He knew

It’s always about the detail, it always has been. The detail defines us, sharpens us. I’ve called her a few times during this strange period. It’s the least I can do. She is alone. She manages, she is a very capable woman but this time she said she was finding it hard. She is a sociable being. She likes company, it lifts her. She chatters away about much and nothing. I meant to pop out into the garden to tie up a rose, she said, before the rain came. The detail, you see. Proust knew this, telling us in Swann’s Way how his grandmother would loosen the rose ties in her garden in Cambray to make it seem more natural, ‘the way a mother runs her fingers through her child’s hair after a visit to the barbers’, he wrote.

There was a tent, a light blue mini jousting-style tent with pointed tip, it’s cloth adorned with sea creatures, lying capsized on the pavement outside Cwrt Cenydd. Had the wind carried from some child’s garden or even the beach? It looked sad, upended like that. Later, returning from my walk I heard the crunch of a snail’s shell under my boots. I’m so sorry. It’s dark I cannot always see my way. I hate to take a life. Any life.

He said he knew, he knew that I was struggling. I could sense it, he said. It made me feel good to know that he’d felt it, that I wasn’t alone with it. I don’t always know what to do, he said. Sometimes you don’t want to talk about it. No, he is right, I don’t. What a precious man he is. What a lucky gril I am.

My line manager writes to say that work can’t participate in the furloughing scheme. So that’s that then. It never was a safe job, I said. Now don’t run with it, he said. He is right. No point being histrionic. It is what it is. So what can I do? Be imaginative. Get that thinking cap on. Something will come. The universe is generous. And the sun is out regardless of the promise of rain. See.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.