She was on the bus when I called. Her voice was excitable, almost elated. It takes courage to leave the house. For some, it takes immense courage. The heat has been getting to her. It has brought on hay fever. I feel it in my chest, she says. I was cross all week, she says, so I thought I’d get out. I’ve got the bus and will take the same one back, she says. Just to Carmarthen to change some clothes for her daughter. I won’t stay long, she says. It’s enough. A big step. She will be tired, ragged when she gets home.

Knausgaard writes about Flaubert. He thinks that Madame Bovary is the best book ever. He recalls reading it first as a teenager, how he didn’t understand it, it was just about the sensations. They filled him, as they do now. I understand what he means, how books’ meanings often grow on us as we revisit them through our lives. And it’s OK not to get it all, it’s enough to just float across the surface and enjoy the dance of words. I love his forays into sentience. He has courage to, to write what he feels. And to be so confident of his opinions. I spend my life not knowing.

The sun shines but there is more of a breeze. Three youngsters were in the sea as I walked this morning. A girl was screeching with the cold. Their voices echoed across the Prom. An oystercatcher peeped. I walked without gloves or hat. Balmy. Lovely.

Silence soon. I forgot to be silent with him too. Never mind. It is fine. There are no rules, she says. Do what makes you comfortable. Well, can I not participate in the after session, then? I struggle with that, all that group-hugging. Nice, in principle but I want to keep contained. Can I?

I will think of you all in that silence. I promise.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.