Talking in the dark


I see them as I walk up the little hill past the castle. They are shapes in the dark. Two or three bodies, either walking towards me or away from me. Away from the glare of streetlights they are muted, their voices hushed. I am warmed by their conversations. I catch phrases, sentences and I carry them home in my head, mulling them over, turning them round on my tongue. Yesterday it was two girls. Lovers, they held hands, swinging them. One dressed in a baby-doll summer dress, her blonde hair long and straggly, the other was heavily built and wore a black t-shirt. The blonde girl was chattering. The lights were all on, she was saying, ‘cos it was summer, and it was really groovy. Later, I passed two men on a bench outside Slater’s bakery. Do you know her? one was saying. She’s really fit. Inconsequential chat. A few days ago, three men, rolling drunk. One was telling the other, if you’re going to vomit don’t do it in that car. It breaks into the dark of my walking reverie. Sometimes they acknowledge me, other times they don’t. It’s ok. I like their youth, their carelessness. There is plenty of time for that. Plenty of time.

He lost him. A fall, a hit on the head. Dead within 4 days. 92. A good innings, they say. It makes no difference what age. He was a husband, a parent, a grandfather, a friend who is no more. I mull over too much. I weigh up what I say. It is the intention that matters. Always. Let it be. Let it be.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.