I have been here before

It is marvellous the chance encounters one has via the radio. Yesterday it was with an adaptation of J B Priestley’s play ‘I Have Been Here Before’. It was a little dated, but nevertheless gripping and more than a little unsettling. I told him about it as we sat in the sun on our new chairs between our car and one of our neighbours, sheltering from the wind. It will do. Now that the pallet and bricks we used to sit on have been bulldozed away, we make do. And making do is OK. He is so wise. I tried to fix the gap issue with our front door by sticking down some insulating tape. It was too thick, making us struggle to open the door. Off it came. Life is messy. I feel messy. Now don’t go allowing your mind to convince you that you are hopeless and that the whole day is a waste of time, he says. He knew that it would try. I can change, as the play suggested, it is possible to stop going round and round in the same groove. I can stop it. It isn’t you, he said, it’s the tape. We can learn from it. It doesn’t matter. Nor do her comments matter. It’s up to me how I take them. I stuck to my guns. I gave a little but not wholly. It’s all a juggling act. But in the end it is he and I. Our love, our care, that’s what counts. He means the world to me. He’s funny, loving, eternally patient and so loyal. Be grateful for every moment with him.

I begin it tomorrow. I think of hunger, mine and others. I want to do it. To manage it. I want the discipline of it but also the clarity it promises. Think of the time it will free up and how my taste buds will zing afterwards. Make me strong. And kind.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.