I think he was flirting with me. It’s been so long, I can no longer judge, if I ever could. Whatever it was it gave me a fillip. He didn’t have any decaff coffee. I asked why. It’s the same as me not selling non-alcoholic beer, he replied. I protested that it wasn’t, but to be fair I could see he was right. I just like the taste, I told him. I’ve got tea, he said smiling. Have you got a pot? I asked. He grinned. I have just the thing, he said, disappearing into the back room. He was young, intelligent, with excellent English. How’s you’re tea, darling? he asked later. I burst out laughing. Why, what have I said? he replied, looking flustered, shouldn’t I have said that? I explained the intimacy of the word. Don’t you have the same in word in Danish? I asked. We do, he said, but it means something completely different. Something had been crossed. I said goodbye when we left. He looked after me as I left. It was nice. I needed it. The awkwardness of spending time with new lovers had made me lonesome. My step was lighter as a consequence.

I still don’t know what to do for the best. I remain open. That is all I can do. Wait. Pay attention. And be kind.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.