31 Letters in 31 Days: Letter 5 – Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

Remember when we went swimming in the sea in Majorca while it rained, and the whole hotel watched us through the windows of the bar and thought we were crazy. I was so proud and happy, with rain and sea water in my eyes and nose. Remember when you would come out and play football with us in the twilight, after you had worked an eight hour shift, even if our friend, the one who fancied you was there too. None of the other Dad’s in the village would do that. Remember when you would give all of us a fireman’s lift, youngest to oldest from the car to the house, if it was raining or we had taken our shoes and socks off during the journey and were too tired to put them back on. You were so strong. None of us ever fell. Remember watching the play made from my book. Seeing other people cast as us on a stage. Wasn’t it so strange? You used to make the most amazing cauliflower curries, and bread always tasted better when it was buttered by you, even if it was dry as a bone. Remember the time I cracked my head open, when I fell off the swing backwards. You didn’t believe me until you saw the blood on my yellow elephant wellies. Remember when I ate all of that Magnum ice cream on the way to Scarbrough and you cried. Remember when I thought I had skin cancer, and you came with me to the hospital, assuring me that the mole on my back had been like that since I was born. Remember when you promised me an electric guitar if I got better and out of hospital. You kept your promise and my guitar was beautiful. I know I put you and mum through hell with all the mental illness stuff, all the teenage angst and bad moods. But without all of that, you wouldn’t know me as well as you do. Even if sometimes you forget I don’t like alcohol that doesn’t taste like lemonade and a bacon sarnie won’t turn me away from vegetarianism.