Daddy. Who was not where? Beards at the kitchen table.
Dad. Ties styled wide to thin. A holiday in Somerset, golden evenings and tractors. A rainy motorway and shouting.
Father travels first-class now. Him and Vic. Vic Benson is important. An important name. To me. I went away. So did dad. Pinstripes blurred.
Dad took mum to Spain every year, drank wine and smoked cigars.
He came to my office once, chatted up Stella on reception. She said ‘enamoured’; I reddened.
Vic got jailed for fraud. Dad didn’t.
He grows veg now. I live closer, but father is further away.
To have your arms around me again. Your arm around my shoulders, resting there a moment. So many things come to mind. The times we have embraced and all of the reasons. Yes, love. Of course, love. We do love. That arm of support. The arm that draws me near, into your reach, to your steady, solid body. Your arm over me, so you can guide me, move me, show me the way. Your arm pulling me in your direction. The arm that means ‘well done’. The arm with which you say ‘Brother, I will always be older than you’.
As soon as the show was over the room rose as one and began to applaud. Looking around, he could see all the delegates were smiling. He was smiling too, though his thoughts needed to settle. It had been a highly charged drama but worth it.
At the end, when their time was up, they stood wearily and, not knowing what should be done, began a slow handclap. All the delegates were fixing their grins. He knew they would come to pay for all the drama. Nothing whatsoever had been settled – but the show was over.