I struggle with her. I don’t know if it is me or her, or a combination of the two. She gets under my skin. She probably thinks she is being helpful, but I feel sidelined by her. She was crocheting at her desk. I asked her about it and a warmth came forth that I’ve never received from her before. It was nice. She shared what she was doing with me. She was proud of it – it was beautifully done. She’s recently given up smoking. So I have to be doing something with my hands, she said. And she is prolific, bags, blankets and even a wooden table have been made. She had a basket full of yarns under her desk. I live in a cottage, she said, and I collect baskets. When she first started there she talked about her garden to me, but that brief intimacy soon stopped. Was it me or her? What is the point in surmising? It was nice on Sunday. Let it be.

I struggled with sleep, my mind was so fired up. It was marvellous talking to him, but so unexpected. He caught me on the hop. Information poured from him – I couldn’t get a word in edgeways. They seem interested, he said afterwards. Yes, I said. Were they? I liked him. He was so engaged. But the unknown-ness of it all is what was keeping me awake. I dreamt of an unknown woman, she was late middle-aged, grey hair with a ring in her nose. She said that her son had said that he’d met me somewhere, a place name I couldn’t recognise. She was windswept, had walked up from a beach. I wasn’t able to place her accent – South African, Australian? I hadn’t met her son, and I was sure that she’d or he’d mixed me up with someone else. She said he’d met an artist. But he’s not interested in marriage, she said.

Sanditon’s denouement was unexpected. No happy endings, what a surprise. It’s real life, we both said. Yes. She still had her adventure. Isn’t that enough?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.