Love Was Not Her Answer


 Her stare challenged everything in sight: late twenties and a practised controller of events, the answer to many situations lodged in her experience, she feared little but some aspects of emotion, and looked on those she knew as reference points. Unmarried and unattached, six years spent with a school-time love now an untapped memory, she had determined, if nothing else, that life was a matter of furnishings and coats

Her friends were now her family, and home a concept more than place. Safe within her talents and new owner of a property, she could see the sky outside the window was full of colour, glimpsed between the building tops. Below was a patch of garden although not her own: she had not met the owners yet, and there was no reason she would do so.

The knock on her door was not solicited, and she opened it more from habit than intent to reveal a boy of six looking up at her with enquiring face, “Do you play the piano miss” he asked as if she knew his name and before she could control herself, she said “Yes” because that was a dormant passion in her life. “We’ve just got one from my gran, she’s dead” he told her by way of explanation, and added “Come and see”

Why she did we cannot say but there was an openness about him she could not bear to bruise and she so walked down with him to the flat below where , sure enough, a battered upright stood against the wall, lid raised and keyboard in full view. His mother poked her head round the kitchen door, a bit older than herself but not by much, and clearly on a different path and warm.

Both looked at her expectantly, uneasily it must be said, as she sat down and played one of her own compositions, composed before her father lost his way and her old home became a mausoleum. The boy started dancing by her stool and his mother said, “That’s really good” and so it may have been, but written in another time, when flowers bloomed and angels still wore white.

What do you do?” the mother asked, and she replied, “I am a retail analyst for a large department store.” The mother was impressed, though in a baffled way. “What about the music?” she asked and the young boy said, “Play some more,” but she replied, “I must get on, I’m sure you understand” and the mother said “Of course” and the boy just shook his head, for he still lived in that gentle place where flowers bloomed and angels still wore white.

 

 

Posted in Art, character, creative writing, faith, Humanity, Peter Wells, Romance, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

First Love’s Eternity


You lived creatively letting art define your life, fearless in your every day, walking the path I should have walked if I had courage in my veins; but I was a percentage man, careful always not to fail. I talked of art but lived by common sense and progressed cautiously toward an unmarked death.

At first you welcomed me, and drowned me with your kisses, opening yourself to me in pagan celebration sure that I, like you, was of the chosen few, who recognised the secret of life will only be discovered creatively. How we loved to swap observations, and nestle with each other by the fire and talk of love. I touched your skin and felt each brush of it to be a prayer. Your lips, for that short time, were mine to kiss and face to hold: wonder was our chemistry, and gold the colour which framed our life, for we had found eternity.

I lost my nerve at last, and talked of safe professions, a refuge from the fear that those who live to dream will pay a cost until, one day, that love I drank of so freely from your eyes shrank to a trickle of regret.

You painted like a girl possessed while I trained for my bar exams and we drifted on complicitly, avoiding the unspoken truth, that you were fearless and I was not. An agent came to see your work, sent there by a man of note, and the rest we know is history. You have created these forty years and I have not, but I read of you in magazines, and sometimes when silence fills my life, I take the portrait you made of me, a young man with a dream to chase, staring out courageously, for that was how you saw me then.

Life becomes your memories and in that place I love you still. I never speak your name out loud, and make no reference to your work but in that garden where we sat, innocent of encroaching truth, I sit, as so I often did, and feel your hand move through my hair.

 

Posted in character, creative writing, faith, Fiction, Life, Love, Peter Wells, Relationships, Romance, Talent, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Sort of Happy New Year


My mother’s wedding photograph was unique in one degree only: she was smiling from the heart outward and it showed in her eyes. Looking up at my father she clearly had found and married the man of her dreams and was floating along on those warm winds we believe originate in Paradise.

What made that remarkable was I never saw her smile face to face in my company: her wedding occurring, as was the custom of the age, a year or two before she began to have children; I only knew her when she was already a woman of resigned or even sour experience. My father was killed in a freak accident when I was three and my younger sister only a year old: it changed my mother forever.

To add colour to the picture I will tell you one of her favourite sayings, “Luck is a matter of chance, death a matter of fact” a remark, which hardly lifts the spirits of the young or troops on the eve of battle.

