Brev (1) close-up - Axis

Sometimes it is all I can to do focus on the details. Those tiny things that circumvent my life. Pleasing things that calm, steady and ground me. Sensual things like stroking talcum powder on my skin after a bath, making my hands all white. Imbibing the familiar smells of washing straight from the machine, raspberry jam on a warm hot cross bun, toast, simple soap, hyacinths, morning air after rain and coffee. These are my comforters. I locate these smells when I am low, I seek their comfort. The kitchen cupboard with the brown paper bag of fresh coffee beans from the Monmouth Coffee Co. The bread bin made rich with aroma of sweet spiced currant buns. My bathroom tray of perfumes – Miss Dior, Chanel No 5, the sample from Jo Malone. And there are the actions, simple ones such as preparing food – slicing my breakfast grapefruit, cutting bread, spreading butter – watching my hands moving, acting, doing their part regardless of the state of my mind.

He died two years ago. I didn’t know. I had lost touch with him. We both moved all the time. He was in France and I was moving between England, Norway and Wales. I thought of him often. I still do. A beautiful man – full of grace. He would dance alone. In the Birmingham clubs. He loved Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler. He could be cruel and suddenly kind. I think of him in Marseilles, in Aix and in Avignon. I don’t know how he lived his life after Michel died, thirty years ago. Was he happy? Was he satisfied with his life when it came to its end? Was he ready? Just fifty. That’s all. As a young man he lived wholly in the moment. I had much to learn from him. I still do. Rest in my peace, Mark.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.