Oystercatchers (3)

The wind was strong this morning. So strong that I couldn’t go down to the harbour. I clung to a lamp post for a while then gave up. A mass of gulls stood on the rocks, some bobbed in the water beneath the Pier. Along South Beach there were a bevy of oystercatchers. They hopped away as I approached. I like their call. Though in the wind, nothing could be heard but it. A howling, a raging. I went out in his coat again. Three layers of warmth. I felt snug. It smelt of him. A few taxis went back and forth but other than a cluster of students outside the Why Not? club there were few people about.

I thought it would have passed. My work is done. Deadlines met. And yet, there is still this anxiety. My niece posts the same on her Facebook page, videos, cartoon and a constant dialogue of her dealings with her inner turmoil. He doesn’t understand such confessional behaviour. I do. It’s a way of lancing the boil, getting it out, looking at it, articulating it. I wish I could see her. She isn’t coming to the do. A funny, sharp, passionate girl. I have so much affection for her. He says I’m not alone, that so many people suffer with it. Do they? Are we all worrying away about things we cannot control? All the while there is so much to be joyful for. Tomorrow for instance. I shall see her, them. I shall hold her. But it isn’t straightforward. There are so many unknowns. But you could just let it be what it is. Not try to interpret or anticipation how it will turn out. Let it be what it needs to be. He is sanguine. He is wise. Far wiser than I.

She was in today. The snow had thawed. What did you do? I asked. Played in the snow, she said. She seems happier. Lighter than of late.

It was good to see her. Such a beautiful woman. Gorgeous eyes. And she is so talented, snipping away even as she chats. She was so engrossed in telling me about it, that at times she’d down tools and perch on her stool. She wants it so much. I didn’t tell her. I had no need to do so. I am happy to listen to her life, her dreams. I like to her talk. It lulls me. I am emptied. My mind, for once, stilled.

Will it work? Will I expect too much? The sun came out this morning in a blaze. A custard yellow light, lighting up the houses on the hill. Deep, warm hues. The sky is blue. The wind is still a shock though.

I don’t really know what I am doing. I cut away and hope for the best. Neat and tidy bodgers, she used to call them, me, us. I wonder if she is still living. A rum one, that one. We’d see her walking into town along Chesterton Road, or on Jesus Green with that dog of hers who barked incessantly. Gruff. Hard to know, hard to like. Brusque. And yet. She told me once of an affair she had. What fun it was, she said. What fun.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.