Mum and Erik (2)

Marina Warner talking on the radio about Grimm’s Fairy Tales. See Kiki Smith’s Daughter, she tells us. A little girl, the offspring of the union between the wolf and Red Riding Hood. A little girl with a hairy face dressed in a crimson cloak.

Snapshots. Details. A woman skittering out of the SPAR at 4.30 am wearing pink, six-inch platform shoes. Outside of the Library the volunteers are loading the visitors to the Day Centre below into the coach. See you soon, Stan, bach, one of them shouts to an old man in a wheelchair. He raises his hand in a feeble salute. Bach is the Welsh word for small. It is a term of endearment usually applied to children. There is a little lifting platform at the back of the coach that raises the passengers one by one into its interior. An elderly woman stands on it, her head held high. She is smiling with glee. All the volunteers wear yellow high vis jackets. The stars were a mass this morning.

He was at his window smoking when I got back home from my walk at 4.45am. Are you a bad sleeper? I asked him. Oh, no, I just sleep at odd hours, he said. I like him. There is a world of knowing behind his pale eyes. Enjoy your breakfast, he called after me, closing the window.

They come tonight. I can’t wait. Family. Little ones. Her offspring. We shall make sandcastles. I shall think of them driving over the mountains. In that dark.

We watched Sunset Boulevard. It wasn’t what I expected. It was sinister, a film noir. William Holden was urbane, taciturn. Gloria Swanson magnificently over-the-top. It has stayed with me, still resonating. There was a fantastic image from the inside of the pool looking up – innovative, marvellous. It’s a treat to see what comes next.

And I finished DeLillo’s White Noise. Marvellous writing. I loved the background noises – the radio, the TV adverts. And the ending with Wilder taking his little tricycle across the interstate. It is just life. Living with the fear of the ending. And then just accepting it as living. The price of living, I suppose. Written with such compassion. Even toward Mr Gray who defiles his wife. Thank you for bringing it to me. Thank you Library, what a gift you are.

The sun shines glorious. An unexpected pleasure. Soon we shall go to sit in Eddy. A bientot.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.