One Last Tryst


When I met her she felt her beauty was a recollection: her power to attract, she feared, long since gone and she was defenceless against the scrutiny of those less charitable than herself. She was a drunk in a bar at some place I had never visited but had stopped at in search of shelter. I don’t know how old she was but I’m guessing she thought her sixties seemed like youth and she was now alone with her incongruous health: drunk and smoking like a wild thing: she could still stand and dance and become the abandoned hippie she might have been fifty years before.

I joined her at the bar, and later in her bed, because she dreamed she could still connect in a way her age had no sense of. “Youth has judgement on its side but little else” she said to me as we got undressed and then she started giggling: her accent and the way she spoke hinted at a forgotten education and her movements of her youth. After a pause she reached up to kiss me as if physical was the only language left with meaning. She had travelled life, mostly alone, sometimes beautifully, often lost and seldom comforted and I determined that in my arms, if nothing else, she would find a kind of peace. Out here in the social wilderness there is little left of etiquette, credible gestures or sermons for the meek. All we have is kindness and the hope that beauty and tolerance might still be related.

She was the wisest, loneliest, poorest and most beautiful person I have ever met, who sought a night of abandoned celebration. In her heart and soul she would never be old. Every sentence she spoke was marked by a quality of pathos drenched in whisky and every weakness by a movement of her hand. She talked as if we were both still young and careless of the consequence, and yet we both knew life will challenge your dreams and leave most of them exhausted.

Somehow, despite the madness, disappointments, and that hard knowledge carved out of experience; something in the way I held her brought her home and, before she fell to slumber, I saw light fill her cautious eyes. I love heroes and heroines, and she will always be a bit like that to me: the lady who died in my arms just after she found herself. The wise sometimes find value in the worthless and she saw something precious in my life. Love was a drink late to her table but I was honoured to bring that chalice to her lips. I too can drink, I can’t say otherwise, but the way she looked at me restored fragments of my dignity.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

24 Responses to One Last Tryst

  1. catterel says:

    Aah! I’m lost for words – this is so sweet and sensitive.

    Like

  2. You have an uncanny way of tapping into my darkest fears of how I shall end up at the end of life, perhaps not alcohol-soaked, but perhaps the rest. As long as there are some patches of fabulousness it could be worse!

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  3. I think that, even though we embrace all that age and wisdom can bring, we often seem to ‘stick’ at what we perceive as our ‘perfect moment (or age)’ in time. Our lives then revolve endlessly around that moment until, as is the case in your story, a ‘perfect moment’ of release comes our way.
    Your story is a very moving and sensitive tale of such a moment, and the blend of sadness and happiness is a joy to read.
    A fine piece, Peter.

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  4. **the lady who died in my arms just after she found herself**

    Great line, darling. xxx

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  5. Perhaps the best skill in life is to know when to leave.

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  6. Your words speak of an enduring beauty that defies age.

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  7. All this needs is a closing sentence: We lived happily ever after together. Ah, I’m a romantic.

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  8. Al says:

    Peter, how you can write a novel filled with such a delicious helping of pathos in just four paragraphs is amazing!

    Like

  9. “But the tender grace of a day that is dead
    Will never come back to me.” – Tennyson

    Brilliant, Peter… just brilliant.

    Like

  10. laroseedespetiteschoses says:

    It’s just lovely!

    Like

  11. Who’d have guessed a ‘one-night stand’ could be so epic and poetic, peppered with deep insights into the emotions we yearn to live for, and live to yearn for?
    Great piece, Peter!

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  12. araneus1 says:

    I wish my comment could match the beauty of what I just read, but alas………

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  13. ksbeth says:

    and it was a drink you shared, restoring something unexpected to each of you.

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  14. olganm says:

    So moving and so true. Thanks for sharing it, Peter.

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  15. My friend, never let anyone tell you, that you don’t have a talent for story telling. But than again I don’t think I need to tell you that. I loved this.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. genusrosa says:

    This is a Sir Galahad moment like we’ve never seen before–!😉 Peter, your deft hand with character is beautiful.

    Like

  17. gotham girl says:

    Exquisite!!!! I so totally agree with Al…four paragraphs..amazing!

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  18. nelle says:

    How poignant. Before I reached the end, sounds of Leonard Cohen’s Closing Time filled my head. You opened that window with the story, but you brought me a wholly different end. Nicely done.

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  19. This is so breathtakingly lovely, Peter. I don’t think I’ve ever read something which moved me quite as much. Bravo!

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  20. I’m not sure how this is possible, my friend, but you continue to improve and amaze me. 🙂 Brilliant piece of writing from your heart.

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  21. you write all the things i’ve explored writing but could never place in words. your works are moving.

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