The starlings are back, I hear their chatterings as I walk past the pier. And the swirlings have begun again, though yesterday it was the rooks. There’s a rookery up at the University, just by the accommodation block. They sound like monkeys, a kind of squawky clamouring. They do the same here. I love their noise, oblivious as they are, to us. Oblivious to the minutiae of us, of our lives.

Four hours up there. Too long. I feel a little sullied from being in that space. I often do. Muggy air, airless really. Too warm or too cold. I read and think and do for my guests. The books take me over. I yield to their story. Ali Smith at the moment.¬†Hotel World, a¬†whirling, unsettling novel. Speech without punctuation, no breaths, no stops. A teenage voice. Teenage. Teenager, not anymore. She is grown now. Twenty-eight, almost thirty. I don’t know what else to do. I am at a loss.

I will place myself there. Place myself near. I’m here. Here for you. Am I? I try. I have lost it. It has unravelled, a long time ago. Years ago. I cannot catch it up, cannot gain control, manage it.

I want to see her. I do. But need to accept that it may not happen. Last time, was a fluke. Or perhaps not. To see her. I looked at her hands, her skin. The gawkiness of her. A bambi, a colt, long-legged, skittish.

I am unravelled, exposed, I don’t know what to do.

Walking the other morning. Walking fast. Striding home. Wanting to get home. A young man ahead of me. Leaning a little. Not vertical. Drunk, maybe. He stopped ahead of me. Standing in my path. Now that’s a proper walk, he said, proceeding to mimic a lazy, slovenly walk, not a fucking……I laughed, edgy, wanting to get home.

Frost today. Hands in pockets.

The mess of it makes me low. Sometimes there is no clear path, no clear way forward. All I can do is yield, give way and allow it not happen, to not be as I’d like it to be.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.