It was only a dream. I dreamt that he and I were in a shop, a dress shop. I noticed a silk dress, a deep purple shift dress with a matching hat. He asked how much it was. It was extortionate. I made to leave and he followed. I opened the narrow door and began to make my way downstairs and that’s when I heard it. An enormous fart noise. He’d farted in the shop. A tiny shop, chock-full of women. I didn’t wait to hear what they said or did. But then I somehow managed, as you do in dreams, to be two places at one time and I was back in the shop to hear and see a woman laugh and say, I hope we can get a new window glass.

He laughed when I told him. At the farting, naturally, and the comment that the woman made. Things said in dreams don’t translate into reality. Ever.

The farting, sadly, is only too true. I can’t help it, he says. I can’t hold it in. I don’t know they’re coming. She was the same. It was excruciating as a child. In a yoga class (I’m a bit gassy today) or at a dinner party.  Always when she was bending down. Just like Petula Gordino in Dinnerladies. Sometimes I just can’t watch her. It is too close. Too close to the truth.

But is doesn’t matter. Not really. Nothing does.

We sat in the sun yesterday. We walked to North Road and sat on a bench looking down on the tennis courts and the bowling green. The Prom would’ve been to busy. The world and his wife out there. And all the necessary greeting that would ensue when we just want to be quiet. Holding hands. We had to take the lichen covered bench, the other cleaner one was taken by a Chinese man and his young daughter. I wish they’d fuck off so that we can have that seat, he said under his breath. Look at him, just looking at cars, not doing anything with her. It’s true they were an odd pair. She kept climbing onto the bench then down again. And he just stood there looking around. Were they waiting for someone? When they eventually left we stayed put. I liked being still, the sun on my face listening to him talk about playing tennis there as a boy. He’d had to play on his own. He was the only junior member. So I’d put my bag on the line and serve to it. Over and over again, he said. Didn’t you get bored? Never, he said. I can see it. I know his determination.

You were like a harridan, he said afterwards. No, you sounded like a harridan. I did, he was right. I was edgy and embarrassed. Where had he got to? I’d had to chat to her longer than I’d intended, thinking all the time, where is he? She told me about her 5 year old’s birthday party at the football club. She’d shared it with a friend. Twenty-eight five year olds running around dressed as princesses. A company had organised the entertainment with the head woman also dressing as a princess, Belle from Disney’s Beauty & Beast (I think, she said) and getting them to sing all the songs. Even I had a dance, she said. It was brilliant. And her brother whirled her around. The only issue was the food, they all forgot what they’d ordered.

He’d got distracted by a two for three pounds offer in the frozen veg section. I was just trying to save money, he said. Fair enough. I can see that. And I should make allowances. It is fine. We have time. There is always time. I shouldn’t have shouted. A harridan. At times, certainly.

The day promises fair. Another blue sky with a yellow sun.

The flat smells of hyacinths. They begin to open. Can you smell them, my love? I forgot to ask.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.