Dreams of Hair

I dreamt in layers last night, one leading into another. One was about the Queen and then a long journey and then several about hair. In one I was looking down on a town or large road and hundreds of people, all foreign to me, were lying on grass verges and roundabouts, splayed out sleeping. They wore ethnic dress with large headdresses and ornate hair decorations. Then they were in a queue trying to get through, to enter something – a border perhaps. They were given tickets. They didn’t talk, they seemed resigned but their dress was fabulous. In another my sister was angry with me, though it wasn’t expressed, because I didn’t want to buy an unnecessary present for someone. We were in a trinkets shop selling fake pearls. She was going to pay for it. I didn’t want it and I was embarrassed because some people were looking on. I wanted to make something for them instead. I climbed some stairs to get away from her displeasure. I walked into a hair salon, it was old-fashioned in the 50s style with those huge hair dryers women sat under. There was a seating area with heavily padded, leather banquettes. It was familiar to me. I walked back down and she was smiling, all forgiving. There are rarely conclusive endings to dreams. As with life, I suppose.

I didn’t want to walk past her. Sometimes I want to be free of the weight of other people’s despair. And yet is she despairing? Her 10,000 things are reduced. She has opted out of that. She has more pressing, life-stuff to deal with. She sleeps outside the food bank. Smart move, I suppose. I did walk down her street in the end. She was sleeping. There is a new little tree beside her belongings and a pile of empty coffee cartons. She is making her own garden. What will she do when winter comes? Two lads came towards me from the station, I turned right. One of them called out – Where can we buy some alcohol? I told them of the 24 hour SPAR. He was derisory at breakfast. Visitors, he says. Several fires were smouldering on the beach. I love the smell. I wait to catch it. With the wind coming from the south it took a few seconds. Ah, there it is. It catches in my eyes.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.