Father

Sunny Singh

 

Father.

1.      You’ve never acknowledged the thorn in your paw, but I know it’s there. It seems as if no-one told you that acceptance doesn’t take away the pain.

2.      When I asked you why you believe in God, you said it’s just “the way it’s always been”. I know you weren’t satisfied with your answer.

3.      When I kicked the table at 13 years old and it hit your leg, I know it hurt. I hurt myself afterwards.

4.      I know I’ve always been blind to your tears, but I can hear them fall.

5.      When we weren’t let into the arcade because they don’t allow baseball caps and you didn’t put on your turban that day, I know you hated yourself. I want you to know it was okay.

6.      When I played cricket with you, I know it was a memory you told yourself you’d never forget. You did.

7.      When I decided to cut my hair, I know it was one of the worst moments of your life. It was the last thing we had in common.

8.      Every day that goes by when I don’t call, I know you think I’m in trouble and I know you don’t like that I’m surviving without you.

9.      I know you don’t think that I think about you all too often. I’m done feeling the guilt.

 

The last Concorde went over our council flat. Papa was tying his hair into a knot, running downstairs when he heard the initial boom and opening the door to our 3m x 1m balcony. I still remember his eyes shooting upwards as it went over, followed by the curls of his lips edging towards the sky. His half-fastened turban fell behind him and Muma scolded him for being sacrilegious as she combed my hair. I ran over to him as he pointed into the distance seeing nothing but the clouds and the kids pointing at him, laughing from below.

I threw books at you and told you to read them, each hardback bruising your face enough that you lost it. Parent’s evening was Muma meeting my teachers whilst you sat in the car, not wanting the other children to see your beard for it was intended for God. Not wanting the other children to see your turban for it was intended for God. You’d seen enough hate on the news after the towers fell; you wouldn’t bury me in those ruins too.

You told me I’d see the Concorde next time, as the silence overtook the speed of sound in the sky. I said I didn’t want to. Not until you were the one flying it.

Photograph by Katrine Lynn Solvaag

Photograph by Katrine Lynn Solvaag


Previously published in the UKCCWS Illustrated Anthology Vol. 4 (2017) with the accompanying illustration.

Sunny Singh has a BA in English and American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Kent where he will be continuing with an MA. Sunny's writing plays with the conventions of narrative, often switching between viewpoints whilst exploring what it really is that humanity shares in terms of a collective ideology. Speaking from both experiences, alongside local knowledge, his writing utilises elements of travel writing, merging these with a more personal, intrinsic tone, leading to the emergence of a relationship between both setting and character.