Memoirs Of An Exile,

Do you know how often you were loved? I do. Just once, and not by my own mother, brother or sisters. As children, and as a family, we lived in a sea of wreckage, trying to make sense of our own experiences, and at a loss for feelings or words. Love was not on the menu, but at last I left my childhood home.

Later, during one of those brief periods when I enjoyed something like perspective, a girl’s eyes fell on me, polite and shy in the company of strangers, yet gradually they filled with interest, then warmth ,and finally with love, as she saw in me all that a girl could wish for in a man she thought, and so I married her, because not to do so would have been decisive, and I was never that.

As what I called “Awareness” returned to me, I looked at what I thought of as being her prosaic ambitions; including a home, children, and an address of suitable anonymity and I became restless until I said, “Life must offer more than this. More than suburban correctitude, along with church attendance, politeness to neighbours and a sublimation of all desire for adventure,”and so I left her, fuelled by desperation and a determination to tread the unexplored, whatever the cost, because in my youth my brothers in arms were Leonardo de Vinci, Shackleton and John Steinbeck, and to settle for average seemed a despairing comment on the possibilities of life

Now, after some decades, I have discovered the cost of the vanity which drove me to that action. I have discovered that life really is prosaic, and yet wonderful and challenging  all in a single breath  and in the same moment, but now I have no one left with which to share that message. I have discovered the price of being “An attendant lord” in the ante-chamber of a hundred noble lives, but I am not yet ready to accept the average day. I will “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” and refuse to sit on the park bench smiling at the antics of some infant child as if they were endearing.

I will walk on into darkness seeking an observation worthy of the pain spent in living honestly.  I will not go softly, maturely or with dignity towards my demise. My life has been wild, drunken, joyous, alien and powerfully present, and until I fall into a grave, I hope I can say, “I lived, and happiness or composure, or the correct dress of the hour were never my concern. Somewhere out in this fog bound wilderness we called “Experience,”  is a body named “Profundity” and I am determined to define it, though I have yet to do so.”

Emotion is not polite. Life is not polite, and I still long for more than the conventional. I am that man, either drunken or mad, who staggers up to you in the Mall, unshaven and possibly un-showered, and says, “Is this it?” and you back away from me, of course, because you are still living a  “Real life,” a “Planned life” which is something I gave up on some decades ago. I will remain, unless I prove myself at last; that most disregarded of individuals: the missed opportunity, the man beyond the pale: a child of the  alternative universe, a Sphinx in the corner of your imagination.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
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33 Responses to Memoirs Of An Exile,

  1. FlorenceT says:

    With some fear and trepidation, excitement and longing, we traverse this road called Life… What poignant prose. And my respect for being true, honest 🙂


  2. renxkyoko says:

    Wow ! As expected of Peter Wells ! I’m in awe . And I mean that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mikesteeden says:

    Reflective, almost philosophical musings of a damn good writer…when you nail it, you nail it. Splendid stuff…not that I’m jealous or anything…much!


  4. catterel says:

    Is this Simon Baxter a few decades on? Wish i had a fraction of your imagination and power of expression.


  5. Rainee says:

    A powerful read Peter!


  6. Appreciate your bold statement but can’t help but feeling bad for the woman you left behind.


  7. I think that this is inside us all, and has to be released at some point. The trick is, I feel, to befriend oneself and accept what one believe in and see this as a goal, whether this be nihilistic or not. A powerful piece, Peter – very thought-provoking!


  8. Man (and Woman), they–whoever “they” are–say, is the only creature who can ponder his (her) own existence (or lack thereof). Both a blessing and curse, if you ask me. 😉


  9. Holy wow! You pulled me in with this a very personal way (and I don’t want to comment any deeper in such a public forum, other than to say, I feel like I understand a few men in my life, a little more).


  10. The best in life, I believe, is to find a piece of the prosaic, because it can and does feed and fuel the wonder — but to never, ever lose the wonder. To never lose the sense of why. The magic is when the I Do is with a kindred spirit. In such a moment there are no boundaries to the universe, and the prosaic is but the breath that fuels the wind.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So I’m safe to say this gentleman’s goal for life wasn’t ‘happy’.


  12. ksbeth says:

    love the look back and forward through time, with deep reflection and honesty along the way. well done.


  13. gotham girl says:

    Oh wow. Powerful! After reading the third paragraph I thought perhaps you’d been digging in my past! 🙂


  14. nelle says:

    I love how you take readers and place them next to the character, feeling the empathy and awkwardness that comes from this conflicting need to rescue or scoot away. Stand and fight for better, I wish to say, but of course such a message is entirely dependent upon its recipient.


  15. judithhb says:

    Peter how much of this post is fiction/creative writing? I think we all want to escape the prosaic at times and some of us manage to do so. Well done – a thought provoking post indeed.


  16. I think for many the need for adventure and the poetic will always exist, but the joy in the simplicity of the prosaic cannot be overlooked. Beautiful reflection, Peter.


  17. Elissaveta says:

    This is incredibly beautiful, poignant writing. Without categorising too much, it reminds me of the story in Wild whose main character’s name escapes me. Is happiness true and whole when you have no one to share it with? Not an open question to you but rather thinking out loud.
    Thanks for this post that will certainly resonate with me…


  18. olganm says:

    Beautiful piece of writing. Have you ever read Henry James’s ‘The Beast in the Jungle’? Waiting for something to happen is not an option.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Scarlet says:

    *puts the gin back in the cupboard and gets on with the ironing*

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I absolutely loved reading this. But I will say, that first line, really chocked me up a bit. I posed that question to myself and it brought back wonderful memories. Amazing post. I hope to see you at my new blog next week.

    Kay of Pure & Complex

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Jay says:

    Nice piece. Provocative, obviously.


  22. Very thought provoking! I know a few people like this; I envy them and feel sorry for them at the sameme time I think 😊 Wonderful piece of writing as always.


  23. Al says:

    As the high, exalted, Grand Poobah of the adventurously challenged, I bow to the altar of “profundity” once daily and then retreat to my very prosaic lair. Ah, but love and companionship awaits there……


  24. Leni Qinan says:

    *Bows to you*

    Now this is what I call pulling your readers into a beautiful story! I enjoyed reading your post and recognised myself in some lines. You are a seeker; so am I.
    When I grow up I’d love to write like you 😉

    Leni (a new –and devoted- admirer of yours)


  25. April Nunez says:

    I absolutely loved reading this! What a lovely post! Beautiful piece of writng. 😉

    April of:
    Instagram: @aprilnunezzz


  26. elizabeth stokkebye says:

    Oh yes! Not easy! We can’t have it all and yet, we want to. Adventure, love, comfort, freedom, safety, in other words: “I feel like this now!” We do create our own reality and with it our choices. I live a life of adventure, because I see adventure in every day, and I live a life of comfort, because I’m with my best friend of 43 years (since I was 17), and so it mixes…came to this country as an immigrant, so learning new stuff constantly, while I can retreat to my home, garden, and best friend.


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