Farewell to dad’s first wife

The little town of Blandford. I have been here before, for work. I wouldn’t know it but for the fact that my food-radar took me to exactly the same place, and I remembered the layout. Namaste Gurkha. The restaurant that gives a shit about more than just reconfigured American guff or fish and chips.

I’ve ordered an Everest Khasi. There’s max chili in the logo. I’m feeling like it’ll be what I need. I want a purge. I want to purify.

Funeral today. A funeral for Joan. Joan had three children with my father, before I existed. Then Max and I joined the party.

My mother has been dead for over fifteen years. Joan carried on, giving the three older boys the benefit of that longevity. I long ago abandoned the idea of asking my parents for advice about life. There’s very little point if it’s just a pair of stones with a name. But Joan was alive, and we managed to be weird friends. Jamie died, the oldest of our brood. But maybe Rupert and Jeremy had time to make sense of things through her. I hope so. She was fun. We sat next to each other at a wedding once, starting as total strangers.. We got absolutely hammered together and laughed so much. “You’re just like your father,” she told me at the end, knowing what a complicated bestowal that was. My largely absent enraged father. My bright baby blue angel eyed liar father.

I knew she was seeing my complications and enjoying them, having no stake. She had the peace of somebody who had learnt what she wanted through trial and error, and knew it wasn’t Norman Barclay. It felt like she saw me and forgave where I’d come from. To me, I could really see why my father had loved her. She had a wide-angle heart. Joan was good. Complicated. Layered. Full of contradiction. But rooted through with a strong strong inclusive vein of goodness. I’m happy to have had the chance to say farewell. I was conflicted but I think it’s right that I came to the funeral. The happy times of Joan’s life came despite my father. My very existence must have been complicated for her, which is why I love how she treated with me at that wedding. And why I knew she’d understand my presence at her funeral.

And now I’m in Blandford, winding down. I’ve booked a hotel, knowing I’d be unsober by this point. And I’ve somehow tracked myself back to this Gurkha restaurant, and taught myself that even if we try to vary things we end up walking old paths.

The Everest Khasi was not hot enough to warrant three chilis. I worried it was a dickhead-curry. But it was perfect. I have no idea what I had last time. I have no idea what I was doing. A reading about refugees in the village hall? A touring show? A dayjob giving lectures? Helping build an event? Going to a birthday party? Fucknose.

I’m gonna get the bill and sod off to my delightful farmhouse room. Oh joy.

Yum yum yum yum yum. Well done the Gurkha.

Barclays! There are so many of us… Aaaaaaa

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.

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