Darning (5)

They’re my walking socks. Skiing socks, warm but thin. And they are wearing out. Holes are appearing. It makes me sad. The loss of things one is used to. I mend them again and again. They smell slightly musty, like damp students, wet dogs. I darn. I do it quickly. It used to be an art. Invisible mending. An art. An art form. I think about the Bronte sisters ‘turning’. Turning clothes inside out so that they can ‘go another day’. Imagine. Such thrift. We just throw away these days. My MBT boots are going too. The sole and heel. They cannot be mended. I am sorry. Need to let go. Let it go. I think about ‘turning’, performing it on the tube.

I am fearful today. An existentialist fearing. Not real, baseless. I’m in no hurricane. Imagine that. My heart goes out to them, all lost. Everything lost. What can we do? I am with you. Hundred and eighty-five mile hour winds. We’ve had eighty, ninety here, I think. Sometimes I haven’t been able to walk, clinging to cars, to lamp posts. It is beyond us. Almost magnificent. We are small creatures, but ants on this world. It is not vengeance, just Nature being Nature. Surely? I watch the sea sometimes in the early morning, standing at the edge of the Perygyl. A moving, breathing being, careless, beyond care, it is not personal. A raging, a wildness beyond our understanding. What can we take from it? Humility. A righting of perspective? I feel for you truly. Truly. I fear for you.

It is such an eating away thing. An erosion of joy. The little things, eating away. There’s a crow on the roof outside my window. It is preening. What is it thinking? Does it think as we do? A beautiful day. It began with a beautiful morning. Early, 3 am and the moon was full. A precious light from the sky. No need for a torch. The water made silver. Me being buffeted. Alive. I like this time, just before supper. He is out with friends, talking crosswords and bollocks. I wait. Perched in this space, watching the crow. Or is it a rook? They are masters of the rooftops. Caw, cawing. Do they live in fear? What can I do? Is it a change of space? Of life?

I read about it on the internet. Don’t do it, he said, he moaned. He wants me to feel safe, not more frightened. Does that frighten me? No, not really. I want to know. To be in control. To know what is coming. The symptoms match. We shall see.

The sky is made big with clouds. Mountainous clouds. The echoes of life in the distance. No train whistle yet. I can hear someone’s radio or is it Margaret’s TV? She is deaf and has it loud. She watches quiz shows while eating her supper. Eggheads, Mastermind and University Challenge. I never hear her shouting out the answers. We did, we used to. I remember going to visit his mother in the home. Every room with a TV, a cacophony of voices. She liked quiz shows too, I forget the names of them. Yes, one was called The Chase, I think. He’d watch them with her, she in the bed, he in the arm chair, the girls coming in with the trolley offering tea, cakes. They liked him. Had a¬†mattress ready on the floor for him, whenever you need it. And she, reduced to a doll, cadaverous, no teeth and a femur.

He will be home soon and I must away. The crow/rook has gone. The sun shines through. Off. Off with the sadness, the fear. Let it go. Go.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.