Sleeping on a wall

She called. It was late. Well, late for me. I recognised that voice. Querulous, tentative, it must’ve taken some courage. Bless her. I want to say, bless you my love. I’m much older than you are, she says. And what courage there is in that aging. Almost 29 years between us. She could be my mother but isn’t. We are similar. Do you feel that too? she asks. I’m glad she called. My hands fizzed with a desire to make it alright for her. To heal her. I quoted a song by Billie Holiday. It made no sense to her. Did she even know of her? Why should she? She quoted a hymn. Different experiences. She has her garden, I have my work, my walking, my man.

Voices as I walk. A girl sitting on the steps of the old Registry Office. You should be so lucky, she is saying to a boy, her eyes heavy with kohl. And then another girl sitting on the steps down to the beach. A girl with a Polish accent. You only have one life, she is saying, in this life, you know. And then another, walking with a friend down the Prom towards the harbour. She in a large Hawaiian shirt. I was ninety seconds, she is saying, and then the audience…..

I couldn’t write the computer, my computer was updating. An hour, more. Stymied and nothing from EMI. Is he unwell?

Soon. Perhaps I should call. Wait. And see.

I see a shape, a form. It gives me a start. It is a man sleeping on a low wall, the sort that are erected in front of terraced houses. He was curled up, foetus-like. Fast asleep, balancing.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.