Hello everyone. It’s my birthday today so I’m hogging the FFF slot and I was going to write something new but sadly ran out of time due to preparations for this weekend’s Umbrella Fair, here in Northampton… if you’re in the UK, do come and see us at the Northants Authors stall. So I’ve chosen a piece from my Fifty 5pm Fiction Collection which mentions today…
Feeding the Father (inspired by a true story)
“There we go, Dad,” I say, putting down the bowl of jelly. Dad don’t say much these days. In fact we ain’t spoken for weeks. He just stares at the TV. ’Neighbours’ coming up… his favourite.
I don’t mind doing everything. He and Mum looked after me for years so now it’s my turn but sometimes it gets a bit lonely, just talking to myself.
Dad looks smart today. I put him in his favourite jumper, the blue one. I can’t change his trousers as he’s too heavy but it don’t matter as he don’t go nowhere. I must get him some more aftershave as he don’t smell too good.
Things started going wrong after Mum left. If she hadn’t of gone, everything would be alright. Said she couldn’t take it no more. I know she meant me. Blames me for being stupid. They had rows. Know they had no money ’cause they had to look after me. So, now it’s my turn. Look after my dad.
He’s not hungry tonight – left his food again. He’s not been hungry for a while. “Need your strength, Dad,” I say but he just stares at the TV, looks straight through me.
There’s the doorbell. Don’t answer ‘cause it’s nobody’s business. I can manage just fine on my own. But then I’m not on my own – I got Dad. I turn the TV up loud when they start shouting through the letterbox. If I can’t hear them then they can’t hear me… us. Not that Dad says anything. He don’t seem to mind people shouting at him. I never shout at him. I love him, see.
The letterbox voices have gone quiet.
‘Neighbours’ starts and I laugh. “Everybody needs good neighbours” the voices sing to me. Well, we don’t. Neighbours are nosey. Shouting and banging on the walls. We keep us-selves to us-selves. Don’t need no one sticking their beaks into our business.
When the banging starts again I shut the lounge door. Thump…thump…thump. I feel the room shake then there’s a crash. Voices! The lounge door bursts open and I look at the faces. One man looks at Dad and gasps. Dad don’t look back, he’s too busy staring at ‘Neighbours’.
One of the men grabs me to take me out the room, but I don’t wanna go. Can’t leave Dad… he needs me. Another man goes upstairs and shouts down, “The mother’s up here”. There’s no one up there. I know. Mum left us, she ain’t there. It’s just Dad and me. Me and Dad.
I get bundled in a van and taken to hospital. I don’t like hospitals. Went there when I was seven when I broke my arm. It hurt. And they kept poking my arm to see how much it hurt. Couldn’t they see it did ’cause I was crying? Don’t need no doctors and neither does Dad. He’s got me, he don’t need no one else.
They sit me in a chair and give me a cup of tea with lots of sugar. I like it, it’s sweet. Then they start talking.
Did I know my Dad was dead? “Course he ain’t dead,” I say. Dad just likes watching TV. I feed him so he don’t need to go nowhere.
Then they talk about Mum. I don’t want to talk about her, ’cause she left us. They ask me when I saw her last and I say it was my birthday, 19th August. Dad said I was sixty, but I ain’t that old. No one’s that old.
I tell them Mum left ’cause I was hard work. I know I was hard work but not any more. I do the work. I look after Dad. That’s what I do.
The man then left the room and I heard him talking to someone. Then he came back in and brought me here. I like it here, apart from the voices, but I miss my Dad.
“Mister, when can I see my Dad?”
And here is the article that inspired this piece…