March 18th 1989 – it’s almost thirty years ago. Quiet day for most, Discovery 8 returned to Earth, Jason Donovan (and I through a hairbrush) was singing Too Many Lonely Hearts In The World – and my Dad informed me, he had left my Mum. My family. Me.
As humans we crave the things we don’t have. You don’t open the cereal cupboard in the morning and scream with delight, because there’s Cornflakes in there. You want Ricicles. Even worse, you want a bowl of those Lucky Charms that your brother stole from you as a kid, and sat laughing as he plunged his filthy hands into the box, plundering the aforementioned sugar laden, yet somehow, fortifying breakfast snack.
I’m 39 years old and that day in March still haunts me. I will apologise now to my Dad, because he tells me he reads this. It’s my own personal Sliding Doors. That day had such a profound impact on my life and is the reason why I’m full of bile and spite now. The avalanche caused by the snowballing events of that day, killed a kid. Or at least suffocated him for a number of years.
It would take a whole other book (or two) for me to detail the fights, the arguments, the periods of estrangement and the getting back together, into the happy relationship we have now. Maybe that’s a genre I can move into…
The point is, my Mum, will never quite understand it. I don’t crave my Mum and her time, it was always there, I crave his time because in my head, Dad walked out on me. At my age, the situation is similar to when as a kid and you scored a goal, you turn round to see if your Dad approves – remember that? I do. What if that is at work and you receive an accolade? I still look round to see if he’s there and if he’s proud. I’m 39 for fucks sake. People look at me funny in the office when I sulk to the floor, streaming tears, but they seem to be getting used to it.
Throughout my life there has been periods of self neglect, abuse and thoughtlessness. I did those things, no one else. Would it have been different if my Dad stayed around? Maybe. Possibly not. Every drunken fight I got into as a twenty-something, wasn’t because my Dad wasn’t there – no. It’s because I’m a knobhead.
But, if I had of pushed words out, understood what was going on in my head, picked up the phone or stopped being a knobhead, these things might not have happened. The protagonist in Comedic, has frequent conversations in his head and doesn’t have the emotional maturity to voice them. Ultimately, this is his downfall. And Jay Z (if you ever get five minutes, listen to Dec 4th. It hits every note of a child who feels abandoned).
If you get to the gates and it’s an interview type scenario, how would you handle it? Will it be:
A: I’ve been a good human, because I’ve helped others, didn’t break the rules and always wore my own, clean pants.
B: I’ve been a disgusting human, because everyone around me fucked me over and through unnatural spite, I acted the way I did
C: I honestly don’t know what a good human is, but I’ve tried not to be a bad one.
As a Dad myself now, all I want to be, is a Dad my son is proud of. So I don’t shoplift ham, I don’t get fired for drunkenly falling asleep in meetings, try not to take upskirt videos, I don’t miss 300 bedtime stories to watch grown millionaires kick a bag of wind about and I try to balance Dad, husband and peer responsibilities. That’s all I can do.
If I don’t get through the gates, if I’m forced down into the depths of a boiling hot, violent environment, full of a gazillion deranged predators, then I got sent a different way for the things I’ve done. It would be like a scorching hot Manchester, stuck in a repetitive heatwave/riot.
The older I get, the more I engage brain before the tongue wags. It doesn’t always happen, I piss a lot of people off. These occasions are the remnants of a pissed off teenager, an angst filled young man, lingering within me, like cheap aftershave on a decent suit.
As parents, none of us are perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. We are (hopefully) all trying to be the best we can. I understand that more, now I am one. It’s a hard job, a relentless, never ending slog, without a rule book, with harsh feedback, where you constantly worry if you’re doing the right thing.
This is the last serious blog. I started this get back into writing and even I think it’s poor now. I shall try harder to be funnier. Consider me flogged. In public. Dressed as a drunk superhero.