Random Person

I woke from a dream in which I’d been calling out ‘Help Me’. I’d been out walking, I don’t know where but in a town somewhere and two men were coming towards me. They were what he would call toffs. They were carrying opened bottles of champagne, half drunk. They were carousing noisily. I tried to pass them on one side when one of the grabbed me and began to pour the champagne down the back of my neck. My initial thought was Oh, God I’m on my way to work and I will be wet and sticky and reek of alcohol. My second was that I couldn’t feel the liquid. I’d expected the feeling of cold, of being drenched. Nevertheless he was hurting me. He was gripping me very tightly by the arm. And I began to call out. Hearing myself say it, over and over. Help me, help me. I knew that people could hear me but they did nothing and he just kept pouring.

It made me wary when I went out early this morning. Such dreams leave a residue that can last all day. Town was full of freshers weary now after their all night revelry. Walking towards the hill that climbs behind Alexandra Hall I saw two students ahead of me. The girl turned at my approach. ‘Who is this?’ she asked turning her head to look at me. I didn’t respond but kept on walking. Her companion laughed at her. ‘You can’t just talk to random people,’ he said. I heard her behind me talking about the speed I was walking and how it looked like I was marching. She slurred a little as she spoke, her body made floppy by inebriation.

Writing was hard yesterday. I stopped in the end, the tunnel had become too dark, too murky for me to see my way. I also struggled with my sewing. I am learning new techniques and I am slow and clumsy. I sew, unpick, sew again and unpick again. I always go for the harder option. I always have. Run before you can walk. Always. It shames me. I feel foolish. He came home and picked me up. Of course, you can get another, he says. Try the easier one first and come back to the harder one when you are more confident. I sink with it all sometimes. Yet my mind for all its sabotaging also tries to offer solutions. I stopped writing and then how to continue came forth. In Hotel du Lac the principal protagonist, the romantic novelist, Edith Hope is struggling with a particular chapter and realises that her approach is all wrong. She puts it away and then, like me, comes up with how to proceed the next day. It is so succinctly put. It’s always stuck with me.

They’d promised thunder showers. It was dry while I walked. He has gone prepared.

The lilies have only just opened after over a week. Their scent, so delicate, like pear drops fills the flat. She said it might bring joy and they did. They do.

Will she heal me?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.