I started the decade with a growing fear: is this the decade when I lose my parents?
Might this (whisper it) even be the year? I had this horrible notion because my dad isn’t well. We don’t know what’s wrong with him in particular yet, apart from creeping old age – and old age is not for sissies – but he’s not himself.
He’s very far from himself in fact, so far that I don’t think he even sees it. It’s breaking my heart.
I’ve been visiting my parents but currently, I’m at my own house in the Cape, a pre-planned trip I rather wish I hadn’t taken now that I’ve seen him in person, now that I know things are not right, yet here I am, nonetheless.
Still, my dad fills my thoughts. How could he not when he’s been to my house so often; when he’s everywhere I look?
The little stool he squatted on while he grilled bacon is tucked in its usual spot, his Low Salt is still in the cupboard and there’s not a chair he hasn’t fallen asleep in. It’s him who discovered the local organic egg producer; the farm that sold tomatoes from the kitchen; the supplier of unhomogenised milk; the German bread lady; and the nicest lemon curd in the world.
Yes, there are some things that frustrated me, like the stuff left on my clean surfaces, like his tossing aside of each and every scatter cushion, like the way he spurned my cups, buying his own instead, and even the teapot he purchased when he found both of mine wanting.
It’s in the cupboard now, unused.
I can hear him laughing … There are the pictures he hung; the tool drawer he stocked; the stained table he re-sanded and varnished to perfection again; the little wooden gates he made to stop my nephews from falling down the stairs.
When I arrived, the tap in the kitchen was leaking. I am my dad’s daughter so I fiddled till I fixed it – for now. Until he comes to stay again.
Yes, we are the products of our parents, for better or for worse. In my case, I like to think it’s for the better.
Dad, please get yourself seen to and sorted out, soon. Please come visit again. Your sun hat is waiting for you on the hook by the back door.
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