Isn't life funny. For the best part of two days I had planned this big deep talk with my parents in the comfort of the family home but in the space of a few minutes I was sitting in the local pub with my Dad nursing a pint of Bitter and finding myself of how the weekend away had been. Not what I had imagined happening at all...
Before we head even further into this modern day tale I want to take a moment to talk about my Dad. He is most definitely the best person I know full of wit (I said wit Dad if you are reading this) seems to know about just about anything along with a memory for events from far far in the past until the present that would leave an elephant hanging it's head in shame. We have spent a great deal of time together over the years and there is always a long weekend away with just the two of us or a couple of brothers or close friends thrown in for good measure. These weekends are truly just lad events but we are well past the getting stinking drunk and suffering the next day phase, no dear reader we are just very happy and comfortable in each others company so from as early as I can remember I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to be a Dad to my kids as well as he was to me and my siblings but I always fear that I have fallen far far short of that particular marker.
We have great conversations, put each other into our places if we are being or about to do something stupid along with gentle encouragement when we aim high for something new. We happily take the mickey out of each other when we fail as well just in general because anything is fair game when it comes to making each other laugh usually at each others expense. We are also more than comfortable to just enjoy each others company doing just about nothing, sitting reading a book, sat on a beach just looking out to sea or even better doing that from a pub garden on a summers evening having nothing to say and that not mattering a jot. So at the point we are at in our tale with me sitting there at that dark wood circular table with a pint sweating on it for the first time in my life feeling edgy in Dad's company wondering how to broach this subject with him but not knowing where to begin was a whole new most unpleasant experience that left me wondering once again why this nonsense had been hidden from me for a lifetime.
That first pint unsurprisingly disappeared quite quickly but I had mind enough to know that getting drunk then trying to talk about this was a very bad idea so once the second round had hit the table top I took a deep long draught of it, wiped my lips looked my Dad in the eye and said to him that I had taken my son to see Nan and she had said I was about hos age when she first met me. In for a penny here in for a pound, I then asked if he could confirm exactly what she meant by it.
Is there a good way to broach a long hidden skeleton in the closet? Now looking back my answer is no, no there is not.
Dads face dropped.
I felt awful. Then in my head I felt angry at myself for feeling awful because this was not my secret I was the secret, then I thought oh hell I think I get why they hid it then it all the emotions just got a bit whirly.
He just looked at me like a cornered rabbit, lets face it he kinda was as he had no idea this was coming nothing at all until this point in his world had changed form the last twenty odd years, his mouth gaped he stuttered a touch stumbled over his tongue and came out with,
"She doesn't what she was talking about...um I mean she was mistaken...no um, oh shit, you need to talk to your Mum Nick"
He looked awful. The blood has long since drained from his face he had turned green and sweaty along with twitchy limbs not knowing where to look and all of this in the space of about ten seconds the poor bugger I really felt for him right then.
He didn't know what to do and a well timed shout from a friend from the other side of the pub gave him instant recourse to make his way from this instant horror of a long hidden secret catching up with him in the wrong place unexpectedly.
I didn't blame him I had had a couple of days to get used enough to this information being back out there in the daylight and it had reared it's head at him when he thought he was out for a relaxing time with his son.
I took another long pull on my pint and rested my head back into the worn red leather seat I was sitting in wondering what the hell to do next when out of the blue the wife to be walked into the pub with a worried look in her eyes that did not go away when they found me sitting in the corner. As she hurriedly headed over towards me I wondered what else could go wrong in such a short space of time and I was kept waiting long on that info.
She sat down hard looked me in the eye saying,
"You need to head back your Mum's sat in our living room and she is pretty upset"
"Jesus could this night get any worse" I wondered and after a pretty short walk I was about to find out.