Worm webs

I saw them on the trees as I walked in the early morning. Not here but far far away. I asked her about them later. They’re worms, she said, they’re worms that spin a kind of web.

Someone on the TV was talking about moths in piles of leaves. I don’t watch TV usually but in the gym they’re on all the time. He was encouraging us all to participate in some survey. There haven’t been many leaves up until now. This morning I waded through them. I love the dry rustling, even in the dark. Later I saw a moth on the black rubber footbridge that leads to our flat. It lay, wings outstretched, next to a leaf. It was the exact same colour.

They’re all leaving. First Ronaldo, then Melvyn whose gone to work for DHL and now Wellington. I’ll only come back, he said, if Shubert is still here. I was so upset, said Mohammed, when Melvyn went without telling me. Ten years he’s been with me, ten years. It is sad. Those changes. This changing. It won’t be the same. Wellington wants to bring his family here. It is difficult. The old order is changing. I understand that people have to move on, says Mohammed, offering him another After Eight, but to not tell me. That hurts. Small changes. Not on a global scale. People leave. People move on. Nothing stays the same. Is it the small changes that unsettle us the most?

A woman sweeps the leaves on the pavement. She has left her front door open. She wears an old-fashioned pinny and slippers with a roll of fake fur along the top. The wind keeps blowing the leaves back. She sweeps on regardless.

I put a splash of BRUT on my wrists and neck. It is a smell heavy with memory, though I don’t know why for I don’t know anyone who wore it. It is iconic. Still going. Still in the same green bottle. I use it to scent the hoover. I don’t mind smelling of it. It is a comfort. It brings something back. Something, I am not sure what.

I watched the film again. Her movements are jerky. I am assaulted by her prettiness, her perfect innocence. So long ago. And now she is gone. Long gone.

I couldn’t think who sang it. Princes. Princes they’ll adore you. Marry me, marry you. It was the Spin Doctors. Yes. That’s it.

Gusts of memory, Proust called them. Gusts of memory carried along by a warm stink of aftershave.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.