The Leaving

(follows on from The LetterThe Step and The Fist)

It’s late and I’m tired so I won’t embellish this. Like my dad had told me to, I asked my mum if he hit her and she said ‘yes.’ Either she misremembers or my dad does, but more likely that they both have different words for the same thing.

Whatever the reason for the slight difference of opinion, that was the night she left the house, to pick up my littlest sister from the birthday party she was at. Neither of them ever came back.

My bigger sister followed pretty soon after that, which, apart from the obvious reason, was a bit of a bummer for her because she was in the middle of her O-levels.

Soon after that, my dad said to me that if I tried to go and live with my mum he would drag me back. I can’t remember saying anything to that piece of news. The thought had never entered my head, up until that point, to do that. Not was I ever led to believe it was an option.

I was nineteen.

A short while later, that woman moved in and the sound of them ‘making love’ at night was not something I was especially keen on, so I went to an agency, picked out a flat in a shared house, hired a van, packed up my stuff and moved out.

I didn’t tell my dad that I was going, but somehow he seemed to know. He told me later that he stood at the top of our street watching me shifting boxes to the van. He must have walked down when I was nearly done because I remember him arriving and saying that if I ever wanted to come back, then I could.

I scoffed at the suggestion and said something like, ‘what? move back here?’ I felt like that was that last thing that I wanted to do. I wonder to this day if my dad ever knew how scared I was of him.bout the days and nights dreading the sound of his feet down the side of the house, or up the stairs. I would be reading and it seemed to me that he wanted me to be doing something more worthwhile with my time.

This is the first time I’ve told anyone about the days and nights I spent dreading the sound of his feet down the side of the house, or up the stairs. I would inevitably be reading, and it seemed to me that he always wanted me to be doing something more worthwhile with my time.

I was never really clear what he considered worthwhile, but I had (and have) vague notions it was something like digging the garden over, cleaning my bike or helping him to fix a car.

I still feel a vague anxiousness when someone sees me reading a book. But I fight it. In fact – I do it more – just to prove that I can. I still can’t read one in front of my dad, though – imagine that.

Free will?



4 thoughts on “The Leaving

  1. Robert! This is a powerful post. Spilling your thoughts out (no, make that your heart), is deeply personal and a bit painful. Reading a book, a pleasure or a bad remembrance? Big wow! Thank you for your deeply thoughtful words. I loved reading them. I hope that this writing gives you a sense of peace.


  2. It still amazes myself regularly, how my mother still influences my think process, even if we are not in each others life anymore. I wish more parents realize that children understand more then they assume. Turning on the music loud, that doesn’t mean your children don’t know you are fighting…for an example.
    I find myself also struggling not wanting to become like her, but realizing that being her daughter some things are inevitable…


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