One Last Drink


Looking back it was like our last hurrah. A record of my “Heyday,” as I like to call it: marking our charge toward hoped for fame and glory with a photograph or two: me, Sarah, Sir Nigel as he became, and the rest; sitting like victors round some table in Windsor with a bottle of wine or six, careless of the world around us.

I was there by default; the inexplicable choice of Nigel’s sister as her boyfriend, smiling out of the photograph as if I were a chosen member of the company: I was not. Nigel and the rest, friends from school, had gathered round for a picture and I just happened to be there, but I don’t emphasise that bit.

His sister, Sarah, dropped me soon afterwards, but I still treasure the photograph as if I were a central member of the company: I show it to whoever might be interested and some that clearly are not. “There’s me with Sir Nigel Horrocks, I was dating his sister at the time,” I say, and then I pause as if I might be asked a question but seldom am. To be honest everyone has heard the story many times, and the sight of that photograph acts like a fire alarm, emptying the space around me of any company.

I am a van driver now, with well controlled aspirations but still pointing out my brush with fame. Balding I may be, and my family are tired beyond weariness of the whole anecdote, but I still like to share my “Moment with the famous.”

Apart from Sir Nigel and his glamorous entourage, I only have one other interest, excluding the wife and my two adult daughters of course, and that is model railways. Like other nutters, similarly engrossed, I have a train line set up in my attic, complete with two stations, fields, and some model sheep, and any other object I can cram into the space. I read about steam engines a lot and write articles for “Model Railway Layout Quarterly,” who’s editor I know quite well: a vicar by trade but he keeps that to himself when not working.

It’s been my hobby for years, learnt off my favourite uncle, long since dead who, in his time, bored all around him except me. I seem to have inherited his social profile but such is life. In truth that’s why Sarah, Nigel’s sister, ended our romance, I like to call it that, but not when the wife’s around. Sarah was into jazz and painting and model railways didn’t light her fire.

“I sort of love you Wayne” she said to me, “But you’re so boring: I’ve had enough” which is the last thing she said to me. No one in her group seemed sad at the parting and I never heard another word from any of them.

The reason I’m telling you this is last Saturday, as I was in the hallway with the wife, the post dropped through the door, and one of the envelopes was blue in colour, handwritten and addressed to me. I could see my wife was curious, as was I, so I opened it and we both read the following lines,

Lovely Wayne,

I traced you through that railway magazine and the editor kindly gave me your address. Of all the men I’ve known, you are the nicest and most special, and I realise how stupid I was to let you go. You are kind and I didn’t know how rare that was back then. Nigel is having his fiftieth at the Grosvenor Hotel and I want you to come to it. It would be lovely to spend some time with you again.

Love Sarah xxx

I looked up at my wife to see what she made of it and I can’t say she was looking pleased. “You’re too busy for that” was all she said, and that’s the nearest to jealous I’ve ever seen her. “Best let sleeping dogs lie, especially the wife” some wise man said, and I’m sure he’s right, but perhaps a quick word back to say hello won’t do us any harm. What do you think?

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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, humour, marriage, Peter Wells, Relationships, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to One Last Drink

  1. mikesteeden says:

    Well he had better luck than me. Back in the day the much younger version of yours truly, pursued by at red headed, mint green eyes, lovely gal finally gave in and ‘courted’ her. Several hundred quid spent in restaurants later, and her reticence toward physical contact now diminishing (an odd reticence as she had done all the leg work ‘capturing’ me) she did at first snog, pause, snogged once more uttering, ‘I’m so very sorry, I still prefer girls…hope you’re not too upset.’ ‘Bollocks’ was the only word in my mind!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an awesome story, Peter!

    I swear, you write so convincingly that most times I cannot tell if you are presenting pure fiction, or some version of an autobiographical tale with the names changed to protect the innocent…!

    Love it!! Well done again, Sir!

    Like

  3. madamewriter says:

    Go to Nigel’s party!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. davidprosser says:

    Excellent tale Peter.
    Hugs

    Like

  5. Ah, the temptation can certainly be great but I foresee that ending badly, at least in some respects.

    Like

  6. Delightful! Goodness wins out. I can’t wait to hear how the get-together goes.

    Like

  7. Al says:

    I think the rule of thumbs is: Signed with one kiss – cordial. Signed with two kisses – interesting. Signed with three kisses – femme fatale. I’ve seen more that one sleeping dog go rabid Rottweiler over less.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Best to question why former friends choose to get in touch; ex-friends are always ex for a reason.
    Excellently written, Peter; sometimes I wonder how many lives you have lived, your writing is so ‘ on the nail’.

    Like

  9. I agree with Chris Nelson’s comment: wondering how many lives you must’ve lived!
    So right: let sleeping dogs lie and fight fire with fire like a shark feathering its own nest and opening a can of worms…

    Like

  10. ksbeth says:

    ah, but she only needs a bit of time to remember who nigel really was, and to dump him once more, soon bored again – she remembers him with a bit more romance than there actually was, as people are wont to do.

    Like

  11. nelle says:

    Standing in a minefield, he was. Walk away or step on one…

    Like

  12. Ah, the dangers of reconnection. I suspect she has more interest in the railway and for reasons better left unsaid. He could go, but she’ll probably find him boring soon after she’s done with what she needs.

    Like

  13. gotham girl says:

    Oh…I would go in a heartbeat just to check it all out! Great writing and couldn’t agree more with Lisa Palmer’s comments above!

    Like

  14. He’s a good guy he should write back to the lady and tell her if he was to attend he would be bringing the wife with him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a very good idea, and like many good ideas, may not receive the attention it merits. My personal view is that he should quietly ignore the letter on the grounds that he has more to lose then gain. I suppose the whole thing hinges on how happy he is with the current wife. Nothing tests our view of our current circumstances than the chance to change them . Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. it would be so much more interesting plot-wise if he said ‘yes’; isn’t that where fact and fiction part company, though? Of, course, he could roll up at the Café Royale in his van….

    Like

  16. olganm says:

    Love the story, for sure. For a moment I thought perhaps somebody knowing the story has played a prank on him…

    Like

  17. I’ve read your blog post for the first time in a long time and I don’t know why I ever stopped. I loved reading this, almost feeling like I’m advising a close friend on whatsapp.

    I would say leave it. Don’t go. It’ll upset the wife, let Sarah lie in the bed she made for herself and you can pour yourself a glass of wine and toast to her mistake and your reclaimed self-esteem!

    Liked by 1 person

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