I read Knausgaard’s little essays very fast. They are like aperitifs. That first taste of something delicious, whetting the palate. It is the best. Small mouthfuls, alerting the buds. The sensations are enlivened, not made sluggish by something too heavy, too laboured, too intense. Just enough. He writes of children needing everything to be the same, steady, routinous, unchanging. Are we adults not the same? Ah, we need times of excitement, of drama but mostly it is the slow, flow of things that keep us sane. This is how it was yesterday, oh, thank god it is still here today. Chaos is kept at bay. It wasn’t like that. She was too unpredictable, we’d never know what mood she’d be in. Ever. Never. Was it the same for her? I suspect her father was routinous, a Virgo, after all, like me. But perhaps a little short-tempered. Had she to walk on egg shells with him too? With her mother, certainly. A tiny woman, so petite, so well-turned out. But had she a temper, was she hard to please? I feel for her. And she couldn’t know the tyrant she’d become. It doesn’t matter. Not now. Not any longer. She is gone. They all are. Lost to the ether.

We sat outside Ta Med Da before work. In the sun, my straps off my shoulders. The wind was still strong. Two decorators sat on the bench nearest me, in their paint spattered dungarees. The younger one held court, the other nodding to him. Finishing off their coffee the younger one put his finger inside the cup to scoop out the foam. Another couple sat near the road. She was wearing a paisley jumper and jeans. I watched as she suddenly lent over towards the ground with her hand outstretched. Has she an insect in there? Then I worked it out that there was a little bird there and she was trying to feed it. She was off the bench now and crouched down, squatting just like I’d seen the Chinese lady at the flats doing before we left home. Her little toddler was aping her stance, and he soo squatted, complete with bright orange crocs. It was a sparrow. I think she just scared it off.

A bitty day yesterday, two sessions and then a bit of my own work when I got home.

Outside the greyness has lifted and sunlight catches the eaves turning the white yellow.

Very tired, but I’ve work to do.

I’d like to weigh you now, said the nurse, we’re weighing everyone these days. Ok, I said, but don’t tell me what it is. She wasn’t thrown by this, as I thought she might be. They’re only trying to take care of you, he said later. I know. And I’m grateful.

I could sleep for ever. But not now. Later perhaps.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.