The Search For Truth


The road ahead would stretch as far as he wanted: company unavailable. Exits were his speciality, entrances occurred infrequently, while each ‘new beginning’ waited confidently for him to spoil its promise: another drunken rage, a moment of unfaithfulness, a sense of himself tilting at order, in a marriage, in a job, at his life: you can take your pick!

So here he was, another walk, another outburst, another day trying to explain what ‘living’ meant to himself, if no one else. That look she gave him then was not unknown, but new from her. When they met, love spilled out of her with careless abandon: he was a wound from which emotion flowed, and she the bandage who brought comfort to his life. She was all he had and all he wanted, and on this crazy voyage we call “experience,” she seemed like some unlikely angel, appearing from nowhere at a bookshop, commenting on the book he was browsing, saying, “He’s odd, the author I mean”, and he had turned and smiled at her, because it was ten-thirty in the morning and he was still sober, and wondering at her interest.

‘Crazy’ he understood and you could see that in his smile. Her young life, lived without adventure and ordered in the way which ironed out the spontaneous had moved to his, who seemed so reckless of his welfare, or health or any sense of strategy.

The author she talked of was odd, but not as disconnected as the man she was speaking to now, though she was not to know that then: this sober steady girl who would admit to anything you wanted except her young life had previously been damaged by a man who was half way to lost: she had too much pride to make that admission.

All her new friend had was anger, and the power to destroy, as she would discover in her turn. She presumed he longed to be understood, but in truth all he wished for was escape, as he so often did, into a landscape which, on each return, became more polluted by his recklessness. He could smash any picture put before him: his toast, when he could make himself understood, was “Death to the enemy”, though we have no idea who that man or creature might be, while raising his whisky to the attendant crowd or with advancing years, to no one.

In time gone by, he was the master of a phrase, the king of raconteurs, who held court while others bought him drinks. Those faces gathered round him: revelling in his verbal balance, and storing away those edgy phrases spilled so carelessly in front of a passing audience so that in future years, safely protected by time and their common sense, and making the best of what they were, building a career on some aspect of ability, they would remember meeting some brilliant stranger who had no sense of his well-being, while he, lost in chaos and safely in their past, careered on through his wilderness in a search for understanding and a moment touched by comfort!

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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, Peter Wells, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The Search For Truth

  1. ksbeth says:

    wow, talk about a man floating out in space, not docked to anything, cutting his lifelines, his air supply, just drifting through the universe – your characters are so well drawn in this one – amazing

    Like

  2. catterel says:

    I think you are populating purgatory (or do I mean limbo?) with your lost souls.

    Like

    • But possibly they are among the most interesting characters you could meet as long as you are not responsible for their welfare or upkeep. Look at the heritage of Dylan Thomas against what it must have been like to have had him controlling your life. Not an easy question to answer but one which interests me 🙂 Always love your comments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • catterel says:

        I’m sure purgatory and hell are full of very interesting characters. I shudder at the thought of being controlled by Dylan Thomas, much as I love his poetry 😀

        Like

  3. Timoteophillips says:

    Good to see you are back. I was missing your postings – usually every Monday. I’m in the UK mid-August to mid-September. Where’s this cafe with the best carrot cake? We must get together. We cannot let another 50 years go by.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece, Peter, the characters very much put me in mind of a work by Pinter – I could sense your lead’s anger/ frustration/ dissociation burning through the pages (ok, screen). A masterful study.

    Like

  5. bluerooster says:

    I like, “halfway to lost”. Food for thought.

    Like

  6. Al says:

    A loose cannon on the ship of life. A symbol of strength and power when the waters of life are calm, but let that water become the least bit turbulent and it becomes an awesome self-destructive force. Yes, we’ve all met this soul at sometime in our lives.

    Like

  7. liefladee says:

    Wow, powerfully insightful,
    Your skill at romanizing human damage is truly amazing. Beautifully written and expressed. I am not sure it is truth or healing? Loved it!

    Like

  8. gotham girl says:

    I agree with Al above. We’ve all met this person at some point in our life. Great writing, as usual!

    Like

  9. nelle says:

    Whew… I’m glad that dude is in fiction! I’d want to steer clear.

    Like

  10. You have this amazing talent to write in a way where your characters come alive during the specific time at which I could almost feel like I know them.

    Like

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