Time will tell
They said he died of a heart attack; I think it was probably his alcohol addiction that killed him.
Even before mum died he was boozing heavily and when she passed away it only got worse.
Things got tough at home. Whilst we were both grieving for our loss he took out his grievance on me. In his drunken stupors he would hit me again and again, swearing and yelling.
When the abuse became too much I was taken away. I was only fifteen.
Fifteen years later after living in a succession of foster homes, growing up without a mum or dad, marrying and starting my own family I’m back home again ; only this time to bury my father.
I don’t know why I turned up at his funeral, probably because my aunt, his sister wouldn’t take no for an answer. It really was pointless; I didn’t like him and he didn’t like him.
It was a solemn ceremony. The church was half full as we didn’t have that many relatives. I was surprised any of them bothered to turn up. I suppose they came to make sure he was really dead.
I didn’t stand up to say anything – there wasn’t anything to say – as far as I was concerned he was just a drunk abusive father and I was finally glad to see the back of him.
It was a short drive from the crematorium to our house. Dad owed back taxes so after its sold there won’t be much left that might come my way.
My aunt opened the front door and we went in. In his final months she had become his carer and when he passed, the executor of his estate.
Everything was as I still remembered it; the same old rickety furniture and musky smell of stale alcohol.
Things had been wrapped up and packed into boxes; aunt said she was giving his things away to charity. I had no objection.
As she went into the kitchen to put on the kettle I made my way upstairs to my old room.
“ I wouldn’t go up there …”, she shouted after me,”…I haven’t put anything away yet”
I ignored her.
I pushed the creaky door open. I had left in a hurry all those years ago and my bed was just as I left it; the bed covers thrown back, my PJs on the floor. Even my dog-eared bedtime story book was still under my pillow.
My drawers were still open as the lady from the agency had left them; I remember her frantically pulling them open and dumping my clothes into a holdall she’d brought with her. I remember my enraged father, yelling downstairs, being restrained by the police.
All my football and popstar posters, now faded, where still where I had hung them up and my toys were still scattered on the floor, where I’d left them.
I picked up my Rubik’s cube and tried to solve its complex puzzle, fiddling with the multi-coloured squares as I had done years ago. But just like my last night in this house, all those years ago, I couldn’t and just let it drop to the floor again
On my small study table by the window was a pile of neatly wrapped presents and a stack of sealed envelopes. I counted fifteen birthday presents and fifteen Christmas presents. One for each year I wasn’t home.
I opened the sealed envelopes. There were fifteen birthday cards and fifteen Christmas cards. Again one for each year I wasn’t home.
Tears welled in my eyes.
“He thought you were coming back…he might have been a drunk and abusive father…”, began my aunt, standing in the doorway,”…but he did love you dearly. He just didn’t know how to show it after your mum died”.