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Cat

I thought it was a stuffed toy, and I stood in my bedroom looking at it through my window for some time waiting to see if it would move. It did. I’ve seen it before. It sits in one of the flats opposite, in the window looking out. It’s a black and white cat, like the kind you see stuffed with kapok and made with fake fur. It stared back at me, holding my gaze. What was it thinking?

Only a short walk this morning, just a round-the-block kind of walk. A quick smell of the bread baking in The Pelican Bakery, then up Edge Hill and home. A man was ahead of me, and he kept turning round and staring. I slowed down to let him get further on before turning down Thespian Street.

I’ve decided that the only way to get through this low period is to concentrate on the sensual. Yesterday I was low. It’s a kind of gloom that I do my best to stay above, like floating over the mist you see over fields on an Autumn morning, but by lunchtime I had sunk into it. He tries to help and I snap at him and then am very remorseful. He is so kind and attentive and he knows my moods. We went out into the sun and I cut his hair. A little short but he seems happy. And the sun helped a little. Then I came back in and hemmed cloth pieces. That helped too. I like such work. No real thinking or solving is required and I watch my hands as I do it.

Yes, to concentrate on the sensual. I began this morning by trying my new body butter, warming vanilla they call it. A new smell. I watched my hands smoothing it over my skin, slowly. Then I smelt the smokiness of the Lapsang Souchong tea bags I put in the teapot in readiness for later. Then I paid attention as I peeled the paper cases off his muffins (sans blueberries like a dope) watching the sponge spring back, though not as much as it should. I missed the smell of toast though. Tomorrow. Enough. It was enough, for now.

There was a bird calling out in the dark as I returned home. A new call. A kind of whish, whish. What is it?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.