It’s almost 7 am and the dark is beginning to lift. All is still, all is quiet. The student population of this town seem to have tired of Halloween parties. The fairy lights adorning the fake hedge outside the Why Not? club were still lit and Lip Lickin’ was open but other than that all was hushed and still.

I feel lack lustre. What is it? We talk about the possibles. Fear of what is coming. Yes, I want to do all these things but whether it is the fear of failing at them or just plain anxiety of being out of my comfort zone and all that is familiar, I just don’t know. I struggle to make decisions, doubting the ones I opt for. Is it right? Am I foolish? I have to decide what parts to give them to read. And deep down all I want to do is sleep, implode, disappear. Ciaran Hinds, he of the lovely voice I mentioned yesterday (unforgettable as Captain Wentworth in the BBC adaption of Austen’s Persuasion) has been reading Sebastian Barry’s A Temporary Gentleman on the radio. I have to keep the sound low so I miss bits, but as far as I understand it it is a tale of solider in the 50s and his marriage to Mai who drinks. He goes home on leave to find her beating the children and the house a tip. There is such love in his compassion for her, especially as she lies dying of cancer. Tell the children I am sorry, she says. I understand her wish to blot it out, as I understand her, my mother. It is ugly to watch from the outside, a denial of order, of life, of what life brings. A refusal to take it on, to face it. Sometimes you just can’t  and the bottle is as good as any salve, I suppose. I dreamt two powerful dreams the last few days. The last, last night, involved waving off an old man and his young female career. They were going to live out his last days abroad. She was giving up her youth to look after him. She will have to clean up his shit, I thought to myself in my dream. And I looked at her, a winsome, beautiful girl, more than happy with her sacrifice. They were going somewhere exotic, a little wild. Was I envious of their departure. I had been there, I spoke to him of it. Yes, he said, that’s it. And the other dream, the earlier one? I cried, I wept in front of them, so hurt, and expressing that hurt that they don’t communicate with me. So much silence. She was moved, oh, love, she said encircling me. They had no idea how important it was to me.

An empty tumbler stood on the Prom on the mound that leads up to the bandstand.

I smelt fried onions from under our neighbour’s door.

He is so kind to me. If it is any compensation, he said, you are loved.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.