Jack had his mum and dad come up today to see the show. He gives them a great big coin from Scrooge’s money pot and tells them that all they have to do is show it to the staff to be given free drinks. They believe it and they show it proudly. The bar staff take notes and Jack discreetly settles the tab at the end of the night.

Sam had her mum and dad come up last week. They came a long way to attend. She doesn’t get to see them regularly. Her dad has a steamroller museum, and she knows how to operate all of the machines. They have  a beautiful father/daughter friendship…

I still struggle with the whole dead parents thing… Camino was about packaging my grief regarding mum. “If only I hadn’t been focussing on my career etc” I’ve taken the time to understand that and put it away. But seeing both of the other members of our three person team bringing their family units -that triggered interesting, powerful feelings.

Three times today I’ve picked up on meaningless logistical details related to Jack and his parents.  Three times today, grief has poured its icicle down my throat and squeezed salt water from my eyes. This is a new grief though. A simpler grief. I find my parents finally have equal weight. Now it’s just the fact that there is nobody to risk embarrassing me when they come and watch my show. My dad isn’t there being clever and subversive. My mum isn’t there making friends with literally everyone and then suddenly artlessly throwing out an opinion she learnt from Paul Dacre. I miss them both, my mum and dad. I’d love to feel that tension.

I wish my recent friends knew my parents. Everyone in my year at Guildhall remembers my mum, as how could they not… She was a huge personality and got stuck in with them. And those few people who knew dad – even when he was sick he was a legend.

They were my parents. I learnt through their example, and defied them as much as I later came to match them. They were very much not the parents who get mardy with you about how your baby should sleep, or what colour you should’ve painted the living room …

I know how to safely stand on top of a moving car. Thanks dad. I have no concern about speed if I’m in control of the vehicle – my reflexes are needle sharp when I’m focused thanks to training from the year dot. I am – though – addicted to adrenaline, and speed is my home. Thanks again, dad, dammit . The world usually feels too slow.

Then mum: I listen to and understand people’s troubles, and it’s a big part of how I live my life to do so – I am available to my friends emotionally and spiritually and I take time in that without noticing. Thanks mum. She taught me that. She was centre of a remarkable web of self confessed imperfect people.

Seeing people with their mum and dad always makes me wistful. They lived well those two. And maybe that’s worth the years they missed… I’m the youngest, after all. And I’ve avoided babies so far, even if I’ve always liked the idea of being a dad. But fuck it, I’ve only got their memories. Memories can’t babysit. And if they did I’d come back to find my daughter driving an antique dragster while phoning someone up to ask how they are…

Hey ho. I had to run into this tonight in my nightie. Both of them would’ve laughed at that one.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

2 thoughts on “Parents”

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