‘With adulthood there had come a quietening of the soul.’

I often listen to the BBC Sounds playback of plays and short stories on my computer when I work. I usually begin with something I’ve either missed or want to hear again and then let it run of its own accord. More often then not something intriguing will come on that I wouldn’t have chosen to listen to. Yesterday it was a short story by Matt Coward called ‘Clean and Bright’ about a young man’s granny who was so fastidious about her housekeeping that she washed air. A thoroughly contented woman, by all accounts. The young man inherits her house on her death but begins to notice a dimming of the light. Full of metaphors and sentences like the one above, it was a beautiful, rather melancholic (the best kind – a November-day-kicking-the leaves-as-you-walk-in-a-park kind of melancholy) tale. I’m glad it found me.

The sun is out already and the housework, such an effort these days (is it my tiredness or just a general malaise?) is done. I’m ready to work now. I was going to crack on with his quilt but the next article is concerning me and I want to make some inroads. Anything to feel lighter. And next week is looking a busy one. Nice, but busy.

She wasn’t what I expected. Though how I could hope to build up a picture from just a name, who knows? But we do don’t we? She had an energy that I also wasn’t expecting. It charged me up – I hope I can bottle some of it for my writing. I’ve never written about something yet to happen before. May the resources I need come to me. Let it not be turgid.

My body grew full of water yesterday. I felt it was drowning me and my legs like lead. It’s my heart. Heart failure, the surgeon called it all those years ago. A throw-away line that for him did not have the import I attributed to it. The discomfort made me cross and irritable and he, in turn, became resentful. It’s like we were strangers, he said later, recounting how it was over lunch. I was, am, sorry for his disappointment. Sometimes it is impossible to pull such things back. They just have to be lived out excruciating as they are.

I didn’t know what to buy her. I don’t know her, not really. It hurts me. I want to please her, make her smile, genuinely. Even surprise her. It is not in my gift. So be it. I will do my best. Something practical. That smells good. Eh?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.