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Box

Camera Obscura & other stories (closer) tiny

It was a perfect box. A neat, not too shiny, wooden box with a black cross on the lid. It felt surprisingly heavy as I lowered it into the square hole the vicar had dug.

The wind blew, gusting at our skirts. High up on a soft hill in the Yorkshire Dales. A walled-field with a dotting of gravestones. There is no stone yet. Just the hole with its new contents, filled-in with the wet clay and the two pieces of turf. The vicar jumping it down. You would have smiled at such irreverence. He was a friend after all. We all said the Lord’s Prayer. Nice.

Walking early I pass a car by the harbour. A couple having sex. The windows steamed up, a pair of ankles. I smile and remember. I take another route to the SPAR. A sign in the window of a municipal building opposite Harley’s – NO VOMITTING, NO URINATING. CCTV YOU ARE BEING WATCHED. In the SPAR Jamie tells me his cat, Wendy has gone, ‘walkabout’. No mean feat he informs me as he lives in a top floor flat. He is unconcerned. She’s probably in the flat below. I will knock on some doors later, he says.

A dog-collared vicar gives me a long look in the Morrisons.  I see him later in town. When he walks he takes short, little steps.

All of us at lunch. A big round table. The noise and cluck of women’s voices. Nerves make us a little loud. For all the mess of the past there is good will and love. I was glad to be there among them. My sisters. Amazons all. Yes. Proud. Good women. All trying their best to be true. My loves. My family.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.