I’ve been thinking, I said to him at breakfast. Does he dread it? Those words. I say them so often. It’s the walking. It excites my mind instead of stilling it. The movement, the pace, the wind. It is my time for ironing things out. Working through fear. So when I bring them to our breakfast table, those thoughts of mine, they have been through quite a process. I try them out on the imaginary him as I walk. Testing his responses and my replies. What do I fear? He is a reasonable man. I love him for that. For to be able to reason without threat of one or other retreating into high dudgeon is a valued part of our relationship. But only if I bring such ideas to him calmly, he is more prickly if I come to him agitated. Who wouldn’t be? So the walking is an ironing, a smoothing, a calming process. I’ve been thinking, I said to him at breakfast. Perhaps we should be open to perhaps trying for a mortgage. And why not? He hates change, I know that, and mostly so do I, though I instigate it far more than he. There are lots of fors and againsts. We have so much space. There is a lightness in renting, the roots are not so firmly established. But it is a lot of money. Most of what we bring in, in fact. Perhaps, economically it would make sense. As I walk I fantasise about a little garden, re-hanging my pictures, a mortgage that is soon paid off. My own home. Our own home. Not technically our first but it would be one that we bought at the start together. At least it is a sign that I am ready to commit to living here, I said to him. It must be so. It isn’t the place I would’ve chosen for myself but he needs to be here. It is a small thing and there is always, always the sea. We shall see, I yield to what can be, to what is possible. I had too little sleep last night. Work called. A late one. TV. It must be so. I appreciate the money but it ate into my sleeping time. A little before and a little after. It will tell later. Take it slow. Take it slow.

She was lovely. Cosy. Motherly. Her neck wobbled as she talked. Her hair, a soft blonde. I’ve met her before but this time she seemed more vulnerable. They know me as a strong woman, she said of her sons. I had to keep going after losing Aled. She came into to talk about ‘The Evil Triangle’. Boy racers, she said, in North Wales. She’s been a member of the charity BRAKE ever since her son Aled was killed in a car accident. She couldn’t give in. I asked if he’s made contact with her. Oh, yes, she said, several times. They’d left me alone in the morgue, they’re not supposed to, but they did. This medium, who was in training, told me about what I saw. No one could’ve known. This is what I’ve been given, she said to me, so I might as well tell you. It doesn’t make any sense. But it did. It did. It’s the detail, I said. Yes, she said, it’s the detail. He helped her down the stairs.

I saw a boat leaving the harbour the other morning. How I love that. It wasn’t a fishing vessel but a sailing boat. The tide was in and high. I love the lights, seeing the inner nest of the craft. One man sailing it. I saw his dark shape as it rounded the Perygyl, bouncing, tossed by the waves as it moved from fresh water to sea. Glorious. I watched for what seemed like an age as it turned into Cardigan Bay. Where was it going at 3.45 am? Let him be safe.

My sense of smell is returning. I get flashes of it. Subtle nuances. A room freshener, my perfume, fruit. In and out. I’m getting better.

He has said yes. He does want a piece of writing about my performance. Maybe even a few. To track its progress. That is good. Now I only have to write it. Next week. After my trip.

Today we take the chair. The first of our small changes. A reupholstering. I look forward to it. And what a surprise that they are together. Who’d have thought it? Not me. Small town. Small town stuff. The washing calls. A bientot. x

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.