Ellen Bell Call Me © Stephen Lynch Photography 001

‘I become weak when I enter the region of fiction; and you say, “real experience is perennially interesting, and to all men”, so wrote Charlotte Bronte to G. H. Lewes.

But where’s the story? he said.

So how’s the film going to end? he asked, I don’t know, I said. You’re the creative writer, he said. Not of fiction, I said. In the end it ended positively, I thought. But he lost his job, his wife, he said. Yeh, I said, but he’d grown tired of it all, jaded. He ended up with a friend in the boy. And they were going to write the stories, other people’s stories together.

I asked after her grandmother. Oh, she passed away, she said, a while ago now. She died in hospital. Do you remember, she was the woman who wouldn’t open her eyes. Her last stand. Did she look at you before she died. Sort of, she said. They say hearing is the last thing to go, she said. We took in a CD player and played Welsh hymns. I woke early, about seven o’clock, I knew something was up. So I went and sat with her. She died around eleven. No, we did have the funeral in Chapel, too gloomy. Yes, the Crematorium is nice. That big window. I sat and watched a red kite during the service. My brother read a poem. No, we haven’t had time to miss her yet, we’re too busy sorting out the house. Her name? Morwenna.

To be continued. His essays always finished to be continued. A suivre in French. Continue. To be continued. French phrases played in my head as I walked this morning. Anna Massey in Hotel du Lac saying je vous en prie. It’s like the Welsh at work. It, the words, just flow around and over my head. Some I can make sense of, others are just sounds. I listen to the intonation, the timbre of the voices. I remember my mother talking to my grandmother or my aunt on the phone. Her voice suddenly unfamiliar, speaking her mother’s tongue. Sometimes it made me cry. I thought I’d lost her.

A suivre.


By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.