The found his body in the next town, washed up, I imagine, they’ve given no details. We don’t need them.

He drowned. He was a good swimmer, he swam most days, I believe. He’d gone out the day before to take pictures of the sea. He was a professional photographer. Was he found with his camera round his neck? He always carried it that way. I didn’t know him well. He’d come into the studio now and then to do paper reviews or the occasional interview. ‘Rent-a-mouth’ he called himself. He was loud, opinionated, made good radio and most importantly in this town he spoke Welsh. His pictures were mostly good, always of this place, he didn’t go anywhere else. He was proud of what he did. We’d see them sometimes in the dailies. His body lacked finesse, the way he inhabited a space, clattering, banging. He was a male, male, strong, strong-smelling. But something had happened. He’d gone thin. I didn’t ask why. It wasn’t my place and we weren’t close, nothing ever shared. Work can be like that. He spoke of his new grandson, and his swimming and his work.

I hope they don’t delve. It’s a private matter. A matter for the family. He was a well-known figure in this town. He was always to be seen walking up and down the Prom with his camera. Always alone. I’d met his partner before I’d met him. I hadn’t put two and two together. It was only when she upholstered our chair that we found out that they were together. I am sorry for her. She once said that living with him was a ‘challenge’ and that she’d bought herself a campervan with her mother’s inheritance money so that she could do her own thing. I don’t want to make assumptions. It is not my business. I am sorry for his family. I hope he is at peace. The bluff, the noise, the hail-fellow-well-met, I suspect was all show. A way of coping. We all use it. I’m sorry that he had to die that way. But perhaps it is fitting. A chosen way. So be it. May he find rest.

We met. I didn’t want. Yesterday was a tough one. The water filling me up, frightening me. I’ve returned to the pills. I thought I was making the right decision, it seems I wasn’t. I hold my hands up. I will acquiesce until something can be done. She is a sweetie. She brought me children’s films and her books from childhood. It will help me to learn. And I will endeavour. I want to get a hold of it. To make the language mine. I am touched by her solicitude. She is so open, so clear of heaviness. What she makes of me – God knows. He was kind and he was a wobbly as I. I am blessed.

I walked with his drowning in my head.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.