Dancing Boys

I walk in the dark because it is remarkable. Well, it can be. Not just for the early morning smells, the air, fresh against my face, but for the things I see, the people I encounter. They are not of the daytime, they are nighttime, liminal fare.

I’ve seen them before, the dancing boys. They dance under the Monument. The one he said his friend said used to give him a hard on. It’s of a naked woman, breasts bared leaning out to the sea – a goddess of peace or of war, I cannot tell. They dance in a little walled alcove, set back from the road. I hear their music before I see them. A mix of Rap, Garage and House music, I’d say. From a distance it sounds tinny. Then I see the lights. They’ve a kind of traffic-light light-box that flickers red, green and white as they dance. Well, one dances, the other tends to sit on the bench leaning over their ghetto blaster choosing songs. They wear baseball caps and army fatigues. So much effort. A stage. A performance. In the dark. Looking out to sea. To Aberdovey. The dancing one has lights fixed to his wrists and ankles.

Did you know that the German for shopping trolley is ‘winkel wagon’? Or is it Dutch?

Pier Pressure was shut this morning. A few stragglers loped about along the Prom. The Angel was still open when I walked by, Bonnie Tyler’s song A Total Eclipse of the Heart pulsing through its open door.

I don’t always look forward to ringing her, sometimes its just another responsibility, but when we do speak, it is fine. I am glad. Her voice is gentle and I hear the same reluctance in her voice as in my head. She too would rather be in her solitude, even if it is not uplifting. And yet, I believe it helps her. She gets things out, she is the focus of another’s attention, care. And I do, care. I asked her about the accident. And it appears that is not the problem. It is what happened before. She cannot account for it. One minute she was standing in her neighbour’s field picking mushrooms and the next she was out cold. I woke facing the other way, she said, that’s all I remember. My neighbour had a premonition something was wrong and came to find me. She couldn’t get me up. Stay there, she said, till I get help. It was smashed, my femur was smashed. They said that something hard had bashed me. A cow, perhaps? They said I wasn’t to try to remember, perhaps it will come, perhaps not. That was eight years ago. She had to have pins in her hip and got MRSA. I was dying, she said. Then I found homeopathy, was given a bottle marked MRSA. Shall I take it? I said to my daughter, she said. Yes. It saved me. I don’t think she is that old. Her daughter is not yet thirty. Early sixties, perhaps. And yet, her body has been so hurt. All those antibiotics, she said. She needs to walk, how I understand that. I was determined, she said, though my leg looked like a horse’s. The neighbour’s dog has come for good. Bonnie, the one who’d had a stroke. She sleeps in the porch. The other dogs on the farm are too noisy for her now. She knows her own mind, she says. I hear her barking in the background. Jealous.

He’s befriended a cat. He thinks she/he is dying. It clings to doorways, hides in corners. During the day it will greet him, talk to him. She’s jealous of you, he says. You stop me talking to her. And there’s Betty, the other cat. She jumps in and out of their kitchen window. There is a bell on her collar. You hear her jangling. She greets everyone. A tart. A cat tart. Lovely girl.

We’re off to do some extreme sewing at Aylesbury, she said in her text to Steve Wright’s Big Show.

I got it wrong, it was James Runcie not Robert. He was the Archbishop, I believe. And it was Grantchester Mysteries not Chronicles. I was mixing them up with Barchester Chronicles. Age.

I am calmer today, less stressy. I plan to do bits of work in between planning, just to steady myself. I said no to work tomorrow. It is nice to just get off, to take our time. I’m glad, he said, glad you said no.

Do you think the insurance companies will cover the damage? I asked her. My husband asked the very same thing last night, she said as she scanned my walnuts. Can they afford to? I thought of them all last night. 26 million will be effected they said. Too much to comprehend. I wish them dry, warm, fed, safe, nourished, protected and loved.

We would cope, wouldn’t we? I asked him. Yes, he said, we would. I send love and strength.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.