Hopper’s Windows

A light had been left on in one of the ground flats opposite. An oblong of yellow against the black of night. Across the quad two of the upper floor windows are also lit up. It is the flat of the man we assume is a PhD student. He is awake at all hours and will come out, his hood over his head, and smoke by the path, reading his phone as he does. I love seeing lit windows in the dark. A Hopper-esque scene, that custard yellow against black. It is a comfort to us night-time wanderers, not just the warmth of the light but the idea that someone else is awake. Lit windows dot the town. Student-living, no strict pattern, no strict code.

We talked till late last night, well, late for us. I hope I have eased his worry. I will be kind. I am not in this alone. Of course it matters to him and it distresses me to think he has been concerned. And that letter in his bottom drawer. I haven’t been kind. But I cannot always explain it. My feelings are not logical. It swirls around. All this change. And yet this need to control. Control the impossible. The impossible that will not be controlled.

He is coming to mend it today. Well not mend but put right. It makes me nervous. This is my communication tool. I need it to remain steady, trustworthy and true. But he is a kind man. Shoes off and licorice tea.

Another appointment with the nurse. More blood. Oh, you’ve got good veins, they always say. He used the word modest in the letter. A slight aberration of the heart. Will it take me? They’ve all said that I will live long. And she said there is nothing wrong with my heart. Who speaks true? It was horrid to read about myself being described like that. I am odd, no question. A little mad, perhaps? No, he said, I prefer your word, singular.

Love, need, fear of loss makes him angry. Doctors, female doctors in particular get his goat. They’re always away on fucking holiday, he says. I am shaken sometimes by the fierceness of his concern for me. You saved me, he said. Did I? I am small thing, a fleck. I love him too. But it isn’t a raging love, like his can be sometimes. I hope he knows how much I cherish him, nevertheless.

No sun yet.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.