Today I phoned my Father.
It is his Birthday and when remembering his Birthday I can’t help but recall his fondness for huge celebrations on the 28th of August. There were long weekends away, and alcohol fuelled hi spirited laughs, that I listened to from my bedroom, being too young to participate in the boozy revelry that accompanied his popular Birthday parties..
So I phoned him, and it didn’t go well.
Once he worked out which of his offspring it was that he was speaking to , he chose to address me, as he often has over the last five decades. He called me “Boy”. One could possibly imagine that it is a term of endearment, fondness even. But it never feels like that…”Thanks for calling BOY” with the emphasis on BOY. Not Son, Not, Tim, Not Suzanne…. BOY, a, short, clipped version of the word, almost spat out.
His timing was perfect. I hated hearing it 50 years ago..But today it was just one more reason to add to the sensation of despair and loathing that has plagued me for the last 48 hours.
The myriad of things that I could have said, and perhaps should have said whirled around inside my head, and of course they remained unsaid. Instead I wished him “A Very Happy Birthday” and I meant it. The last thing I would want is for him, or anyone else for that matter to feel quite as bad as I do right now.