He had warned me. Perhaps I ought to take my umbrella, I’d said to him the afternoon before. I’d forgotten and when I’d looked it was bone dry outside, so I left it behind. There’d been another warning, when I’d been upstairs preparing breakfast. A flash of lightning. It lit up the whole room. A white, bluish light. A shock. I felt unsettled, edgy. I walked into the dry air, slightly cooler than of late. It smelt good. It smelt of dew laden fields. Then they came. The raindrops. Heavy, large drops, splat, splat. It was a deluge. I got soaked. I kept walking thinking about when my waterproofs would fail and begin to leak. It didn’t take long. My boots, my gloves, all sodden. So be it. There is beauty in it. The raindrops caught in my torch light, under the street lamp glare. And then stripping off once home, my skin cold and warm at the same time. Getting dry, warm and cosy. Rain calms the thoughts. It becomes a focus. I walk fast into the puddles. My boots, it seems, are not that waterproof.

I write this before I go to work. Another early. The same guest as yesterday though this time he is coming in to talk about Texas and Hurricane Harvey. Such devastation, it is unimaginable. I hear the survivors or should I call them victims talking on the radio. So upbeat, so strong. It is the American way, it seems. I hope they get the help they need.

We ended up talking. I went to bed later than I’d intended. The grief is still there, raw, hurting. I think it is the not knowing what to do for the best. I find it hard to separate what I ought to do for her and my own feelings of need, or expectation. I call and there is nothing. Just nothing. A continuing silence. It is just like her, the other her. Letter after letter, nothing. Just nothing. Making me feel like nothing. Do they not want me? When I see her there is much warmth, love, I think. And then this endless, interminable silence. Show me what to do, for the best, for her and for me. He sanctions non-action. It hurts him, the what he calls, unkindness. Is it unkind? Is silence, no response, unkind? I cannot understand her, get inside her head. We do not share the same rules. She lies, I know this. I have done of course, I am no saint. But she is so trick-sy, my mercurial girl. So elusive.

The clouds build up outside. Mountains in the sky. Daylight is good. Things feel better in the daylight.

We will have another seminar, he said. Talk about everything. Yes. Tea and talk. No work. Escape.

I’m re-reading Sara Maitland’s Book of Silence. She writes about hermits, a particular one who lived in a cave in the desert. He made, he created for no one – all year making, only to burn it all at the end. Make destroy, make destroy. It was about the industry, making to keep sane. Not the product, not the object. Just the doing. It needs thought. It goes against the grain. We shall see. Talk and tea. Talk and tea. Tomorrow.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.