastic toy lorry that he kept jetting across the room, or he’d dance round and round till he fell over overcome with dizziness. When we left he was sitting underneath the high chair quite content spinning the wheels of his now upside down truck.

I felt uncomfortable in my state of torpor, that doing-nothing-but-staring-state and tried instead to think over what I’d written earlier and make notes. To no avail. Best just stare and pay attention. I did so. I smelt the soap on the nurse’s hands, I felt the prick of the needle as it went into my vein. A good vein, she’d said, admiringly but had then said, I thought it was deeper than that, when the blood took a while to come. I forced myself to watch. A gloriously deep red. Has that come out of me? Does blood always look the same? Then I caught the stink of stale cigarette smoke on the clothes and mouth of the woman ahead of us as we left the surgery, the one who had answered to ‘Malcolm’ in the surgery’s chemist.  

I gave in and slept for an hour before going upstairs to make lunch. I dreamt. A dream that replayed what I’d written that morning, though it also featured a key (but too small) and an old woman who’d massaged my neck and back.

I have a whole day ahead of me and need to get down to it, though my way with my writing is not yet clear. It will come as I write. But coffee first. Coffee first.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.