This morning for the first time in months I took the bold step of putting on eye make up. Fortune favours the brave and all that.
It seems like the on off on off job might actually be on again and the plan is for me to leave for Uganda on Monday. In anticipation of shrugging back into my field wardrobe of dull, baggy, wash in a bowl clothes, I felt like dressing up for a day out today.
Now when I say make up, I mean the lot, eyeshadow, liner an so on – not just the obligatory death defying post-bereavement waterproof mascara.
I haven’t cried in at least ten days. I thought it would be safe, didn’t even bring tissues. I should have known better and now here I am sitting on a train station platform, wet nosed and snivelling like a worn out drag queen. Not a good for a Thursday morning, not even a good look for a Saturday night!
Why cry? My brother and I squabbled. The mire of things, the need to sort out the detrius left when a life floats away, has us feeling swamped and up to our eyeballs. He says I’m nagging. I feel he’s not taking responsibility. And so it goes on and on and on as if we’re six and seven all over again, singing our tittle tattle song of ‘he said’ ‘she said’.
Buzzing at the back of my head is the single thought that I wish dad was here. I wish he hadn’t gone left this bloody mess or that he could at least stop by to help us figure it out…
I miss dad for who he was, for the crinkle of his eyes, for the things he believed in, for his love, for his inappropriately timed farts. But lately I also miss him for the things he did, the roles he played so effortlessly that they were invisible.
Without him we are like a company with a quarter of the staff laid off. At first we’re united in surviving, in the sadness of watching others sink, but as time goes on it is easy to feel fractious, over worked, even a little put upon.
In my warrior family, ironically my crazy flash-top dad was the one was brought peace, who forced an end to feuds that might otherwise hardened to a hundred years of bickering.
He had a taste for feuds himself and carried resentments with a swirl and twirl, like a young girl flaunting a parasol. But to him family was family and that said everything there was to be said. Everybody else was…. everybody else, something separate and different.
Dad’s intervention was some kind of super security council injunction. It put facts on the ground, imposed peace without need for negotiation. Now he’s gone we need to work it out ourselves, we have to act like grown ups, to listen, express and compromise. That kind of sucks.
Stupidly I feel a little wronged, abandoned, left alone to deal with a situation I don’t like and would rather avoid. Turns out sorting squabbles out is tough – even in my thirties.
Bickers and brawls tend to circle and chase one another’s tails until they blur and smear into everything. But family is family.
I’m trying for the beginning of an end with a simple SMS: ‘it’s tough but I love you’. Really that is all there is to say.