We’ll have a seminar, he said. Yes. What shall we talk about? Let’s wait and see.

The sun had been shining, so we sat outside. The hotel was busy. A few families and couples clustered under umbrellas or playing pitch and put. The clouds had come but we braved the outside. I had my wrap and he his jumper. What do you want? Breakfast tea. What kind? English. And a large pot this time. With two teabags. Yes, the skinflints. One bag between two, I ask you. Whatever happened to a bag for the pot? I love the metal teapots though. Heavy and much battered with lids that make a clank noise as they drop. He brought it out on a tray. A nice, fresh-faced boy. New to the job. A woman in the adjoining set of chairs was asleep with her mouth open, her husband was talking into a mobile. He tuts. Stops talking to listen. Let it be. Let the world be.

We talked of love. Not our love, but my other love. We dissected it, disembowelled it. It was hard. It was uncomfortable. She is a stranger yet there are these feelings. Are they real or constructed? Can it stand such scrutiny? There is no one to blame, it is awkward for all concerned. There is no real precedent. I want to do what is best. I want to extricate, remove my ego, my fear of judgement. To get to the nub of it. How should I proceed? Back off, leave her to it and just be here if she needs me. She asked if I would take an active role. Would I wish to? Do I know how to? We don’t know her, don’t know him. It is all so foreign. A foreign territory. And yet, there is this warmth. I feel it when I am with her. What is that? A care, a yearning for something other, something once expected, something my body expected, my heart?

We talked it through and I felt stained by it. His mouth sets. He believes she is unkind. He wants her to treat me well. I want him to like her, love her. He glowers. The sun comes out. Sun on our faces. Hot. We are high up. Looking down. I want to be kind. To be good. I let it out. I want to tell the truth. But what is it? Who has it? Mastery of life is not about control, he writes. My life is all about control. I know this and understand it. And I have compassion for it. Stepping out of it, I see the possible peace. Just to let it be. Do nothing. Be actively passive, embrace what comes without second guessing the outcome. Found out what you want. What you truly want.

I want to make my way being authentic. Make my living doing what I do best. Is that too much to ask? I want to be kind in my dealings with others, to understand my reactions, to behave with the right motives. To love, to be open to love and loving. I have so much. I am so blessed. I know this, I feel this. I watched the butterflies on the buddleia. So few these days. There used to be so many. They are flutterings of joy. Cabbage whites. There used to Red Admirals everywhere.

The sky was clear again this morning. No falling stars. No spillage from the clubs, except at the end. Walking past The Angel, a group of people tumbling out. My folks, one man with an American accent was saying to a very large man in baggy shorts, my fucking folks….

The I newspaper are messing around with their puzzle page. I’d got used to it. I do it over breakfast. Now there is a jigsaw Sudoku. I managed it today. I even liked it. And now tomorrow there’s another new kind. Don’t they know we are creatures of habit. Puzzles give one the opportunity to impose order. Make it fit, make it work, solve it. I like that. When I don’t manage it I am wobbled. Mastery of life is not about control. Do I want to master life? I want peace, is that mastery?

I stood by the hydrangeas again this morning just to hear the silence. The distant generator still hummed. But that was all, everything else was sleeping, silent. The flower heads rustled. The odd house light is on as I walk. I like that. I think about those people under those lights. Are they insomniacs? Are they off on holiday? Are they nurses returning after a night shift. I feel an affinity to them. There is such quietness at that time. I pass a man on Llanbadarn Road. A black man in snappy jacket. I look him full in the face and smile. He is awkward, eyes down.

Thoughts of new work, new ventures with film excite me. I feel the joy of it deep down in my stomach. Step by step, I want to keep the joy, the playfulness alive. Don’t crush it, keep it from the judgement. For now. For now.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.