I did it. I went swimming.

Isn’t it funny how new things can make one edgy? He picked up on it. He was to take me, drive me so that I would do less walking. I’m nervous, he said, and I’m not even going to be swimming. I understand. We are out of our routine, out of the framework that holds us steady. And he is allowing his mind to tell him all is not steady. All this from just a sense that going to the US would be too much. An unravelling. That is what it feels like. And now the slow re-winding. It takes time. It will take as long as he allows it to. It is all about confidence. I’m not resilient, not brave like you, he said as we sat on our seat opposite the bowling green watching a man play alone. I know this. But it will still pass. Everything does. And he will feel better. He will get his equilibrium back. I do what I can. I try to be as solid, as unwavering as I can. The days seem circumscribed by it but still I get things done. I try to manage my grief over not walking. I do more yoga, I stand on one leg when I can. It is familiar, I used to do it a lot particularly when preparing food in the kitchen. She found it particularly disconcerting, me with my leg up on the counter. Is it hygienic? she asked. Probably not.

I went swimming. And I survived it. I wasn’t prepared for the sense of exertion it gave me. I don’t usually use that part of my body. Ten laps. I did ten laps and then got out. I was getting cold. Tomorrow I will try twelve. Mostly elderly ladies, some who didn’t even enter the big pool preferring to stay paddling in the little one. It wasn’t busy, no screaming kids. Gentle. He watching from above, waving. I did it. We did it. And then I got that application done. It’s alright. And there is pleasure in between. Sitting in the sun, watching butterflies. The smell of elderflower. Crosswords. Watching him getting better, slowly by degrees.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.