Father, father, I am just like you. I am a liar. A hypocrite. Just like you. I must be like you. Father, you are creator of some part of me. You paint me in your own colours in your own mind’s vision of me. My life somehow sprang from shades of you. I leapt like a spark, like a flame, from your own anger and hate and love and sadness. Father, father, you are a god. A patriarchal god. Your authority is oppressing. Crushing freedom. Your invisible male ego is insidiously dominating.
I am like you. Of course I am. I am whatever you say.
We are linked. Our minds. We are together. Together we know the truth. I no longer care about the damage, the damage to this family. You do not care either. I will deny it. You will deny it. No more blame, it is gone. It is all gone.
I see you in the crowd. And I see right through you. Yet you do not know this. That I have always seen through you, deceptive and selfish. Beneath your public mask, blue eyes reveal suspicion and fear; insecurities that make you want to dominate the vulnerable, the weak, the child and the woman. To you, women are not real. Not really part of the real world. They should be subjugated, feelings, life, sucked out of them, until controlled. Until they are just giant cut-outs from magazines pasted over a background of myth; two-dimensional images, stereotypes with no faculty to feel. There is still a hint of smugness on your face and a false snap-shut smile. We will waste no time. You have no love to give me. I will not waste my affections on you or try to earn your love. I will waste no time in trying. Together we know the truth. We know what is barren, sterile.
This is all a fast river of thoughts, fluxing, flowing through me and by the time I reach you I am smiling. It has been a long time since I last saw you and now we speak. You look older, talk slower. It sounds as if you are play-acting to make me pity you. You are still pompous, authoritarian as your condescending gaze flicks pale blue eyes across the people walking by. People that you are afraid of, that you are apart from and cannot communicate with.
We could be two strangers. No warmth, no closeness. No true shared humour. Yet there is a bond. Together we know the truth. We laugh falsely, uncomfortably at your attempts at light-heartedness. You do not even recognise my own attempts at jocularity. We are special. More estranged than strangers. Yet our blood is the same. I can talk much easier to the man at the bus stop, in the queue at the supermarket, a one-night stand, a taxi driver, than I can to you, my own father.
I expect the lightening to cross your pale blue eyes to rekindle that childhood fear. None comes. You are silent now. Age has mellowed you. Your hair is frosty, grey like the cold pavement, like the concrete.
Winter now, almost a year since I saw you. And since then, many transformations. How I have witnessed my own transformation! My reflection in my mirror, sometimes my only companion, my only proof that I still exist as human, not a soulless cloud; my image in shop windows, car mirrors, flashing disco walls sometimes fractured, sometimes distorted.
I touch the grey curls on your temple. Where I touch, you disappear in thin, grey flames, smoke and clouds. Father: you ghost, you phantom. Your pale, blue eyes get paler still. You are disappearing. A white light floats around us. I am just like you. Destructive and a hypocrite just like you. You are disappearing. I touch your green, checked jacket. It curls into air, in grey swirls, disintegrates rapidly into nothing. Can we bear this separation, daddy? Wings beat thunder from an angry cloud. The white light engulfs you.
I have been haunting you in your dreams.
Carly’s spirit floating in the dream sphere, travels upwards, onwards. Romany spirit, soaring like the bird she once was many incarnations ago. Away, away from pain, from blood, from bones, from flesh, from lust. Her spirit, something pure, travels to safety, to peace. There is a seashore. She walks along the beach picking shells from rock pools. Gypsy spirit. Proud, free. Never lonely. The sea hush, hushes. Naked, timeless child spirit. Salt wind breathes through her hair.
Shh, shh, I will flee now, flicker off, leave my dear Carly and rest upon my cloud spun of belief and hope. I hope, I hope, to be there for her when she wakes. I am her guardian angel and she needs me more than ever before. I have told all her secrets to you. It is the only way I could make them real. You must keep them. Keep them safe.