Sans Souci

I remember the phrase from childhood. There was a clothes shop with the same title in the small town where I was living at the time. It sounded impossibly exotic. San souci, without care. And walking home with my headphones on Rufus Wainwright’s song with the same name, about a night club in Germany, came on. A happy song, it reminds me of our times in Spoleto. One cannot separate place from sound. A song listened to in a certain place will always bring it back. And I remembered the answer to the crossword clue about a decorative embroidery loop. Well, to be fair I didn’t remember it just came forward, like that, picot. It is picot. Will I recall it next time?

They were all out this morning, looking slightly the worse for wear as the clubs began to close. Three to a bench, girls without coats or cardigans, obviously, bare skin exposed to the night-cum-morning air. Legs akimbo, modesty gone. Bare arms, bare legs and full, in your face, décolletage. Some wore sequinned tops. And it brought back a memory of one that she had had in her wardrobe. It was all zipped up in a plastic dress bag. I opened it once. The sequins were like mermaid skin, all luminescent blues and greens and pinks. It was beautiful. I would go and peek at it now and then when she was out. Another girl on one of the benches had glittered platforms. They were like bambis, all legs, so vulnerable. I hope they get home safe, for all their giggling bravery.

A murky sky. No sun today. Heigh ho.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.