20/Jan/2017 @ Phuket International Airport
So, let’s get serious. I have always believed that we are story-tellers, and so I hope that by sharing this, something good happens to you and me, or not.
I’ve just finished watching “Collateral Beauty” and I wept as though this wound were fresh.
01:01am sitting on these hard blue chairs in this now empty airport waiting for my 8am flight and I find a movie that the internet has blessed me with. I was searching for V for Vendetta by the way and found this gem instead.
A man loses his daughter and I can relate to the process. Well, not quite since I tend to internalise my feelings but he did everything but that. He lost his daughter and I lost my father.
8th September 2007, leaving the house of a family member, Sony Ericsson earphones tucked in the ears of 12-year-old Dan and the rest of the world distant. I get a pat on my shoulder and my vision seemed to have magnified when I heard the words “Your dad is dead.” I guess I should say they slipped out of his mouth just to make him seem less insensitive. Nobody expects to leave their home and be told their father is dead, and so I did as any 12-year-old would do and shrugged (is denial of course). Without waiting for my music to sink in, I get the same soft tap and the same thing was said, nothing about the way he said it had changed, except.. this time amidst the muffling, I heard a scream I had never heard before. My mother, an elegant and poised woman demonstrated her most vulnerable side on that day. Sat on the passenger seat my mothers’ urge to jump out of the moving car was stronger than my desire to faint it seemed.
Just like that, everything changed.
I did not care about the arms holding me, I solely cared about releasing what was caged in, I became a stranger to myself when all my energy was used to release one last expression for the pain I was feeling and I promised myself I’d be silent about it from then on. Arriving home my 14-year-old brother ran into the road in disbelieve, landing in a net of arms. Everyone expressing themselves but me, I didn’t see the point knowing my father would not be available to tell me I was going to be fine, what was the point of anything?
Too afraid to drop my feelings mid-way up the stairs like a thief and his improvised bag full of goods made out of a table-cloth, I hurried to my room before the lump(y-frog in my throat could croak). A las I was free, free to express myself to my father as I wished, nobody deserved to see the tears I was weeping for him except him. Tucking a photograph of us under my pillow I sulked myself to sleep hoping I would hear his voice tomorrow.
Tomorrow came but his voice was nowhere to be heard except in a voicemail my mother had found from a time he accidentally dialled her number and all that could be heard was his good ol’ business talk shortly followed by a sharp end. Which is no surprise to me since my mother was the love of my fathers’ life even when death looked at him in the eye.. I assume. My mother would listen to that over and over again.. some days I wouldn’t mind, it kept him alive, other days I would hate it, “just let him go already” I would say to myself. Until my mother dropped her phone in the water and my father drowned with it.
There’s only so many days off school you can get from faking a loved ones death or a flu, until the day it is no longer an excuse. Days of school were missed so I could see my father for the last time.
Sat in the living room where my father once sat at the end of each day, screams came from the living room and my spirit told me my father had arrived. Hurrying and pushing my away through grieving bodies, nobody in that room could have been grieving more than his daughter. Using the remaining energy I had, I flung my skinny arms around my fathers’ casket and screamed “PAI!”, knowing my father was stuck inside this mahogany box filled me with distress. With filled eyes I glimpsed down and saw that my distress had caused me to have a nose bleed. That moment with my father was quickly yanked away from me as arms grabbed every inch of my tiny body, I watched my father slip away from me in an instant. Cotton balls drenched in alcohol were shoved up my nose and I did nothing but limply lie on the sofa with nothing to hope for, it was the confirmation I needed and it wasn’t in the most pleasant way.
The time had come to take him and my defying nature was born when I decided to go against everyone and not go. I did not want to see my father be put in the ground.
A book was passed around for all present, my father was one of the most loved men in that city, a great architect with a heart too big for his own good sometimes. A man who could buy two beers and sit with the homeless, a friend of all and everything, my father loved his children and supported his parents. When I was born, my father ran to the nearest radio station to announce his first daughter was born, my grandmother taps my knee and reminds me that I was his pride and joy.
This is possibly the first time I have wept the death of my father in years. Sat on this airport chair with nothing but a cardigan to sink my face into, with 9-10 empty chairs on each side of me. The cleaning ladies come and go, with a sulking chest I raise my legs as they mop and here I am, 10 years later finally accepting my father’s death.