A Coincidental Reunion

The doctor’s words  slid across his mind, played with his future and settled on the hand in front of him. His hand. “Three months at most”. The words were not ambiguous. He had a period of mobility, and armed with pain killers could cling to normal routine for a while longer:  routine,  had always been his most loyal companion, his order in an uncertain world: the habits between him and a  fear of the chaos somewhere beyond the horizon.

Sixty- three years old and not much to show. A couple of children. Lovely in their own way but gradually estranged by his lack of  circumstance.  Somewhere in later middle age he had lost his way and now  assumed the air of nonchalance so essential to survival in an urban landscape. His career was distinguished by a lack of progress.  and his character by a failure to grasp the importance of the everyday. 

He had become adept at whittling out nourishment and emotion from the bleakest scene: making a feast from a titbit, treasuring a passing view, but his time was mainly spent in solitude with music as his companion. Friendships cost money, and 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. Who enjoyed ,with him, moments of suspended reality among the coffee cups, the tousled sheets and the bric a brac of a careless life. In turn, they left him for more certain landscapes, but  without rancour. They had their needs, and he could not fill them.

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 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 three months but now he knew that part of him would live on in others, in their memories. Perhaps that was the right place for him.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

10 Responses to A Coincidental Reunion

  1. catterel says:

    Poignant but rings true,sincere – no bathos here. Sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dtrichards says:

    Very sweet and well written, Peter. I especially liked the line ‘“Not to worry”, he thought, “I’ve got memories”. And so he had.’ Memories are what we carry with us into the Beyond.


  3. Peter (as you already must know) you are a portrait artist of exceeding talent!


  4. Not to sound too maudlin but even their memories will only be partial and will soon fade: but then even the most notoious, infamous or exalted geniuses will only be remembered by their deeds and not who they truly were. Better perhaps to take a little nourishment where one can and hope for nothing more.
    An excellent study (as always) Peter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tidalscribe says:

    Beautifullly written.


  6. beth says:

    and memories are all we’re really left with in the end – another beautiful tale, Peter

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Al says:

    It’s breathtaking how you transport us into another life so easily. You had me at “The doctor’s words.”


  8. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Another good story from Peter 😉


  9. Robin says:

    I so agree with so many comments here and especially Al’s…”It’s breathtaking how you transport us into another life so easily.” I’ll just add…and in such few words. LOVE THIS SO MUCH.


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