Music: When Doves Cry – Damien Rice

Maybe I’m just too demanding
Maybe I’m just like my father too bold
Maybe you’re just like my mother
She’s never satisfied
Why do we scream at each other
This is what it sounds like
When doves cry…
– Prince

I haven’t spoken with dad in over a year now. The last time I saw him was New Year’s 2008.

Today, I grabbed the family for a short walk to get some ice-cream. We raced to the shops and walked back slowly, ice-cream dribbling down our chins and it dawned on me that dad used to do that with me. We would go running in the parks and sweaty, we’d head to the nearest McDonald’s for a sundae or packet of fries, sharing them happily. He played the guitar and would often sing me his beloved country music. Sometimes I wonder if that was his way of communicating what he felt inside which he didn’t want to enunciate clearly to my then toddler self.

‘Don’t cry out loud, just keep it inside, learn how to hide your feelings…’

I barely think about him ever since he and mom got divorced and he moved out to settle with his new wife and daughter in another country. It’s a little strange to think that I’ve got a half-sister somewhere out there, who’s just a year older than my daughter. But that’s beside the point.

Mom came to me to ask if I’d contacted him recently and I said no.

‘I texted him twice but received no answer,’ she said. It never occurred to me that he might be in some form of danger, or that age/sickness might have caught up with him. But there we were, tossing about reasons for his silence. I have yet to pick up the phone to call him, which I will soon.

How did the conversations I waited anxiously to have with him dissipate into comfortable stretches of forgetfulness and silence? Mom said that he used his pension to invest in stocks and with the recent turn in the economy, he might have been seriously affected.

The weird bit is that I’m not too worried about him and that perhaps, is the reason why I worry. This was the man who worked hard to provide, nurture and protect me from the ills of a world gone awry. True, there are multitudes of hurtful arguments, disagreements and general pain associated with my memories of him but still, my indifference makes me sad.

Have I become what I disliked most about my father?

Footnote: Dad eventually got back to Mom. I have yet to call him.


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