Because I loved you

I cannot hold your hand this year, I cannot share that memory. I cannot pour a drink for you or walk the beach where we both walked. I cannot laugh as we both laughed or dance a night time’s life away, sure we have eternity

I cannot hold your arm this year, and steady you across the road: two old people braving time and laughing at futility. I cannot travel back with you, glass in hand, to memories when young at heart, we hid our  insecurities. I cannot see you in the room, smiling as you always did, at some transgression in our midst, or drive too fast down country lanes or swim where reckless people did: ignoring safety was our pride.

We always got away with it: made it to the other side; but are you are gone and I am here, stripped of context by my age, a mystery in this sheltered home, now without a family. I cannot hold your hand this year.

Posted in Compassion, creative writing, Fiction, Peter Wells | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Yesterday’s Promise

Those early years: the morning coffees taken when the day was full of promise vanished in a fog created by that sense I was not to be relied upon or trusted by any life I touched. Those words you said to me before you left me, “Where is your centre?” have never been answered. Doubt hates to be recognised but you saw it in me and gently left the room.

Those seminars where I apparently shone, master of the risk free insight, glib of phrase and careless of consequences proved the essence of what made me admired and a disaster. Beyond the telling phrase I lacked a strategy and the “Moment” proved to be all I could command.

Bravado is not courage, and making an entrance is not the same as walking with a purpose. I had no sense of moral worth but just of those pyrotechnics which prevent others gauging our inner life. Only you saw into that space they call a soul and stood by me for a time at least, but patience I discovered, is seldom more than finite, and so it proved with you. Your laughter and gentle tolerance gave way to disillusion: all I offered you was gestures, I have no faith in anything else, and then there were the girls.

Weak though I was, when faced with temptation, you forgave me twice, but each time less willingly. When you first looked in my eyes love poured from you and wonder lit up your face, but with each transgression, and with my failure to recognise truth, that light dimmed and then I saw you look more often over my shoulder than at me, at other possibilities where my crippled presence could not affect you. That was thirty years ago. Now you live a thousand miles away smiling at faces I will never see; rich in experience I will never share, surrounded by a family I cannot touch. You live a life free of me. Your photograph is all I share.


Posted in creative writing, Fiction, Life, Love, morals, Peter Wells, Relationships, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Paris. I Don’t Know What To Say


Like us all I am filled with sadness and bewilderment over the events in Paris. The levels of hatred, disillusionment or whatever it is which lie at the heart of the actions perpetrated by these men is beyond anything I can explain.

All I can offer is my sympathy, for what it’s worth, for the families of those who have lost their lives and been injured in these attacks. It is an abomination without redeeming features by people who have hijacked, abused and grossly distorted the teachings of a religion and culture for their own sickening and very perverted ends.

We can make no sense of it because there is no sense. In the midst of these horrible scenes there were episodes of bravery and humanity which demonstrate how noble man can be, as well as pitiful and aggressive, and it is through contemplation of those episodes that I endeavour to keep my optimism about the future of our species alive at such a time.


Posted in Compassion, creative writing, Humanity, Paris, Peter Wells, Politics | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Somewhere in the Desk a Memory Lies

Originally posted on countingducks:

Her dad is eighty eight,  not in the best of health . There is no choice: he must go to a home. The daughter is worried but her day is filled with work and battling through the grind of middle age. She has her own family now: somehow they must come first. It is the new order were the old are  children once again, with little to hold but  memories and a cup of tea. Life must rush by, thats all we understand. We cannot let our problems hold us back.  This is all  she needs , but somehow she must find the time to  settle his affairs. Her father has no power now. He lives  a guest in his own life, smiling at a world he can no longer  influence or understand. Most of those who loved him are long gone. He used to dance he tells the nurse as she settles him in  bed. She smiles kindly in a busy way. Pleasant…

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Life Without Comment

Rosie Lotteridge is a woman who, she suggests, “Adds colour to many lives.” My aunt, who was connected to her in some way, something to do with committees I understand, said of her when her name came up in conversation. “At least she is a moral person: I know for a fact that she had been married for over four years before she had her first affair, and that says a lot about character don’t you think?”

Her husband, Rosie’s that is, who she patronised dreadfully, “Do get us some bubbly Freddie” and “Oh you darling” when he brought in the bottle and glasses before she returned her full attention to her new friend of the moment, seemed unnaturally patient: he worked long hours in his attempt to keep real life from spoiling her delicate absurdities and was extraordinarily forgiving regarding her casual approach to marital or any other conventions, always placing her interests above his own, but then he was just a stockbroker while she was that beauty for whom any man would lose his reputation, or that had certainly been the case.

By the time I came to know her, her “legendary beauty,” could be best seen in old photographs as her current physical appearance owed more to the ruthless passage of time, softened in her case by a comforting friendship with cakes. This being the case, lovers had become harder to acquire and Freddie, loyal and punctilious to a fault, was left to protect her vanity without the aid of passing romance, which he apparently did regardless of his personal enjoyment: I never heard him discuss his personal circumstances. Her brother, who sometimes came to visit them was “Talented” and we all know how tiresome that can be.

It was a subtlety of the situation that, in time, he was perceived to be something of a hero: a mixture of that noble knight who protects his charge from any trace of suffering, and a discreet valet who endures the mindless posturing of that person without complaint: perhaps the greatest gift we can give another is our kindness and he always gave his without reserve. No one ever asked him why he stood for it, and nothing in his demeanour suggested he was anything but content, although a clue to the true cost of his attentions might be found in his early death. I suppose even the most unregarded of plants still require watering.

Not all heroisms are obvious and many heroes are unaware of their own bravery, but in protecting her from herself, he granted that most fragile character a period of tranquillity. Some people spend their lives pandering to the vanities of another, and some may also be paid for their endeavours, but in the case of Rosie and Freddy I think the manner in which he conducted himself became his purpose. To those of us who are puzzled by his conduct, may we employ compassion in the face of mystery? It will be interesting to see how she manages on her own?

Posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, Love, Peter Wells, Relationships, Reputation | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

One Last Tryst

When I met her she felt her beauty was a recollection: her power to attract, she feared, had long since gone and left her defenceless against the scrutiny of those less charitable than herself. She was a drunk in a bar at some place I had never visited but had stopped at in search of shelter. I don’t know how old she was but I’m guessing she thought her sixties seemed like youth and she was now alone with her incongruous health: drunk and smoking like a wild thing: she could still stand and dance and become the abandoned hippie she might have been fifty years before: I am seventy three.

I joined her at the bar, and later in her bed, because she dreamed she could still connect in a way her age had no sense of. “Youth has judgement on its side but little else” she said to me as we got undressed and then she started giggling and then, after a pause added, “Whatever the tests, we failed them:”: her accent and the way she spoke hinted at a forgotten education and her movements of her youth. After a pause she reached up to kiss me as if physical was the only language left with meaning. She had travelled life, mostly alone, sometimes beautifully, often lost and seldom comforted and I determined that in my arms, if nothing else, she would find a kind of peace. Out here in the social wilderness there is little left of etiquette, credible gestures or sermons for the meek. All we have is kindness and the hope that beauty and tolerance might still be related.

She was the wisest, loneliest, poorest and most beautiful person I have ever met, who sought a night of abandoned celebration. In her heart and soul she would never be old. Every sentence she spoke was marked by a quality of pathos drenched in whisky and every weakness by a movement of her hand. She talked as if we were both still young and careless of the consequence, and yet we both knew life will challenge your dreams and leave most of them exhausted.

Somehow, despite the madness, disappointments, and that hard knowledge carved out of experience; something in the way I held her brought her home and, before she fell to slumber, I saw light fill her cautious eyes. I love heroes and heroines, and she will always be a bit like that to me: the lady who died in my arms just after she found herself. The wise sometimes find value in the worthless and she saw something precious in my life. Love was a drink late to her table but I was honoured to bring that chalice to her lips. I too can drink, I can’t say otherwise, but the way she looked at me restored fragments of my dignity.

Posted in character, Compassion, creative writing, Fiction, Love, old age, Peter Wells | Tagged , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Unmeasured Lives

I walked into wilderness looking for myself, far away from those who would recognise me. I hoped to lose my history and to begin with all I sought for was a quality of cleansing. There was no one left to miss, and no connections to be maintained so here among the harsh Moroccan landscape, where only the heat of the sun offered difficulties, I felt the noise fall away and reached out to the stillness. Across the scrubland I saw goats grazing on what looked like rock and desert: there was no chatter here, no gossip or mindless curiosities, survival food and shelter were the sole worries of the day and I had left the town with enough supplies for a week, determined to live in solitude as best I could. Trouble had become my closest companion and I needed some time away from it.

Before I left the town I had gone into a café for one last coffee. Sitting alone at my table, looking around me, I saw a girl of European extraction sitting on her own, highly unusual in itself, and with her face leaning against the glass of the window by her seat. Her eyes were looking in an unfocussed way across the square. As she sat there, half slumped against the pane, I saw a tear leave her eye and move slowly down her cheek, followed by another. There was no sobbing, or any movement to articulate her misery but just the tears.

At last, becoming conscious of my gaze, she turned her head to look at me: her eyes were entirely non-committal. You know how it is when you are off balance: your approaches, your interactions, are clumsy at best but moved by a need to connect, by curiosity and compassion; I walked over to her and said. “Do you have a name?” and she said “No” in a tone which implied, “Not for you.” At least I had the sense to walk away: I realised I was in no fit state to offer a helping hand. Perhaps my journey would bring me composure.

When I return, if she were there, we might begin a conversation; an idea I already knew was based on fantasy. I realised all I should have done was offer her a tissue. No conversation was required. Out here, in this wilderness, with nothing but grazing animals around me, I touched an acceptance of myself and my life, and with it, the birth of an understanding for a lady who asked for nothing but her privacy. My mind is owned by ghosts, fragmented conversations and impersonal uncertainties. I have reached my impasse but still I hope she finds a pathway out of hers.

Posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, Life, Love, Peter Wells, Understanding | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments