First Snow


First snowfall on Monday. Driving over the mountains, the little icon on the dashboard warning of ice. A long day teaching. The sleet splashing against the windscreen. Lorries taking the corners too fast. In and out of sleep. Letting him drive. Giving over to it. Head lolling forward. Having given myself.

This morning walking back home. A still morning, milder, the wind just beginning to get up. I walk past the Pelican Bakery, a brief sidelong glance as I stride by. Windows running with steam. Then past the Cartref student home. Then something espied in a phone box. Not a box really, more a booth. Clear glass, no door. A red hat, a jumble of bags. No, not just that. A sleeping bag. A body in the bag, sleeping. All hunched up, like a game of sardines, his head pushed up hard against the Perspex. He was asleep.

Earlier in the Castle Park, a light ahead of me. A girl on a mobile phone talking loud. She ended the call and walked past me, her torso illuminated by her phone light. Then past The Academy into the mayhem. The Wednesday night mayhem. Students shouting, running, play-fighting. One lies down in the road in front of OW’s taxi. Don’t go, he shouts. A girl watches him from across the road, giggling. I see a five-pence piece on the ground, and then another. I usually pick them up. For luck.

Yesterday, a drizzly day in Hay. Lots of books bought. To deconstruct. To cut. Fairy tales for a workshop. Always returning. Books I recognised from before, Andy Pandy, Rupert annuals. Saccharine stuff, some of it. Fairy tales washed clean of import. Now treasured artefacts, jacketed in plastic sleeves. Saved. Some crayoned in. Names in the front. So proud to be able to write. To right.

Lying in bed I still feel the motion of the car.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.