Five minutes to seven and it is almost light. Not for long, he’d say, but try to enjoy it. So I shall. He is out. He’s gone for his walk and I’m glad. It’s been a few days now and he gets all mouldy when he goes back to bed. It has never solved his lowness, ever. And I? I walked as usual, in the dark but with a wind blowing. Dry and cold and with lots of people about. I am weary with this infection. We toyed with going to A&E last night to check it was OK. My arm and wrist are also red with it. Is it the poison finding my bloodstream? All these physical changes, it freaks me sometimes. What next? And liquid seeps from my the infection. It stinks. It is a watery stuff, that smells of rotting animal flesh. Is that coming from me? Is it still anger? At what and at whom? There is so much I cannot fathom. A putrid infection they used to call it. And that is what the smell is, putrefying flesh. My flesh. My poison. My anger. It will out, clearly.

He said he’d bumped into the man we’d seen all those years ago in Cambridge. You know, he said, the one who’s wife is in a home. Anyway he’d met him in Tesco’s. A gossip, apparently. And this time it was all bad news, he said. It was about the doctor who lives down the road. He with the neat and tidy bodger garden which he clearly adores. He’s got a brain tumour and they’ve given him 4 months. Poor love. His poor family. A small man. A lover of cars. he has how many 6 or 9 or more? All with his same initialled number plate. How does he get to drive them all? he asks. 4 months. And it won’t be nice. I remember how it was with my father. You lose them before. Way before. At least there is no pain, though plenty of discomfort, I remember he just couldn’t get comfortable. He just wanted to go in the end. I prayed that he could. Open the window and let him out. Us out. Me out.

I finished the piece. Writing today. I want to find my joy in it again. Begin at the beginning. She was entrancing, alive with it. Help me to do her justice.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.