I was so hurt that I wanted to hurt her back. A long ago feeling that is really nothing to do with her. I hope I didn’t. Even in my wounding I tried to exercise control. With her I always have. I have no right to ask anything of her. And my desire to get something settled is more an manifestation of fear, fear of being judged for seemingly not doing enough than anything else. I can’t get to the nub of it, the truth of how I feel. We are all just doing our best in a complex situation. And at the heart of it is love, I’m sure of it. But she, unlike me, is happy to leave it at that. She doesn’t seek to understand the complexities. She doesn’t want it. I push and push. I do this over many things. I’m a terrier with its teeth into someone’s trouser leg determined not to let go, till I have it. Have what? Resolution. The peace of resolution. But then there will be a next time and a next. In a radio programme about Paul Gaugin the presenter talked about his fascination with the Tahitian women he encountered particularly how they would just sit, for hours, apparently doing nothing. The heat does that. It is restful the doing of nothing. We did it, he and I, last week in various London cafes. That staring into space, letting it all go by. I want to let go. Loose hold of her. Let her breathe. This is not her problem. This is mine. This terrible yearning to belong. I’d pictured a day, of family, of noise, of clamour of warmth of watching, holding, laughing, of emptying out of being part of something I’d lost. It was foolish to succumb to such fantasies. They are not real. They are not my belonging. This is. And it is enough when I sit with it, doing nothing.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.