Finding Comfort

Poor thing, he says. Who? I ask. We are at breakfast and he is reading The Times. He points at one of the articles in the middle pages. This woman, he says, she’s in eighties and was trapped in the bath for three days. Bless her, he says again. It takes me a while to digest it. She must’ve been so cold, I say. Weren’t there any neighbours? I ask inanely, while I continue to think about it, trying to put myself in her place. Well obviously, he said, but if she couldn’t get to the door. But surely someone would’ve noticed. She did shout, he said. Three days. Three days.  How can it be that one is so alone. We are surrounded by people. Why didn’t someone help her? Poor, poor thing. Has she recovered. What more can we do to look out for and care for those vulnerable beings around us.

I cannot write about what happened yesterday so I shall write about my dreams instead. I had many. I remember waking at 11.30 pm and thinking I must remember this. I was in a huge shopping emporium like Harrods. On one of the upper floors was an office dedicated to Press enquiries about Diana Princess of Wales. It shielded Press questions and promulgated her continuing good and wholesome image. There was a large TV monitor in the room showing a close-up film of her. I was shutting the door and thanking them for the opportunity to work with them. Had I been an intern? As I said goodbye I asked if they would consider me for future opportunities. Then I was going down some steep stairs. They were so deep that I didn’t feel right. An old man in a dusty suit was also descending and made some joke at how difficult they were to manage. He congratulated me on my ability to scale them. Then I was with my father watching him prepare for a game for dogs. He had rows of chocolate treats for them. He wanted to get them to do something and wished to acquire the skills with which to control them. I asked if he knew what he as doing. No, he said. I started to show him how to manage and get the best out of them.

The bleakness has returned. It is heavy on me. The weather, the dark, not having enough sleep, work and that thing yesterday. I could be any, just one, all or none of the above. I keep going, almost too rigid about routine. It helps. And for the rest of time I do work in short burst and find as much comfort as I can. Bodily comfort. As I write there is shawl around my shoulders, my little two bar fire is on, though just one bar now (got to watch those bills) and soon I will make some tea. It is still pitch outside. Just a blankness through my window. I am sorry that it has tainted their visit. It is a joy to see them. She is easy to love.

Time to make a start on the review. I have ideas and the rest will come, it always does. Trust, be patient. What will I say to her? Be kind. Just be kind. Can I say that with impunity? Have I always been so? It is certainly my intention. Do what is right? What is right? I don’t know. Just, just be kind.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.