An Unfortunate Discovery


I sat in the car with my wife and travelled up to the cemetery where I’d been buried not long before. She didn’t know I was there, of course, I was now the silent passenger, the observer, the helpless carer whose love for her continued on like an afterglow on the planet where we had both lived. My presence  would gradually fade as the last embers of my emotion vanished from this place

She seemed to be disoriented and walking up the wrong path. At last she arrived at a grave. “Frank Sutherland, Father to Christopher and Cecelia. 1954-2015”. . . My name was Phillip. Pausing briefly she then knelt and laid the flowers on his grave. I had known him well, a local care free drunk and party man who left a litter of children across the locality and died in a moment of reckless euphoria at the wheel of a borrowed car. On one famous occasion he had run for mayor.

I became aware of a presence and now here he was beside me, cheery as ever, and standing in death by his grave smiling down at my wife. “We first slept together twenty-three years ago.” he said by way of explanation, “Sorry, but, bloody hell, she was a goer and half wasn’t she”. I would have raised my eyebrows if I still had any, but I could still feel surprise.

After the rare episodes of love-making with my wife, where our hands moved only as much as was necessary to ensure a satisfactory conclusion there would be a pause. A feeling of shyness mixed with embarrassment and then it was always the same. I would roll off and she would say “Thank you.” Not in a cold way, but in a clear and deliberate voice, as though I’d just bought her a cup of tea: that was it, followed by slumber; the routine was unchanging. She was my one foray into intimacy; perhaps I had missed something.

I was a surveyor, on the neighbourhood watch committee, golf club member and local historian. I attended church regularly and made every effort to support my family: I’ve no idea what Frank did. He always seemed to get by on a wing and a prayer, somehow evading responsibility and defying the normal laws of economic gravity ,and the downside of reckless living, till he had one escapade too many.

Work took me away a fair bit, but we talked on the phone, and her reliable calmness was always a source of pride to me in my journey through life. “She could dance”, continued Frank, “as if there was no space or time, you know; urgent, wild”. There is no anger in death, only love and regret so regret it was, waves of it. “Didn’t you feel any shame,” I said ” Destroying the bonds of another family”. “Life’s too short for regrets, at least mine was” he replied, visibly, or possibly invisibly amused, depending on your circumstances.

The mutual object of our affection was now kneeling in an act of fruitless prayer for his soul as we stood beside her. I, feeling more and more like a guest in her life rather than a part of it, turned to him in sorrow and said, ” At least I have my child. She goes on”

“Have you ever studied your daughter’s eyes” he said, “They are my colour” and his frame rocked in silent laughter. He seemed to be finding death as amusing as life. Hell, I discovered, was loving someone who viewed you without respect, and having your memory ridiculed at your passing.

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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, Life, morals, Peter Wells, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to An Unfortunate Discovery

  1. Great post Peter. I just loved it so much !! 👍😊

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™ and commented:
    Magnificent writing.

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  3. Lucy Brazier says:

    Gosh, this is heartbreaking and beautiful in equal measure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If his lights weren’t already, I’d punch them out!
    This kind of afterlife sucks. Good post.

    Like

  5. I’ve said it a thousand times – but I needs say it a thousand more – (I’ve probably said it only once actually) – but this is vintage countingducks stuff… I’ve got my own bent on things, but now and again, when I read every one of your postings, I wish I had your bent on things… !

    Like

  6. Arbie says:

    This post brought up a lot of emotions in me. Anger, sorrow, fear… It’s such a short story and yet you did so much with it! Excellent storytelling!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is an incredibly powerful piece. So completely heartbreaking, and yet there’s that glint of humour. I loved reading every word of this 🙂

    Like

  8. ksbeth says:

    the final stab to the heart from the grave –

    Liked by 1 person

  9. caminodetim says:

    Brilliant, short, sharp, emotionally charged. Loved the way you set it up in the first paragraph: wife going to the cemetery to pay respects to her husb……..lover.
    I always enjoy reading your postings first thing in the morning here in Canada. It’s a great start to the day and fuel for musings of the day. Thank you.

    Like

    • Bless you. To share that adventure, so early in our lives was one of my great experiences and it is so nice to re-connect with you now. Your support is deeply appreciated. It is amazing that we should have connected through the same lovely editor 🙂

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  10. Nicely done!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  11. Conor says:

    Wow!
    You continue to inspire me.

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  12. joey says:

    That was brutal!

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  13. That’s a magnificent story. Thank you for telling it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh Peter this was absolutely the best thing I have read in ages. Delightful! In spite of the sorrow and regret discovered by our husband, Frank’s very presence made me happy and giggly. Perhaps his charms continued into the here after.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. No escape in death I suppose. Perhaps you should rewrite this one to reflect how he met with that unfortunate car accident.

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  16. lexc13 says:

    So much in such a short piece. And that last paragraph, should have seen it coming but really wow, way to kick a guy while he’s down.

    Like

  17. gotham girl says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. I think this is your best piece yet. Like others said…in such a short piece I had all kinds of emotions. That takes true talent.

    Like

  18. Pingback: An Unfortunate Discovery by Peter Wells | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  19. This is partly sad and partly humorous but so well written, Peter. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  20. merrildsmith says:

    Wow! This is a wonderful story, and so well told. It is sad, but there’s a bit of humor–the comedy of life (or afterlife), I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh I say Ducky, the dear lady will pass on and meet them both one day and I wonder who will rock with mirth then!! Great story. Hugs x

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  22. Brilliant, had me riveted from the start 👏

    Liked by 1 person

  23. noelleg44 says:

    Fabulous! Ten stars! It just kept throwing curve balls!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. nelle says:

    I’m tempted to insert an expletive before the word ‘clever’, but decorum rules. Clever and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

    Like

  25. Wow…powerful writing

    Like

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