Stupid Dreams

She was out walking when I phoned her. Her voice was a little breathless and I could hear the wind. Is the dog with you? I asked. Yes, she said. She’d woken late she told me. And I had to get out, she said, to shake off my stupid dreams. I wondered why they were stupid. I didn’t ask. She was chatty. It is nice to hear. She is so different, so much more open. I like out chats, she says. I do too. I do too.

More on-waking chattering in my head. This morning it was someone saying, ‘You could quickly get into the psychiatrist’s chair.’ And just before going to sleep I saw an image of glass that had just been shattered on a tarmac path. The glass was like little tiny cubes of ice. It had smashed right in front of me. Had I thrown it? I read somewhere that Thomas Edison was so fascinated by human subconscious activity just before waking that he rigged up a systems of alarms so that he would wake sharply in time to note down his visions and hearings.

I heard the crunch under my walking boot. Oh, no, I’ve stepped on a snail. I recoil from that tender destruction, feeling the fragility of the shell. They spend the night making their way across paths and roads and cannot be seen in the dark. I didn’t meant to. I am so sorry. The glare of headlights makes me avert my eyes. I take the shortcut towards the station and the same car is coming round the corner. It’s a police car and the officer inside cranes his neck to stare at me. Am I suspicious-looking in my waterproofs, hoodie and boots?  The scent of the dog roses in the Castle park are gorgeous. The night time seems to heighten their sweetness. Three lads in Hawaiian shirts loiter outside The Angel, playfighting. There is another next-door in Pizza Lush ordering from the counter. Three girls sit on the steps of The Academy smoking. I sniff the air just beyond the Pelican Bakery. Any smell of bread? A hint. Buttery notes, a trace of salt and a warm blast of yeast. A few days ago the odour of baking bread filled the town from the station to the top of Llanbadarn Road. It must’ve been the direction of the wind. The two bakers from Slater’s used to hang around outside the shop smoking, their floury footsteps marking a route from the Barclay’s’ ATM to the 24 hour SPAR. I don’t see them anymore.

A man is ahead of me. A large man, shaven head broad shoulders. Should I cut off down the next road? He has the word SECURITY emblazoned on the back of his bomber jacket. I join Llanbadarn Road from down the little hill. He is across the road on the other pavement. He looks up at me but continues walking. An owl whoo woos in the distance. I am safe. I always have been.

A new word came to me. A derivation of ‘twatting’ or ‘twatting-around’. He does a lot of that. ‘Twattling’. Don’t do too much twattling, I said getting out of the car.

I was going to work on his quilt but my legs are heavy and tired, I need to sit with them up. So I will put it off till Monday. I yielded to her advice. More blood tests and new medication. How have I got to this place?

A note to myself. Read Harriet Martineau’s letters and those of Vanessa Bell  and her part in the Omega workshops and the aesthetic indivisibility between home space and workspace.

The sun is out.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.