Dad

I’m sure he loves you. But your father has chosen how he wants to be, Freya. He chose to do what he’s done in the past, and everyday he is choosing his future. You can’t do anything about it except learn from his decisions, so you’ll be wiser when it comes to making your own. Perhaps that’s one of the unsung gifts a parent gives a child: lessons in what not to do.

Rex, in Sonya Hartnett’s Golden Boys (2014)

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Symmetry

It is barely light.

Two are awake.

Two are asleep.

The doors are thrown open, that fresh wet grass smell is welcomed. The TV stays off, instead, they get out some paper and crayons. These two draw.

‘Can this go on our art gallery?’ She asks without a stutter.

‘Smooth talking. Of course it can. Is mine good enough?’

‘Nah, needs more colour.’

The boy and the mum are asleep. The sound of the ceiling fan, rustle of sheets, breathing.

‘What’s your favourite letter Daddieo?’

‘B is my favourite. What is yours?’

‘T is. Then H.’ She takes a crayon and on her page draws a large straight line, then she crosses the line. A perfect t.

‘Is this T Daddieo?’ He ruffles her hair, smiling.

‘Yes, that’s a t.’

He is not one to believe in logical, rational symmetry. Numbers, math escapes him. He doesn’t even try to think of the world that is mathematical ¬†or inherently logical.

He prefers the freedom of words, of art, of the creative, speculation and expression. It is his love and his downfall. He loves and hates that part of himself that is excited by words and the moving image and art. It has caused trouble, you see.

His exact opposite sleeps. Two kids, one has become someone who creates her own dancing styles, someone who sings and draws and has endless imaginary games. She is him.

The natural symmetry of a family is his favourite piece of art.

Dear B.,

Dear B,

It is 7:25pm on a cool Tuesday night in July.
I’ve seen you everyday for four years. The more I see you the more I love you.

What are you doing right now?
Well, it is past your bedtime, so I am letting you sit up and amuse yourself. It has been a tough week actually. You have decided that you are afraid of the dark. I’ve woken to your cries for a week. It is the saddest thing. The only thing that calms you is, well, me.

You know, you are the most caring and compassionate little lady. You hug and kiss and cuddle. You hold your baby dolls with such care. You watch out for your brother. You care so much for your mum. Your hugs are worth everything.

I hope, just a little bit, that this caring B., is because of me. But I know that it is all you. In you I see my salvation. There is going to be time when I can’t give you what you need or want. That’s when I want you to go and get it for yourself. As I was saying at the park today: no giving up. Keep trying. No matter what, never give up.

Tomorrow, you have school.

Love always,
Dad