I will always remember when I was thirteen and you came into the living room and said
"We have nothing in common anymore. Nothing to talk about."
That broke me.
At the time I didn't understand what you meant. But now I've grown,
and the years have gone by,
and I think it's finally clear what you meant that day you made me cry myself to sleep.
I have always been a Daddy's girl.
My first word was "Da Da."
You taught me how to walk, ***** trained me, took me to the doctors when I was ill.
I used to lie on your belly and watch football with you, even though I had no interest in sports
and would rather curl up with a book instead.
But I tried.
Because thinking even your gender is a disappointment to your own father is a pain so sharp, so unfair that I was willing to try anything.
I remember when you bought me a jumper, bag, trainers, t-shirt with your, our, favourite team on them.
I proudly wore them to school, only to be pounced on by the older boys.
"Haha, they're *****."
They kicked my bag and stomped on my trainers.
But I didn't care.
It wasn't only football.
I remember us sitting on the sofa watching Laurel and Hardy videos, stuffing ourselves with pizza,
you beaming down at me as I laughed and laughed at the silly man and his angry friend.
That made you happy.
There were lots of things that made you unhappy.
If I spilled a glass of milk, or drew on my hands, or forgot to wear my coat to school,
you'd transform into the 'other' Dad.
A man I didn't know,
still don't know,
spitting and screaming at me, your wild eyes vacant of the real you.
The shifts made you tired, and I crept around when you were in bed,
and even when you were awake, afraid to bring out your Mr Hyde.
Being ill didn't help. You clung even more desperately to life,
Mr Hyde coming out when anything went wrong.
It wasn't your fault,
but try telling that to the ten year old me.
All I knew was my Daddy might die.
I was scared.
You were scared.
I'm still scared now, at nineteen years of age.
I finally understand what you said that day.
We are like a ghost of our former selves.
When we sit on our separate sofas, I can hear the faint laughter of our times watching Laurel and Hardy.
When we greet each other on a morning, a grunt from me, a grunt from you, I remember our embraces.
Now it hurts to touch.
How can I love somebody so much who scares me so much.
There are so many more things I could add to this.