Offerings to the Gods

I’m rushing ahead of myself. I need to get on with work but I just wanted to write something, to touch base as they say in America. It steadies me, just as she said it would. A splurging but also a recounting of what I’ve seen on my walks, during the day. I need to record it. To remind myself of the bliss, the joy. It may end up being a list of things. So be it. That would be enough.

They had been placed in little piles on the edge of the path. A stone-flagged path that marks the end of the beach. There are often things placed there. Little hillocks of stone, little cairns. This time is was fragments of turquoise painted stone. It looked like they had come from an old wall. Had the sea carried them there, to Cardigan Bay? The colour was Mediterranean in hue, from Spain perhaps or Greece? I love such collecting. A gift. An offering to the Gods.

I asked about her auntie again yesterday as she made my coffee. She’ll need to go in a home, she said. She doesn’t want to, but what with all this falling. Yesterday, I told her, her hair looked liked it’d been dyed. A splodge of red on one side, she said, pointing at her own head to demonstrate the place. I told her, you look like you’ve had your hair dyed, Auntie. And my brother, David, had to pick her up. Oh, I said to him, that must’ve been awful, for you, was it? I asked. She practically brought us up, him and me, you see. Do you want hot milk with that?

I do like her. She’s so warm and round. I love her big upper arms. I wanted a mother like that, I fantasised about the warmth. Beautiful, she is, she said. Beau-t-i-ful, she said.

No frost this morning but a cold north wind. The leaves rustled along the road, brittle and dry. Was that a slight dusting of snow? A wetness on my face? I was able to walk the Perygyl today. It was good to be back. The sky was cloudy, starless. The sea black.

She was coming towards me down South Road. She had on her pink anorak, zipped up tight across her bosom. She avoids eye contact. Her head is always down, her plastic bag, full of I don’t know what swinging as she walks. Is she an insomniac, is she depressed? Do people ask the same of me?

I dreamt of my sisters last night. At least one of them, maybe two. I sensed them rather than recognised their faces. We had to go to a party. We didn’t want to go. It was an obligation. We thought we knew what to expect. But looking through the window when we arrived we saw that there were other people there too. Strangers. We had instructions in our hands of how to behave. A laminated sheet of them. We clutched them to us and walked towards the door.

I heard the tick tick of a blue tit as I walked home along Llanbadarn Road. Are you cold little one? Will you survive the winter. Your song is metallic, but loud, almost strident for something so tiny.

Enough. Time for work. Thanks for listening. I appreciate it.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.