There are three smokers that I know of in the estate. One is our neighbour below. He stands at his bedroom window (ground floor level) and smokes out of the window, sometimes leaning out but mostly standing within the door frame reading his phone. Another is the one we call ‘The Lecturer’ because he appeared to hold regular seminars in the car park during lockdown last year. He smokes outside, at all hours. He can be see loitering or walking up and down beneath his upstairs flat with his hoodie pulled over his head, and like our neighbour reading from his phone. He must be in his thirties or forties for he has a young son who visits him at weekends. He used to put all his fag ends in a drain beneath a downpipe by No. 1 but I haven’t seen them there for months, so perhaps he has found another drain to block up. The final one is a young lad who lives in the block of flats opposite. He is the one who ties his bike to the railings by the stairs that leads down to the road. He irritates him, I think for being young, for being skinny, for hanging around and probably being like he was at his age. He still goes to school for I’ve seen him in his uniform. I think he lives in the flat with his mother. He smokes on the walkway, or by hanging out of his window. Yesterday, I saw him climbing in and out of his window. He takes his shoes off first and then puts one long leg in at a time. He is a bit like an insect, a stick insect. He listens to music as he smokes for his body jerks as he does so.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.