Escape From The Gilded Wilderness

Looking back, I don’t know why I married my first wife! I was successful, I suppose, but more by luck than strategy: a case of ability meeting opportunity rather than flaws meeting the unstoppable, which is what happened later in my career.

I could afford almost anything but happiness, and cared for almost nothing apart from my children and the household pets, working all hours god gave me to maintain the status quo, though normally without awareness of my efforts, or their effect on my wellbeing!

It is the material signs of success which are admired rather than ourselves and so it was that I, lost in the midst of my apparent plentitude, looked for understanding among my fellow man and discovered nothing but clichés in their eyes.

I had the cars, house and servants and so must be happy because others dreamed these were the keys to paradise: they are not.

My wife, imperious, selfish and proud, organised my life as if I was incapable of doing do, but always with the sense that, mysteriously, I had deciphered the holy grail and gained a place in material superiority, which was the address she had sought for her entire life.

After dark, alone in bed with her, I sought a moment of understanding but in vain: she didn’t deal in intimacy but in the concrete demonstrations of ability which were the only language she recognised.

The concept of emotional exhaustion is not often empathised or understood but with her, who loved my circumstances rather than myself, and form more than substance, I discovered I was more alone than I have ever been till maintaining my façade became my sole reason for being.

Inevitably I exhausted my emotional reserves and had a nervous breakdown as the company I started went bankrupt. I became the observer, watching the charade which were my circumstances disintegrate around me.

She left me for another man, of course. Some business rival I had crossed swords with on occasion but otherwise hardly knew: took my children with her, naturally, because that is the modern way, and resumed her pampered lifestyle but with another man

However luck was on my side, though not obviously, and I met a lady, gentle in all things, who loved me for who I was and not what I had and made me whole again: healed my life and offered me stability.

One day, while staying at my lodgings, and enduring the pleasures of a meal I had cooked for her, she pointed at an eighteenth century oil painting, my last possession from that tortured period and a favourite of my children, hanging on my wall, and asked me where that came from.

“I was wealthy once” I explained and she shook her head and said, “Were you ever !” and perhaps she was right, because in her gaze I saw more riches than I had ever known.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

35 Responses to Escape From The Gilded Wilderness

  1. A wonderful modern tale of searching for love but falling for the lies of society regarding the material. I guess that money and possessions have replaced power and status in the eyes of many – and, indeed, I suspect that they are the driving force for the majority in our world: such a shame that we still find it so hard to see beyond them.
    I’m a little concerned about his new beau’s motives, though, upon eyeing the painting. Let’s hope she’s on the level!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cindy knoke says:

    For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
    That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. araneus1 says:

    Nice one! I read your story to my good lady while she prepared our evening meal. Wow, was her response, and rightly so.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ksbeth says:

    ‘i could afford anything but happiness.’ my favorite line. so very well done, peter. and, i could not help but love the ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Absolutely love this line!!

    “…looked for understanding among my fellow man and discovered nothing but clichés in their eyes.”

    A brilliant commentary on life and love, Peter.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Peter,
    you should teach classes about how men should treat women! Such a sweet man. x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There’s a mellowness to this story, Peter. I am imagining them selling that painting with all of its emotional baggage and starting a modest life together, with a dog and a few cats maybe, and depending on the lady’s views on the subject, a new family. My idea of romance 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. catterel says:

    You haven’t lost your touch, Ducks! Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Another good post.
    I got suckered into a relationship where he was only after the money I foolishly mentioned on my divorce. Once it ran out, the attitude changed. Luckily, some 6th sense had me tie up some of it for 5 years that he knew nothing about. When I left after 8, I still had part of that nest egg, When Hubby and I met, each of us had nothing to offer except friendship. We were both broke, but working, so keeping our heads above water, me paying off debts on credit cards and loans without borrowing any more until the house was sold (took 2 years due to a lousy solicitor!).
    It’s always been balancing act with money, but we are richer in many more things that possessions. I’d be a fool to say that money doesn’t matter, but we have enough, and that does.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. With destruction comes the dawn. Well written!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. kahyehm says:

    This got me hooked… wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. gotham girl says:

    Brilliant on so many levels and many that we all can relate too. And of course who doesn’t love a happy ending!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. delphini510 says:

    Your story is very strong and true to life as it happens to many. I know people who spend their life working non-stop to keep up the with all the trappings of ‘success’. It is extremely sad to me, especially when you know that these people often were the most happy and gentle before.

    I would say that in losing your company you found yourself.


    Liked by 1 person

  14. tiostib says:

    this could be the story of my life. Once consumed by angst and ego in the “gilded wilderness,” I, too, found a more humble path and a truer love, a love much richer than I’ve ever known before. Again, thank you for reminding me of the wonder of grace.


  15. Scarlet says:

    What happened to the household pets???? I hope they all found happy homes, too. I can’t bear to think of them being locked up by the ex wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Al says:

    Back from the lands of the Latins, Peter, and enjoying your stories once more. This one is a particular masterpiece for me, since I myself have forgone unending ambitions for the love of a lady who desires only sincerity and tenderness rather than the overindulgent material trappings. Evidenced, of course, by our recent celebrations.


  17. mothermi6 says:

    Hi Peter. Good to see your name again. Your story about the first wife had a bone-chillingly factual accuracy. I think we would all recognise aspects of our relationships in it. Women often seek the trappings of success and men often seek youth, beauty, and fertility.


  18. nelle says:

    Sometimes we learn this lesson. If we don’t, we keep getting the test.


  19. I like how it is written, that being a given each time I drop by.
    In this story, I cannot suppress that bitter cynic in me who wonders about his new girl…


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