I thought of her in my bath and as I walked. Could I have looked after her if she’d lived? Would I have gone out there to live with them? Could I have done that? Could I have cared for her, made life a little better? I would’ve been practical, met her needs and his, but what of the rest? Could I have stood her idiosyncrasies, her dyed-in-the-wool habits, her tongue? I loved her, I know that now, but it wasn’t an easy love, and compassion outweighed the liking, for I could not always love her. Life had made her often unkind, unless one happened to be a sparrow. I write about her, think about her, made sewn offerings to her memory. She is with me. But I wonder if it is she or more my image of her, not a shrine-like icon but something, some one I need to forgive, to re-love.

The small man I used to see working on his computer in his kitchen when I walked past in the early hours has gone. So has his little car. And the plastic cobwebs in celebration of Halloween stuck on the windows of one of the flats along Llanbadarn Road have also gone, replaced by some jelly-like moons and stars. Will there be Christmas decorations there soon?

A warm, blustery morning. The air smelt good, churned up. Another birdsong I couldn’t recognise, was it a nightjar?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.