The Stoic Lover

It was not his place to bother her with matters of personal concern but that did not prevent his heart moving with submerged turbulence when his secretary arrived each morning asking, as she had each day, “Coffee” to which he always said “Of course:” Thus it had been these four years: Marina was her name, and he her boss, and always mindful of his responsibilities to protect her beautiful exuberance from his personal agenda. She had the right, he firmly believed, to keep her work life free of emotional encumbrance.

Nearly forty and practising as a lawyer, away from glamour, and somewhere in the patents department, his energy was spent largely in caring for his mother who used her infirmities to keep him by her side. Widowed when her son was only seven, she had first declared, and then repeated, “You are the man of the house ” which, when young, he took to be a compliment, but now, he recognised, was more a prison sentence: still knowing something and having the courage to speak about it are not the same thing we sometimes learn.

Now the thunderbolt: Marina, Spanish by birth, who had come to England to work as an au-pair and then stayed because she enjoyed London so much, had decided it was time for her to return home which meant a thousand miles from him. As she handed him the letter resigning from the post something in her eye asked him a question, which he avoided with his well-trained manner.

“Happiness is not ours to seek but for others to bestow,” some sage, apparently freed from impulse by a life in caves, had told his university professor, who had collected such possible “Truths” while on youthful adventures trekking across sun-bleached landscapes, which “Wisdoms” he had passed on to minds as disconnected as his own during the lectures he gave on jurisprudence.

Now, his ex-pupil’s over-scrupulous heart could only watch Marina take his happiness with her and, infected by these pallid wisdoms, limply ask. “Why are you leaving?” and as her eyes replied, “I loved a man but his heart was not brave enough to speak ” her voice said “I am engaged to a boy from home.” He did not even know she had a boyfriend.

“That is excellent” he said, “I’m sure you’ll be very happy”


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

19 Responses to The Stoic Lover

  1. A sad tale, Peter, and, as usual, wonderfully told. ‘A faint heart…’ And ‘fortune favours the brave’, spring to mind – but what of the fear of failure?


  2. catterel says:

    I shall send you a bill for the hankies I’m soaking!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gotham girl says:

    Oh…I so wanted them to live happily ever after! Darn!


  4. Ina says:

    OH NO! Such a pity she has a bf but hey, go for it anyway! Catch up with her flight, perhaps it is not too late, just speak your heart! 🙂
    Oh sorry, I got carried away a bit I think 🙂


  5. Hearts, trapped in the prisons of our minds. Who would we be if we set them free?


  6. Makes me want to go out and do something irresponsible. A couple of slaps–OK, I’m fine again.


  7. Another great but sad tale.


  8. rebbit7 says:

    Beautiful prose. Keep on writing!


  9. Oh this is so sad!!! You have made me cry. So “job’s a good’n’ as they say ‘ooop’ north! 😄


  10. Keigh Ahr says:

    This is my type of story — short and poignant. Memorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Once again you had me gripped from beginning to the rather sad ending. I was left with the feeling that this poor chap will be stuck for ever within his dreams…….Janet.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ksbeth says:

    a damn good heartbreaker.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lovely delicate writing, Peter.


  14. Al says:

    Those cross-channel romances never quite work out though, do they?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. —-Peter,
    I just think you’re marvelous. xx


  16. Scarlet says:

    Oh, this is sad. Marina should have put gin in his coffee and loosened him up. Where there’s a will and all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. nelle says:

    Time to deploy the wings, eh?


  18. 1WriteWay says:

    Scarlet’s comment is spot-on 🙂 Wonderfully sad story, Peter. Prison sentence indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

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