Touched by the son …

Saturday’s were always the same. Wait for my Dad to let us out of our bedroom, usually after he’d been to the toilet. Go downstairs – quietly. Sit on the sofa in silence, making sure our feet weren’t up on the cushions. Wait for Mum to come downstairs to see if she had a black-eye, I couldn’t look at her if she did – Dad would stare and frown at me. Dad had the bushiest eyebrows in the world, they scared me. Dad scared me.

Dad would sit in his usual chair beside the door to the stairs reading his paper. He was the gatekeeper to all of our nice things in our bedrooms. You see, I couldn’t have toys downstairs, it would make too much of a mess, plus Dad doesn’t like the noise children make. And I couldn’t play upstairs because the noise from the ceiling would disturb him while he did the crossword in the paper. I understood, he needed to concentrate. Sometimes I don’t know why Mum and Dad had children. There are three of us, me – the eldest, my younger brother and my youngest sister.

My sister is from a different man. Mum said that’s why my Dad was so angry all of the time and took his anger out on her. But that doesn’t explain why he took his anger out on me. Why I made him so mad and why he threatened to put me in a children’s home if I did anything wrong. It doesn’t explain why he would smack my face so hard it felt like it was touching the sun and shouted like he was trying to crumble the house to the ground, if I looked at him in a certain way. It also, doesn’t explain why I was locked away in the cupboard above the stairs and couldn’t come down, all day, to play with my friend. I could hear my friend laughing outside, playing with his other friends. Maybe I was a bad child and I deserved it.

If I could talk to my Dad, if he would listen, I would ask him what was wrong. I would tell him I loved him and I didn’t mean to be naughty. I would tell him, he could love me and I would loved him back for always. I would explain that I didn’t mean to make him mad, I used to have dreams about that.

I used to have dreams . . . Saturdays were happy days.

I used to have dreams . . . I was happy.

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