He said yes. It was that easy. I’ve been worried. So much encouragement. Why do I need to be fearful? People, other people, not just me want this to work, to come off. A lovely project they call it. And it is. A quiet one. A sitting-down, thoughtful gift exchange. You come and read to me and I will listen. I will listen.

He is wobbly still. And looks for easy fixes in a pill. Will it come? He believes and then he doesn’t. He is not brave, he tells me. Nor am I. Nor am I, my love.

I dreamt of Mum last night. She was young, in her thirties and beautiful. She was sitting up in bed dressed for going out. Her hair long and up. She smiled at me there was such warmth coming from her. I was to go on a journey, I knew this, was ready. You go, she said. You go now. She said it gently with kindness, as trying to set me free. Giving me permission. I went over to her. Are you sure? I asked. Yes, she said and I kissed her.

It stays with me. The warm love of her. It was rare that, towards the end. I can count the times on my hand, they were so rare. Poor love. She didn’t mean it to be that way.

There were three sleeping in the shelter when I went past with my little parcel of mince pies. One was on the ground, the seat chock-full of bags. Do they carry them about with them all day? They need a locker. Could that be arranged? So cold. Poor ones, to be so cold. We bought an Albanian man a drink. Do you want something to eat? he asked him. He was sitting outside Siop a Pethe, on the wet ground, a blanket wrapped around his feet. I want a hot chocolate, he said. I’m glad he knows want he wants, I said to him as we walked off in search of one. Three goes later we got one and two welsh cakes. Let’s hope he hasn’t fucked off by now, he said. No, there he is with a coffee in his hand. Fair enough, I said. Whatever it takes to find comfort. It’s so cold, said the man. Yes, he said leaning down to him and touching his shoulder. We’ll look out for you, he said and I took his arm. A kind man. So kind even in his wobbling.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.