Light Bulb

It is ridiculous, I know. And I know it is happening. I can almost hear the click. There it goes now –  my back tightens, my jaw stiffens and the fretting takes over. My mind is like a mouse, or a hamster on a those little wheels. Round and round it goes. Sometimes it stops, like the rodent, and the wheel rocks back and forth before starting again. Anything, just anything can set it off. What was it today? Well it is usually to do with time. Rushing to get things done yet wanting to do them well. And each new chore or job becomes a burden, a stress point.

When you’ve time can you photograph the Newsroom camera? Now? No, when you’ve time. I do it, and it takes longer than I think because I want to get it right. And then I send off the photos and I look at them and re-look at them thinking they’re too blurry. And then the fridge needs defrosting. And then family are visiting and then there are the wee baby grows I want to alter. All five because her little legs are all ready so long. She’s going to be a model, she said proudly. Very possibly. And I want to do it now, fast, but beautifully with love because it is for her. And it takes so long by hand. Shall I use my machine? I haven’t used it for ages, will it still work for me, will I be able to remember how to work it? And then there was the printer. I told you about it yesterday. It broke. They’ve given us a replacement. An upgrade so I’ve got to set it up. Aagh! I do get stressed over machines. I don’t understand them. I try my best. Honest. So not today. I will take it out of the box, place it in situ. That’s all. That’s enough today.

And then just before I was going out for my walk the bulb went in my room. He calls it the innate hostility of inanimate things, and shouts at them. They need to be told, he says. I try to see it as a blessing. A hidden blessing, perhaps. I changed the bulb with a different kind. The light in there is whiter, brighter, friendlier somehow. I like it. So, you see, it can work.

My eyes have been scratchy. She’d say, what is it you are not seeing? Not wanting to see? I’ll get you some Optrex, he says being his usual loving kind self. No, thanks, I say, still grumpy with self-pity. I don’t want to put liquid in my eyes. But I change my mind. Yes, please, if you would. He comes back with something called Golden Eyes. It’s odd putting the drops in there. I flinch. But it is soothing the irritation. The woman in the chemist said it was probably an infection from your hands. Oh, I said. She wasn’t unduly worried, he said.

The wind was strong but the rain held off. I was grateful. A group of students were chasing a plastic cup down the Prom, one of the girls, all legs and mini-skirted went tumbling, her heels caught up in her handbag. One lad sat hunched over a bench rubbing his eyes.

I got her name wrong. Ugh. I used to hate it when people did that to me. Always Helen. Helen. Helen. A Mancunian thing? The dropping of H’s.

Off to work. Then home, coffee, sewing and The Archers. Enough.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.