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I will not forget the face of my father by Claude Mills Featured

Entertainment News Written by  Millsy Sunday, 06 February 2011 11:40 font size decrease font size increase font size 0
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SOMETIMES I worry that I won't be a good father. Do I have the right temperament for the job? Do I even want the job? After all, being a father is one of the toughest non-paying jobs out there.

And the hours are brutal.

Hell, sometimes I kinda understand why some men opt out of the fatherhood thing. It is often a thankless job, fraught with emotional danger, and heart-aching disappointments. And sometimes, you can't seem to elude that quirky feeling that you will never get the props you deserve because mothers have that special genes that allow them to soak up all the children's love like hungry sponges.

Even now, I feel a twinge of jealousy when my daughter hugs her mother. When she wakes up in the night, she never calls out 'Daddy'. However, I am pleased that she reacts in sheer screaming delight when I get home. But I suspect it is because she has fallen in love with my car ­ but that's another story.

Growing up, I was never really close to my father. But at least, he was there. He always came home. He didn't smoke. He didn't drink. And if he did womanise, I never really heard about it. At various times during my adolescence, I think he deliberately set out to terrorise me, and generally, he made my life a hellish misery.

But at least he was there.

Many of my friends never had their fathers around. So I guess I should be grateful, shouldn't I?

But even with all the drama and history, I know that I love my father. But it is a fierce love ­ a love given almost grudgingly ­ that sometimes squeezes my heart and doubles my vision with its intensity.

This love is mingled with unresolved feelings of awe, fear, resentment and anger that swirl around this man. He was not an easy man to grow up with. It was like living with nitro sometimes. Volatile. Unpredictable. But I suspect that over the years, he has mellowed. Or maybe he's just growing old.

We have reached a sort of uneasy truce, he and I. We try to get along. We don't rock the boat. We co-exist, but it is difficult to negotiate this yawning chasm that lies between us. Still, I will not forget the face of my father.

I recall snatches of memories with him. I remember my amusement and bewilderment when he made a feeble attempt at 'the birds and bees talk' at age 13 (a little late for a young male teenager: I already knew half the stuff he stumbled on about).

And sometimes, I get flashes of dim water-colour memories of Christmases past, rides at Coconut Park, the rough flannel of his shirt, the smell of English Leather and his gift for telling humorous stories.

But it is his irrational anger that I recall most of all. It is the unfair incidents of abuse, and the sharp, stiletto-like insults which stoke the coals of resentment in my heart. These memories don't fade. They seem to have the half-life of toxic waste.

Today, my father and I don't hang out. We don't hug, or even joke around. But there are things I would like to share with my father, a lot of unresolved feelings that churn within and rust my soul... stuff that I'd like to say but have never quite got around to. And maybe I never will. The chasm yawns wider still.

But for all his faults, and for all my inability to change the uneasy dynamic of our relationship, I know that I will never forget the face of my father.



Read 1889 times Last modified on Thursday, 10 February 2011 02:17

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