My mother prevented me from knowing my father. At least that is what I think. I will never know the truth because she has passed.
I did not know my father. I met him for the first time a year after my mother past away when I was 49.
The closest I had to a father was my maternal grandfather. He did his best, but not having a father is a loss that I know I will never recover from.
This piece of writing is an extract from a chapter of the book that I am currently writing.
Later that evening when the small boats had come to rest like abandoned toys on the mudflats and the wedding reception was over, the family gathered together in the hotel’s lounge bar. Settled on comfortable sofas and chairs, they were drinking and eating wedding cake. The low table in front of them was awash with beer bottles, glasses, over-flowing ashtrays, cups, saucers and plates of half-eaten cake.
Lisa was sitting on her granddad’s lap. His trousers were itchy against her bare legs but she liked the way she could feel his warmth through the material. She knew she was special. She belonged there. She glanced across at Penny and Graham to see if they were watching but they were busy eating cake. Everybody was talking about the wedding and the best man’s speech. Granddad laughed so hard that Lisa bounced as his belly went up and down. She laughed too but she didn’t know why. She had given up trying to understand the jokes. Despite feeling full and a bit sick, Lisa nibbled more icing from her cake, Graham was doing the same thing. He caught her eye and then it was a competition; who could remove the icing but not let the cake fall apart. After a while, Lisa decided she didn’t want to play silly games with Graham. She put her cake down and gave the plate to her granddad who took it and put it on the table.
‘Lean back,’ he said.
She did and he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her. He rubbed his stubble on the side of her cheek which made her squiggle and then planted a kiss on the side of her forehead.
‘All right?’ he said.
She nodded. He released her and she sat up again. She turned to look at him.
‘Where’s mummy?’ she said, ‘when’s she coming back?’
When he didn’t answer, Lisa said again in a louder voice this time, ‘where’s mummy granddad?’ and stiffened in her seat.
‘She’ll be back soon.’
‘I know where Aunty Sylvia is,’ said Penny. ‘She’s at the bar with a man.’
‘Granddad, is that man Lisa’s daddy,’ Graham said. He stuck his arm out and pointed over Lisa’s head in the direction of the bar.
‘Don’t be stupid Graham,’ said Penny in a loud voice, ‘Lisa doesn’t have a daddy, does she granddad?’
Lisa felt wetness at the back of her knees. Pinpricks behind her eyes made her blink.
‘Stupid is not nice word to use Penny,’ said Ed. He gave Lisa a squeeze. ‘Come on love, let’s go and find your mum. See what she’s up to.’ He stood up and with Lisa in his arms began to walk towards the bar.