Fried Food

I’m not sure what it was. I’ve often smelt it when I woke in the early morning. He smelt it too, waking as he did for a pee. Someone’s cooking, he said. Yes, I said, I think it’s our neighbours on the corner, the two Asian girls. It smelt vaguely Chinese or Vietnamese. It was a sweet, nutty smell, like fried almonds but the oil was sunflower not sesame. But then it seemed to be coming up through the little hatch in his bathroom so perhaps it wasn’t them but our immediate neighbour down below. He was awake when I went for my walk, his light was on. And he likes to make exotic foods, often, as he’s told me making a curry. It wasn’t an unpleasant smell. I try to be sanguine. It is the price you pay for sharing a space with others. And I like flat-living for that reason. I like to hear and feel others around me, especially those who keep to themselves, and know the boundaries of politeness.

The sky is opening to the day. Will I lose my tension? I cried with it yesterday. It needed to be released but I always feel so emptied out afterwards. I shall do sketchbook today, try and wrestle out my ideas and form them into some semblance of order. Just live, he says, just be. I know it is enough. I know it. Help me to learn how to surrender.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.