Not the Misses Agony

I woke up with it in my head and lay there trying to spur myself to get up and write it down. That’s what I wrote at some ungodly hour and found this morning. Not the Misses Agony. It was of vital importance in my sleeping world. A cipher, a communication from another realm. Here, in this sphere, it makes no sense. A nonsense. A no language. Who are the Misses Agony? And why are they not?

My dreams haunt my nights these days. Is it the moon? We saw it shining through the trees last night. A great white orb. Mystical. I remember snapshots. I was in a restaurant, a dark, low lit affair with two men. It was in some exotic, foreign location. They weren’t really paying any attention to me, though I shared their table. They were discussing where to go for coffee. I thought about the taste as they talked, anticipating it with pleasure. Then I was looking down through the floorboards that were rather like the wooden slats of a jetty. I could see some fishermen bringing in their catch, two of them were waving up at us, at one of the my companions. I tried to let them know. They ignored me.

This is no ordinary love, sang Sade. No ordinary love, I kept singing in my head as I walked yesterday morning. I read her page. My feelings about her are ambivalent, just as they were towards her. No ordinary love, a tricky love, an uncomfortable love. Not always a loving love, or a liking love. I feel her, I feel them all. The burden and the joy of them. Rarely light. As it never was with her. I used to have this recurring nightmare as a child. A man, a mystery assailant was cutting off her fingers and toes. I would wake up screaming, wanting to save her but couldn’t. There was no blood, just this maiming. That scene from The Piano writ large. She would come to me on hearing my screams. Was she kind? I cannot remember. I didn’t want the dream. I couldn’t save her in my sleep or in my waking time. With her it is the same. I want to make it better, to be her balm. She doesn’t want it, need it or even recognise it. And I know I am essentially doing it for myself. I need the calm of it, the making of a better loving, a kinder, easier one.

A good day yesterday. Joyous. I want to write a good piece, a celebratory, encouraging piece. She is young, wide-eyed but full of feeling. And the other women, I liked them too. The seamstresses, the embroiderers, the rag-rug makers. Those users of their hands. Warm women all.

More dreams. I am re-starting my job at the university but the snag is I am meant to be doing a Phd. too. I seek out my supervisor. She is short with me. I cannot make up my mind. I dither. You are full of cotton wool, she says. How about film? she asks. I’m actually into stitch, I say. OK, she says. I walk up and down stairs for what seems ages, thinking, how can I afford it? And maybe film would be a possibility. I meet some women who are trying to set up a stall but have come without a float. I offer to help them find some change and go to the menswear dept. that is, rather oddly, part of the University (a throwback to my interview during the day). A jumble of stuff that clearly reveals the working of my subconscious. I was so enthused by her, by the day. Now I must do my bit, hone it into something that tells the story. Enough, go to it. Well, after I brew my coffee. A Sunday treat.

Not so cold today. A mizzling mist. The simple pleasure of rain on my face.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.