The Engagement

He loved her but it didn’t show:gave her protection from a distance; understanding without a sense of intimacy. Just some guy in a cubicle crunching numbers through the working day: it wasn’t climbing Everest but it paid the bills.

“Hey Bill” she’d call, asking for advice, given, always, without a comment. Some years before, and in another place, he had been king of the track and a centre of influence but that was then: wheel- chair bound after some horrific accident he kept his glories to himself, and ambitions safely packed at home. The evenings were never short; unfilled hours, stacked upon themselves, bought no relief from his reflective solitude.  He loved her but it wouldn’t show.

Now the day had come, her smiling lit-up face telling all the news; the diamond on her finger, the crowds of workers circling her desk , asking for the details behind the grin. Without access, his chair was poor in crowds, he worked as if no news could touch him. The numbers queued up on the page, commanding attention: patient, ordered, logical.

Desire was the door to pain. Wanting left you in a desert. Silence was his dearest friend. Why should he embarrass what he most respected. Some awkward guy, buckled in his chariot, quick of mind but lacking feet: young but long without his youth.

“Hey Bill” she said, moving over and standing by his chair, fingers extended in that glowing way. Sadness surfaced briefly in his eyes, saying what she never knew: his heart was like an orphanage for dreams. “I’m very pleased for you Sarah:” he spoke in monotone. Caught off-guard she stared into his depths, but now restored to ordered symmetry. “I wish you joy.”

Not all we feel is for consumption. Not all mountains can be climbed. For some, he thought, love must always be impersonal.



About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

40 Responses to The Engagement

  1. Ina says:

    ohh that is sad… but written so well 🙂


  2. gotham girl says:

    Like Ina’s comments…so beautifully written and yet so so sad. I just love your sentence…His heart was like an orphanage for dreams. So touching.


  3. babs50nfab says:

    You can evoke any and every emotion with your words Peter. That is such an amazing gift. Well done.


  4. renxkyoko says:

    Oh, that is so sad.


  5. backonmyown says:

    Wow! You brought tears to my eyes with this poignant, sad story.


  6. Al says:

    Your every sentence is a metaphor unto itself. You have an innate talent my friend and use it to its utmost. I’m sure every one of your readers knows this poor chap in their lives and has hurt for him as they hurt for your protagonist.


  7. Kirri White says:

    Noooooo! Rewrite. This man deserves a happy ending. Please?
    I feel a little sad now 😦


  8. Damyanti says:

    So sad, and so real.


  9. winsomebella says:

    Poignant and touching. I have to ask, did you have a particular inspiration for this?


  10. So beautifully written, this piece Peter. And such a very sad truth too. There must me so many such situations out there. Oh I so feel the need to give him a hug, but that would probably seem condescending. And if I am having these strong feelings it just confirms what strong writing this is!!!

    I love “his ambitions safely packed away at hone” thats such a moving line. 🙂


  11. You write as if you know. I mean, as if you lived this scene. Amazing.


  12. Luckily I haven’t lived this scene, but its more common than we think


  13. Beautiful and poignant, Peter. What a love she probably missed!
    ‘For some, he thought, love must always be impersonal.’
    It happens often, for many reasons, in different situations … that sense of being disabled in terms of letting one’s feelings be known, of cheating oneself of what might be possible.


  14. Purely.. Kay says:

    Honestly, reading this I felt his pain. And I agree with Lorna, it really does feel like a scene from the movie. It was playing out in my head while reading


  15. Abby says:

    Wow. Powerful post, and without even realizing it, I was envisioning this scene in my head the whole time. Your words are so descriptive I felt I was there, and in some way, I have been Bill. Haven’t we all?


  16. Addie says:

    My eyes are welling up with tears as I’m writing this.


  17. Alex Autin says:

    Very nicely written. We can say it’s ‘sad’ while at the same time ignoring the ‘Bill’ in our own offices and on our commutes. Of course, Bill makes himself so very easy to ignore as he’s decided, on his own, that his physical limitations equal emotional ones. Bill, like all of us, decides what can and can not be shown.

    Very nice writing!


  18. ElizOF says:

    Reminds me of a guy I dated years ago… loving but distant. Quite sad really.
    TY for inquiring about me. Lets just say it’s been a long and challenging year with many pressing demands for my time. I have unpublished drafts and writing I’ve done offline and I hope to get back on track sometime. Thanks again for your support as I miss the camaraderie of the community.


  19. Mariette says:

    That is really beautiful; in a very sad way.


  20. Lily Mugford says:

    Wow, so real, so tender, so rich in emotion. I loved every word.


  21. Beautiful.
    And really, THIS is what true one-sided love ought to look like, in my ideal place.


  22. Incredible writing. I may be eighty and have seen a lot of life and writing about life, but few come up to this standard.


  23. This reminds me of Chekhov: the writer chappy, not the one sitting next to Mr Sulu.


  24. Caroline says:

    Your words made me cry. Beautifully written. So sad.


  25. Writerlious says:

    Poignant and lovely. Beautifully written. 🙂


  26. wisperin9shad0s says:

    that was touching. deeply heartbreaking.


  27. Ms. Vee says:

    Very touching. I can relate to this post. Thank you for writing this, and thanks for visiting my blog.


  28. Your fellow made assumptions about the girl and himself – there was no choice for her. However, I can understand a little since I’ve had Rheumatoid Arthritis for over 40 years and have often felt my husband deserves a more able bodied wife who can keep up with him. One of the childhood programs from my parents was to make sure I am safe and secure before venturing out – hence I did not take risks. It is scary and very much out of one’s comfort zone to take a risk, but look what he lost. Very well written – I too was right there in the office watching it all happen.


  29. costaauthor says:

    Touching, and well done!


  30. elmethra says:

    Beautiful beautiful


  31. meliissasmithe says:

    Reblogged this on Melissa Smithe's Blog and commented:
    No comment. 🙂


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