The Wedding Dance


Our first dance together was at ages five and six. The picture is in an album at my mother’s. We, Clara and I, met at junior school and shared the same senior school.Through planning we managed to go to the same university. She was the sensible one, the careful one: the girl who chided me on my excesses.  Even when we were very young, I behaved as I wanted to, but moderated always by her caring stability and common sense.

She was unadventurous, and crippled by social caution and the opinions of others, and I was always telling her to breath the air and live a little, and on some level we irritated each other or stimulated each other: it was  hard to decide which, but we certainly trusted each other.  She would scold me, always, and keep my behaviour somewhere near the acceptable and I would listen to her, if no one else.

She had a couple of boyfriends of the boring kind and I, of course, was drinking from the trough of experience. In our early mid-teen years she might smile at me in a goofy way and I got the unsettling impression she sought more from me than friendship, but I was hooked on adventure and not ready to be harnessed: the moment passed. She had too much common sense to chase a lost cause and that is what I gradually became.

Over time at university I found myself behaving ever more recklessly in the hope of getting a reaction  but somehow she had let go the reins. She was always warm, and personal, but in some subtle way she no longer spoke our private language, and then there was Nigel.

Somewhere in our second year his name appeared in her conversation, and then  he was present at our meetings. Nothing was said but I was no longer her first concern. Her loyalties had shifted.  Had I missed the point?  Love had waved at me but I did not feel it’s warmth.  “If you are not willing to open yourself up, be prepared to live a life of self reliance,”  I told myself.

At her wedding to the calm and collected Nigel, with whom a house had already been purchased, I sat half way down the church and somewhere near the aisle. I was gripped by a sense of loss and sadness which was never given voice: pride saw to that, because I had always taken the role of the man with nothing to lose, and I was a prisoner of that image.

Time moved on and I saw her less and less frequently. There is a suspicion in my mind that Nigel viewed me with caution, who can say, but in time, as an antidote to drifting and lost opportunities, I became engaged to a girl named Sarah, whose needs were easy to read. I credited her with keeping me just this side of madness, until a wedding seemed the inescapable conclusion to our courtship.

At the reception, where I smiled for the camera’s, and danced with my new bride to John Lennon’s “Woman,” those who knew me looked on at the wild man brought to safety with some relief. By accident, I met with Clara in a passage by the hallway. It was our first moment alone in some years, and she reached up and touched my arm and told me, “It’s so lovely to see you happy.”  Emotion came from somewhere in the shadows  and I lost myself ” But she isn’t you Clara” I said and bowed my head. There was a sense of wrenching and she moved away. When I looked back, her eyes told me I had betrayed her way back then, and I knew I had.

Later that night, in our sumptuous wedding suite, paid for by her well to do father,  my new bride looked up and said, “You make me so happy” and I smiled back at her as a happy man might do , because, for a directionless adventurer, acting is the only sure way of surviving.

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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, Love, Peter Wells, Romance, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to The Wedding Dance

  1. I can certainly identify with this situation where paths cross and seem to run parallel for a while without ever really connecting. Hindsight can be a wonderful/ unsettling thing.
    Great writing, Peter.

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  2. mikesteeden says:

    Please take this as a compliment for the smooth style of writing and the mix and matching of characters and storylines I can compare (taken me a good while reading your fine posts to have it dawn on me) with, in my view the great author Nick Hornby. Splendid stuff.

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  3. In the land of What If…

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  4. jbuliesblog says:

    Mr. Wells, that story is touching. As I was reading it I felt swayed by the emotions of one who finds and loses love. It’s an awful thing this human thing but can be made better. I don’t know if the acting in the last paragraph was truly acting as sometimes I think our sixth sense gets the best of us. Maybe it was acceptance or forgiveness.
    Well written. Well done. Thank you.

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  5. ksbeth says:

    this is lovely, peter. it shows the near-misses that happen in life, in relationships, in everything. fyi – i met my husband, when i was 4 and he was 6 and upon meeting him i felt for some reason. compelled to tell him i would marry him and become a teacher one day. we did marry, got unhappily divorced and i became a teacher later in life. the path is never clear and it’s best to rise to each turn as it comes – i’ll write the story one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. catterel says:

    Another beautifully crafted and moving glimpse into a lost soul – well written, Peter.

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  7. megpill says:

    I really like your voice, in the style you write and words you choose.

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one to face a situation like this, yet it’s a sad comfort.

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  8. Wow this is brilliant Peter! And quite sad too, but so believable and real Fabulous!

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  9. restlessjo says:

    I was with you all the way to that last sentence, Peter. It didn’t quite resonate with me… But it’s certainly a situation many of us can associate with and I like your style of writing very much. 🙂

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  10. judithhb says:

    Well written Peter. You took me right along until the end. I hope the wife enjoyed her life with her husband and never found out she was only second best.

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  11. This makes my heart hurt a little, but brilliantly written as always.

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  12. I think you just wrote my life…

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  13. Amen. Super writing. Smile, though your heart is breaking…

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  14. Wow.. what if. Beautiful post Peter as always my friend :).

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  15. Your way of writing is like a breath of fresh air. I could almost see everything in front of my eyes.

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  16. merrildsmith says:

    So beautiful and so sad!

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  17. nelle says:

    A judgement of betrayal is a very hard thing to overcome once the guilty realises the transgression, even if unintended. Been there.

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  18. Ah Peter, your writing continues to grow richer and more nuanced. Heartbreaking and brilliant.

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