Wednesday, 21 July 2010

the other guy in my life...

Dear Dad,
yes, I know, if nothing I am not consistent with regard to forgetting your birthday.  The note to self I leave in my mental in-tray is tattered and worn, and the writing is quite faded now.  But...
I do remember eventually.
Us academic types can get a bit preoccupied down in dusty corridors filled with obscure and sometimes bizarre pieces of information.
Opening a book, or working on a manuscript is a dangerous thing: you take a big breath and then plunge headlong down a deep well, not knowing when you'll emerge dazed and blinking back in the present.  To use the line from L.P. Hartley's book, The Go-between, 'the past is a different country, they do things differently there.'
In the past, due to all sorts of different circumstances, there have been long periods of geographical separation; that's just the way of things and certainly the way we've managed our relationship has been done quite differently - and I say that with fondness.
In the present, while the geographical separation continues, even in spite of being forgetful about such things as birthdays [not sure why my friends still persevere; it is not just you, I'm afraid!] I'm aware that there is hardly a day in which you don't cross my thoughts.
Perhaps it's that odd way of thinking that we both share - someone will make a comment and I will automatically have a song lyric to hand as a response.
Or particular turns of phrase.
Or particular ways of 'seeing' a situation.
And I suspect that if you were here now and we were chatting, we would be finishing each other's sentences, or weird each other out just ever so slightly because whatever one of us would have said, the other would have just been thinking it.  I love that very odd connection with you and it helps me remember that no, I was not found in a cabbage patch - I belong.
Truly, I am my father's daughter.

In each of our own ways, we've muddled along, trying to figure out how to overcome the gaps.  I think that one of the greatest gifts that you gave me was handing me some of those missing pieces to the jigsaw of my early life, via conversation, but also through all those photographs you had copied and sent.

So, on this 'not your birthday' day, I think I want to say to you, even despite my seeming slackness as well as a tendency not to emote that much in public, that you are a gift in my life and I love you Dad.
Hope there are many more birthdays!!
from your head-in-dusty-history-books-distracted-and-often-forgetful...
Nik x