The letter was from my father. I threw it away.
How dare he put pen to paper after all this time? He knew how I felt about the situation. Yet here he was, trying to weasel his way back into my affections. Trying to make me feel bad about ignoring him.
Well it just wasn’t going to work. Years of not speaking about it. Years of me not sleeping well, of memories haunting me, keeping me awake. Broken dreams, lying on the floor like broken glass that had fallen off a high shelf, pieces scattered, some in open view, others hiding waiting to catch fingers unaware.
How I wished I hadn’t opened that envelope. I should have known by the post mark: I picked up the envelope again to check where it was from. Yes it was from – there.
When you are a child you put your trust in the adults in your life. You have no choice, you believe everything that they say, even if it is a joke. My father was the ultimate joker. Practical pranks every day of the year that casually and carefully undermined my trust in him. “I’ll take you to the shops” he’d say, raising my hopes. Then drag me down to car showrooms or DIY stores to get the latest gadget. Well it was all about him, wasn’t it? Buying stuff for him. Goodness knows what he did with the things he got, he never seemed to keep it, probably sold it in some pub.
Toy shops were the worst. Dolls, prams, trains, jigsaws, stuffed animals, bricks to make buildings or cars or anything you desired. He got all of that. I began to hate him and his excuses as to where he stashed the stuff. Sometimes he made things as well, all delicate arty things. All this stuff and I never saw any of it, certainly not to play with.
I don’t remember my mum being around very much. I have no memory of her face, just his with that silly smile and another joke about more shopping. Spring, summer, autumn – even into winter, that’s all he thought about.
Frankly, I think he had a disorder of some kind. You know, compulsive shopper. Oniomania is the term for it. Can have dreadful effects on families. It certainly did mine! I even began to think he was stealing some of the things as well, as he never seemed to have money. I ended up getting a Saturday job, then leaving school early to become an apprentice joiner. Funny. It appeared I was as clever as he was with his hands. Never did stick at much for long mind you, always those dreams haunting me.
Fragments of my father’s letter floated into my mind. “I need you to take over. I’m tired and need to rest. Please come home”.
Pah! What was there for me? Why me?
The last thing I wanted was to turn into my dad – Father Christmas.