I’m always a little uncomfortable writing about her. I know her sensibilities, she is diffident, she keeps close to herself and I in turn wish to vouchsafe such needs. And yet, I also want to celebrate her, remember the things she shares with me, the nuances of her speech, for that is all I have to go on as we’ve never met. So I keep it anonymous, I keep her safe. We talked about the cold, the biting wind. She doesn’t have central heating in that little house of theirs. There is a cold fire and several electric heaters. And when its really cold I’ve got my poncho, she said. I delved a little deeper yesterday. I asked her what she used to do. She was a secretary from what I could gather, working for an author and educator. Someone Ellis. She expected me to know of him. I don’t. Then I delved deeper and she spoke of her ex-husband. I presume they are divorced now. He used to hit her when he started drinking and he was jealous of their daughter. She threw him out in the end. She went to his place of work to tell him. I wanted it to be public, she said. It was the day after he’d bashed the door down and beat her severely. She told him she didn’t want to see him ever again, in front of all his work colleagues. She finds courage. She always finds courage. That’s when she and daughter left the family home and found the house they live in now. It’s up in the hills. We don’t have much, she said. But it’s nice now that I have my pension. She had to make do when the girl was small. It was hard. But she never complains. I have so much admiration for her. It’s those small victories that speak the loudest.

The morning was dry and the wind, though keen was bearable.

A girl in leggings and an oversized orange anorak skateboarded passed me in the middle of the road. She looked unsure of herself, gangly.

I begin writing today. I’m always nervous. What if it doesn’t come? Just sit with it. It will. It will.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.