Adventure In The Shadows


I came across her as she was walking down some road in the dark, with the rain pouring off her face and back, and I demanded she just get in the car and out of the weather till she muttered “Pervert” and climbed in anyway.  I’d never met someone like her; who looked at common sense, and then just tossed it out the window like it was last years fashion.

I never got to the heart of who she was, but she ‘got’ me in her lucid moments, more than anyone else I’ve ever met, or that was my impression. Between her affairs with ‘Weed,’ and drunken nights of partying with men she picked up somewhere in a bar, she might come to me and tell me  ” You are the only one who understands me” and I took that to be praise, or the sign I had strength, or was someone special or just plain stupid. Nothing, I now understand, disarms a man of certain years more than tenderness.  We get so little don’t we? Once we leave our home, and only then if we’ve been lucky, and I was as hung out as any man can be but didn’t know it.

Her stock phrase, “Whatever gets you through” was often in use about me, or any topic we might discuss. She was exuberant when high:  up for anything, and in those blissful hours and  days, when we were first together, I became the happiest man alive. She made me feel understood:  celebrated even, like no one had before. Oh how I loved her in those early weeks, but we both know the story don’t we. I mean I already knew the story, but attention makes you forget what you know. Someone pretty, like her, smiling at me, and saying you’ve got nice eyes, was like something out of a film and I just drowned in a smile I took to be tender and loving and personal. She had the understanding which comes from being lost, and meeting her dismantled my certainties

Later, as the vapour cleared my brain, I realised the moment was not personal. It was more about regret, and the lives she would never lead: the unborn children, the house with mown lawn and paid-for furniture she feared would never be hers.  She longed to be ‘normal’ as much as I longed to be reckless and we met somewhere in the middle. Crashed is, perhaps, the better word, as our needs and dreams ground against each other in this unformed universe.

I loved the look and feel of her, and the way her hair tickled me as she lay on the pillow by my side, and how the fear and aggression flowed out of her face as she slept.  She became that sweet being I would protect and love above all things. Vulnerable was a word she hated, but at night she could be that, to me at least.

I  remember saying to her one morning, “It may be necessary for me you to marry me” and she just laughed at me as if I was clutching at a dream, which, of course, I was. Is there some note we play, which only a few people can hear, and as the sound of it rises and is lost among the clouds they reach out to seek its origin. Am I dreaming too much? Was I that note for her or was I merely a roadside café where she stopped to catch her breath.

One day she was gone, no explanation given, and that window to another world closed with her exit. Where she went, or why, I cannot tell you, but she has spoiled me for life. I no longer want death by common sense, or low-carb food, or tending to the normalcies of routine.  I want to drink from darkness and adventure, and the religion of a moment, but now, with only timidity and lack of imagination as my guides, I am both cowardly and lost

Our lives are unwritten epics, everyone of them, and patterns and circumstance repeat themself in the cycle of  unlearned lessons we call history. Our ancestors look down on us from above and shake their heads. We dance between fear and courage, and flirt with fragments of self-knowledge but she taught me this: that love may be worth more than ‘common sense.’ Through her, adventure  waved to me from the shadows and was gone.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

22 Responses to Adventure In The Shadows

  1. The core of your writing- even you books – what happens when our deepest desires are but a breath away. Do we want them? Will we ever want anything else?

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  2. desertrose7 says:

    Brilliant snapshot of a complex human condition.

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  3. I think this is my favorite piece of yours that I’ve read so far.

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  4. Why is it, I wonder, that ever lasting love comes to us in short installments? It’s there. It’s gone. And we’re lucky if we ever see it again. However, we have our memories.

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  5. You bare these characters’ souls and, in doing so, lay ours wide open. That’s a rare gift, Peter. I feel very honored to know you have you among my friends. Just remember when you’re famous, will you?

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  6. gotham girl says:

    beautiful writing. just beautiful.

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  7. Once again marvellous characterisation, Peter. There is a melancholy to this piece from the start, before ‘she’ leaves, as if the fear of attaining a dream will, ultimately, undermine it. Your characters are easy to identify and empathise with – after all, who hasn’t desired the ‘different’. Great writing which is both hugely enjoyable and touching.

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  8. My favorite line was this: “I no longer want death by common sense, or low-carb food, or tending to the normalcies of routine. I want to drink from darkness and adventure, and the religion of a moment, but now, with only timidity and lack of imagination as my guides, I am both cowardly and lost.”

    Stuck on the inside and wanting out.

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  9. A story written before it began, and you capture it so beautifully!

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  10. This is brilliant writing Peter. And it is at the top of my list of favourites of yours. Thank goodness you found it and WP didn’t chew it up 😊

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  11. rewa says:

    Bittersweet and beautiful! Loved it 🙂

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  12. This line, my friend, EPIC “Our lives are unwritten epics, everyone of them, and patterns and circumstance repeat themself in the cycle of unlearned lessons we call history.”

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  13. JL0073 says:

    I enjoyed this very much. I try to tackle some of the same themes in my own writing. Good work. I look forward to reading more of your writing.

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  14. You help us rediscover love and all that brings with us in this read. This line I had to reread: “…attention makes you forget what you know.”

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  15. Caroline says:

    This is beautiful. I do hope my ancestors are looking down on us all with a benevolent kindness – knowing we will sort it all out in the end! x

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  16. Hi Peter,

    I love getting lost in your stories. Especially since we are having our 5th blizzard in as many weeks. Anything for diversion. . .

    Nancy

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  17. michele says:

    Just lovely and sad all at the same time. I too think this one was one of your best works here, it touched my heart and my memories. Are you published? Do you have a book? I would love to read more of you.

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    • Very nice thing to say. If you click on the picture on the right side of this Blog it will take you through to the Amazon site where my book can be purchased in paperback or kindle form. Hope you enjoy it. I have another book coming out in the near future. Thank you again for your comment 🙂

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      • michele says:

        I bought your book and read late into the night. Your writing captures the heart of the apathy that is the basis for so many marriages. The first chapters have so much in them. I cannot wait to see where the journey takes me.

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  18. michele says:

    Thank you for responding. You are the first for me. ~s~ Well done, there are not many of those firsts I get to experience.
    I will go look over your work.

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