Wise Words (2)

I got it wrong. It wasn’t about the doing. What he said was, ‘It’s the what, not the how’. Focus on the what not the how, he reiterated. It helps. And I shall, if only to stem the terror that builds up inside me. A liveable terror, which sounds odd, its internal and self-nurtured but nonetheless real. Do you know it, that doom-ridden fear of failure of not being good enough of being found out for the fraud that you truly believe you are?

I dreamt of her last night. I rarely do this days. She was much younger, in her forties, I guess. Her hair was cropped short and dark, almost black. She looked gamine, like she did when she lost all that weight when we lived on the farm. We saw them at distance, it was her and one of my sisters (first it was one then another), getting out of a car. I was in Norway and I got excited about the prospect of showing her my Norway, of sharing it with her. But she was detached, watching but not really participating, a ghost. I asked him if he didn’t think she looked beautiful. He said that he did.

Her hearing is almost completely gone. What can you say, other than the trite stuff, like how brave you are, when she isn’t, she is scared, mourning, as anyone would be? She posts it all on FB. Does it help to express such things so publically? Mind you, isn’t that what I am doing here? Anyone could read it. Couldn’t they?

We talked over supper about how unerotic on-screen love-making is to watch. Is it our age? My libido has gone, and I’m not sorry. What a consumer of energy and time it was, and what a fuck-up it could be. It didn’t bring out the best in me. However, reading his book yesterday at work (a 3 hour stint, what a treat) now that was strangely erotic. And it was about two young gay men. I think it was the way he wrote about it so detachedly, it was all about innocence and curiosity and discovery. I was so reticent as a young girl to delve into what seemed such murky waters, and I had her watching over me too. But even as I read I know that certain words act as triggers, is any of it real, least of all sexuality? I cannot trust it. Better out of it, he said. Yes. What was it that that visiting lecturer said of me all those years ago, she looks like she doesn’t have sex? What did that mean? I think it was some kind of veiled compliment. He certainly paid me a lot of attention. Ho hum. Life, eh.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.