Some Years After I Died

I sat in the car with my wife and travelled up to the cemetery where I’d been buried not long before. She didn’t know I was there, of course,. I was now the  silent passenger, the observer, the helpless carer whose love for her continued on like an afterglow on the planet where we had both lived: my presence gradually fading as the last embers of my emotion vanished from this place

She seemed to be disoriented and walking up the wrong path. A  last she arrived at a grave. “Frank Sutherland,  Father to Christopher and Cecelia. 1954-2011”. . . My name was Phillip.  Pausing briefly she then knelt and laid the flowers on his grave. I had known him well, a local care free drunk and party man who left a litter of children across the locality and died in a moment of reckless euphoria at the wheel of a borrowed car. On one famous occasion he had run for mayor.

I became aware of a presence and now here he was beside me, cheery as ever, and standing in death by his grave smiling down at my wife. “We first slept together twenty-three years ago.” he said by way of explanation  “Sorry, but, bloody hell, she was a goer and half wasn’t she”. I would have raised my eyebrows if I still had any , but I could still feel surprise.

After the rare episodes of love-making with my wife, where our hands moved only as much as was necessary to ensure a satisfactory conclusion there would be a pause. A feeling of shyness mixed with  embarrassment and then it was always the same. I would roll off and she would say “Thank you”. Not in a  cold way, but in a clear and deliberate voice, as though I’d just bought her a cup of tea. That was it, followed by slumber. The routine was unchanging.  She was my one foray into intimacy.  Perhaps I had missed something.

I was a surveyor, on the  neighbourhood watch committee, golf club member and local historian. I attended church regularly and made every effort to support my family. I’ve no idea what Frank did. He always seemed to get by on a wing and a prayer, somehow evading responsibility and defying the normal laws of economic gravity ,and the downside of reckless living, till he had one escapade too many.

Work took me away a fair bit, but we  talked on the phone, and her reliable calmness was always a source of pride to me in my journey through life. “She could dance”, continued Frank, “as if there was no space or time, You know: urgent, wild”. There is no anger in death, only love and regret so regret it was. Waves of it. “Didn’t you feel any shame” I said, ” destroying the bonds of another family”. “Life’s too short for regrets.  At least mine was” he said, visibly, or possibly invisibly amused, depending on your circumstances

The mutual object of our affection was now kneeling in an act of fruitless prayer for his soul as we stood beside her. I, feeling more and more like a guest in her  life, rather than a part of it,  turned to him in sorrow and said, ” At least I have my child. She goes on”

“Have you ever studied your daughter’s eyes” he said, “They are my colour” and his frame rocked in silent laughter. He seemed to be finding death as amusing as life. Hell, I discovered, was loving someone you found had mocked you : and having your memory ridiculed at your passing.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Relationships, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Some Years After I Died

  1. Ina says:

    Wow! This is some story, you write terrific!


  2. cyberian says:

    Having died many times, I can concur. Excellent – keep writing from the dark side of the page. You have a talent for truth 🙂


  3. Abdul Moiz says:

    Really Love it


  4. catterel says:

    Painful! As intended – so very well written.


  5. Oh my goodness, this is terrific writing! I will return and read again, I absolutely love it, one of my favourites of youts, one of many 😊


  6. ldsrr91 says:

    This rocks! Great work. Had me from the title to the end.




  7. babs50nfab says:

    wow. This is heavy stuff Peter and you tell it so brilliantly! Love it. Keep it coming.


  8. nelle says:

    Har… and ruh roh, I won’t fare well! Nice journey, as always.


  9. You took some relatively dark material and made it funny as hell. How do you do that?!


  10. backonmyown says:

    Beautifully written, Ducks. This is a powerful and thought-provoking story.


  11. Shonnie says:

    Ducks!!! Very powerful. Sad … but engaging.


  12. Mike Wilson says:

    ouch! Well written


  13. Lafemmeroar says:

    Only a wise man can come up with such an aha ending … another great one!


  14. –I do think I could read your words forever, Peter. Xxx


  15. Now this is a ghost story I would continue to read … marvelously dark and light. A view from the outside … and one that isn’t often taken in regards to the afterlife … spirits ‘colliding’ as they follow the living. Intriguing. As others have rightly ‘said’, you are a wonderful writer!


  16. I thought you managed your material well here. You give the reader permission to see the humour with lines like – I would have raised my eyebrows if I still had any – but you are also saying, see the pain in this situation too. Clever balance.


  17. Purely.. Kay says:

    Your writing has always been amazing, but I truly believe your writing has gotten even better over the years that I’ve been visiting your blog. You my friend, always send my mind away


    • I wish we had one of those things where I could get those little yellow faces which smile at you to smile at you, because you made me smile. Thank you. I shall celebrate your remark with a sausage sandwich


  18. eof737 says:

    Remarkable… Powerful and so terribly sad.


  19. blah blah blonde says:

    Just to let you know that I’m reading this to anyone and everyone who would listen – so well written and so very poignant.


  20. Caroline says:

    Brilliant – loved it 🙂


  21. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    That love-making and the minimal efforts, I’ve known that. Not meant to be like that.

    I love this piece, it says so much. Just excellent. Wow – I haven’t seen you like this before, I’m sure. I can so relate.


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