The Cost Of Me


It took about forty years to realise we were complete strangers linked by common genes and history; and that moment of awakening took place after her death. During her life my mother lectured me constantly on my awkward manner, or failure to sit still when young or, when older, not drink more than a glass of wine or do anything which involved breathing, so it seemed to me. Manners where the foundation of her conduct and she regarded “Polite behaviour” as the cornerstone of any social interaction.

Those wild uninhibited beings who ran for the joy of it or danced until the music faded where primitives to her, as was I, and she considered our existence threatened all that was civilised and negotiable in the world around her.

It is said that when we seek a life-partner we look for what we want or desire but later, and often after the point of no return, we realise that what we have been drawn to is the familiar wrapped in a beguiling costume. Are we always attracted to the same situation in different guises, and the same mistakes in different garb, until we find a way of confronting them or merely run out of life-battery during the attempt to do so?

Vanessa seemed like a party girl to me when I first met her and to her, I think, I seemed a kindly influence in an indifferent world. Much too late, some might say, we discovered we were strangers: which became politely intolerable over the ensuing years.

That’s where manners come in: confronted by an uncomfortable truth, you offer it a cup of tea and ask it if its journey has been uneventful. The one thing you do not seek is to engage it in meaningful and personal conversation, because who knows what will happen once that dialogue has begun. We found a way to sit together and exist on a diet of pleasantries and the need for space but I cannot really call it “Living.”

Living is what I did when I met Paula from work, trapped like me in a conventional straight-jacket and dreaming of the moment when she could cast aside convention. We gave each other the strength and courage to celebrate life in our way so, in a moment of reckless abandon, I told my wife I was leaving her and moved in with Paula, who divorced her husband, buoyed up by my impetuous euphoria.

Happiness was ours to drink and life to celebrate each and every day: the liberation was overwhelming, my joy complete. We were children without parents and life became our playground. Gradually we found ourselves somehow without direction, or boundaries apart from that set by exhaustion. Then the newly “free” Paula discovered an appetite for sharing her euphoria with all and anyone she met although less often with me.

That order from which I fled suddenly took on the mystique of Eden but by then Vanessa had met a man better suited to her than I, leaving me free to reflect on the price of my frustrations!

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

23 Responses to The Cost Of Me

  1. ksbeth says:

    interesting genesis of a relationship/relationships. i’ve literally just come out of a relationship that i now realize was with the same kind of man i’d become involved with over and over, though in a different body. this time though, for the first time, something is very different. i realize what i really want in a man/partner and it is not what i thought i had wanted, this time, as well as all those times before, it just took me this long, and this many practice runs to really see that. i am very sad for the loss of our relationship, but know that in some way this is an amazing opportunity. the door has opened to me –

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally get that as you can imagine. It would be wonderful to know that you had broken out of the circle of repetition and were now discovering genuinely new opportunities and connections 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • ksbeth says:

        thank you so much, and i believe that i truly have. i am leaving on a trip in 2 days, planned months ago, and am taking time to just be alone and quiet and take care of myself until then, knowing that when i land in ireland, my next chapter will begin. i am always amazed and in awe of the ways of the universe. and very grateful for all of it, even the sadness.

        Like

  2. mikesteeden says:

    From preamble, to both genesis and revelation so silky smooth. You are the master of the art of spinning a whole story with a brevity that leaves the reader thinking he/she has just read a massive tome. Yours, A Jealous Fan!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jonathan Blake says:

    New to your blog – and enjoying it! Interesting and well written, where do you find your subject matters I’m guessing much of your stories are semi reflections of your own life? Mum’s long gone, Vanessa moved on and Paula ditched you, where to now more of Living Life to its full, reckless and abandoned or is there a happy medium?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the nice comment. If you read a number of the stories you will realise that “All of life is there” and none of it is literal including, sadly the experience of “life being our playground” but you can’t have everything can you 🙂

      Like

  4. Scarlet says:

    Yes…. I’ve come to realise that within relationships it’s me who is responsible for my freedoms – not the other person!
    Sx

    Like

  5. Here are two excellent cases of finding that what you thought you wanted in a relationship is exactly what you don’t want. I believe it happens often and the point to which we can deal with the disappointment is the point to which we can make the relationship work, which, in this case, seems to be not at all!

    Like

  6. gotham girl says:

    Oh…oh…oh…you had me at “anything which involved breathing!” So funny!! Great story as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Brilliantly put. Hard to choose our partners for the right reason and avoid the unneeded influences of our past. Going to reflect on this for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is an insightful analysis of human relationships wrapped up in a poignant story. The grass is not really greener, just a slightly different shade. Fine writing, Peter.

    Like

  9. joey says:

    A tale as old as time, Peter. You’ve written this version so well.

    Like

  10. I’m back. Peter! I see that the characters who continue to occupy your world are no more savvy in the ways of the heart than they ever were. Will they every hit the mark, or is it a moving target? 😉

    Like

  11. Sometimes we do seem doomed to seek reflections of who we think we are; sometimes we find the window that lets us be who we know we are.

    Like

  12. Kia / KTS says:

    I loved this Peter. Relationships can be tricky and the grass is not always greener although some people foolishly believe that it is. Beautiful writing my friend.

    Like

  13. hello, darling.
    I have a question for you.
    Does your wife read your posts? If so, what does she think?
    Your fan,
    Kim x

    Liked by 1 person

  14. nelle says:

    Intricate exploration of the price of dissatisfaction. I’ve wandered too near that road, albeit for a reason less frivolous. I hope he found his way.

    Like

  15. A moral tale, certainly. Meandering aimlessly between relationships can sometimes develop to a point where people are no more interesting than rabbits on a country walk. Perhaps that is the price we all pay.

    Like

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