Continuing the military theme she observed, “Life is a battle which you ultimately lose:” another inspiring observation. She was, to all intents and purposes, a prophet of gloom, who counselled constantly against reckless optimism or euphoria. She was a successful author in her own way, but not to a degree which gave her any satisfaction.

I loved her because she was the only mother I had, but with her I found love was an emotion without children: she was protected against the weakness of joy by observation. Nothing in her research led her to believe that we, as a species, might feel any sense of optimism on a personal or genetic level which was founded on anything but the human need for hope or a general sentimentality.

I am not saying she was right or wrong, but her outlook on life impregnated every aspect of my childhood until I thought euphoria was the precursor to damnation. That girl I kissed in the park in a moment of pagan connection could not draw me into sunlight because, where laughter was concerned, my mother always kept the curtains drawn.

I would say her customary expression was non-committal: “Non-committal” also became my outlook on the everyday. She told me once in conversation, “I entered this life unwelcomed and will leave unnoticed.” Her passive body added, “Do not look to me for strategy, do not look to me for kindness, I have no sense of such things: all I offer you is the recognition that if you are sad you are not alone. I am sad also.” She lived a life largely in shadow and I am the guardian of her barren inheritance.

Severity became her natural outlook, but within that outlook she had a peculiar and original sense of humour. Robbed of life at an unfashionably young age by septicaemia as another year came to its close, she beckoned me to within hearing range of her exhausted body and spoke her final phrase, “Happy New Year”

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Cooking and Christmas Cheer To All My Friends


Christmas day is the one day when the kitchen is cleared, technically speaking, of all opinions but my own and, for better or worse, I step forward to roast the turkey, cook vegetables, make the sauces and generally do all that is needed to supply a visually stunning feast at approximately 2pm on 25th December.

In order to try and preserve some flavour, I buy the very best ingredients I can so that, even if the turkey is removed from the oven in a charred, distressed and almost unrecognisable state some remnants of taste may remain thus allowing my reluctant guests to nod their heads in nervous appreciation before taking a palate-cleansing slurp of any available liquid.

When eyebrows are raised as a wing snaps away from the rest of the bird in a sound I last heard when I broke up an old and rusty fence, I ensure that my expression is non-committal, and may even go in for a short period of head nodding and slurping to suggest that, modest as I am, I have recognised flavours in my creation which are normally only produced by the very best kitchens. Carry this off with enough understated confidence and you may persuade one or two of the diners that the meal they are eating is actually enjoyable.

Anyway, as always, the proof of the meal will be in the eating but I cling to optimism as being my best approach on the day.

In the meanwhile may I wish my blogging and other chums a very happy Christmas and I hope you all get the meal and festivities you enjoy the most.

Posted in Christmas, creative writing | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

Changing Ambitions


“What do you want from life?” a friend asked me once: we were both twenty- one: two adventurers on the road to glory: two comrades with stories to discover. I looked up, squinting at my glass of cut-price wine and said, “Truth, some kind of closure: to be present at that moment when conscious life first moved onto dry land” and they smiled and I said, “What about you?”

“I want to be a solicitor” they said and we both laughed, because that was us: the practical and the dreamer, the strategist and the mad man searching for the definition of a timeless present which I later discovered is a form of alienation. You became a solicitor surrounded by family and bathed in comfort while I remained the proverbial wolf howling in darkness, but we still have our friendship and our wonder at the shape of life.

Truth we felt back then was a destination and place of mystery hidden in ambiguities. The works of art we liked offered no solution but were full, we thought, of unsentimental observations painted on canvas, incanted in verse, written in music or the novels of the great. We promised we would not spare ourselves in the search for some definition or profound insight. We did not understand our promise.

Only years later did I realise that in deep space any noise you hear is not one that living creature’s make. The further you go into the unknown, the more you meet your own insignificance: there is no companionship, no church bells here, or children playing in the snow, only a darkness that devours your context or blinding light impervious to human feeling.

At last, after years of hurling myself at the unknowable I realised I did not wish to understand, so much as to be understood: to value others and be valued and discover harmony in another’s spirit. After years in the wilderness I discovered what I most wanted was to be accepted.

Posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, Humanity, Life, Peter Wells, Relationships, Romance, Understanding | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

The Dancing Class


You know that practised smile, the air-hostess smile? Miss Laura had it and could look on you and then move away before you could ask if her manner was sincere or meant for you or just a reflection of your longing, but luck was not on her side the day I had joined her dance class.

