A Fragment Of Understanding

I am old enough to know that the voyage of life is something I will never understand. Most of the things which happened to me are becoming sensible only in retrospect and clearer with the passage of time. I am one of those men who raise their arm in the street or shake their heads as they finally realise what they should have said or done some years before, while they still had the opportunity to do so.

You left as silently as you came, and it was only later in the day, or year, or maybe the decade that I realised you had offered yourself to me in a manner which was all but unknown to one not used to being noted by others. Those words of yours. “Could you love me” speak to me now. Perhaps you saw in me something I did not notice in myself, but my unconscious rejection of your offer, sparked by shock and embarrassment, was enough to make you leave the room and then my life.

You never came to work again, our place of meeting, and I was left only with the sense of what might have been and my own stupidity. Life offers few friendships which survive our changing circumstances, and I, who have never felt that “Living Life” is a metaphor for surviving it, have thrust myself  into each new lane and experience without thought, until there is no one I can raise my eyes to and say, “We were there” because moving on, for me, is a way of life, and friendships which grow over time require some stability of ground in which to flourish: I never offered that.

I am tired now, a pauper in fact and reputation, and reflect on what I left behind, and wonder about that girl who smiled at me without guile and spoke my name with a warmth few others have mustered. Your name escapes me, and only a sense of your shape and the colour of your hair recall your presence in my life. Love means caring about others more than yourself, or so I’ve heard: I’ve little personal experience of it. It touches many lives perhaps, but passed by mine. I have attracted little more than a glance from that emotion apart from that moment when you touched my face and frightened me with your powerful understanding.

Perhaps you were its messenger. A suggestion, sadly ignored out of my clumsy awkwardness. You told me that life might offer more to me than routine and the preparation of solitary meals but I failed to believe you.  No doubt you moved on as I did, but hopefully to a more rewarding pasture. To be recognised is a rare pleasure. I mean to be really recognised and understood, and then be loved for what another sees, and, for that brief instant you offered  me that. I had lived for so long in emotional darkness that your light blinded me, and then you were gone before I could explain myself, and now I can’t recall your name.

That glance you gave me is what I live on now, sitting awkwardly in cafe’s scratching at crosswords in the daily papers: I do not bother with the news.  A clerk in shapeless clothes I may be, but for that instant, a girl offered me her love: a chance to be extraordinary and now I cannot recall her name. That gentle touch and my cowardice in its presence define me but still I get comfort from you after all this time. That is extraordinary is it not. The glance you gave me was extraordinary.



About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

31 Responses to A Fragment Of Understanding

  1. Oh what a beautifully melancholy piece Peter. A big “what if” in your character’s heart for him to live with forever. I wonder what her name was.


  2. Peter, you really are waxing poetic. I think that, yes. Many times we miss life changing opportunities because we fear most that which is within.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a beautifully written piece, Peter, full of melancholy and warmth in equal measure. Your lead’s situation resonates clearly and, I believe, there are many people for whom only retrospect shines a light upon the nature of relationships. At least he had a crumb on which to build his life.
    Wonderful writing.


  4. kate4samh says:

    What pretty bittersweetness x


  5. Your writing always touches my soul. You have such a talent for bringing your characters to life.


  6. Better to have glanced and lost…


  7. gotham girl says:

    This one went deep with me Ducky! …


  8. Al says:

    You had me at “I am old enough to know that the voyage of life is something I will never understand.”


  9. What a wistful and powerful post. We reflect on foolish actions of our youth and wonder how we could have been so daft to true love and friendship. It was all for sport until life, in her unforgiving manner, caught up with us. I have my share of regrets.


  10. Stefania says:

    bellissima storia Zio Peter !


  11. Heartbreaking. Very beautifully written.


  12. Regret is a terrible thing to ponder…


  13. Do not let regret stop you from living an extraordinary life. Lovely post.


  14. ***and I, who have never felt that “Living Life” is a metaphor for surviving it***
    -beautiful. xxx


  15. You have an amazing way of telling a story that can make even the person who hates to read, love reading. I really do love coming here and going into dream land every time 🙂


  16. ksbeth says:

    the people were both wonderful but one knew, one did not. one was ready, one was not. they crossed paths to teach each other something, and then it was learned and they have continued to live life, one a bit wiser and a bit more open, and knowing he was truly loved.


  17. Marc Kuhn says:

    Peter…yours has become my favorite blog. I stop everything when a new posting shows up in my mail. Isn’t it wonderful there is an Internet and within it moments so golden we can all feel rich with treasures, one of which is you…whether you realize it or not.


  18. Extraordinarily sad and beautiful.


  19. We share this. I remember someone I once passed by and who wanted me to love them. Her face is as clear to me now as it was then, her memory as crystal. And there is not a day or a week I pass without revisiting her memory and regretting profoundly how I turned away. To be young and gauche, to be slow to read the signs along the roadside: love should be the gift of the old, given to those who have had time to learn and understand.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. elainecanham says:

    Love it. But your stories are always so tinged with melancholy. What about a mad one from across a pile of rock cakes?


  21. I feel for this man – in fact, my heart is aching a little.


  22. Anne Skyvington says:

    Thanks for liking my blog and revealing yours to me! Will keep in touch


  23. homeflair says:

    Just beautiful!


  24. donnaeve says:

    Better and better you get, Peter.


  25. Very FEELING – I hear the pain of loss and sadness. Beautifully written.


  26. Eva Finn says:

    I hope that’s how all of my ex-boyfriends feel 🙂


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