A Glorious Man In Passing But Impossible to Live With

I remember those heady days when we first entered college, dropped our bags and said goodbye to our parents, after conversations filled with awkward love and soon-forgotton advice. I remember meeting my new roommates, and sharing stories and then drinks and nodding a silent “Yes” to our unchaperoned adventure and saying to ourselves and then each other, “Life begins.”

In that first year it was all about “Experience,” and not so much the strategy. We were free of the nest and ready to drink the goblet dry. In all this Harry was the seer, the sage, the conductor of the reckless, who led us out to sample life, taste love and aspects of each other. Like a rocket, careless of its  future he lit our sky, “Determined to live,” he said  “And damn tomorrow.”

One girl or three loved him, and gave herself in vain because, for Harry, each day was a new possibility, and every bar a chapter in his book. He recognised everything but consequences and walked through each scene like a visitor. A man passing through your life but never in it. For Harry it was all talking through till dawn; draining the cup dry and being “Real” with each, and wondering what that was. We were young then, and treated our bodies as immortal: drinking with abandon and smoking weed to mark our independence.

How we envied his wild reckless ways, his music and his telling comments. “Life is in the now and always” he told our young souls, and how we loved him for it. That girl I had my eye on passed right by me, and who could blame her, for when I saw her next she was parked in his room, dressed in his pyjamas and making him some coffee. For this brief moment she was a revolutionary, who would never forget the way he played her imagination as if she were a piece of music.

By our third year, passions had cooled somewhat, and people talked more about “making  dreams concrete,” and careers and strategies but never Harry.  He vowed always to avoid “Death by common sense” and partied on but now there was a sense of defiance and even isolation.  I found him once sitting in some bar on the edge of town and he told me, “My dream is to lose myself in everything and nothing” but now I just smiled and said “That’s you Harry.”  His acolytes loved his bravery, and the way he walked his own path, but more frequently now, he walked alone, seeking new disciples while his old followers counselled themselves and returned quietly to their studies.

Years later when I, by then a teacher, took my flock to London to visit a museum, I passed a figure standing outside the station, staring at me intently, and I knew it was Harry. “Did you hear the music” he asked me, “Or are you deaf now and wrapped in safety ?” “All of that and more” I said, and saw love light up his eyes. I gave him some notes, and told him “Party for me Harry” and he smiled at me as if I understood him. He had become unique unto himself and a stranger to company. It was the last time I saw him.



About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, childhood, community, creative writing, Environment, faith, Fiction, Life, Love, Peter Wells, Relationships, Romance, Talent, values, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to A Glorious Man In Passing But Impossible to Live With

  1. catterel says:

    Another true tale well told.


  2. One wonders why some of the most spectacular stars in our sky must be shooting stars, on their way to death.


  3. Scarlet says:

    Maybe he heard the answers but just didn’t like them very much.
    Most excellent, Mr Peter!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. megdekorne says:

    Hi peter …my first time entering your door and I am awed by your captivating way of telling a story …I will follow …blessings


  5. Absolutely brilliant! Youve done it again Peter. I can visualise all your dharacters, more please! 😊


  6. gotham girl says:

    You had me at the first sentence! Love!


  7. Infinitely moving, Peter.


  8. Excellent characterisation, Peter, your story really resonates. There are some beautiful phrases in this piece:’who would never forget the way he played her imagination as if she were a piece of music.’, ‘He had become unique unto himself and a stranger to company.’
    One wonders what happens to these ‘free-spirits’, and whether or not they achieve happiness.
    Well written.


  9. renxkyoko says:

    he lives a life the way he wants it, and it looks like he has never compromised. In a way, that’s sad. People change. he needs to change , too, but I guess, it’;s too late.


  10. Live fast, die young.


  11. I’ve known a few Harrys. Well-characterized, Peter. I like that he stood by his beliefs to the end. Who could ask for more out of a life?


  12. eric keys says:

    Wonderful, Peter. Love the ending.


  13. Ina says:

    I am glad Harry turned out alright 🙂


  14. A vivid description of someone I knew – who passed through my life but was never in it. I didn’t know him at university, although I was there at the same one, same time, but by all accounts that was him then, too. Poignant. Splendidly written.


  15. Reblogged this on cotswoldsgirl and commented:
    The rather marvellous Peter Wells has come up trumps again with a short story that reminded me of someone very particularly and poignantly. Some might know precisely who; others, I hope you just enjoy a lovely piece of writing.

    CG x


  16. Lady E says:

    I guess we all know one Harry or another. Someone whose freedom and abandon you envy for a while, before carrying on on your own path. 🙂


  17. nonachye says:

    woooww….articulate storyline


  18. his was just a wonderful story my friend. Wonderful 🙂


  19. Paul J. Stam says:

    I’ve known a “Harry” or two in my lifetime and I cannot but admire them. Glad you liked my post “Of Rulers and Ruled” – I will be following you and Aloha – pjs.


  20. michele says:

    What a telling tale of someone we have all at some time known and loved. Thank you for your writing, you are truly gifted.


  21. Life truly did seem to “begin” the day I moved into my college dorm … I thought I knew it all. Now ten years wiser, I chuckle at what I thought I knew. And in another ten years I’ll look back on my present self and do the same…


  22. restlessjo says:

    I knew a charmed youngster like Harry. Sadly he wound up dead after a midnight leap from a bridge, sure that he could swim to the other side. It was tragic.


  23. **who would never forget the way he played her imagination as if she were a piece of music.**

    great Sentence! xx


  24. jackfrey says:

    Its depth is all the more immense for its brevity. Well done.


  25. r e douville says:

    Poignant in its call of the path some walk. Lost to a perpetual year of time.


  26. Julie Buhite says:

    This one made me cry. Sad, but kind of happy, connected, but disconnected, but more than that. Can’t find the word or words. It’s so wild jumping into your stories and becoming totally immersed. It’s like your choreography is writing, like this is your way of painting or sculpting life. Each entry leaves an imprint.


  27. davidprosser says:

    A poignant little tale. A shame his creativity didn’t overcome his rebellion.He was obviously charismatic.


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