The Intermittent Bachelor


There I sat, pleasantly full after a late breakfast, watching the smoke from my cigarette move lazily up the window frame. In my other hand was a smallish glass of whisky, which I raised to sip before exhaling pleasantly, nodding to those around me, which in this instant meant my cat, Thomas. A good meal and a vice in each hand. “Who could better that?” I asked my  loyal companion, reflecting on my previous afternoon’s adventure.

Caught in a lift with some lady who, it transpired, was a new “mature” student at the college where I taught music, I had the chance to discuss the vagaries of life before some rude engineer mended the fault and curtailed our pleasant conversation. “Is it possible” I asked her as we left, “That we could continue this discussion over lunch” “Are you married?” she asked me, which I thought a little forward, but allowing that to pass I replied, “Not currently.”

“And how about yourself?” I asked her, feeling it only fair that we should be equally informed on the topic, “Not happily?” she said, so I nodded and then suggested “A light luncheon and a brief chat on the subject of fine dining and its relationship to vice” . “Do you have any lectures this afternoon?” I continued. “Not any more” she replied, and with that we went to a small Turkish restaurant tactfully situated on a side road off the High Street, and away from the prying eyes of curious husbands or gossips looking for some scandal worth the spreading.

Once we were seated at a small but comfortable table, away from the window, we continued our lift-bound conversation. “Do you have any children?” she asked me, “Not to my knowledge” I replied, “And how about you?” I continued. and she told me she had three: two boys and a girl. “And how are they?” I asked her and she told me, “Beautiful up to the age of ten. Awkward in their teens and now distant in their twenties and living on different continents.”

“A more than usual story in the modern age” I observed and refilled her wine glass with more anaesthetic. Her eyes clouded over slightly, filling me with some alarm as I dislike confronting direct emotions, especially in others. Trying to comfort, her I added, “They will thank you in time” which was the most apposite platitude I could think of in an instant. “Do you really believe that?” she asked earnestly and I replied, “Not really, but we like to think our efforts will have an impact don’t we?”

“It’s a theory” she replied and we smiled despite ourselves at life’s rough lessons. As lunch progressed, and we moved discreetly towards the dessert wine, I said, “I think the polite thing to do is go to my flat for coffee and some light exercise.”  She replied, “Exercise is unwise too soon after a meal, but I would enjoy a coffee and the chance to criticise your furniture, ” and we agreed to leave after I paid the bill.

Towards the late afternoon, she having forgotten her initial reserve, we lay propped up with pillows reflecting on our time together and she said, “Shall we do this again?” and I replied, “In life, I  prefer to offer ‘a delightful episode’ rather than rescue or solutions.”  She smiled and said, “That’s good, I dislike nothing more than false promises or fake morality.”

“Is there any other kind” I asked her, and we laughed at our mutual disconnection. To those of us who live private lives, any thought of value is discrete and “sharing” becomes more frightening than dying: a sense of life she seemed happy to explore.

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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, humour, Life, Love, Peter Wells, Relationships, Romance, Uncategorized, values, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Intermittent Bachelor

  1. Doug Story says:

    very well done and loads of fun.

    Like

  2. catterel says:

    Is there any more to life than frothy coffee?

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  3. Peter, I love reading these snippets into characters lives. I have to begin doing this very thing–creating characters and making the come alive in several paragraphs. You do it so well. What advice so you have for me?

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  4. Caroline says:

    If you don’t mind I may well adopt your wonderful phrase I would enjoy a coffee and the chance to criticise your furniture . The very thing for return-to-being-single back on the dating scene!

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  5. “To those of us who live private lives, any thought of value is discrete and “sharing” becomes more frightening than dying”

    An astute observation.

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  6. Al says:

    So, what did she think of your nightstand?

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  7. I like the rather sombre and sad under-current that runs through this piece, Peter. I appreciate that it is ‘different horses for different courses’, and I feel that you (as always) have handled your characters expertly: your vignettes are marvellous to read. Thanks for sharing.

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    • I tend to agree with you about the “sombre” quality. He is a man who uses manner to hide the lack of emotional nourishment in his life. The situation of the lady is harder to define, but clearly she is lacking essential recognition in some way. Your comments are always thoughtful, and very appreciated

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ahh, life. Two lost souls finding brief comfort in mind and flesh. Perfect.
    Well written and most enjoyable.Thanks for the post.

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  9. Another’ gem Peter. Wonderful! 😊

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  10. You draw the most fascinating characters, Peter. I always want more.

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  11. Standing up and clapping.

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  12. Peter,
    your dialogue is delicious! xxx

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  13. JP McLean says:

    Love your stores – thanks for sharing.

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  14. Catching up … and enjoying your profundity and tongue-in cheek and wonderful characterizations! Hope you are well. 🙂

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  15. gotham girl says:

    really really enjoyed this one! Love your characters…

    Like

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