I was lonely and desperate and it was some years since I had become a recluse, more by force of circumstance than desire. An advert in the local newspaper caught my eye and here I was holding Miss Laura in my arms, and seeing her eyes, first warm and nurturing, then wary, then alarmed as she looked up at me. I could almost hear her refined and polished equipment whirring into action as she sought a way to extricate herself from the arms of this odd creature without creating a scene.

I hung on to her a bit too long and her eyes, with that gentle seriousness I had seen before in other girls, made the unspoken suggestion that I was threatening to embarrass myself and her until, like some piece of refuse caught briefly by an overhanging branch, I was released from my hypnosis and freed her from my grasp.

As I released her, her eyes hardened as if to say, “I do not waste my warmth on flotsam” and to be honest there was a guarded, careful quality about her which was at odds with her social and generalised manner.

I had been a wealthy man in my time, and used to employ a modesty of character combined with an expensive wardrobe to attract those whose company I might enjoy. Up to my mid-forties I had been considered sensible, balanced and particular, until a certain Maria Gratzia, who boasted among other things, that she was a distant descendant of Lucretia Borgia, caught my eye: which outlandish claim was given some credence by her subsequent conduct.

What she had against men, or mankind in general, or just me, I cannot truly say, but once I lost myself in her, she married me, took half my wealth, my reputation and my peace of mind before leaving me to find consolation in uneasy solitude brought on by shame and balmed by any drink I could acquire.

We all have unsavoury, grubby aspects to our character do we not, and she managed to fillet out mine and make it general knowledge to excuse her own conduct, which it did, leaving me, now a pariah, to steal into obscure seclusion from which I have failed to free myself for close on a decade. At last, the longing to be absolved, touched and recognised gradually possessed me until I had made this unbalanced foray into general life.

I was like a man dying of thirst who stumbles into some fine restaurant and gulps and slurps from a carafe of wine without ceremony, revolting the diners with his display of unpolished appetite, as was my briefly engaged dance teacher when she saw the hunger in my eyes. After a while, I saw recognition overlay the hauteur and she said, “Mr Longestine, please do not come here again,” and I left as quickly as I could. Secrets laid bare, it seems, can sometimes haunt us all our lives.

Posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, Life, Peter Wells, Relationships, Reputation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Conversation Gone Viral


Alec Sapelovirus was sitting next to Sam Chlorella in the rest room of the New Strain Research Facility and talking over recent events while relaxing over a soothing drink. They were discussing how near the virus as an entity had come to being wiped off the face of the Earth on more than one occasion. “Do you remember when that asteroid hit the Americas back in the age of Freedom” said Sam. Arthur nodded and said, “Oh yes. I lost literally billions of relatives in that one. Those dust clouds. No photo-synthesis under those monsters eh?” and both nodded as they recalled the horrific levels of destruction across all species engendered by the catastrophe.

“Mind You” said Alec, “The age of the antibiotic has not been so good has it? I’ve lost so many chums in that, but at least we are starting to see the back of the horror.” Both nodded and alluded to the new form of viral entertainment which involved visiting hospital wards and seeing the increasing and ineffectual efforts of humans to develop new strains of their medicine to wipe out microbes who had been in existence long before man was even considered as the “Next great joke” to be developed by “The Mighty Consciousness.”

“They always get it wrong eh Sam; mankind I mean” said Alec and both chuckled as they took a sip from the phial of obsolete medicines, now the latest “thrill” drink for viruses, and capable of giving the evening a “buzz” without actually threatening your tomorrows. “How good is that” said Sam, and both nodded. “You just can’t beat a nice shot of anti-malaria serum to jolt you into action can you?” and again, both nodded.

“Humans eh, said Cecil Bocaparvovirus who had just sat down beside them. “They always think they are the cleverest thing on the planet don’t they.”

“But that’s why they are so amusing isn’t it” said Sam and again everyone nodded. “You know what they say” said Alec. “What’s that” asked the other two. “It takes more than one cell to make a genius” and the other two just smiled. The smartest thought in the room is seldom the wisest, but they would leave that discussion to another day.

Posted in character, Creative Fiction, creative writing, Fiction, Humanity, humour, Life, Peter Wells | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments