It was a voice at the end of my dream. A man’s voice, I think. A question. A question that seemed significant. Do you want to come to the gate? it asked. What gate? Was I to see someone off, or was it a gate at the end of a piece of land, a field, or a garden perhaps? Why was it significant? Who can know? Dreams are a mystery, though sometimes they become clearer as the day wears on. I shall sit with it.

The clue was list of ingredients. We couldn’t get it. I’ve since looked it up, and it was ‘formula’. But the really unsettling thing was the handwriting wasn’t mine or his. Someone else had filled some of them. Who? It fits with how I am still feeling. Misaligned, out of kilter. I can’t get myself back. Just keep doing what you are doing, he says. Will it settle then? Will I? Is that a promise?

I also dreamt of a woman baking. She was making some kind of gingerbread. It was from an ancient, familial recipe. She was proud of it. It looked rather like parkin. Can I have the recipe? I asked. What did she answer? It felt important to know.

She wore zebra shoes and she had a bogey up her nose. It was hard to take her seriously. She was confident. A professor. They all came in to watch her at work on my stomach. It’ll leave some big bruises, she said, that will last for about a week. It hasn’t, though the flesh is sore. Do you want to have a look? the male nurse asked him. Then me. It’s a bit like a cross between olive oil and lard, she’d said. It was liquid with tiny yellow and orange globules floating on its surface. It’s not very much, she said, but it should do. It was all about proving a negative, apparently.

I’ve got pastry and mincemeat. I want to do something, to mark it in some way. She said yes, they both did. I am glad, for the longing to see her yesterday was so strong. A bitty day ahead, a clearing up day. They are just as important as the seemingly productive ones. Why doesn’t she respond? Ugh! We are so different. I must be patient, make allowances. Onward.

The skating rink is up. Skating by the sea is the strapline. The castle park is a sparkle with lights. I wish they’d turn the lights on through the town. It’s a money saving exercise, so they are just alight in the early evening. Shame.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.