Life Outside The Boundry


I’d entered the winner’s circle: wealth, travel and: ( check,check,check. ) women:  mine and any one else’s I could charm. I could walk into any restaurant and they would say, “On us sir” and I would nod, because modesty is part of the package. I was a known speaker, whose financial visions had been aired on television. I had children by more than two women, all of them cherished and nurtured because that’s what civilised people do. My money was my own to spend in my lifetime, but my children could inherit my insights to light their future, and trust in their own abilities.

All, well and good. Pat on the back for the big man, and mine’s a large one. Oh yes, I could  ” Hang out”  with the crowd and sniff a line of something: drink without regard to safety and spread the word that life’s a party once you find the invitation. Sometimes I might go “missing after action” and wander the streets recalling fragments of my childhood.

I am the product of Manchester parents, a cleaner and a decorator, later divorced. My childhood was scrapped together in those fleeting moments when my father was sober enough to remember he had a home, and my mother was not accepting her compensations from passing strangers. Me and my older sister used to sit up in the attic pretending we had parents, and that somewhere just out of sight, there really was a field of green.

My sister is my only friend: my constancy. She lives a quiet life married  to a man of routine and then there is me. I have been that watchful, wild man, who knows more than he should and takes more than is his, because we are all bandits are we not: some braver than others?  I walk through a landscape of my own making and leave others to talk of world peace and comfort themselves with new furnishings, until now that is.

Out late at night, and slightly drunk, I met a lady sitting on a step, and of similar mind to mine, staring up at what London street lights allow us to enjoy of the night sky. She looked at me and her face filled with recognition.  “Your that famous fucker” she said and I nodded as modestly as drunks  can do. Just as I was about to accept her admiration she followed up with “You’re full of shit, and the sad thing is you know it.”

Truth is seldom comfortable  and often arrives unexpectedly so I was silent and then I asked her “What her grief was?” and she introduced me to her life. She had been a photographer in Afghanistan, recording the pain and trauma of a besieged population. She had travelled across the Arctic, and sat in deserts in India swapping languages. ” And as for you, ” she said, ” You made money and used it to avoid criticism: the cowards victory. Do something better with yourself.”   I offered to help her, of course, because that’s what patrons do, but she just laughed it off and walked into the night. Brave and independent. she was a women who travelled through life without the aid of maps.

The light does not shine on every diamond. Some jewels are wrapped in modesty and never worn for display, but in her anger, born of weariness and contempt, she brought me to a life of context. In her I found another sister.

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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, Life, Peter Wells, values and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Life Outside The Boundry

  1. Nothing like the unveiled eye to bring us to our senses.

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  2. A quick quote from Roger Waters from a song on ‘The Final Cut’ – ‘Ashes and diamonds, Foe and friend, We will all equal in the end’. I like the idea behind this piece, Peter, quite sobering.

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  3. I suppose she cut him/you down to size.

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  4. Love this, especially the last paragraph.

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  5. It’s rare that you meet a self-aware fucker.

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  6. ksbeth says:

    wide-eyed wake up from this one, peter. fabulous.

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  7. Al says:

    Sadly, it’s women’s destiny in this world to rip the veil of feigned happiness from our faces. And thank goodness for it. How else would we know we are wrong 99 percent of the time?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your writing is always so eloquent to me. I especially loved this line “The light does not shine on every diamond. “

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  9. women: mine and any one else’s I could charm***

    True.

    Peter, I love this. xxx

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  10. lucie says:

    “I nodded as modestly as drunks can do” Saw the exact nod in my mind’s eye.Lovely.

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  11. Caroline says:

    “Brave and independent. she was a women who travelled through life without the aid of maps.”
    A lovely line
    A great piece

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  12. nelle says:

    Timely story for me. 🙂 I’ve several sisters, all unblooded. I’ve one blooded one who loathes the site of me.

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  13. Another fabulous piece Peter and I too love the line about travelling through life without the aid of maps. Just great as always.

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  14. farreldee says:

    “life’s a party once you find the invitation”. How true!

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