Found (21)

I found them by the side of the road. Two ten pound notes. They were quite clean, only a little damp from the rain. They were just under a little wall, lodged against it and the pavement. I thought they were litter, blown like other jetsam by the whoosh of lorries that rattle along Llanbadarn Road. They must’ve fallen out of someone’s pocket. I was sorry for that. I would’ve missed them. It didn’t feel right keeping them myself but it would be pointless taking them to the police station. So I gave them to him. Pass it on. Pass on the gift, the abundance. Though I am sorry for your loss. Truly.

I’ve boxed them up, those samples of me. It is a weird thing. It makes me feel more than a little queasy. It’s not just the collecting of stuff from out of me, my body, but the sending it on to a perfect stranger to analyse. And the forms are so officious. Is that what made me feel so unsettled yesterday? The language is dictatorial, bossy. I don’t do well with bossy. I freeze up. I want to go my own way. And all those little boxes to fill in. I’ve talked about not being able to colour within the lines as a child, this is the same. My handwriting always exceeds the box.

My head is full of little things. Details. Those lists of have to do before we go. Will death be like this? Will I have time to organise, to put things in order before I leave? It is meant to be fun, a holiday, a break and yet I make such a production of it. I remember my mother was just the same. Did I inherit it from her? Of course. I even remember her ordering a large slab of cured ham, a great big leg of it, to take with us to Spain. Were we going by boat? Or did she take it in hand luggage? Perhaps restrictions about bringing food weren’t in place in the 70s. She’d get so stressed. Must I do EVERYTHING? she’d shout. And yet if we tried to pack ourselves she’d pull it all out and redo it. NOT LIKE THAT, EVERYTHING WILL CREASE. Such a tizz, so frazzled. It took the joy out of it. The new summer dress, the bikini, my colouring pads and crayons, pink plastic sun glasses, they all lost they’re sheen. She sucked it away with her fretting. See. I do the same. It’s as if I don’t deserve the joy of it, the light, the getting away from telephones, rain. To lie in that sun. Try joy instead. All will get done. All the details dealt with. I promise.

Two young boys on bikes, riding down the middle of Llanbadarn Road. At 3.45 am? Why weren’t they in bed? Hoodies veering all over the road. A frisson of threat. Do their parents know they are out? Too early for a paper round. Lip Lickin’ was open but no takers. Few people about. Yesterday there was a woman on the Prom, plastic bag in her hand. A full face hello. Or was it good morning? And then two men, pissed and lurching. The bigger one said hi. A nice greeting. Sober, controlled and kind. No threat, ever.

The moon was out. In and out, behind clouds. I love to walk under it’s light. I want to work. Will work on my sketchbook notes. Too unsettled to get down to anything really meaningful. Wait. Bide time.

I think of you post hurricane. Lives have now been lost. Any wonder. A woman on the radio talked about Marjorie a charismatic who cried. She went places and wept, crying, she said, on behalf of God for the world. The modern day take is that she was a Kim Kardashian show-off. That it was all about her.  Whatever the story, you have my grief. I grieve for you. For all you have lost. May you be safe.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.