Theme: Memories

When I Met My Father

There are many cargo ships in the bay of Cascais this Monday afternoon
and I thought of my father; he too had been a seafarer.
Last time I saw him I was eighteen, sat on a bus going into town, he saw
me but I looked out of the widow pretending I didn´t see him.
When he looked straight ahead again his face was impassive but I saw
tears trickling down his chin. When the bus stopped I hurriedly left,
this old fool I thought, most likely drunk. Rain cooled my flushed face.
During the war years of 1940-45 my father sailed on ship delivering
war material to Britain and Russia and he had seen ships being hit by
torpedoes and men drown in the cold Arctic sea. When he came home
He couldn´t settle for a normal life and back then there was no help
for war damaged seamen, and many of them became drifters and only
slowly died. My father was a drunk I had seen him before sharing
a bottle of booze with his mates in the park, and I despised him and them.
No, my father never played a role in my upbringing and my childhood
was needlessly hard because of him. But today, sitting on the terrace
overlooking the blue bay, I remember his tears.


More By  :  Jan Oscar Hansen

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