Somewhere in the Desk a Memory Lies

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 onto 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 but unmoved: she’s heard it all before. These old boys do go on. She turns away and moves towards the door. He cannot work the remote, and remote is all you have these days. The power to ruin your life in secret away from prying eyes. She moves to show him and then hurries on her way.

The daughter walks into the house he called his home. Not where she grew up but still with  objects she knows well. That crazy plastic parrot sitting on a branch; the cupboard filled with china from God knows when. The photographs of course, she always looks at those. Here they are , she with her mum and dad. Sitting on the beach, she eating her ice cream. He always wore a hat regardless of the place. She smiles at last and looks around the room. Just by the door his old desk sits. What is in there”?   She  opens a drawer and peers at what’s inside. She sees a pile of letters, yellow now with age, and tied with some old ribbon, red and  frayed. Not really knowing why she picks them up and takes a letter from the pile. It’s dated 1942 while he was on the front. Fighting for his country somewhere far away. He’s never talked about it . She removes the letter from the envelope and reads.

“Dear Elspeth,

It’s bloody hot out here. We on the move tomorrow. Some big push. That’s all I know. God knows what will happen,  but if I don’t make it through always know how much I loved you. It made me proud to have you in my life, and your photograph is always with me.  Be happy and, if I don’t get back, just get on with it as you always do. Somewhere up there will be a star. It’s me twinkling and smiling down on you.

All my special love, Harold xxx”.

His daughter felt her eyelids fill with tears. Her Dad. He aways made the time for others not himself. Without knowing why she climbed into her car and drove to see him driving in a haze. Entering the room she sees him lying there. Propped up in bed and patient with his lot. Sitting down she moves to hold his hand. “I love you dad. I’ve loved you all my life”. “I know you silly fool. ” he says and smiles.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in creative writing, Life, old age and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Somewhere in the Desk a Memory Lies

  1. That was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. It is a stark reminder of how we should treat the people we will become, they lived a life too.


  2. says:

    Very sweet story of father daughter love.



  3. Caroline says:

    Wow this is so powerful and so beautifully written. It made me cry – but thank you.


  4. Nice. I feel the lump in my throat.


  5. Jeanna says:

    Tears are stinging my eyes…. we do get so terribly busy don’t we… our priorities are all wrong these days… and yet we feel such a strong responsibility to work… etc… I’m glad she drove over to see him. Great post!


  6. Miss Emm says:

    My mother works in a nursing home. Everyday she has a similar story as such. Old age is inevitable. I still have 30, 40, hopefully 50 years to worry about it. But when I think of it I can’t help but to feel abandoned.


  7. Kirri White says:

    There is a common thread that exists in all of your posts. They are powerfully emotive – sometimes you make me smile or laugh quietly and today *tears*. I think you’re writing is pretty special 🙂


  8. Shonnie says:

    Ducky my dear … you write beautifully. I enjoyed the story. I don’t cry, much, but it made me think of my beloved grandparents who have now passed on. I am starting work on a family history project. I plan to write down all the family stories … interviewing if you will my family. I hope to preserve just a touch of the wonderful that is our family. 🙂 Thanks for making me think about that.


  9. eof737 says:

    Beautiful… You always manage to capture the essence of an exchange and the emotional arc somewhere in there… i love your writings. 🙂
    It’s been a hectic week and I’m now catching up with everyone.
    Happy weekend to you! 🙂


  10. It’s so nice to hear about your family, friends and foods you love 🙂


  11. Vijaya says:

    Really touching :). God bless you !


  12. backonmyown says:

    Her dad was a poet. So are you.


  13. Your reflections on the aging process are always so profound and poetic. I sense that these are issue with which you grapple personally…


  14. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    I would have loved a father like this, I can so tell you. You wrote this beautifully. Memorably.


  15. This is so moving, I’m glad that it ended with a visit from his daughter…a small window of light 🙂


  16. Beautifully written and very thought provoking. It made me want to call my paren:-).


  17. The memories are now my lot; but I’m not ready for the letting go.


  18. Never too late to hear ‘I love you’.


  19. tiostib says:

    beautifully said.


  20. This is a sensitive and emotionally charged piece, Peter, beautifully structured. It has been rewarding to read an older piece with which I was unfamiliar as, in many ways, it highlights a difference in style. Thank you.


  21. Oh, how lovely…. certainly made me tear up on a tear-filled day x


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