She was born on Monday 11th December at 2.31 am in the morning. And weighing 7 lb 7 oz. I try to make it real in my head. I imagine the weight of her in my arms. Her tininess. I knew she’d be a girl. It was inevitable. The line continues. The flow of knowing. Familial. A kin. A kith and a kin. Hers. And she was mine. For a while. For a wee while. Will she look like her? Will she grow tall and long-legged as her? I want to wrap them both up in blankets in a never-to-be-scared-again blanket. For I remember the fear, the fear I felt for her. From the moment she came. From that moment. Nothing was ever the same again. He tells me she is in pain. A difficult birth. Poor love. Can I help? Can I soothe? I hope they are warm. I will see her soon. A quick flit. A stealing out to go and see them. Such a journey. Such a trek. I want the smell of her. The preciousness of her. To feel my place, if only for a short while. To take it. To savour. Congratulations, congratulations they all say. Is it for me to accept them? Is it my place? He is scornful, celebrates my rights. They are mine, he says. Mine to have. I am right. I am blood. But what do I deserve? I try to love the best I can, I always have. Society casts its shadow and I hide. I hide myself.

A flashing blue light down Llanbadarn Road as I returned. A police car, parked up by a van. The driver was standing on the road, there was another man in the passenger seat. No one spoke as I walked past. A stop check? A random check? Or something more sinister?

He isn’t coming back. I am sorry for that. I liked his presence. A light-hearted being, or so he seemed. He made me laugh. They’ve found more lesions on his brain, she told me yesterday. I am sorry. He is still so young. The other one. The girl. She will make a full recovery. Her father is with her in Cardiff. A loving family, I think. She will recover. A long fall. A life lesson.

There were a pair kissing as I passed by up the hill. A noisy kind of kissing. A show of kissing. I stepped out into the road to give them more privacy. Nicer that way. For all concerned. I don’t miss it, all that heat. The losing yourself in kind of heat. And then on the Prom sitting on the steps down to the beach, another couple. He was a big man, with a bald head. It was too dark to make her out. Perhaps she was a he? He was leaning into her/him, tired, lost or just sad.

A milder morning than of late and as a result more people about. I went round the back way. I had too much to do.

We took a quick detour yesterday before going to work to see the lights. It was lovely. It lifted us both. He tells me that they use a private company to do them all. It costs thousands. There were strings of lights across most of the roads and beads of lights in the trees. A spectacle. Gentle, mostly white, bluey-white lights. Lovely. Thank you. And thank you all for your Christmas trees, lit up in your front rooms. I really appreciate their joy. They bring me joy.

She is out there being so open. Going to quiz nights, carol concerts. An open heart. An open mind. Bring her home safe. Let me open a little too. Let this fear go free, disappear. Soon.


By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.