Toasting Almonds

I love the taste, the slight crunch of them, on salads and mixed in with brown rice but it is mainly the smell of them toasting (in our tiny frying pan – no fat, just dry) that I adore. It smells like butter. He can’t be doing with nuts, I can’t get enough of them, except for peanuts (though I miss peanut butter, along with so many things…..)

There are two of them lying in the gutter between the pavement and the road along Llanbadarn Road. Even after three days they are still mostly intact. One is folded up, its wings curled in, the other is splayed open, as if in flight. They still have their speckled fledgling plumage. They are young birds, killed no doubt by cars racing by. Killed by their unworldly-ness, their unawareness of danger, still calling for their parents. I hear them nightly, that keening call, why have you abandoned me?

Why don’t you tell her that’s not how you spell it? he asks. Always the teacher. I can’t and won’t. What we have is tender and I want to preserve it not crush it. It doesn’t matter, does it? Not really. Not in the whole scheme of things. My role in her life is so fragile. Or at least that is how it feels. I want to bring her joy. Always.

It took us both a while to remember her name. I found it eventually via Howards Way of all things. Kate O’Mara. That’s it, he said. That’s who she looks like.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.