A Solitary Drink


It was in the way he drank.  Time was not in short supply for this gentleman who sipped at his glass and studied the wall ahead for things to contemplate. A solitary figure in a near empty bar. An afternoon drinker, but not a drunkard. Just a man trying to remember pleasure, and those days when he walked down a busy street with choice as his companion.

One who had drifted quietly out of the social round as money proved to be in short supply. Those holidays abroad, spent rollicking with friends and his habit of clowning in the early morning had become strangers to his life

He sipped his drink and wondered how it would be if he began again. The careers he might have followed, The chance  to walk once more through wilderness, and watch the stars: glittering and beautifully indifference. To those around who might catch him in a glance, he seemed a disconnected soul. One who’d looked at life and had forgotten what it was he had to say. Who cramped himself into a smaller space, and opened doors for people busier than him.

Someone walked towards him. Some young lad and asked if he had the time. Yes he did. Time was all he had, but that is not what he said. “Three thirty five”, his voice was crisp and clear. He knew better than to try and engage strangers in conversation. That was for the old, and he was not old yet. Not in his own mind. He sipped again and now he felt the music fill his heart and smiled at that chorus of ghosts from other times and lands,  who joined him in his solitary world and saw beyond his disengaging stare. He stood in silent guard over his  history. Recalling times when plans where more than dreams and urgency filled each waking hour.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

39 Responses to A Solitary Drink

  1. Ina says:

    Hi Peter,

    good one again! 🙂

    Drinking alone may lead to a lot of insight, pity the insight won’t stick in the memory. 🙂

    Like

  2. kate4samh says:

    Vivid imagery – nice! “Those days when he walked down a busy street with choice as his companion” – excellent! Thank you x

    Like

  3. renxkyoko says:

    My LIKE button isn’t working at the moment. Anyway, LIKED!

    Like

  4. Jen says:

    Oh music and its power to rouse the sleeping ghosts inside our minds and hearts…

    Like

  5. erickeys says:

    “One who’d looked at life and had forgotten what it was he had to say. Who cramped himself into a smaller space, and opened doors for people busier than him.”

    What a great picture! You do have a knack for condensing. It would have taken me a lot more words to convey that.

    Like

  6. beeseeker says:

    Superbly observed, well chosen words, love the “standing guard “

    Like

  7. Reminded me of the Oak room at the Plaza. Lots of guys like this there.

    Like

  8. This is so vivid! “opened doors for people busier than him” – love that. And so many orher treasures in here I love too, I could end up quoting the whole piece!

    Id like him to arrive at a place (or maybe he is already there) where he thinks urgency filling all the hours of the day is, perhaps, overrated. 🙂

    Like

  9. teekytwigg says:

    I love this. Beautifully written.

    Like

  10. Al says:

    So, that was you at the other end of the bar!

    Like

  11. babs50nfab says:

    I love how you paint a picture. This was great.
    b

    Like

  12. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    This is great – like it much.

    I can picture him, abundant time, pausing, thinking, reminiscing. Like how you broke it up with the guy who asked the time, & how you flowed it from there. Like! 🙂

    Like

  13. It is a like a living breathing live photograph. I can almost smell the dust and the stale beer mats, and see the motes of dust in the air around him as he contemplates. Understated and beautiful.

    Like

  14. nelle says:

    Life is a series of adjustments to new circumstance, it seems.

    Like

  15. “”Play it once, Sam, for old times’ sake.”

    Like

  16. aawwa says:

    I am reminded of the “boulevard of broken dreams” – good post 🙂

    Like

  17. The introspection in this piece brought tears to my eyes. The character’s thoughts are so vividly brought to life and as such he is so easy to empathise with.

    Like

  18. winsomebella says:

    I can see this perfectly in my mind’s eye—-bravo :-).

    Like

  19. Purely.. Kay says:

    I knew it was going to be a good read as soon as you wrote “It was in the way he drank” LOVE this story

    Like

  20. Carolyn Dekat says:

    Very nicely drawn for my mind’s eye.

    Like

  21. I LOVE this one! Excellent description of common human experience.

    Like

  22. Hilary says:

    beautiful…. I loved every word!

    Like

  23. sknicholls says:

    I love all of your stories. You may already have this, but I love getting to know the folk I have recently connected with so I am nominating you for the Liebster Award. You will find instructions here. http://redclayandroses1.wordpress.com/

    Like

  24. Nina says:

    “Recalling times when plans where more than dreams and urgency filled each waking hour.” The last line…my absolute favourite!

    Like

  25. “He sipped his drink and wondered how it would be if he began again”

    If later in life I got a chance to begin again,I wish there’d be nothing to change.I hope that’s how life turns out to be.

    Nice read:)

    Like

  26. catterel says:

    I know this man – he keeps e-mailing me. Beautifully observed, Peter. Are we going to hear more about him?

    Like

  27. Writerlious says:

    My like button’s working!

    Like

  28. Sad and beautifully written.
    I can see this man sitting at the bar drowning in his memories…I suppose he is many men, isn’t he?
    Xxx LOVE.

    Like

  29. Why, I wonder, do people (most often men) need a drink as company to become self-reflective. I supposed it’s more socially acceptable to wax sentimental about days gone by in a bar while drinking. More’s the pity. It kind of makes self-reflection seem a desperate or sad thing. But how else can one really get to experience one’s life fully without a serious study inward? The image of a person meditating is one that is more positive; the image of a singular man in a bar lost in thought over his drink is, well, melancholy But both, in this case, are the same. Interesting….

    Like

    • You must remember that, a few garden parties and bowler hats aside, England is largely full of barbarians who like ‘getting smashed’ roaring around the place and terrifying places during foreign holidays. some of the longer holidays resulted in the British Empire.

      Like

  30. Beautiful. Sometimes that drink is the perfect time to reflect and there are times the solitude of a bar stool is the best place for that…

    Like

  31. Julie says:

    This reminds me of a beautiful story by J.D. Salinger called For Esmé — with Love and Squalor.
    I’m including a link.

    http://www.mvrhs.org/english/sawyer/2004%20pages/honorsfolder/foresme.pdf

    Like

    • I’ve had a quick look at the link, and I can see it will demand more than a cursory glance. It is quite long apart from anything, but anything recommended by you deserves attention, and Salinger is one of my god’s to good to come across on two counts

      Like

  32. Saw Julia’s comment above, and, yes, she has something there.
    You are a master of picturesque tales like this. I so love this ending, Peter:
    ‘He sipped again and now he felt the music fill his heart and smiled at that chorus of ghosts from other times and lands, who joined him in his solitary world and saw beyond his disengaging stare. He stood in silent guard over his history. Recalling times when plans where more than dreams and urgency filled each waking hour.’

    Like

  33. well written and touching piece.

    Like

  34. Borednicole says:

    I would describe your stories as a poetically observant slice of life. 🙂

    Like

  35. So poignant. Your well chosen words pack a punch!

    Like

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