Partly out of a desire to encourage and promote new short fiction in Wales, that over the past two years, with the financial help of The Rhys Davies Trust, Wales Arts Review has published a series of stories by some of the best known names in Welsh literature, as well as by some of the most promising. Here is Cynan Jones with Aberarth.
The coast from Aberarth to Aberystwyth is an erosional coast, the rocky shore platforms wear down slowly allowing waves to attack the base of the cliffs, causing cliff failure.
West of Wales Shoreline Management Plan 2; Section 4. Coastal Area C
In the recent nights lying awake things have poured from him; but now it changes, and the world’s just folding into the hole in him, like water into a dunked cup.
He can’t sleep, lies there with this feeling of being empty, of filling up.
For a while the drink took him but that’s worn off, leaving him awake, like being left wide open at the side of a road. As if the drink had passed on, dropped him off – something he’d hitched a ride with for a while.
There was nothing to hold together now.
He lies there, undrunk but not ill yet with that weird night-time clarity when the alcohol is on the turn. That moment of brief calm, like the cancelling motion at the change of tides. Thoughts pouring in and over.
For months he had been trying to change things, had resolved during the day to go home and be different. To take home some surprise. Just something simple, like ice cream. A sign that he would turn things round. But the key in the door was this thing and he couldn’t. It was this habit.
There’s a hish-hush of a car now and then, the still new sounds of his rented bedsit. He hears the people in the room below change channels on the television, the sound travelling out through the boarded fireplace. And on the unit he hears the crab. Intimate little noises.
He’d started drinking in the afternoon, that patient way. There was all this time with the early finish, leaving slow heavy hours to get through. It was like time had become granular, and the drink went into it and made it fluid again, dissolved it to something he could handle. He just wanted to get through the hours back to the safe place of work. He had the comfort at work of a child going into its bedroom.
The full story is available in our new short story anthology, A Fiction Map of Wales, available to buy here: