Repeating Memories

It must be thirty years and a marriage ago, when we were returning to my lodgings in a taxi following my birthday meal, when you folded yourself into my shoulder and looked up at me in a way which could only say “Kiss Me.” It was the most powerful and romantic encounter in my life.

The driver was so taken with our closeness and the air of gentle tenderness that he refused to charge us for the journey, saying we had made his evening which became part of the magic which set that night apart. I remember how we sat on the bed and how, without awkwardness, you removed your top to reveal a picture of beautiful and naked loveliness: I could never dream of you being under the same roof as me and in this state, and yet you were.

We spent the night in each other’s arms, kissing frequently and on the edge of an intimacy which I could hardly imagine, though boundaries were observed.

That was the last and only time you shared my bed and let me kiss you. Perhaps it was your brief flirtation with reckless emotion, I have no idea, but you had that canny awareness which comes with being ambitious and a sense of who might help you on the journey: I was not one of those people.

Now you walk among the great and are decorated for your efforts while I remain lost in thought and imagination, writing books to eke out a living. Locked in a marriage held together in mutual disappointment, but without the willpower to end it, I place your person in my stories so that once again and always we may kiss, and you can look me in the eye and find fulfilment. My wife, a non-romantic who has no knowledge of the episode, shrugs at my naiveté and my appetite for sentiment, but I, and now you, know that all I’m writing is our history as I wish it might have been.

In that attic called your memory, amongst the awards and recognitions you have gained, the travels and adventures, and the causes about which you speak so passionately in the newspapers I always wondered if you ever recalled our moment together yet here I am holding a letter from you in my hand?

Posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, Love, marriage, Peter Wells, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Reflective Gibberish

Sitting at the company’s New Year’s Eve party, I raise my glass and murmur the words “Absent friends” because, let’s face it, the people here are not my friends! Not that I would say that out loud, because those in the know call that a “Career Crusher!” Of course, we all need an occupation and being part of the crowd is central to survival but I ask you, who wants to be friends with a man like Mathew, the head of our department and unpleasant to boot?

I better come clean here and tell you, upfront, that he is married to my sister. Every look he gives me shows he regrets that decision, but we can’t always be canny and “Mattie “slipped up big time I must admit.

I love my sister in that theoretical way some brothers must because it is the polite thing to do, but once she’s got bored with being charming the bossiness seeps out: our Mathew knows that now!

Not to say Mat’s a poor fellow because he’s not! He fights back, of course, often by making my life unbearable, and there is a further complication: the main reason I got my job, and Mathew got his, is because my step-father owns the business although he doesn’t work in it himself: my relationship with him is also on the uncertain side of poor

My mother was a looker in her day, an attribute I might have inherited except I look much more like my birth father who did the decent thing by dying young and leaving his wealth to my mother: she grieved all the way to the alter at her next wedding, two months after his death, snaring her much older and even wealthier husband, my step-father, on some foreign holiday purchased with her “Windfall!” I was not on that trip, of course, so I met him later, after the whirlwind courtship and marriage in the Las Vegas “Church of Our Eternities.” I might be rambling here, it’s what I do in the non-physical sense, but hopefully you get a feeling for where I am.

Here’s the magic ingredient; Matthews’s sister, Emma, is with him at the party and she has smiled at me on three separate occasions. Might not be wise but perhaps a date is in the offing or would that be a stroll down death row? It’s coming to me now, after my “Absent friends” toast perhaps I should raise a glass to “Uncomplicated lives!” What do you think? Is there any more whisky?

Posted in character, creative writing, employment, Fiction, humour, Peter Wells, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Discovering Martin Glubervitch

Sludging into that unfocussed area which was his middle fifties, sometime after the innocent optimism of youth had been expended on one or two false starts, career-wise, and with a failed marriage under his belt, Martin Glubervitch was struck by the lack of admiration given to his figure and his person when he went into his favourite café for morning coffee every Saturday.

As he sat in his customary seat reading his newspaper, he noticed other figures, sheathed in the glistening apparel of the committed cyclist, were getting the admiring glances his rounded and accepting profile failed to attract. The “lightbulb” moment is well documented in respected circles, I understand, and his found him later that day at the “Fulcrum Cycling Emporium,” byline, “Fitness is not a matter of taste,” where a challenged assistant was trying to find an outfit which would wrap itself around his portly frame without occasioning unnecessary embarrassment.

Like many a “Retail counsellor” who found nothing really suited or even fitted the customer, he got the nearest fit he could and then said, “Oh yes sir. That really brings out the inner sportsman in you.” Mark, who lived in a compliment free zone, smiled at this unexpected praise and said, “Really” while swivelling his figure from left to right in front of a mirror, designed not to shed too much truth on the vanities of passing dreamers.

The crucial purchase made, Mark returned home and, sure enough, the following Saturday he shovelled himself into the outfit and set off in sporting style towards his morning haunt. As he entered the café nothing was said directly, although a small wave of coughing may have caused concern. Once more he sat at his normal table, with his habitual newspaper and, as always, the waitress brought over coffee in her non-committal manner.

After about ten minutes there was a small commotion and a lady who could be described as, “Larger than life,” asked if it was alright if she joined him, which she did without waiting for his answer. As he looked up to give the required glance he couldn’t help noticing that, like him, she was wearing a close-fitting cycling outfit although her soothing figure suggested that sporting activities were not part of her regular routine.

“Are we tempted by the cooked breakfast?” she asked him and he smiled: her eyes were full of recognition. “Sometimes,” he said to himself,” We have to leave the house in order to come home.”

Posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Peter Wells, Romance, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Diary Of A Lost Soul

I walked those gardens where we met, a lifetime or was it two ago, holding your hand within my own, feasting on that gaze of yours, so full of trust: the source of my tranquillity.

I saw the tree on which our names were carved and thought of how we smiled, merging our joint destinies: in you was everything I sought. You saved me from myself at last, granting me my self-belief, but strengthened by your blind support, I let myself new conquests find, each one of which you forgave till I exhausted all your faith in me: I was man lost to himself, abandonment posed as bravery, who fled from purpose, or any sense of dignity. 

You married someone else, I hear, and lived the life you offered me, while I walked on a thousand miles, reflecting my dreams are scarred by grief. 

Man may travel without rest, seeking for his Promised Land, that sacred place where gentle souls discover peace of mind. I have not reached that place, I know, so journey on without respite, walking with people much like me, who drift through life in search of hope. 

I am as lost as man can be, I cannot call it otherwise, but somewhere in my secret place, safe from harm or casual glance, you sometimes raise your eyes to me.

Posted in character, creative writing, faith, Fiction, Peter Wells, Romance, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 34 Comments

A Happy Christmas One And All

Well it’s that time of year again when I toss all literary ambitions aside, consumed as I am by the anxiety which comes with the responsibility for cooking the Christmas meal.

Will it all be overdone, underdone or not done at all on account of some last minute equipment failure? Hopefully, as in previous years, somehow or other, I will move towards the dining table with cooked turkey on display and wearing that Christmas jumper which covers a thousand human failings.

I hope you and yours enjoy a similar suspension of anxiety and get to enjoy the pleasure of family which few festivals offer us as richly as does Christmas.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Thank you for all your support during the year. To each and every one of you “It means more than I can ever say”

Posted in Christmas, community, creative writing, Fiction, Peter Wells, Relationships, values | Tagged , , , | 51 Comments

The Solitary Letter

I live in a remote part of the country and have worked for the last twenty years as a postman driving a mail truck from the depot in my town to every far-flung corner of the county, in almost any weather and without regard to cost, it seems to me.

Something has stirred in a government department far above my circle of influence and it has been decided, in remote areas at least, to do away with individual daily deliveries and deposit post for collection at the local post offices on a weekly basis. This may sound harsh or even cruel to you, given how important these fragile missives can be, but a casual disinterest in the feelings of the underprivileged is a characteristic of those in power.

My job gone and my final  round complete, I  travelled back to my town for the last time imagining, as I drove, that a man looking down on me might say, “The mail truck goes down the coast carrying a single letter” because that was the truth.

And it wasn’t just any letter but one addressed to me and from my father from whom I had not heard in thirty years. I have children of my own now, teenagers, and he has never met them. He left our childhood home to chase some new sweetheart across the country and my mother, a decent pious woman if a bit severe, closed the door on him and, as far as possible, erased him from our history.

When I saw the letter I recognised the handwriting because it had been a childhood hobby of mine to sift through family papers and there were many notes from him on his family history and about the adventure of emigrating from England with his parents when he was a boy,

Back at the depot, I picked up the letter from the seat beside me and looked once more at the writing on the envelope; more fragile, perhaps, but clearly his, and removed the letter from inside it.

“Dear Son,” It said, I have only weeks to live and I wish, more than I can describe, to say goodbye to my only boy before I go.”

How he got my address I cannot say, but as I read the letter I realised he was now bedridden and incapable of travel. As I put it down I felt the tears flow down my cheeks, realising that you can love someone without even knowing it.

The truck was not mine to use, but without another thought I re-started the engine and drove off towards the place where he now lived and swore to myself that, whatever the cost, he would not die alone.



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

Memories Of My Mother

While physically present in my childhood, my mother was always more absorbed by questions of faith than the people around her so, in practical terms, she was seldom involved in my daily life. Every week the same succession of meals would be served or offered: on holiday, spent in a lodge at my grandmother’s house, fourteen meals, identical in every way, would be taken with us in the car so that no time would be wasted on dealing with life’s tedious practicalities.

Her children, of which I was one of the youngest, could do almost anything they liked as long as they did not disturb her, or bring the household into disrepute. She had no sense of developing a child’s character, or offering support in a project apart from her ongoing conversations with Christ.

I do remember, as a child, and in a moment of reckless self-interest, asking her if I might have a slice of the fruit cake she had purchased for the afternoon tea she would host for the local Catholic Women’s Guild. “Why?” she asked.

Being about eleven at the time, I was short on answers so I said, somewhat lamely, “Because I’m hungry!”

“No” she replied, “If you were hungry, you would eat dry bread. You are merely greedy” and her answer disclosed the essence of her connection with her children and the physical world around her.

She was far from being unkind or unaware but merely resided on a different plane to the practical, physical world where most of us live out our lives. In hindsight I feel much of her approach to life was the result of a subconscious withdrawal from everyday routines following the death of my father in an accident when I was eight years old.

After his death she retreated to a life in her bed in an attic apartment at the top of the house which included a bathroom and small kitchen. By knocking at the door you could almost always gain entrance to her world and enjoy her unique and distracted attention but otherwise she was seldom present in our lives.

To engage her interest, around the age of eight, I mentioned that I might like to become a priest: to her the highest calling available to living man, although, in truth, I was largely unaware of the commitment I was making. Regardless, on the basis of my word, she took me along, on a daily basis, to serve at the mass held at six in the morning every weekday at our church.

To get there I would have to get out of bed at five o’clock and was summoned by her daily, and given a glass of cold water to help “Rinse the sleep from me!” Again, why she did not make me a cup of tea to coax me into awareness in a more gentle way is a question my adult person might ask but to her, any kind of softness spoke of a lax approach to living of which she would have no part.

The curious thing is I have only cried about three times in my life but one was when I visited her on her deathbed. The unutterable sadness of seeing her lying there and recognising the conversations and connection we would never have overwhelmed me. She was the oddest, most disengaged, remarkable, obscure, determined and vulnerable woman I have ever known and I miss her to this day.

Love is a curious emotion is it not, and has touched my life infrequently, but in my thoughts of her, and the unique memories her life bequeathed me, I can say no more than that I loved her and love her still; this lady I hardly knew. Love, a wise man might of said,  “Is beyond our understanding, but central to our lives.”

Posted in character, childhood, creative writing, Fiction, Peter Wells, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 40 Comments