15 October 2015

My Old Man (Part 2)

Brylcream_blk
My father took me hunting, but I found that I could not shoot my furry friends. I aimed high and missed with every shot, much to his chagrin. He knew what I was doing and could not conceal his disgust. He called a halt to proceeding saying that I was wasting ammunition – so we packed up and headed home in silence.
.
We never could see eye to eye me and my old man. It was more than a generational thing; after all he was the same age as John Lennon – one of my great heroes. It was certainly not a cultural thing – we were both working class Scots and proud of it. We just saw life differently and my differences appalled him. I liked to wear my hair long and preferred grass to beer. I read books he could not understand, but would roundly condemn as ‘shite’. I listened to rock music – while he preferred Perry Como. He was renowned as a hard man, but I eschewed violence for a more diplomatic approach.
. 
I never understood his anger. It seemed to bubble under the surface twenty four seven. When he spoke to me his words were full of sarcasm and distain. His pet name for me was ‘prick’ – that would hurt, but I grew inured to it over time. Everything I said was anathema to him; everything I did was wrong. I grew up wondering why he hated me – why he was so disappointed in his son.
. 
He was a man prone to violent outbursts – he’d strike out for no discernible cause. He often beat my mother when he was drunk and he was very often drunk. He’d seem genuinely sorry for the punishments he’d meted out, but that never hindered repeat performances and the weekends were filled with tension and oppression. He once told me that he was God in his house – I was very young, but his words filled me with shame. I was ashamed for him – I was ashamed of him. I knew his thinking was crooked and that he was no more than a petty tyrant lording it over those he professed to love.
.
He was an immaculate dresser and very fastidious in his personal habits. He had once been a soldier and was proud of his appearance. I often wondered if it was the army which had filled him with such anger, or perhaps it was his father who had been just as cruel to him. No, we never understood each other and I always wondered why, but whenever I reached out to him I was violently rebuffed. I’m older now and in my life I have done many things I’m not proud of. In many ways I am my father’s son. I know what it is to lose control and commit the most shameful acts and with that knowledge wonder if after all it was not me but himself that my father hated.
.

No comments:

Post a Comment