Frost (7)

They call it a hard frost. And this morning it was everywhere. It glistens and glisters in the street and moonlight. A shimmering on every surface, car, pavement, bench and railing. I walk gingerly at first. It’s an age thing, this fear of falling. When I do these days I injure myself. It hurts, the bruises are vicious and the repairing time endless. So I walk with care. Be careful, sweetie, he calls as I leave the house. I will, I will. Our neighbour’s ninety-three-year-old mother refused his offer of an arm as she walked along the back path to meet her friends who were to take her to church. I have my stick, she said. An independent woman, she still walks into town everyday. A jaunty striped beret on her head. She is very deaf now. And her eyesight is failing. She loves our geraniums. She sees them every time she opens the front door. I can’t see them very well, she says, but they give me such pleasure. Her husband was a missionary and her five children had been born in Africa, India and other exotic places. In her fifties she decided to take up children’s book illustration and did pretty well churning out drawings of The Mabignogion. She is a force.

I saw a black mound as I walked towards The Pier Pressure nightclub. It looked liked a bin bag or a pile of plastic encased rubbish. As I neared it I saw it was a person’s back. Two people, a boy and girl were sitting on the ground facing each other. The girl had green hair and was saying, I don’t know like, what you feel like, but I feel like….. Earlier on Llanbadarn Road I’d seen a woman at the door of┬áThe Old Workshop, now a student house. She looked like she was talking into the door buzzer, or struggling with her key. Should I intervene? I thought as I walked past. Not wanting to at all. She swayed a little. Was she at the right house? Had she lost her key? Would she freeze out there all night? She didn’t appear distressed. There was a silence about her. When I returned she’d gone.

There was a walking figure ahead of me along the Prom towards the harbour. I hung back a little as I watched it, trying to weigh up whether to be wary of it not. It was tall. Man or woman? Slim, could be either. No, definitely a man. Drunk? No, not swaying. He is dressed for the weather, so mostly likely sensible. I pass him. He turns. A young man. No threat. Gentle face. Later I pass him again as I come round from the harbour. He is shining a torch. Definitely sensible.

I finished it. The second one came easier. The story was clearer. Though, as always in reviews you cannot say all you want to say. There just isn’t the room. I hope she is satisfied with it. He pushes me. Challenges me to cut things out I cling to. He is so often right. It takes courage to push me so. And I am glad of it. I want to learn, to do the best I can. I am so grateful, for so many things. I cannot begin to list them all. But for his love, most of all. Most of all.

I think of her. Keep her safe. Keep them both safe, all three. A young family. Let there be peace.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.