Blue Cardigan

One of the bakers from Slater’s Bakery is standing outside the shop, one foot raised up behind him pushing against the wall. I hear the metallic click of his lighter. His long white apron is stiff with flour. Under his apron he wears jeans, a white t-shirt and trainers. On his head is a light blue hair net. He keeps his head down. No eye contact. No good morning. It was the same with the boy in the great coat this morning. A small youth, his coat, long and grey with flashes of red lining. He kept looking ahead, separate, self-contained.

It makes me anxious all this un-knowing. It is all so new. I have no experience. Just ask for what is in your head, he says. It sounds easy. Yes, of course. And yet, what is in my head is not the same – it cannot be. There are no strictures in my head, no pitfalls. Still as I write this I know that even this isn’t true. I want it to be right but there is too much going on, too many voices. I need it to be simple. Clear. Just the sound of sewing. It is enough. I like it. It is the only bit I genuinely like. The rest is too much of me, too much of my stumbling, my awkwardness. It might work for someone else, a stranger hearing it, but not for me. It needs to be simple. Cut it back, cut it right down. Pared-down. It is right. I think.

A pair of red trousers, neatly folded, have been left on a the little bench on the hill above Llanbadarn Road. On the prom someone has draped a blue cardigan over the rail.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.