A Formidable Man

Yesterday would have been my father’s 93rd birthday. He has been gone for ten years now, and although it doesn’t sound very kind, I really don’t miss him. He was a cruel, mean and bitter man, who made our family life a misery for as long as I can remember. There was nothing charming about him at all ……

My Father was a formidable man; Mum called him difficult
She was right; love was never on his radar, and we knew it
He made sure we knew it, day in, day out, speaking cruel words
Any self-esteem I may have had was smashed to smithereens

He earned very good money; yet kept us all short
Our food was scarce while he dined like a king
Our clothes from jumble sales; his, only the finest
Holidays were non-existent; he jetted around the world

Meals were taken separately; us in the cold kitchen like servants
Him in the comfort of the warm living room, waiting to be served
“Are you coming down for dinner today, daddy”, I was sent to ask?
“NO!! Go down in the kitchen with your mother,” he yelled

It was like we didn’t exist in his world; our company was not required
He preferred the cricket while puffing on his stinking pipe
Balkan Sobranie (only the best), drinking scotch and eating peanuts
He stank of pipe ash and alcohol as he demanded I kiss him goodnight

I lay in bed alone in the room above the kitchen – filled with dread
Waiting for the screaming and shouting to start, the bangs and thumps
I clung on to my teddy, called Peter, and cried with fear, face in the pillow
I knew Mum would make excuses for her bruises and cuts in the morning

She wanted to protect us from the worry, fear and distress
It might have worked for the little ones – I knew better
She told me she’d fallen off a chair changing a light bulb
She had a cauliflower ear – lost her hearing in that ear

He died in 2012 – a grand funeral; kind words abounded
His friends in high places said, “so sad, such a lovely man.”
“His family will miss him greatly.” Feeling guilty, I felt nothing
Who was this man these people spoke of?




(Photo by Ron Lach : https://www.pexels.com)