They were walking up from the beach when I approached the Prom. There were four of them, two out in front and the others lagging behind. Towels were draped around their shoulders, their hair was wet and they walked carefully on bare feet along the pavement. They looked like students. They didn’t shout but called out in a whisper, saying goodbye as each one went off to their separate streets. Had they been fulfilling some kind of yearly pact that they would swim on their return to this seaside town? I thought perhaps that was the case, for it can’t have been a whim, could it? They’d come prepared with costumes and towels and besides the early morning, with its clear star-filled sky was a cold one. It calmed me to watch them. A change from the usual drunken rowdiness I witnessed last Saturday morning, up by the clock tower.

The flat is cleaned. I like the order, I need it. And, I think so does he. I believe that was it was about that family, the one that weighs heavy on me, there was no order, no regularity. Bread was stuffed in drawers, beds were left unmade, meals haphazard and washing-up neglected. I’m not saying it is wrong to live that way. It’s just I couldn’t flourish within it. That’s all. And I’m sorry for that. I wanted to. Truly.

The story continues to write itself in my head. Just sentences. Nothing more. It is a start.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.