A Half-Way Life

I did not choose my wife so much as she selected me, I suspect, because I was a biddable man of decent family, with a gift for mathematics which promised a future of passionless security. She was a women who, in other matters, showed her fear of the wider world by controlling what was closest to her, including her furniture, me, and our social diary.

I did not mind that much, at first, at least, because we got to be physical, and she made a sort of fuss of me, when others merely passed me on their way to somewhere else. I was not a silent, or even passive man in everyday life, but I lived without agenda until her agenda became mine, regardless of my own inclinations.

In those early days, when we first celebrated our union, we used to cuddle up together on the sofa, and in bed of course, to express our closeness and our intimacy but gradually that changed, so we did the exact same thing, but now it was to mask our lack of closeness or intimacy. Nothing was said, because we were too polite to discuss the fundamentals, and nothing happened to challenge the establish order, until, that is, she got a job in another city and worked away from home all week.

She used to arrive back late on Friday evenings, complaining about her workload and saying the house was “disgusting” which, in her case, meant there was an unwashed plate in or near the sink. After a period, when she had been fed and drunk a glass of wine ,she mellowed slightly and flicked around the TV channels seeking entertainment. She might turn to me sometime in the evening and ask if I was alright, in a manner which sought the briefest of affirmations. In short our lives had become habitual and resolutely uncurious.

One weekend, and then gradually another, she told me that work had piled up, and she must remain up north to “try and catch up. It’s a nightmare you know,” until her weekends home became the exception to the rule. I muddled on, of course, getting by on phone calls and an appetite for crosswords and worked as diligently as I could until one day, to my surprise but no one else’s, she revealed she  “Had discovered love” with some Australian and was moving abroad to climb mountains and find a new life on a  commune.

“Surprised” is a word used to the point of exhaustion, but I must ask its help once more to try and tell you how I felt. “You were always so boring and so limiting” she said. “You are a very decent man, and I feel bad about it but really, “Who wants to spend their life counting match-sticks for a hobby?” The Australian, met in some wine bar, a place she and I had never been in together, had swept her off her feet. Kind in her punctilious way, she wanted nothing from me but half the house, my  savings and a portion of my pension fund.

I take the larger view of life, at least I hope so, so I told her to take plenty of sun cream as her skin burns quite easily. We were not face to face for our final conversation but you can sometimes feel irritation, even down the phone: at least I think so. I never spoke to her in person after that, but I still have some photographs in which she is always smiling. Photographs tell lies about our life I believe, but then I keep such thoughts strictly to myself. By and large it’s better that way, don’t you always think ?


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

35 Responses to A Half-Way Life

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    You have a real gift for conveying a whole backstory in a few words, Peter.


  2. mikesteeden says:

    What a fabulous piece of writing Sir!


  3. Photographs do indeed tell lies – perhaps why I’m becoming so disenchanted with Facebook. But ignorance is bliss. A poignant story, Peter.


  4. Aileen says:

    A wonderful read!


  5. Very well written. Lives becoming ‘habitual and resolutely uncurious’ can be just what some need in a relationship but for others it’s unbearable.


  6. “Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
    I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne.”

    We sometimes forget the treasures under our nose.


  7. renxkyoko says:

    If that’s a fact, it’s sad… but if that’s a fiction… wow ! ! Graet writing ! !

    Happy New Year, Peter Wells ! ! May it be one heck of a prosperous. and productive year.


  8. gotham girl says:

    As always….you hit the nail so squarely on its little head.


  9. jbuliesblog says:

    Happy New Writing Year Mr. Wells!

    I enjoy your writing, as always — however, I found this story so sad.

    I’m happy to read in the comments section that it is not your real life story, although I wouldn’t exclude the fact that stories like this do exist. You wrote a great last comment about the sunscreen.

    I always come up with the my last words years later, usually out on a walk with no one to say them to.



  10. A realistic yet depressing view of many relationships. Oh Peter, at this point I wouldn’t expect any less of you! Nicely done!


  11. ksbeth says:

    this is so hauntingly sad. what an excellent piece of writing, peter. i think that settling and existing on auto pilot within a relationship, is much more painful than being alone. one of my favorite poems is by pablo neruda – die slowly. read this when you have a moment, i think you will like it.


  12. Wonderful Peter, and quite sad too. Your talent confinues to agine through! looking forward to more in 2015 😊


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  14. Peter I nominated you for the Inspiring Blogger award. No need to fulfill the rules of the award, just collect the award and put it on your mantle. I just wanted to give recognition to some talented people and you were on the list!
    I hope you had a great Xmas and that 2015 holds all the best for you.


  15. As ever, wonderfully observed, Peter, and I admire how you have got under the skin of this character – even in adversity there is rationalisation. A great job.


  16. Julie Buhite says:

    How very, very sad — maybe because the theme seems so typical. How you move emotions, Peter.


  17. Oh my goodness, this was a really cool read. This line” a future of passionless security” I think a lot of women understand that line. Amazing post. I hope you had a great holiday


  18. Smitha says:

    What a beautifully written story! You have such a gift with words!


  19. Shonnie says:

    Dearest — I love your writing as always. I loved your book as well. I am so sorry it took so long for me to express this. Your writing conveys complete pictures in a very short span of time. That lonely quiet man. He breaks my heart. I want to poke him and prod him and tell him to take a chance. Dream. Love. Live … but who am I to suggest any such thing to a fictional character when my own life and reads much like a tale of woe–save my love life of course–but that could be because I have a super amazing guy. Nah … hahaha its because I DEMAND he give that to me! hehehee. 😀


  20. Scarlet says:

    Happy New Year, Mr Ducks 😉


  21. Those terrible Australians always stealing another man’s woman. The Nerve! However, they do have a ruggedness and their accents is always so charming…

    Happy New Year, Pete! Wishing you the best in 2015!


  22. E X C E L L E N T))))!!!! xxxx


  23. araneus1 says:

    Someone said ‘poignant’ and I would have to agree.
    Australians should come with labels.


  24. mreuther says:

    One of the most compelling blogs I ever read – sad, honest. I wish the writer well.


  25. jjspina says:

    Lovely written story but so sad. I hope it is not true for someone. Thank you for stopping by my blog and the like. Liked yours back and will follow.


  26. Caroline says:

    This story resonates with me as you might well guess. A beautifully crafted piece.


  27. elainecanham says:

    Poor man. But its the start of a story, not the end. What does he do now? What long forgotten dream is he going to pursue? Tell me he falls over a body in the Rue Morgue, and uses his mathematics to find out where it came from. Or that he’s calculating the price of mangoes and meets…well, who? I love your stuff, Peter. I just hate it when it ends.


  28. r e douville says:

    Time for him to go climb his own mountain. Such poignant stories you write on relationships that have a whole lot of feel for real.


  29. Robert Pimm says:

    Peter – impressed by this elegant short piece. Elements of reality? Readable and enjoyable.


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