Ticking Off

Granted I was walking down the middle of the road, but it was half past three in the morning and the town, courtesy of Covid-19 was deserted. And when I saw the headlights of car flood the tarmac yellow I did step promptly onto the pavement. Nevertheless, the car slowed down and pulled up beside me. I knew even before I turned round that it was a police car. The passenger side window was let down. It’s probably best if you walk on the pavement rather than the road, he said, smiling at me. Of course, I said, after I’d stripped off my various hoods and headphones so that I could hear him. He had a nice face, open, fair and amiable. But, I continued, there was no one about.

Do you think it is a little over-zealous? I said as I told him about it when I went in to wake him up. Yes, he said, but I suppose that they’ve little else to do. Why does it irritate me so much? Is it that I feel like a child being ticked off, or is it more that my sense of personal liberty is under threat. I want to be free to do as I will. Not, of course if it harms anyone but I wasn’t harming anyone. The road was clear. And I love to walk in the road. There is space to stretch out, to break the rules.

She would never have broken rules. She was a good girl. I suspect that I no longer am.

I slept an hour longer. He was delighted when I told him my plan. I think I should try and get eight hours, I said. I’m so pleased, he said. And I did it. But it has left me discombobulated. I am in my studio an hour later, everything has got shifted forward. And, as yet, I am not feeling more rested. Give it time, he said, give it time.

We are to have a seminar today, walking in the The Avenue (he wants to show me the primroses). That’s what we call it. One of those sessions when we talk about what I am to do. He helps me straighten myself out, to put things in order. I am all at sea. Wobbled. Just focus on today. I’ve got the sampler to finish and perhaps start some baking and my accounts for March (not there is much to do there) to do – no money coming in and not much going out, thankfully.

I don’t know what I want anymore. Help. Did I ever? I search my vision of the past in mind. What was I then and what am I now? Ria Parkinson threatens to incarnate inside of me. All that soul-searching of hers bores him, and me a little bit, if I am honest, though I recognise it. She is bored, she is unspent, unused up, listless and lost. Just what is her role? What is she to do? Ditto, eh? What exactly am I for? Is that the point that I am nothing, for nothing, just nothing, no thing. Just be, he says, just be. But how? How do I do that?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.