Seagull Fledgling

We’ve seen him a few times now. How do you know he is he? he asked as we sat on our bench on North Road looking down onto the bowling green. I don’t, I said, but I’m am assuming he is. What shall we call him? he asked. Frank, I said, Frank Fledgling.

We first saw him a couple of days ago, shading from the sun behind a flowerpot that had been placed along the edge of the green. He was making a racket, wailing and cawing for it’s parent. One came eventually, though whether it was mother or father, who can say? She or he didn’t seem to do much. It came to rest by the fledgling for a while before wandering off. I didn’t see it feed the youngster, or comfort it. The players seemed unconcerned. Perhaps the parents nest there every year. Frank wasn’t crying when we saw him yesterday. Though he was at his usual spot, shading himself in the shadow of the pot. No parent appeared. Is his adolescence now complete?

The green is no longer green. They were playing a match yesterday. Two players and a referee and one spectator. A wife, probably, he said. One was a real natty chap. Do they have to have special shoes? I asked.

One day we saw a white dog bound onto the grass when a match was being played. It’s owner was sanguine, the dog’s lead hanging, nonchalantly from his neck.

He was standing looking at a heap of builder’s rubble that had been taken over by weeds. He was still in his pyjamas. He didn’t raise his head when we walked towards the car. It’s the Chinese Grandfather, he said. He remained still, his gaze caught. Is he meditating, do you think? I asked. They are a nice family. One little boy and an adoring mother. She’s made a little garden outside her flat’s front door. A large oblong planter serves as washing line too. Everything is neat, just so.

I’m off to work soon. A three hour stint. A busy morning and I am tired, already.

I shall take my sewing in. Will I be self-conscious?

He talked such sense yesterday. I am grateful.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.