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Boiler (2)

I’m trying to be sanguine. He is better at it than me. Our boiler has bust. No hot water, no heating. My bath this morning was a thimble-full of water boiled in the kettle and in pans on the stove, all ferried downstairs. Back and forth. I am unsettled, such breakings always discombobulate me. I catastrophize imagining all sorts of horrors. Nevertheless I get on with things. It’s all I know how to do. The flat was still cleaned, breakfast made and here I am ready for work. People will have to come in. And I don’t know when. They are nice enough, of course, it’s just the thought of it, at the moment. And all the time I think of the two men sleeping in the shelter on the Prom, hardly protected against this fierce wind, and the refugees living in those camps and the winter coming on. At least I am dry, I have food, shelter, a space to call my own. It’s just that it reminds me of direr times, times when all was chaos and I was scared. My vulnerability is so near the surface. And I think fear of cold, of being cold is my biggest concern. And of destitution. For I’ve experienced both of them, to my shame.

Sometimes I am but a speck. To him I am more. But sometimes……

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.