One Last Cappuccino


With six months to live at best, two with mobility he had determined to make the best of what he was given.

Sometime after the onset of middle age, and after one of those periodic calamities which had marked his later life, he had become adept at whittling out nourishment and emotion from the bleakest of scenes: making a feast from titbits, treasuring a passing view, but now his time was mainly spent in solitude with music as his companion.

Friendships cost money, and now that was in short supply. “Not to worry,” he thought, “I’ve got memories”. and so he had: journeys abroad filled with adventure; parties where common sense had left the room; meetings with minds who touched base with life’s eternal questions; women who moved him with a tender curiosity:he recalled the tousled sheets and bric a brac of a careless life before they left him for more certain landscapes, but always without rancour: they had their needs, and knew he could not fill them.

He recalled moments of suspended intensity while walking late at night but now these events were firmly in his past and memories were all he had to take with him to infinity. By and large the place he sat in was full of known and unknown faces typical of a tourist venue. The rusty stalwarts like himself: same table, same coffee and a newspaper sat among the passing tourists who talked more loudly than the locals: excited by their new adventures.

Chance and coincidence were all that refreshed him, and there she was, a visitor from another land, another time and just across the shop. He remembered their conversations, lying there in bed. Her red hair, now grey, spilled out across the pillow. “You love life don’t you. You drink it up.” Her words had never left him. “It’s all I have!” he replied and they had laughed. Now here she was, forty years on and sitting with a family, settled with her grandchildren and the picture of an ordered and polite common sense. Across the room, their eyes met and hers were warm: familiar but final : a nod is all it takes to share a history.

He had six months to live but now he knew that a part of him would live on in others . He would live on their memories: perhaps that was the right place for him.

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

17 Responses to One Last Cappuccino

  1. ksbeth says:

    and it was the perfect fit for his legacy. excellent

    Like

  2. Sad and poignant, and a realisation that we all arrive at at some point: is there any more? Would we even want it? A grounding thought is that, for us all, within two generations there will be no-one left who truly knew us (even if they did when we were here). Fine, thoughtful writing, Peter – I trust you are well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We should all hope to be remembered in a fond smile, a moment preserved.

    Like

  4. lbeth1950 says:

    I have been ill lately and had a lot of these thoughts. Some of our best thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just about cried – damn it. This was vintage countingducks.

    Like

  6. Al says:

    Damn, Peter, you’re good at this.

    Like

  7. mistermuse says:

    After reading this, for some reason a song came to mind — it was Frank Sinatra’s (I Did It)

    Like

  8. mistermuse says:

    Oops! I hit the wrong key and the above comment appeared before I was finished. The song I referred to was “(I Did It) MY WAY” — anyway, I tried! Beautiful post.

    Like

  9. tiostib says:

    To write so poignantly requires both a keen attention to human frailty and a compassionate heart, not to mention a solid craft of words and a touch of poetic whimsy. All this is yours and you have touched my soul lovingly. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Scarlet says:

    a nod is all it takes to share a history.
    So true.
    You are observant and insightful, Mr Ducks.
    Sx

    Like

  11. Made me a bit teary!

    Like

  12. araneus1 says:

    ‘parties where common sense had left the room’ love this line. Your commenters have said it all and I concur. Nicely done my friend. Terry

    Liked by 1 person

  13. tidalscribe says:

    Oh that was so touching.

    Liked by 1 person

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