Hot Bread Shop

It is too much to hold in one’s head. The terror of it all. I don’t turn my face away from it but choose instead to concentrate on the small instead of the large. I honour their bravery at taking him on, and I send love to the families of the bereaved. I ask him if it puts him off wanting to go to London again. He says no. I’m glad. Me neither. It is chance in the end. And no place is worse than another, I suppose. There is danger and the possibilities of joy everywhere. But the focus here, where I live, is smaller, more pedestrian. Like the lights being switched on and the Lantern Parade and the fact that this is the last day for the Hot Bread Shop. I used to go in there sometimes to buy him a sandwich. It’s not a posh bakery. Simple. For a town with simple tastes. The usual stuff, loaves of bread, sliced or unsliced, rolls, iced buns, tarts, biscuits, and made-to-order sandwiches. The windows are always steamed up. The staff wear bright blue hair nets. And sometimes when he is feeling hypo he nips in for a chelsea bun. Not anymore. Not after today. It’ll have to be Slater’s. And there is always the Pelican. I hope they last. The smell of baking bread sustains me on my walk. That is the heart of the town, not the students.

She was chatty yesterday, full of life. It was probably the sun. She’s doing so well. First the Christmas Dinner and then the gathering in Aberaeron. Small victories but evidence of huge courage. Just to walk in alone and navigate where to sit, whom to talk to and so on. Huge courage. And she has it. I am so proud of her. What a long was she has come in the seven years we’ve been talking together.

A gentle day.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.