The Solitary Road


It was in the way he drank: time was not in short supply for this gentleman who sipped at his glass and studied the wall ahead for things to contemplate: a solitary figure in a near-empty bar, an afternoon drinker, but not a drunkard: just a man trying to remember pleasure, and those days when he led a busy life with choice as his companion. Now he was a man who had drifted out of the social round as money proved to be in short supply: those holidays abroad spent rollicking with friends and his habit of clowning in the early morning were now just episodes from his past.

He sipped his drink and wondered how it would be if he could begin again: the careers he might have followed, the chance to walk once more through wilderness, and watch the stars, glittering and beautifully indifference. To those around who might catch him in a glance, he seemed a disconnected soul, one who’d looked at life and forgotten what it was he had to say; who cramped himself into ever smaller spaces, and opened doors for people busier than himself.

Someone walked towards him, some young lad, and asked if he had the time. Yes he did. Time was all he had, but that is not what he said. “Three thirty five,” his voice was crisp and clear; he knew better than to try and engage strangers in conversation: that was for the old, and he was not old yet, not in his own mind.

He sipped again and now he felt the music fill his heart and smiled at that chorus of ghosts from other times and lands who joined him in his solitary world and saw beyond his disengaging, stare. Standing in silent guard over his history he recalled times when plans where more than dreams and urgency filled each waking hour.

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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, Humanity, Life, old age, Peter Wells, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to The Solitary Road

  1. mikesteeden says:

    The whole piece a marvellous metaphor, Peter. I almost feel part it myself. Recently a girl at the till in some shop or other asked me if I found everything I was looking for. Poker faced I replied, ‘Thanks for asking, but not really, I still seek the meaning of life.’ She gave me the strangest look.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha ha. Funnily enough something similar happened to me except that someone asked me what the meaning of life was because I was wearing a jacket with the words “Here To Help” on the back. I told them “It was just round the corner” which gained a similar look. One day it would be marvellous to meet at “The Baffled Ferret” and swap a few life tips !

      Liked by 2 people

      • mikesteeden says:

        It’s interesting just how pub names have evolved. One is hard pressed to find a Kings Head these days; same goes for a public bar. The Baffled Ferret it is!

        Like

  2. Superb closing line, Peter. This is a fine story of reflection and hanging on to what we feel that we have. A great read wonderfully crafted.

    Like

  3. ksbeth says:

    a wonderful tale of time lost and found.

    Like

  4. “…he seemed a disconnected soul, one who’d looked at life and forgotten what it was he had to say; who cramped himself into ever smaller spaces, and opened doors for people busier than himself.”
    Beautifully heartbreaking my friend…well done.
    Rock on…

    Like

  5. hipsyartist says:

    I can see this man in my minds eye, what beautiful writing.

    Like

  6. Al says:

    At least our forsaken hero tries to put a positive spin on the past. That is not an easy thing.

    Like

  7. Fluid Phrase says:

    The entire tale is so beautiful and lovely to read. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Don’t ever let anyone say you can’t write! I just about cried.

    Like

  9. Was there such a time for him? Or for life in general?

    Like

  10. tiostib says:

    Once again, you’ve drawn me into your writer’s web, causing me to reflect with nostalgia on my own life, enticing me with the magic of your words. Thank you.

    Like

  11. caminodetim says:

    I’m always reading your stuff wondering from which part of the Peter I knew from…..(oh my goodness, 50 years ago) you are drawing your inspiration.
    As for the meaning of life, I think that as soon as I can answer that question that I will suffer a massive coronary and die on the spot….mission accomplished. Therefore, I insist that I know nothing.

    Like

  12. joey says:

    Loneliness and emptiness, so much. That part about “cramped himself into ever smaller spaces” that hit me. Good truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A painter with words…

    Like

  14. **not a drunkard: just a man trying to remember pleasure**

    NICE sentence, dear. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. nelle says:

    I’ll share a little Beth Orton with him. “What’s the use in regrets? They’re just lessons we haven’t learned yet.”

    Like

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