Imagine you’re the favourite and only daughter who flies across
two states to visit when the three sons living close by barely bother.
Imagine how tall that pillar of marble is you’ve had him on for the last 50 odd years. Imagine the stupid stuff you’ve done trying to earn Dad's approval and just ended up doing stupid stuff.
I’m visiting from Sydney. I’m odd jobbing, because five years after
a messy divorce his life is still in cardboard boxes. I’m getting his dial up dinosaur, of a computer running again. Dad can get emails, shop for car parts and surf for porn. That’s it. I know he surfs for porn because I had his password and it wasn’t pretty.
A card I wrote to Dad when small - now part of a stitched story.
Imagine your trying to get those images out of your head by tidying up
his boxed bombshell office. File cabinets spill open at nose height
and there, at the front, in big letters: “last will and
testament of ….MY DAD”.
What would you do?
Working on the stitched version of dad's passport.
You’d totally read it, right?
You wouldn’t? Then go to the nice well bred corner of the room,
because in it he wipes his daughter out completely. Expunged. Extinct.
In a meticulously created impenetrable trust fund.
It was a work of legal genius, with notes in the file from Mr. Double Barrel
Surname lawyer at the bottom say things like, “Not going to be good with the children.”
Dad's Stitched Passport in 1968. Yep - it says, "Infants- NIL". I was 8 at the time.
It’s not the money.
It’s the deed.
How does a father manage to pull off this final act of fuck-you on a daughter
who has remained in his corner of the ring forever?
It’s not like I had warning. The “your dad is a dick” song has been on high
rotation since he walked out in 1965. His sons barely tolerate him, both
ex wives detest him. He is a social pariah at the car club.
|I altered Dad's 1940's learn to read book to suit.|
Thanks for the heads up, Dad. I won't be wasting tissues, but I will enjoy the
stunned faces of my siblings when the time comes. No, here's my real gift,
here's what he left me: When the shock wore off, I could see a pattern emerge,
and answers to a long lost puzzle.
Altered child's blocks now tell the story of my dad.
As Dad's marble pillar crumbled away, it revealed a person in clear light. Like that scene
in "Being John Malcovich" - I saw how his real self had turned up in my life.
As his true personality, he was many early dud and cruel boyfriends.
He was disguised as business partner whose smooth talking embezzled thousands.
He was the first husband who was only ever half there, and he was every betrayal
I'd ever felt. I'd had him - the real him- threaded all through, yet wondered why
there were so many dick heads around.
The altered play blocks that tell the story
I booked the first flight out of there, and never went back. I snivelled so
much on the way home, the flight attendants gave me extra vodka.
So what do you do with that kind of information? I mean after the tears and
having it haunt you,* with many nights laying awake?
play blocks with text..
You make art. Lots of art.And you make a story, and here it is.
Grateful to break throughout to a carefully concealed truth and begin to recast
the characters in my life.
That's him with me as a baby, on the cover of my assemblage box
This is Dad's passport from 1968. I found it going through the boxes.
See the bit where it asks how many children he has?
I was 8 at the time. More to come when this piece finished.
I’m glad I snooped, glad I know now, glad I discovered more about myself,
even if it was the hard way. Glad it won't be me with a stunned face when the time comes.
But that's enough about me, what would you do?
* Haunted for real - A nasty ghosty thing came into the house because I was so furious, but that is another story.
P.S. I did ask him why. Several times, but there was no answer. There is no why, just like there is no spoon.